Postpartum PTSD (also known as birth trauma) is an anxiety disorder that you might develop if you experience a difficult birth, an unplanned caesarean section or any other unexpected and traumatic experiences during the birth of your child.
What is it?
Symptoms of postpartum PTSD are:
- Re-living the trauma – having vivid flashbacks, nightmares, intense distress at real or symbolic reminders of the truma, intrusive thoughts or images, feeling pain, sweating, nausea or shaking
- Feeling on edge – being easily upset or angry, feeling extreme alertness, irritability and aggressive behaviour, being unable to sleep, being easily startled, panicking when reminded of the trauma, feeling unable to concentrate
- Avoiding memories – keeping busy, avoiding anything that will remind you of the trauma, repressing memories (being unable to remember aspects of the event), feeling emotionally numb, being unable to show affection
How Can I Help Myself?
- Learn some relaxation techniques – you might want to try meditation or breathing techniques to stay calm.
- Find different ways to cope with difficult emotions – keep a diary of your experiences so you can look back at it, identify triggers and then be able to anticipate stressful situations and deal with them better.
- Talk to someone – talking to someone you trust can help in itself, you might find that you just need to be listened to
- Give yourself time – as frustrating as you may find struggling with PTSD symptoms, remember that your recovery is a process. It will take time and it’s very important that you give yourself the space to do so.
- Look after your physical health – get some more sleep, choose a healthier diet and do some exercise!