Tuesday, August 10, 2010

PTSD after childbirth: A Period of Adversity

My faith has been strengthened by my son's birth that was so traumatic for me. First I quickly realized that my experience giving birth, and the PTSD that followed was another period of adversity in my life.

I have found that generally when I make a momentous, good decision that some difficult adversity comes along to try to mess it up. I realized quickly that this was another one of those times in my life. By becoming a mother, I probably did the most important thing I'll do in my life; with the most potential to really make a difference in the world. I became responsible for a human life, and ultimately to give him the shape and direction that he needs to become a good person. One time somebody taught me that Satan doesn't try and tempt those who are aren't trying to live God's law. Satan doesn't have to try with them because they're already doing what he wants. On the other hand, those who are striving and doing right and good things with their lives, he going to work hardest on them and try to destroy and interfere with their efforts. I recognized that was occurring to me. I tend to get mad at Satan when I realize that's happening because there's no way I'm going to let the enemy of righteousness do that to me. I know its not my Father in Heaven doing it to me, but the influence of evil and the intent to cause sadness in the world.

I see Satan try to use maternity care to abuse and traumatize mothers. Providers so commonly violate a mother's right to give permission to what people are doing to her body, she is manipulated, coerced, threatened and ignored when she tries to stop it. I even see inappropriate and unnecessary use of technology and intervention during birth as "trusting in the arm of flesh" instead of trusting in God's creation and the body's ability to birth a baby safely. Interfering with the process of childbirth is, how I see it, another way that Satan interferes in the happy and healthy development of families. Families are of the utmost importance to the development and well-being of children. Heavenly Father created families because he knew thats what benefits children most--no other societal organization can do what parents do. Satan would love nothing more than to see mothers so traumatized that they commit suicide, or divorce their partners or abuse their children or fail to form healthy attachment to their children. He most especially doesn't want more people born into the world so he tries to scare mothers away from having more children.

Because I believe that God and Jesus "know the end from the beginning" I know that they know what I'm experiencing and how emotionally damaging that birth was for me. They know the wrongs committed by the staff people and understand better than I do the injustice inherent in the system. I don't believe they safe us from all suffering because everyone has their free will. There will always be people who choose to wield power in an abusive and destructive way. I was a victim of that and because I experienced it I learned that traumatic birth experiences are another destructive attack on families and God's children. I probably wouldn't have believed it if it hadn't happened to me.

But now that I have experienced it and suffered it and know it, I have 1) gained that knowledge, 2) developed empathy and compassion for mothers who have experienced similar trauma, as well as anyone who has been abused, or traumatized by a life event, 3) become more sensitive as a parent because I try not to force physically or manipulate my children when teaching them because I know how awful it feels and 4) realize that I have the opportunity to do something about it (obsessively, actually, a side effect of the PTSD). When I was seeking help in dealing with my experience, I didn't find the resources I felt I needed. But then I felt led in my searching to meet the founder of Solace, and Jennica and together we created this discussion board and are developing Solace as a advocacy and support organization for birth trauma. I believe that there is good coming out of it because it is a comfort for other mothers who have experienced birth trauma. In that way, my experience has and can help others.

I have grown very much from the experience. Not only are my work skills being improved because I'm learning how to direct a non-profit, but I've learned about the process of birth. I believe that the human body was originally created to work flawlessly. Since the introduction of less than perfect circumstance with the Fall of Adam, the body doesn't work perfectly all the time, but it works most of the time. And it works best when we trust in it and let nature do what its meant to do WITHOUT the interference of others (I think of Proverbs 3:4). Sometimes HF will guide us to those who have the skills to intervene when the process derails, but the people with those skills tend to over-inflate their value and necessity. I learned that HF wants me to take responsibility for my decisions and trust Him first and then let him guide me to know when to make use of man's knowledge and expertise. Just as any tool, it can be misused.

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