Sunday, December 11, 2011

Postpartum PTSD: It's real.

Recently I was contacted by someone who doesn't believe Postpartum PTSD is real. I suppose it's just like how some people think PTSD only affects those who have been in a war environment. Not true. There are so many different situations where one can feel that one's life is at risk or the life of someone close to them is at risk. If, after the trauma (hint hint - that would be the T in pTsd) is over, the individual relives the event, has a hard time sleeping, has nightmares, panic attacks, flash backs, avoiding people or places, trouble concentrating... all listed as symptoms of PTSD plus LOTS more, an individual MAY have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. 
Now, I understand how some people may question Postpartum PTSD. Mostly due to how society views birth. Its a wonderful beautiful medical time. I throw in the medical because of those who believe birth is only for hospitals and doctors. But for the most part people view bringing a new family member into the world as a magical event - not something terrorizing or that could bring on any real trauma. 
But define trauma and you have the 1-6% of mom's who experience Postpartum PTSD. Trauma:
  1. A deeply distressing or disturbing experience.
  2. Emotional shock following a stressful event or a physical injury

And there we have it folks - Trauma. A deeply distressing experience. I'd call what happened to me deeply distressing, disturbing and having emotional shock following physical injury. But trauma is in the eye of the beholder; what one person considers traumatic doesn't necessarily mean that when put in the same situation everyone will feel the same level of stress or trauma. 

Moral of the story: Just because what happened to me isn't "as bad" as what happened to you (in your opinion) doesn't mean I don't fit the DSM-IV definition of PTSD. And just because what happened to me is "worse" than what happened to someone else doesn't mean they weren't traumatized by their own situation. Lets leave the judgement and assumptions alone and just meet people where they are at - whether you think they should have PTSD or not. Ok? Thanks.  

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