Birth Trauma Survivor and Maternal Health Advocate

Questions and Answers

You ask. I answer.  Feel free to reach out to me anytime.

What is the difference between PPD (Postpartum Depression) and PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?

I get asked this question a lot. People often approach me and ask how I’m doing with my Postpartum Depression. I was diagnosed with PTSD, not PPD. Because there is so little information and awareness about PTSD, many women who suffer a birth trauma are often mis-diagnosed when they express their emotions afterwards. PPD is a type of depression that occurs after childbirth. PTSD is a reaction to trauma or a life-threatening event.

Why did you start your blog?

Because there are very few resources for myself and others who have survived birth trauma or pregnancy complications.

Do you now consider yourself to be over your PTSD, or do you feel that this will be something that could “flare up” again at any time? In other words, do you have to constantly battle with not letting it get the better of you, but at the same time do you feel in control?

I don’t know why but I starting laughing at “flare up”.  Like at any given time I could be walking down the street and-Yikes! the PTSD monster is on the loose! Hide the women and children!  In all seriousness-there will always be triggers but through therapy, I learned how to handle them.  I never feel like I am “battling” PTSD every day, but many people do feel that way and that’s why it is important for me to tell my story. I am extremely happy and I have a great sense of fulfillment in my life. Part of that comes from Bobby and our girls, part of it from those of you who share your stories with me and partly because I feel that being a maternal health advocate is exactly what I’m supposed to be doing with my life. I no longer replay the hemorrhage, surgery or miscarriage. I had a couple of false alarms with my second pregnancy (thinking my water had broken) and when I went to the hospital, just hearing the sounds of the machines and putting on the blue hospital gown did take me back to April of 2010.

It probably goes without saying that you were apprehensive about your 2nd birth experience. If you don’t mind me asking, how did you and your healthcare professionals plan on dealing with both your physical and emotional wellbeing during and in the weeks following your 2nd birth? Do you feel as though you received the care and support you required?

I received excellent care and support from all of my physicians and my therapist, Rachael. Odd as it may seem, I chose not to see Rachael the entire time I was pregnant with my second child. I spent a year with her working to overcome PTSD and I felt that we had accomplished our goal. She had been an amazing partner but it was important to me that I complete the next phase of my journey alone. I had to prove to myself that  I could successfully apply all of the tools and coping skills I learned from Rachael in my everyday life. I also wanted to control my emotions surrounding this birth as best I could. Part of doing that for me was not spending an hour ( really and hour and a half because I talk a lot ) every week or even once a month allowing myself to relive what happened. Rachael was very supportive and let me know that she would always be available to me. She would periodically email me to check in, which I greatly appreciated. Dr. B and I talked extensively and together came up with a birth plan that outlined exactly what would happen at every stage of my pregnancy until after the delivery, and the weeks afterwards. I stayed positive throughout the entire pregnancy. Physically, I was very sick in my first trimester. We moved last summer and temperatures most days were in the 90’s. The move, along with chasing after a then three-year old Miss J while feeling sick all day and night, was difficult but we made it through.  I was also writing the blog and meeting with maternal health organizations. This was emotionally draining at times.  I often felt guilty after spending a day discussing birth trauma and maternal death while I was carrying a child in my womb. It weighed on me thinking that I was possibly attracting negative energy to my body by talking about such a “morbid” topic, but it was important for me to continue to educate more health professionals and other women about birth trauma and PTSD.

I have reconnected with Rachael. I’ve only been able to see her once since I gave birth this past March, but I’m hoping to see her at least once a month when things calm down a bit over here. I forgot what life was like with a newborn. Life is hectic but also so much fun. I’m really enjoying myself.

I felt nervous in the beginning and again at the very end of my second pregnancy. I never felt “terrified” while pregnant. I will go into the details of my second pregnancy in future blog posts.

I read with great sadness about your miscarriage and my heart goes out to you and Bobby. I would like to know whether you feel that the stress caused by PTSD was perhaps one of the factors that contributed to your loss?

Thank you. I don’t know what the cause of my miscarriage was. The day I had the miscarriage, I was actually in a very good mood after having enjoyed a fun lunch date with some other moms and their babies. I was only 5 or 6 weeks along. I had no idea I was pregnant and we were not trying to conceive. It happened a year after the hemorrhage. I was told to wait at least 18 months before trying to conceive again. My body needed the time to heal from the surgery I had after Miss J was born. What I do remember was that the week or two leading up to the miscarriage I saw dark red blood in my underwear every day. Because of the hemorrhage and surgery, I was used to seeing blood. I also made the mistake of assuming  that the bleeding was due to the fact that I had stopped breastfeeding  and my body was adjusting. I should have called Dr.B. I still don’t know why I didn’t, I call him for everything else. I think I was just tired of being touched, poked and prodded. This was before I began to see Rachael and I still felt violated and just wanted to be left alone. I’m telling you all of this because I want you to pay attention to what your body is doing. Don’t make assumptions. Trust your intuition, and if needed, get a second opinion. Don’t be afraid to call your doctor and ask questions, no matter how insignificant or silly they may seem. A couple of months ago I texted Dr.B to ask him if it was normal to have poop the size of tree trunks come out of my butt after giving birth, because I had forgotten. He responded right away. Oh, and the answer is yes, perfectly normal.

Who is Dr. B? Can you tell us his real name? What about Dr. Chinn?

“Dr. B” aka Dr. Mark Brescia and Dr. Natasha Chinn are physicians at Brescia and Migliaccio Women’s Health, located in northern New Jersey. For more info visit www.bresciamedical.com

Even with a good moisturizer and primer (I’ve tried every one), anything heavier than tinted moisturizer sits in my pores and makes little white spots. How can I get rid of that?

This is a common problem, especially for people with dry skin. The cause is most likely due to dry skin sitting on the surface of your face. You need to use a gentle exfoliator once a week. Also, you don’t need primer every day. Email me at mcqueenmakeup@gmail.com for specific suggestions for you.

What’s the order? Sunscreen then primer or primer then sunscreen?

Always put sunscreen on first. You want whatever is protecting your skin to be the first layer.

I’ve seen magazines showing highlighter instead of blush or with just a drop of blush. In pictures, this looks great on pasty white ass girls like me, but how do I pull it off without looking like a) a grease slick or b) like I’m starring in a remake of Xanadu?

Lol! You have a few options. You can use a liquid, cream or powder with iridescence or shimmer to highlight the skin. I find that for most people using a highlighting powder is the easiest to apply. The trick is to take small amounts of the powder onto your brush and sweep it onto the cheekbones, angling towards your hairline, above your ears. If your cheeks look too shiny in pictures, you are applying too much on the apple of your cheek. I recommend that you place your index finger and middle finger next to your nose. Apply the highlighter no further than the finger furthest away from your nose, and blend away from your nose, towards your ear and hairline. Re-apply using small amounts until the desired look is achieved.

What’s your favorite OTC mascara for volume and definition?

I know you asked for OTC (over the counter) but I have to mention that Armani Eyes to Kill is the best mascara I have ever used. Ever. But for 1/3 of the price you can get luxurious lashes by using Maybelline Colassal Volume Express. I also like Clinique High Impact mascara.

Do you still do makeup?

Of course! Although the majority of my work life is now is dedicated to bringing awareness to maternal health issues, I love to do makeup for family, friends and clients.

 

*Please excuse any grammatical errors.  My new princess demanded to be held while I proofread this post.

Xo

Timoria

 

 

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