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Pregnancy and survivors of abuse *possibly triggering*(13 Posts)
Apologies if this isn't the correct place to post. I am hoping to get some advice and possibly experiences of survivors of sexual abuse.
My husband and I are ttc our first and the process of making a decision about going ahead with this has dragged up trauma that I have previously worked through. I find myself terrified at the prospect of birth and medical examinations that could be triggering, Im particularly scared about disassociating during pregnancy and birth as a result of a flashback or feelings of being out of control.
It is getting to the point where I am scared to find myself pregnant, event though it's the thing I want most. I am consumed by anger that another stage of my life is being controlled by this, anxiety attacks are returning and I really don't know how to progress through this.
I haven't got any experience but couldn't read and run.
I think the first port of call would have to be your gp or if you have a regular therapist? You need to discuss this with someone who can talk you through every step.
If you do get pregnant, there is a team of midwives that specialise in mental health issues during pregnancy too. I've spoken with a lovely lady (due to history of depression). They will do their very best to support you and accommodate your needs.
Wishing you the very best of luck x
OP, I think you're sensible and very courageous to be thinking this all through before you TTC. I didn't, and was therefore unprepared for how stressful and traumatic I found being pregnant with DC1. I'd really encourage you to continue thinking ahead and looking into what support services for abuse survivors
might or might not be available in your area - in my experience, it's always easier to search and ask when calm and focused. What particularly helped me was having an independent midwife - one woman who I saw throughout pregnancy and labour with absolute continuity. Again, these can take a while to find (and prices vary hugely) so it's worth researching thoroughly.
PS.. I think your question is entirely appropriate to this board, however it seems on mumsnet as though a lot of sexual abuse related topics get posted on Relationships. If you asked the same questions there too, you might get some more knowledgeable or experienced responses.
Where are you in the country? There is a specialist clinic I think in London for abuse survivors. They provide obstetric and psychological support. Hold on will look...
There is lots that can be done to help. Was going to suggest the 'My Body Back' project but bonzo beat me to it.
Seeing a therapist might help too. You can plan for how anything that might be triggering for you can be more comfortable and what can be done so you feel more in control.
Under the circumstances the NHS may be willing to ensure you have one midwife following your pregnancy through so you can have some continuity.
It's good you're planning ahead - I hope you can use the anxiety and stress now to help you get ahead of the game, think about your needs and ask for what you want from the people looking after you.
Also, don't forget, your husband can be by your side throughout, supporting you and speaking up for you.
Good luck - you deserve a healthy and happy pregnancy as much as anyone else and I am 100% confident that any midwife or other professionals involved in looking after you during pregnancy and birth will want to do all they can to help make that happen for you.
Thank you all so much for your responses. It's validating to hear (read?) that getting ahead and thinking about it now is a good idea. Im in the Midlands, but I will look in to the my body back project as a starting point. I'm not currently under NHS support and I was discharged from therapy with a sexual abuse charity two years ago. It may be worth getting back in touch with them, although I have since moved so I'm not in the right area for their support any more.
My husband is really supportive and has been so patient and caring with me about this so far, I'll get him to read this thread as I think he is feeling a bit lost with this one.
Just want to say I think ur amazing for having the bravery to post this and I can't say I have been thru what you have but I was sexual assault and emotionally abused by my ex n father to my youngest child, which lefted me with anxiety disorder and regular panick attacks, you so brave and I hope you the very best luck and happiness xx
Just wanted to pop back and thank you all again for your advice and support, I have been in touch with my counsellors who are re referring me and today I got my bfp! I am feeling positive that I can get through this journey without compromising my mental health as I have the support I now need.
Hi op, I'm an abuse survivor with one dc. You can tell your midwife about any concerns and worries.
The main issues for me were cervical sweeps, which they did to induce labour, and when they broke my waters, despite telling them about csa the midwife kept complaining I was to tense down below and was hurting her hand whilst inside me, there really was nothing I could do as I was panicking obviously very uncomfortable and trying to keep an oncoming flashback at bay as I didn't want it to ruin my birthing experience. So maybe make it very clear to the midwife to take it easy, as mine wasn't very empathetic and said if I wanted baby out safely the hand and wrist had to go up, it was more a horrendous feeling of violation than pain. That I really didn't want to go through during the birth of my child.
But not all women need cervical sweeps or their waters broken you may want to think of pain relief also as I was keen to have a natural birth but after all the above I opted for an epidural as I mentally wasn't in the frame of mind.
I saw it as a wonderful new fresh chapter of my life being a mum, where I got to relive my childhood without the traumas & motherhood itself was very healing after thinking for years I couldn't conceive due to the csa so young.
What wonderful news! Congratulations on your BFP and wishing you a healthy, happy and healing pregnancy!
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