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Alicia's Story
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My story is about birth trauma and begins in January 2022.

On 14 January 2022, I gave birth to my son, and what was supposed to be a magical day ended up being traumatic. I did not know what to expect with my first pregnancy or birth. However, my expectations were similar to what we see on the movie screens.

Whilst the thought of going into labour scared me, it was also all so new and exciting, as I knew I was about to meet the little human my husband and I created. Unfortunately, I quickly learned that not everyone has a perfect birth.

At 41 weeks, I was advised by medical professionals that I should be induced, to which I agreed. I was in labour for approximately four hours, and out of nowhere, I was told I needed to have a caesarean section as I was not progressing. I was not mentally prepared for this.

I am bad with needles; therefore, the thought of having a major surgery whilst being awake petrified me. I remember laying on the theatre table, uncontrollably shaking and wondering why this was happening.

The moment they held my baby up over the blue sheet, I just wanted to hold him. All I could hear was his little cries, and I was screaming at the top of my lungs to hold my baby. Five minutes later, I was given him, cleaned, and wrapped. There was no direct skin-on-skin contact, which, to this day, breaks my heart.

Whilst the hospital may have been just following their policies, the entire experience resulted in me having birth trauma. For the first 16 weeks of my son's life, I was a blubbering mess and had no idea what was happening to me. I adored my baby boy, but I could not help but feel like my whole birthing experience had been ripped away from me. I was grieving my birth.

It took numerous counselling sessions and a meeting with the hospital for me to get what I thought was closure on the entire experience.

Fast forward to January 2023, and I was pregnant with my daughter. It was a planned pregnancy; however, my feelings I experienced after my son had returned. It is almost like my trauma from my son's birth had reactivated, causing me to think about it continuously. This then made me question how I was going to get through this birth.

I knew I could not continue like this, and that is when a friend mentioned getting a referral to Gidget Foundation Australia. I went to my GP and got a referral when I was around 20 weeks pregnant, and as soon as I met my Gidget Clinician, I knew I was in the right place.

At this point, my trauma was being triggered every time I had to attend the hospital for an appointment. I would walk down the ward and be fighting back tears as I was reliving my son's birth. I found myself replaying the birth over and over in my head, and I could not get rid of it. I didn't know what to do as I did not want to relive that experience again.

My Gidget Clinician helped me work through the trauma by listening to me talk about it, which inherently allowed me to process it. However, this was not the only thing she helped me with.

I was adamant I was not going to have a second traumatic birth if I could help it. Therefore, I advocated for myself, and my Gidget Clinician helped me do this. It was through my advocation that I was able to have a positive birth, which has since allowed me to move on from my birth trauma and has put me in a much better mental space postpartum.

If I did not have this support from Gidget Foundation Australia, I am not sure how I would have gotten through my pregnancy and birth. Birth trauma is different for everyone, and I experienced firsthand how it can be overlooked by medical professionals. I highly recommend Gidget Foundation Australia.

Alicia's Story

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