Through my work with Maternity Matters and involvement with the Birth Trauma Association, I read a lot of stuff by women who’ve suffered similar trauma and disappointment to what my family went through when Sausage was born. I read about people who are let down by a lack of care, poor facilities and a health service which treats them like a number. I talk to people who feel alone, like no-one understands their feelings and thoughts and I do my best to let them know that I know exactly how they feel. I know Susanne won’t mind me saying that she does the same and I’ve seen her counselling others through their heartache on many an occassion.
It’s Sausage’s 3rd birthday in just under three weeks and I have something that I wanted to share with anyone who may read this. It’s really important that I get this out there and I genuinely hope that people read this and are comforted by my words.The thing I need to say is this:
Three years ago, I thought my heart would never stop hurting. I thought I’d be consumed by my rage, feeling at times that I fully understood spontaneous combustion, convinced that it happened to people who spent their waking hours burning with white-hot rage. I thought that every time I looked at my daughter I’d see the tubes and wires that covered her the first time I laid eyes on her. I thought I’d never be the same again.
But we’re okay.
Yes, I’m still angry, I still have huge chunks of my memory missing, I probably won’t ever be the same again in many ways. But I don’t want to be. I wouldn’t wipe my memory of all of the bad things that happened because I’d be doing my daughter a huge disservice if I did. I need to remember. But all of that doesn’t detract from the fact that we’re fine. That doesn’t give credence to the insensitive morons who say that we should just be grateful that our children have turned out okay. I just hope I can give some of you some hope, when it feels as though the black cloud will never clear.You need to know that it’s OKAY to feel this way.
One of the things that I was adamant about in my birth plan was that I wanted to have skin-to-skin contact with my daughter when she was born. Because I was unconscious and she was so poorly, this wasn’t even vaguely an option, but what I need you to know is that it hasn’t affected our relationship one iota. We’re as close and two human beings could possibly be, despite the fact that I couldn’t hold her until her 7th day of life, so anyone who worries that a lack of contact early on will have a detrimental effect on your relationship needs to try to remember this.
I’m not trying to preach and I’m certainly not trying to demean or belittle the feeling of anyone who is suffering the effects of a traumatic experience. I’m just hoping that my experience can help others and let you know that you will be okay. It may never go away completely, but it won’t always be as fresh and painful as it is now.
It may be a cliché, but time really is a great healer.