Is anyone else here a trauma survivor?
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December 30th, 2012, 09:23 AM
Join Date: Jun 2012
Thanks so much for the support, hugs, and sharing, ladies. Sorry it's taken me a bit to respond, work has been nuts.
I was abused by my uncle starting at about 4 and going to about 11, and when I was a teen I got involved in an abusive relationship that included physically violent rape. I didn't tell anyone until I was almost 20, and then I got years of therapy with an amazing therapist that really helped me process everything. I'm at the point where I can talk about it and feel like a survivor instead of a victim, but of course some days are harder than others and sometimes little things set me off - like DaniB+3 mentioned, uninvited touch (even playful, like being tickled - one of my LEAST favorite things) can make me feel panicky. People standing behind me too closely, certain smells like my uncle's or ex's cologne, or just generally feeling a lack of control or safety.
My fiance is pretty great about it - I was open about my past from pretty early in the relationship because I needed to set boundaries and explain that I need a lot of time and trust to be intimate with people. He totally respected that and has never pressured me at all, which is one of many reasons I love him.
I also have an AMAZING OB who I trust totally. I wanted a water birth at a birth center but chose to stay with my OB because of how safe I feel with her. I was open with her about my history, as well - something that I think made a huge difference - and she is sensitive and respectful of my triggers without making me feel at all like I'm being pitied or patronized. Still, exams are hard and I am shaky and off-center for a bit after them. But considering that with past gynecologists I had to take a sedative to even get on the table, I think that's huge progress. I really worry about the pain of birth and how that might trigger me, as well as the feelings of loss of control and being exposed and vulnerable.
And of course I worry about my baby. A lot. I worry that I'll not be able to protect her, and I worry that I'll be over-protective. I don't want her to be terrified of the world and everyone in it, but I also don't know how I would survive it if someone hurt her the way I was hurt. I guess that's something I'm going to have to work out as I go.
For now, I have a pretty good birth plan I'm working on with my doc, and I think that'll help - it includes things like having my doc and my nurse always ask before touching me or doing anything that involves my body (unless of course it's an emergency), having no male staff in the room, hospital staff being aware that I have PTSD and how to recognize if I'm starting to panic/dissociate and what interventions work to bring me back, limited exams unless medically necessary, etc. If anyone else has any suggestions for additions to the plan, feel free to let me know.
Safe hugs to all of you ladies who know too well what this is like - thank you for being so courageous and sharing with me. It breaks my heart to know you've been hurt, too, but it makes me feel less alone to know others understand this. <3
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