Image: Melissa Askew
I talk about this a lot and I'm nearly always met with a bit of resistance. And that's totally okay.
Becoming a parent CAN be traumatic.
The thing about trauma is that it is SO personal and so individual.
An easy way to think of trauma is that it is usually something that was seriously overwhelming and/or caused intense distress for YOU.
A traumatic event or experience is something that overloads our capacity to cope. Ever go through something and think: "I never want to do this again". Death, birth, public incident, health crisis, dodgy plane trip, etc.
Depending on your history, your level of support, what coping skills you already have - will often determine your experience and the way that the trauma of this experience touches your life.
What is traumatic for one person is not always traumatic for another.
I’ll give an example this time - to help break down those myths about trauma needing to be a singular, massive event.
PTSD is not to be taken lightly but it is not to be dismissed either. I don’t particularly like PTSD used in a comical sense. But I had a mum recently say to me: "It's like I have PTSD", after something that happened for their family. I said: "yeah, that’s a lot". That validation is everything. That validation is a foundation for healing.
We're constantly told that we should be coping better or should never experience emotional discomfort. It’s not true.
I am sick and tired of parents being depicted as sick and tired.
Parents are not sick. Parents are undervalued and not supported. The process of becoming a parent is not supported. This process should be the most normalised concept in the world - and yet, it is swept under the rug.
Did your doctor tell you about matrescence? I’m going to bet 99% of you say "no".
Imagine experiencing this massive shift in identity, routine, sleep, finances and relationships and have that so invalidated that you feel all alone - screaming newborn at your chest. You ask for help and are turned away because "all parents go through this", "you’ll get used to it soon" or "it gets easier in six weeks".
You are worthy of love and support. And your brain isn’t making this up - this is real.
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