Birth Trauma Survivor and Maternal Health Advocate

"Doctors have told me I have a high pain threshold, but I can only know what I feel. I think I'm good at minimizing the pain and being indifferent to it." Johnny Knoxville

Within thirteen months, I had  two hemorrhages. I was also living life as a happy mom shuffling Miss J back and forth to classes and play dates.  At the same time, my anxiety was at an all time high. I wasn’t depressed, I was afraid of dying. I was afraid that enjoying normal activities like…

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“I am not functioning very well. Living with the knowledge that the baby is dead is painful. I feel so far away from you, God. I can only try to believe that you are sustaining me and guiding me through this. Please continue to stand by my side.” Christine O'Keeffe Lafser

The miscarriage happened just a little over a year after my postpartum hemorrhage. I was back in the hospital again needing an emergency surgery. Dr. Mig explained to me that I had to have a D & C (dilation and curettage). D &C ‘s treat uterine conditions — such as heavy bleeding — or clear…

“A miscarriage is a natural and common event. All told, probably more women have lost a child from this world than haven't." Barbara Kingsolver

“A miscarriage is a natural and common event. All told, probably more women have lost a child from this world than haven’t. Most don’t mention it, and they go on from day to day as if it hadn’t happened, so people imagine a woman in this situation never really knew or loved what she had….

“It felt as if she were bleeding – but it wasn't blood that leaked out of her, not something that could be easily transfused. Instead she was losing her dreams.” Kristin Hannah, Firefly Lane

May 2011 I thought I was doing well without therapy. The baby classes, hospital support group and outings with new friends kept me very busy that first year after Miss J was born. They were all Band-Aids on my wound, but I was still having trouble sleeping. I was still replaying the surgery and hemorrhaging,…

“The great motherhood friendships are the ones in which two women can admit [how difficult mothering is] quietly to each other, over cups of tea, at a table sticky with spilled apple juice and littered with markers without tops.” Anna Quindlen

Making mom friends is similar to making friends when you’re the new kid in school. There were some moms I bonded with immediately and have remained friends with over the past four years. There are some who, although we didn’t become best friends, I enjoy seeing around town or catching up with at the playground….

“Fortunately, when you're a mom, the responsibility of caring for your child can keep you going.” Shania Twain

May 2010 Dr. B called me often to see how I was doing–at least once per week in the months that followed Miss J’s birth.  One day, I explained to him that the pediatrician had scared me by telling me that Miss J had jaundice. The pediatrician suggested that Miss J would need vitamin D…

“Debriefing-style counseling after a trauma often aggravates a victim's stress-related symptoms, for example, and 4 in 10 bereaved people do better without grief therapy.” Winifred Gallagher

I never found any comfort in talking to my psychiatrist, Dr. Jones–I was only seeing her twice a week because she suggested it. I dreaded every appointment. Instead of feeling like I was making progress, I often left feeling much worse than I did before. During our sessions I saw her eyes constantly dart back…

“Talking to a therapist, I thought, was like taking your clothes off and then taking your skin off, and then having the other person say, "Would you mind opening up your rib cage so that we can start?” Julie Schumacher, Black Box

I arrived about ten minutes early for my first session with Dr. Jones, the postpartum psychiatrist. I sat on a couch in the waiting room of her office, along with two other patients. I sized them up, wondering what their problems were.  One woman looked visibly upset about something, she was on the verge of…