Guest Blog – Emma Jane “Beyond The Darkness”


Are you not over it yet?” was a comment to me the other day. It was said by someone you wouldn’t expect regarding my experience of birth trauma. At the time I laughed it off but as the day wore on it niggled in my head, making doubts creep up from the darkness.
Should I be over it? Am I over it? the questions filled my head and robbed me of sleep. Yes, its been 18 years since I had my daughter, she is all grown, a wonderful, young women in her own right, full of life and wonder. I have so much joy watching her grow up and I treasure it because there were days where I honestly thought we wouldn’t make it.
Am I over it, my traumatic birth? Im not sure trauma is something you ‘get over’, instead you learn to live each day with it in the background. It hard as I still have certain triggers that will send me straight back to those days spent in hospital, on the ward, at the side of her cot. The memories come like it was yesterday, the sights, sounds, smells, like a mini time machine in my mind. I am what I call, ‘in recovery’ from my PTSD, in that it no longer rules my life, holds me back from trying to do the things that makes life meaningful, from accomplishing things……well mostly. I still have bad days, the darkness sometimes descends, mostly in the form of feeling not good enough, not normal, not as strong and confident as others. Im sensitive too, I worry too much about what others think, what others want from me and that I don’t give enough, sometimes I still feel a burden not worth of love. I still too have crippling panic attacks although they are less than they use to be. Its grip is still there. But now there’s far more light and better days, more happiness and strength in me and I guess I am getting there…… just slowly. Yes its been 18 years but I didn’t get help for over ten years, no proper diagnosis, no therapy or treatment. My trauma was impacted, long lasting, ignored and neglected. So forgive me if it takes a while for me to undo all the harm caused, all the damage to me, who I was was changed and its taking time to find me again and to learn to unfold my wings and fly again.
Ah but then there’s the question ‘should I be over it’ ? Its funny as humans how we put time limits on everything, I should be married by…., I should have a baby by….., I must be in this job by……. The problem is human emotions have no concept of time, they don’t value the rising of the sun or the shining of the stars. They come, last and stay with us for as long as they want till they are part of us. To be honest thats ok they are a welcome visitor, Why?
Well I don’t want to forget my trauma, I don’t need to be over it and yes that must seem like a strange thing to say. Yet its not, because good has come from my experience. Yes out of trauma has come hope and passion. It drove me to train in breastfeeding support, which led to a job I love, in the hospital were I suffered, supporting families giving them the help I never had. It has led to me being passionate about improving maternity services and being part of the amazing Matexp. It has led to my passion of wanting to raise awareness of PTSD and to campaign for better support in perinatal mental health. Ive met wonderful, brave people along the way that have encouraged me, helped me be stronger, braver and not ashamed of who I am.
No longer is my pain in the darkness, ignored, hidden and not acknowledged, it out there stripped, vulnerable for all to see and yes sometimes I feel naked, bear and scared that my scars are visible. But I didn’t do it for pity, I didn’t bear my soul and the darkness for others to feel sorry for me or to gain anyones approval. I did it because there are others like me, others hurt, struggling with no help, no support, feeling alone and a drift, their wings too are clipped like a bird in a cage. I do it for them, so they no longer feel alone, so that others can hear our voices and see that things must change, so that together stories like mine can not be lost, washed away by time, but can serve to make for a better future, for me, for you, for my girls, for us all.

See more here –

Unfold Your Wings Animation
*The opinions expressed are the bloggers own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the World Health Innovation Summit.

Twitter @HIC2016

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