When I first started experiencing PTSD symptoms, I was confused. I thought PTSD only happened to soldiers of war.
When I was finally brave enough to start talking to other preemie moms about what I was experiencing, I discovered that I was not alone. I learned that preemie moms are at risk for delayed onset postpartum depression and PTSD.
Premature birth has a lasting impact on a mother’s heart. Sharing and connecting helps us heal. Our discussions inspired to write an article for You & Me: America’s Medical Magazine. Here’s an excerpt…
“You have to follow them!” I begged my husband, as our son, who weighed barely more than a pound, vanished through the doorway. Doctors and nurses ran beside his incubator, performing CPR on his tiny body on the way to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).
If our son died, I did not want him to be alone. If he died, I wanted at least one of his parents to have had the chance to see his face and feel his weight in our arms.
I saw my son, Jaxson, for the first time four hours later. I stared, trying to reconcile what I thought a baby should look like with what I was actually seeing. Wires and tubes hid his face. I saw blood pumping through his translucent skin. His eyes were fused shut. His ears weren’t fully formed.
The neonatologist ushered us into a dingy conference room where the words “4% chance of healthy survival” oozed from his mouth and settled heavy in my heart.
It should have been one of the happiest days of my life. Instead I spent my son’s birthday numb from the fear that he would die.
I’d love to hear what you think of the article! Did you experience PTSD or anxiety after a traumatic birth? Where are you in the healing process?