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Elective CS due to sexual abuse **trigger warning**(8 Posts)
First post, sorry if it's long!
I was sexually abused by ex 10 years ago. Won't go into too much detail, but it involved emotional blackmail and force. I was later diagnosed with PTSD and prescribed medication and therapy.
A few years later, I moved to the UK to do a degree. I gave my new GP the letter from my psychiatrist back home detailing my past. They continued my medication but didn't offer any other support. I didn't question this as I felt I could cope reasonably well with just the medication.
However, I often felt like the GP wasn't taking me seriously - at various points when I needed a doctor's letter for my course etc. he wrote that I had "mild anxiety", despite having letters from my psychiatrist diagnosing PTSD from sexual trauma. I suspect that this may be because I am from a 3rd world country, as he was extremely dismissive about communications from my psychiatrist.
I had my first child last year. I mentioned my past of abuse to the midwives and they made a small note of it, and that I was on medication. Since I seemed to be coping quite well, they did not refer me for any support. They never gave me any advice on childbirth after sexual trauma. I wonder in retrospect if this could be related to my GP's dismissive attitude towards my past.
I found the birth horrifically traumatic. It brought back all the feelings of helplessness, being out of control, intense shame, feeling dirty and wanting to hurt myself. People touching me without my permission (I obviously did sign the consent forms, but felt as if I had no choice). This was compounded by the fact that I had a 3c tear, surgery, and urine retention requiring repeat catheterisation for 4 days. I felt violated and invaded (I know they were helping me, but I couldn't help feeling that way). I was referred for further tests and physiotherapy, but cancelled my appointments due to intense fear of being touched by strangers.
I am now on stronger medication and having therapy again, with a company separate to my GP.
DP and I have recently been discussing the possibility of having another baby. The question I wanted to ask was: do you think I will be allowed to have an elective C-section due to my past of abuse and birth injury? I am really concerned that they will dismiss me again and tell me to have a natural birth, and I absolutely do not think I can do that again. I was suicidally depressed for a long time afterwards.
Apologies for the super long post! Thank you for reading if you made it this far.
I think that if you explained all of this to your GP and midwife that they would refer your for an elective. I absolutely hope that they would anyway.
I’m so sorry you’ve been through all of this.
You could try getting in touch with the My Body Back maternity clinic: www.mybodybackproject.com/our-maternity-clinics/
They specialise in providing antenatal/birth/postnatal support to women who have experienced sexual violence. They may be able to advise and support you.
Alternatively, perhaps your midwife could refer you to a consultant if you put in a maternal request for a CS? NICE guidance here: www.nice.org.uk/guidance/cg132/chapter/Key-priorities-for-implementation
I'm sorry you've been through such a tough time
I had an elective section for my second baby for mental health reasons and had no problem with this being approved. How is your hospital for mental health in general? I chose a hospital that was slightly further away as they had a well staffed perinatal mental health team and took mental health seriously. It would be good to research this ahead of time maybe?
It's a completely different experience to a vaginal birth and I found it actually quite calming as everything was so well controlled.
Good luck in whatever you decide
Thank you resting, Duggee and rock for your kind replies.
I will definitely explain all this to my midwife / GP in the booking appointment, and ask to be referred to a consultant I think. Hopefully if I bring it up early it will reduce the anxiety of waiting to find out if I can have one or not.
I'm not sure how the mental heath services at my hospital are, as the therapy service I use is separate to the hospital. I will do some research.
I'm glad to hear you had a good experience rock!
I'm so sorry for your horrible experiences
I experienced sexual abuse too and found labour with my first very triggering. I had an emergency c section and I felt so out of control. I only really dealt with it properly when I was pregnant with my second and started to worry about it again.
I had a elective with my second and it was the definitely the right decision. So much calmer and I was able to ask questions and feel prepared. I found myself really trusting the people caring for me, which is very unusual for me. The more questions I asked and the more honest I was about my fears, the safer i felt. So i think my advice would be to ask anything you need to and don't be afraid to be honest with people if you feel like you want to. You might have to say it lots of times though, it didn't seem like anyone knew about my history until I told them so I'm not sure if it's recorded anywhere.
I also didn't get any advice or help about how to cope with labour as an abuse victim, so it might not be because your gp isn't supportive. I just don't think there's much information or support available unfortunately
Take gentle care of yourself, childbirth and pregnancy are very, very triggering for abuse survivors. I really hope this time is a more positive experience for you.
Just to add I was told after I had a third degree tear with my little boy that I would be able to choose a caesarean birth for my second if I wanted, based on this injury alone.
I hope you get better care next time xx
Sorry for the late reply, had a busy week!
Thanks withgrace, so sorry for what you've been through too Glad you found the elective much better, it's very reassuring to hear that. I think you're right about having to repeat yourself a lot - it's strange that they don't record things like that very well. In fact, I remember my midwife did make a note of what I'd told her, but nothing was ever mentioned about it afterwards, and being a bit timid and socially anxious I stupidly didn't press it.
Thanks tmc that's reassuring!
I had my implant out a few days ago and asked for a different GP. She was really lovely and answered all my questions while she was removing it, and seemed very positive about me getting consultant-led care / an elective this time . She even offered to speak to the consultant on my behalf if necessary, so I feel much better. Now fingers crossed for TTC.
Thanks for all your kind replies.
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