Guest Post: Contentiously Pregnant, Traumatically Delivered

The following was submitted some time ago by a reader who asked to have this published anonymously. Although this is a quick read, it covers so much – the fear and denial of a new pregnancy, the shock and self blame surrounding a delivery gone horribly wrong, and the anxiety enveloping all of these things. Postpartum Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome is a very real disorder on the Postpartum Mood Disorder Spectrum. If you think you may struggle with this disorder, there is hope, there is help, and you are not alone. I strongly suggest you check out Solace for Mothers for support or reach out to the #PPDChat community on Twitter. Don’t walk the dark path alone. 

This post contains some imagery toward the end which may be triggering for you if you’ve suffered/or are suffering with PPTSD.

If you are still easily triggered, you may want to skip this piece.

The big day had finally arrived. The day I was to meet this little boy I still don’t want. Let’s go back a year and a half….

I was sent for a biopsy because of an abnormal pap. I was put on progesterone because I have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). My body was not making enough of this hormone to have a monthly “friend”. I started taking progesterone and within seven days I had a “friend” come to visit, only it was really bad.

I was hemorrhaging. After fifteen days, my wonderful OB decided to perform a D & C. Everything went well; the bleeding and cramping was finally manageable. I was supposed to take the progesterone the first seven days of each month until my body did what it was supposed to do. I lost 65 lbs!

I went to my four month post D & C check up and all was well. I received a clean bill of health and was good to go. My OB said if I wasn’t pregnant by Spring, we would discuss our options (little did either one of us know, at the time of my check-up, I was already pregnant.)

I was under instructions not to take progesterone in November. My OB wanted to see if my body would do what it was supposed to without it. She did say if December 1st came around with no “friend”, I was to take a pregnancy test. If it was negative, start the hormones all over again.

Black Friday came. I am one of those crazy people that is at the stores shopping at an ungodly hour so I bought a test. While at work, I peed on the little stick and before I could blink, two lines appeared. I took six more tests throughout the week at different times, just to verify what the first one said.

I was in complete and utter shock and even denial. It wasn’t Spring and I wasn’t ready to be pregnant. I had just lost a ton of weight, I was a full time student, I worked full time, and I already had a child who was in school full time. I wasn’t ready to have another baby.

The pregnancy was what every pregnant woman wanted, perfect and smooth. As I entered the second trimester, I was still in denial that I was even having a baby. I tried to ignore the movements and the baby’s hiccups. I tried to deny I was carrying in my belly this perfect round shape beneath my clothes.

I wasn’t happy. My days are grew darker and darker. Family and friends said I was aglow and looked wonderful. They couldn’t get enough of my belly. I resented their excitement over this new life I was bringing into the world.

Finally, the end was near. One month before I delivered, I was in a car accident. I was rushed to the hospital because of the cramps, but I wasn’t concerned for the life growing inside me. I just wanted him out. I hadn’t fallen in love with him. I didn’t even want him. I was still not ready. The cramping and contractions stopped. My OB said I would be induced in three weeks.

The day of induction came and family and friends hovered all day long. Labor wasn’t bad. Everything went smoothly. The pain was there, but tolerable. At 9cm, I said fuck this, I am pushing. No more waiting. Maybe that was shame on me, but I was done.

I went from 9cm to crowning in about a minute! My OB arrived and changed when the pain suddenly hit. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t think. Why the hell didn’t anyone take this kid out of me?

After five minutes of pushing, he was stuck on my pelvic bone and they were losing him and I wasn’t cooperating. I declined the pain medications earlier on. The next thing I could remember was the look between my OB and nurse. The nurse pressed the “Code Red” button and I still couldn’t breathe. All these nurses came running in and pushing everyone out of their way to get to me. They jump up and on the count of three I am to give one good push, while they push on my stomach, 1…2…3…he is out.

I didn’t want him on me. I didn’t want to see or touch him. He wasn’t breathing and was rushed to the incubator. Everyone was crying with joy around me, but I was disgusted that I sucked so badly at this delivery. I hated and blamed myself.

Because of all the commotion surrounding my son’s birth, the time he was born is a bit foggy; no one was paying attention to the clock. He was born not breathing, the cord around his neck and moderate shoulder dystocia. As his mother I felt as though I had already failed!

Most of this is a blur. I wish I could say that I am over this experience and that after a couple of hours all was well and I was smitten with this new baby. However, my hell was really just beginning, but that story is for another time….


On the Sixth day of Dismissmas: Six women a-denying

On the sixth day of Dismissmas,

Postpartum sent to me

Six women a-denying,

Five hours of sleep,

Four Just Snap out of Its,

Three perfect babies,

Two depressed parents,

And a wailing mess in a pear tree.


Not many Childbirth Educators talk about Postpartum Depression during Childbirth classes. (A big thank you to those of you who DO and do take the time to go in depth with it) It’s often glossed over as something that will happen to someone else.

When it does happen, many mothers start out denying their symptoms. Sure, motherhood is hard. The lack of sleep, the crying babies, and the impossible learning curve can all take their toll. So how do you move past denial and into reaching out for help? And how do you tell Postpartum Mood Disorder Symptoms from typical new motherhood issues?

It’s not easy.

Here’s a quick run-down of things to look for that may signal something more serious is going on beyond normal new motherhood struggles:


  • Is mom eating?
  • How is she eating? A Lot, a little, just right?
  • Is mom eating healthy foods? (excessive sugar & caffeine can contribute to mood difficulties)
  • Has she rapidly gained/lost weight without explanation? (make sure Mom gets a thyroid screen)



  • Does Mom sleep when baby does?
  • When Mom goes to sleep does she fall asleep right away or is struggling to get to sleep or unable to stay asleep?
  • Does she awake refreshed or is she still fatigued?



  • Is Mom acting like herself?
  • Do things seem out of order?
  • Is mom showering or taking care of personal hygiene?
  • Is it hard for Mom to make a decision?
  • Has Mom been crying for no apparent reason?
  • Does Mom seem anxious?
  • Is Mom bonding with baby?


Denial will get you nowhere fast. It’s a dangerous and swift flowing river leading bad places.

Reach out for help. Start out with a physician with whom you are comfortable talking about your mental well-being. If he or she dismisses your concerns, talk to another doctor until someone listens to you. I know it is hard. I know when you are in that deep dark place the last thing you want to do is reach out, reach out again and again. I know you are not in the mood to explain your story to yet another receptionist or doctor. But every time you do, you are one tiny step closer to healing. One step closer to recovery. One step closer.

You can do it. You are not alone in this at all. There are so many mothers who have been where you are and they are standing with their hands outstretched toward you. Waiting to grasp your hand and pull you up. Don’t forget to reach for them too when you are reaching for help from professionals. You won’t regret it, I promise.

Survivors of Postpartum Mood Disorders are some of the strongest damned women I know – trust me, you WANT them holding you up!