Sometimes the birth of a baby is not all sunshine and rainbows and smiles. Sometimes it is but sometimes it is not.
Sometimes the birthday of your beloved child can trigger deep feelings and reminders of trauma.
That is what November 14 is for me. The pure joy of celebrating the life of my sweet, wonderful, healthy, amazing, delightful daughter that mixes with the physical, mental, and emotional reminders of the intense trauma around her birth.
On the one hand, I am so deeply grateful for every second of her life. I had no idea that it was possible to love someone like this. I adore this girl of mine and wouldn't change A SINGLE THING about any of my experience with her.
On the other hand, the total experience of getting her into this world was deeply painful and terrifying. In my quietest moments on this day, I have to sit with the shrapnel of her birth. It's PTSD. That is what I experience every November 14. Tears, anxiety, sadness, fear, regret of how I've handled it all, the intense need to crawl back into bed and stay there until it all stops. Guilt for having these feelings at all.
It's a conflicting day in my life. And on this 5th birthday of hers, I am learning how to reconcile my actual near-death experience with the spark of her life.
I know that I'm not alone in this. I've talked with too many doulas, nurses, midwives, and doctors about the birth trauma that they've witnessed. A lot of women are required to grapple with this conflict.
Can we stop being so quiet about it? Can we hold space for each other? Can we please hold each other while we relive the intensity of PTSD coupled with the joy in our children? Can we just allow ourselves to BE TRUE to the experience?
We know that motherhood isn't all perfection and glory. We know that we can't be everything to everyone all of the time. But I think that we still feel required to shove our scary experiences away in order to celebrate our children. The truth is that we CAN feel both the joy of their lives and the trauma that we experienced in birth.
If you have a traumatic birth story, please know that I am here for you. I got you. I want to hear from you. I want to hold space for you.
It's hard and that's why we have each other.
Here's a pic of me working to keep it all together.
After picking up Josie's birthday balloons, I completely (and quietly) fell apart.
Yoga Teacher. Thinker of things.
Sometimes I just need to empty the contents of my brain into words.