I felt I needed to touch on this subject, I don’t often hear about how being a parent with PTSD plays out in others lives in Motherhood or Fatherhood. I am a Mommy of 2, and I wanted share my experience as a parent with PTSD from how pregnancy affected me to current. My husband and I got married in 2007, in October of that year I went to the hospital for a spider bite. They asked me if I was pregnant I said I’m not sure, so they opted not to give me a test to double check. I left the hospital with a script in hand. I took the medicine right away, a week later I was due for my period and it never came. I took a pregnancy test at home, My husband brought the test to me which showed the results..I was pregnant! I had a breakdown, completely, I couldn’t breathe. I felt like I had an alien inside of me like my body was violated..which stems from being sexually abused and raped.
I went to my family doctor the next day with my husband, I was shaking like a leaf. The doctor wanted to check my area to see if everything looked ok. I was so terrified that there was something inside me I vomited all over the exam table. The doctor brought me into a counselor in her office and he advised me to get help because the pregnancy was triggering me and that was why I felt violated. I went home bracing a higher dose of Lexapro in hand, which was said to be safer for the baby and much needed for the Mommy! Round the clock for weeks it was the same thing sitting in the bathroom with my husband, I would shake uncontrollably, drenched in sweat, wishing it would get out of me because I felt so violated, and I would vomit non stop. I took a break to use the toilet one night, When I wiped there was blood which as one who is pregnant knows that’s not a good sign. We went to the ER and the baby had lost it’s heartbeat, I had to have a D&C, a procedure to remove the baby. It turns out the medicine I was given for that spider bite killed my baby, but I always felt it was how I spoke against the pregnancy out of fear.
After the loss sunk in, I felt so much guilt and shame. It took that loss to realize I did want to have a baby, a few months later we tried again. Within 9 months I was pregnant with my older son. When I gave birth to them I had to tell them I had sexual trauma cause the nurse said there are some Moms that refuse to push and they want to help Moms like I with mental support. After dissociation kicking in I felt the labor pain BADLY. My epidural had ran out and the baby was coming so they couldn’t switch it. I panicked so bad I was screaming at the top of my lungs, I could feel every rip and all the pain of my baby coming out, the nurse told me to calm down because I was scaring other patients. I pushed out a 9lb 6oz baby boy. My body felt free which was awesome the hard part was over, and I had a healthy baby boy. 2 1/2 years after my 1st son was born I had another baby boy via an elective C-section from trauma from the first birth.
My kids are a bit older now. But raising them while battling PTSD was hard, I say was because my PTSD is gone currently. I became so protective over my kids because I was afraid they would be sexually abused, so I opted to Homeschool them. When I got properly diagnosed with PTSD in 2014 it sent me into a tail spin. I was locked in a Psychiatric Hospital TWICE. but they were very short stays cause being there did more harm than good. I had to organize special visits with my husband and kids. They would cry coming in, and cry harder leaving me. My littlest held the door for me and said “Come on Mom” and my husband told him I had to stay..They all left crying. After the last hospital stay I was determined to fight harder! I NEVER wanted my kids to see me in there again. That’s when I started “Thinking Like A Therapist” In my archives you can read that if you’d like.
Having kids forced me to do things I did not want to do, but did cause I love them so much. Like having friends over for a play date, meeting up with friends at the mall, taking them to Birthday parties, etc.. I tried to be the best Mom I could be even during my battle. I was open with my kids that “Mommy had a problem with her brain” my oldest son became so nurturing always trying to take care of me. They respected my battle. I have even caught my children praying for me cause they wanted me to be ok. In January 2016 when I was healed of PTSD I told my kids, they cried. They knew Mommy was going to be ok. They have done PTSD races with me, and helped raise awareness. I was as proud of them as they were with me. My husband and kids are my best supporters. With their unconditional love, patience and understanding I was able to make it through to being healed. I have spent the past 8 years of parenthood in hiding, I realized that I couldn’t do that because my kids deserved so much more. I also tell them you never know what someone is battling so to always be kind. I think them watching me through my battle will make them very compassionate human beings. Through the rough years we took it one day at a time.
My Psychiatrist said that the fact that I am alive and well is a miracle! I never thought I would be married and have kids, but I have some very patient guys in my life. I found that playing some of the games and toys my kids had were good for grounding like tetris, silly putty, glow in the dark bouncy balls. My Family SAVED me, cause I should have been a statistic like 2 of my brothers that died from their battle with PTSD. I will do all I can to help others reach their dream of being PTSD free.
If you are a parent and want to talk I would love too. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can follow me on twitter at @ljastoria