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kit.kat.81 December 28th, 2012 04:45 PM

Is anyone else here a trauma survivor?
*possible trigger warning*

Just wondering if anyone else here is a trauma survivor, and how that's effected your current/past pregnancies/births (if at all). I'm a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and rape, and I've found that being pregnant is bringing up some anxiety and triggers I had not experienced in awhile. I also worry about birth and how that might trigger things. Anyone else?

(If you're not comfortable discussing this openly, feel free to PM me or I could start a thread on the private forum if others want)

navywifey2003 December 28th, 2012 05:02 PM

Re: Is anyone else here a trauma survivor?
I do not have any experience. But I wanted to offer my support and many hugs! This would be something I would discuss with my provider. Especially as the end of the pregnancy comes, as I have heard thats when the anxiety gets worse with cervical exams ect. I would also want to make sure that the care provider I have been seeing would be the one delivering not anyone on call. I would want it documented in my chart. You can decline vaginal exams so do not let them bully you into them if they make you uncomfortable! You may need 1 in labor to make sure you are fully dilated but you do not need one every hour nor do you need them leading up to delivery. I think that there is a birth story on the blog birthwithoutfearblog.com that has a story of survival, I am going to go see if I can find it for you!

Here it is
Sexual Abuse and Birth | Birth Without Fear

zkat December 28th, 2012 07:17 PM

Re: Is anyone else here a trauma survivor?
Great info.

I am not a survivor so I don't have any advice, just want to offer support. I do know that stress/anxiety/depression really heighten in the 3rd tri and post partum, so it may be something you proactively discuss with your provider.

MamaSkunk December 28th, 2012 07:31 PM

Re: Is anyone else here a trauma survivor?
I am a survivor of childhood rape and abuse. When i was pregnant with DD i had many triggers come back and i had alot of worries and nightmares. I did alot of talking to DH about it and got to talk to one of my best friends about it and that helped alot. And once DD the memories subsided again. I am very cautious. I dont let her out of sight except on the very rare occasion to my mom. I trust no one really with her cuz of it. Especially since my trauma was from someone close...a ex stepfather in my case...As she grows i will be extra vigilant and making her aware that no one should touch her nono areas. Pm me if you need to talk more or want to talk in more detail in private. Hugs.

jhmomofmany December 29th, 2012 11:06 AM

Re: Is anyone else here a trauma survivor?
I did not personally experience difficulty with pregnancy, perhaps because I didn't begin to acknowledge and deal with what happened until after I had already had three children. It is so sad howcommon abuse is, do not hesitate to talk openly with your doctor and whoever else might help. So sorry for all who go through this.:(

navywifey2003 December 29th, 2012 11:11 AM

Re: Is anyone else here a trauma survivor?
Huge hugs ladies!

mommy220 December 29th, 2012 06:10 PM

Re: Is anyone else here a trauma survivor?
I do not have any advice but hugs to you. I am so scared about this because it is so common and I want to empower my daughter to be able to tell if something like that happened without scaring her.

SassySami December 29th, 2012 06:40 PM

Re: Is anyone else here a trauma survivor?
hugssss!! being able to talk about it, is a huge thing!

DaniB+4 December 30th, 2012 12:59 AM

Re: Is anyone else here a trauma survivor?
I am a survivor of a drug-assisted, multiple offender sexual assault that occurred when I was 13 years old. I guess that's a nice way of saying I was drugged and gang raped. I did an extensive amount of healing through therapy & advocacy work in my twenties to help come to terms with it. I don't think you ever get "over" something like that but acknowledging what happened, telling someone else (which I didn't do for almost a decade), and moving from being a victim to a survivor really helps me give it a lot less control over my emotions, if that makes sense. Anyway, I think in general I have subtle issues with being touched without permission or control over the situation, even if it's non-sexual. I have had anxiety attacks from being tickled, playfully chased, etc. Stuff that wouldn't necessarily bother non-survivors. I also sometimes struggle with uninvited touching from my fiance - NOT meaning "forceful" whatsoever, just meaning that when he does the occasional boob grab or goosing I can be put on edge. He tries to be mindful of my boundaries but it took him awhile to really get it that I wasn't going out of my way to be a PITA :).

Does it affect me regarding pregnancy & birth? A little. Pregnancy doesn't bother me so much. But birth was a little hard. Being restrained and sedated in a rush emergency situation when my twins were delivered was a HUGE trigger for me. I remember screaming and heading towards a full-fledged anxiety attack just before I was knocked out. I felt incredibly out of control with so many hands on me, not being able to see the lower half of my body, and then being knocked out (NOT the easiest thing for me to handle given the nature of my assault).

Luckily my son's birth was a lot easier on me. I was awake and they left my arms free at my request, plus I had my fiance right by my side (I was alone when the twins were born since it was an emergency), so I felt a lot less vulnerable. I really pray that things go just as smoothly this time around. It makes the helplessness of being half numb on an operating table surrounded by strangers a lot easier to endure.

MarylandMama December 30th, 2012 08:24 AM

Re: Is anyone else here a trauma survivor?
Big hugs to all of you amazing women who have survived things you never should have had to face. I am really in awe of the strength you all have to make it through and talk about it. (More hugs!)

ashleykathleen December 30th, 2012 09:29 AM

Re: Is anyone else here a trauma survivor?
I am a survivor of a 5 year long ordeal with my ex-stepdad. It started out as molestation and progressed to rape as I got older. It occurred between ages 5-10 when I finally told my mom and he went to prison. I had very hard time when I was pregnant with DD. I have been to years of therapy so I have many years to come to terms with what happened to me but I still have vivid nightmares from time to time and now that DD is 5, I'm finding myself very panicked to leave her anywhere without me. I have been talking to her for years already about how noone should ever touch her private areas except her. For some reason, I didn't have as hard of a time when pregnant with my son (which I find silly because I know abuse happens to boys too). I guess just the fact that DD is the exact same age I was when it all started has stirred up a lot of old emotions and memories for me.

kit.kat.81 December 30th, 2012 10:23 AM

Re: Is anyone else here a trauma survivor?
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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