Monday, 9 December 2013

I Thought It was Over - PTSD

Walking into a toy shop yesterday I stumbled into the nursery section. Excited prospective parents looking at prams, car seats and nappy sack systems. And I quivered. And the tears fell. And I started to shake. It's not just that we can't have more children, it's that prematurity robbed us of so much as parents. And it's made Joseph's start in life harder than it should be.

I quickly went to the Iron Man section to focus on buying Joseph's Christmas presents. I took a great big deep breath and started to focus on the here and now. A sales assistant came and started to chat to me about Iron Man and Christmas. I started to calm down, he had no idea of the internal battle within. I gathered myself together, bought the present and went home.

This week Joseph's teacher told me how far behind Joseph is other children. She explained that "Joseph is Joseph" whatever that is meant to mean, but that he is not interacting socially with other children, behaviourally difficult to manage and generally not doing well.

Sadly, this was said in front of Joseph and he's been upset ever since. "Mummy I am not going to read with you because I am not good at it". "Mummy I don't like school and I don't fit in". One of the things that is hard is that my own school life was traumatic, and I really hoped Joseph would find school a safe place to develop and learn. It breaks my heart history appears to be repeating itself. I was a loner at school. I was good at reading, but behind in maths and had a lot of trouble with physical education.  I was singled out as having Special Educational Needs, although back in the 1970's it was called "retardation". I didn't have SEN as it turns out, I was just different.

But this experience is a good thing. I can use it to help Joseph and to empathise with him, and to make sure that school remain positive and help Joseph focus on the things he can do and does do well.

I am over reacting, I know I am, but it isn't my fault. I feel so responsible for this little life and that I've made things harder for him by failing to deliver him at term. "Be quiet voice, term babies can have problems too." I should have fought harder for early intervention "Be quiet voice, he was seen by three consultants none of whom felt it was warranted." I feel like I should have prepared school more "Be quiet voice, you had a one to one meeting with the teacher before he started, its not your fault she resigned".

So there are two issues, dealing with school, finding out exactly what's going on and being done and what we can do to help Joseph, but also managing me and these spiralling thoughts and over reactions.

I'm having nightmares and flashbacks again and the PTSD is flaring up. I know I have to keep working on it hard, because if I don't, it will control my life again.

I know I have to work hard on my self care and not ignore what's happening, but also not play into it's hands.

I can't ever afford to forget that I do have PTSD. I am in recovery which is great, but its always there, and to beat it, I need to acknowledge it.


  1. Oh my dear, lots of love and big hugs! I still can't believe she said that in front of Joseph - he's four, he can understand what's being said, and talk about a self fulfilling prophesy!

  2. Oh darling girl. I'm so sorry you feel like this. I felt like this when my oldest (now 19) was diagnosed with Aspergers and I was told he would never have an intimate relationship in his life. He wouldn't make friends. He would also be on the outer. Weird. Different. Oh how I thought I'd let him down by simply what? Being his Mum? It's a horrible place to be, I remember it well. That kid has just passed his first year at University which included a note from the Chem Dept saying he was one of their top students. He has a good group of friends, a keen sense of humour and is not at all on the outer in life. That doctor told me bs and time has proven just how wrong she was. No one can tell you how Joseph's journey is going to be, except to reassure you that he has the best guide he could possibly wish for - you! Vix x

  3. My son was one of the youngest in class and had similar issues. He was just about full term. We have since found out he is dyslexic. He will be able to do the same as everyone else but it just takes him longer to learn it. He has friends now but he also doesn't need them. He is happy to play on his own or with others. It does make life slightly more difficult for him at school but I love the fact he isn't a sheep. Just take each day as it comes. I hope the ptsd gets easier for you.

  4. That wasn't very tactful of the teacher to be telling you that in front of Joseph and what extra support will they give him if he genuinely needs it? He's only 4 years old yet, they need to allow for him to develop and catch up too. You're amazing mum Kylie. Don't let anyone make you feel differently xx

  5. I'm meeting with her on Friday and will make it clear my expectations on confidentiality and that I expect all communication to be done in a safe space. There doesn't seem to be much understanding of prematurity in the school system so I have found some resources for them to help. If I come across as a know it all pushy mother so be it!

  6. What resonates the most with me in your post is the feeling of guilt you're talking about. I felt guilty too when my first baby was stillborn while knowing it wasn't my fault... Looking back I think it was the anger of grief, directed towards myself. but it's also something of being a parent, isn't it? To feel responsible for everything that happens to them. It shows how much you care! xxx

    I have included a link to your blog in our latest post to invite you to write a Breastfeeding Meme!

    Anne x

  7. Oh sweetheart - you are so hard on yourself. I know we have just 'met' but I can already tell what a wonderful woman and mother you are. I have PTSD also (not traumatic birth related) and it doesn't go away overnight. It's something you work towards getting over each and every day. Some days you win, some you don't, but all you try, and that it what life is, trying your best each and every single day. My lad was 10lb, and he has aspergers, He struggled all through infant and junior school. When he hit senior school, I thought he'd flounder, but actually he has turned into a very astute, yet sensitive young man. He's just about to turn 14, and I am proud of him every single day. When he was missing his milestones and falling behind, I was just as proud, because I knew he was doing his best. Your lad will catch up, he will blossom and grow when it comes to reading etc. The best thing you can do is love him just as he is (I really don't doubt that you do, it is just a point worth reiiterating), and help him all you can. I found ways that worked to help my son advance, and you will to. That's enough from me - hope I made some sense. Lots of love to you all xxx Vicky x

  8. I love this website and I thought I would add my thouhts on PTSD. While I have not been diagnosed with it I think I may have it. My daughter is 9 now but she was born 4 months early and has since been diagnosed with many disabilities. Most recently she had to have a Tracheostomy a week ago. I think EVERY preemiemomma has some sort of PTSD in a way.