This week it’s maternal Mental Health Matters Awareness Week here in the UK and to honour it, I’m delighted to be talking to Susanne Grant about being pregnant with PTSD, birth trauma or baby loss.
Not long ago Susanne found herself pregnant with PTSD as a result of her own abuse experiences. Her journey in overcoming her PTSD is something that she is very open about and it’s what inspired her to work with women in this area.
Being pregnant with PTSD or with other trauma that may be from baby loss or a previous birth is not easy. Susanne’s story not only promises hope to those who have are facing this experience but also actual direct help.
Here’s Susanne story of being pregnant with PTSD in her own words.
“Because of my own childhood experiences (including abuse), which had led to me being diagnosed with PTSD at the age of 17. I specialised in trauma and human behaviour through university, I think it somehow made me understand what happened to me better. As I saw others heal, step by step, I knew that I could too! I just needed to find out how. I had different therapists, tried EMDR (didn’t work for my type of trauma), and so on.
When I became pregnant, for some reason, that I still not understand to this day, my pregnancy triggered my past. The nightmares started again. I was having panic attacks and my body ached all over. For whatever reason my body and mind were reliving my past traumas and illnesses.
My midwife suggested going back into therapy, but I told her no. I did not want to go through all of it for the fourth time. In hindsight, that was a mistake as a few days before giving birth I started to freak out. I didn’t want to be in this world, I hated being alive, and now I was bringing a life into this world. What was I thinking?!
My birth was a great experience, even though the fear created more tension than necessary, it was a positive experience. Over the next few months my triggers became a bit more frequent as I was tired and alone in a country without family or friends to help. It was challenging to say the least.
After my pregnancy, I realised that – even though my midwives did their absolute best to try to support me – some of them still tried to guess their way through it. I realised what I had to offer this world, is what I needed the most myself; healing of my past. I remember thinking ‘If we can fly to Mars, I could heal my PTSD right? You know, on the scale of things’. I tried everything I could think off, I asked for help, reached out and slowly but steady my trauma started to shift.
But it wasn’t until I dealt with what was underneath of it all, I started to really heal. The healing I found is incredible. Not only do I not get triggered anymore, I am even feeling grateful for the experience. Because – as it turns out – it made me such a great birth & healing coach!
That’s why I am sharing my story. Healing after birth trauma is possible. For you, for me, for everyone. Just don’t give up before you found something that works for you!”
During our chat, Susanne shared some resources that you might want to check out
About Susanne Grant
Alexia supports families planning pregnancy and birth. She helps them to overcome their fears and feel calm and confident about birth and pregnancy.
Alexia also trains birth professionals in the Fearless Birthing, a unique approach to birth preparation that is ideal for those who have fears around birth.