Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Before I get into this post, I have to caveat it – I am not a medical doctor or even a person with any sort of medical/psychological knowledge to make an accurate diagnosis or to be considered even remotely knowledgeable on the subject of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), so really this is just my rambling thoughts.

I have always hated the thought of saying our recurrent pregnancy loss has resulted in a form of PTSD.  In fact, I’ll admit, when other infertility/recurrent pregnancy loss bloggers have used this term, it’s made me cringe a bit.  In the past, I’ve even argued with my counselor on the subject.  Honestly, I’ve always associated PTSD is related to war veterans and emergency service personal who have seen and experienced things I don’t even want to imagine.  I’ve always just thought what I’ve been through simply cannot be as bad as what they’ve been through and so even though the thought of another pregnancy still makes me break out into a cold sweat, I’ve always discredited my suffering as being enough to qualify.

But then today happened.

We have been dealing with some adoption stuff these last few weeks.  I wont go into specifics (I cannot at this time), but after a few days of dealing with some benign adoption related stuff, we sat in a waiting room for paperwork to be processed and at one point Mr. MPB looked at me and told me I was being bossy and incredibly mean to him.  I was, I had no excuse.  For the last few days I suspect I’ve been a walking nightmare to live with.  And then it donned on me – I was so stressed and so anxious and so upset that I thought I could puke and probably cry right there in the middle of the waiting room.  Yet, rationally, I knew what we were doing wasn’t stressful, it simply wasn’t a big deal and is completely inconsequential in the scheme of the entire adoption.  But that didn’t make a difference.

I firmly believe my reaction was 100% a direct result of what we experienced at the hands of our agency as we cared for our son in this first few weeks of life.  The memories of the agonizing battles we had and the near cruelty we endured, at the hands of the very people we were paying to support us and care for our son, makes my skin crawl. Every single time I think about all of this, I literally feel my breathing go shallow and my heart rate increase.  No matter how many truly amazing things happened and how great some things were, all of it is overshadowed by how bad some things were.

So, do I have PTSD?  I honestly I don’t know.  But I do know that months later I am still sick over what we endured.  And if I let it, it will keep me up at night and make me nearly puke in the middle of a waiting room.

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14 Comments on “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

  1. I use this term (sorry for the cringing!) but only after my own PhD-educated psychologist of 35 years said it to me and said it to me in our sessions. (I was similarly resistant.) I don’t think it’s a matter of “as bad as” since being shot at and having a child die inside you are so vastly different apples and oranges, as they say. But the patterns – the numbness I would slide into when I should have been upset or the blistering panic that would descend in the midst of absolutely non-threatening situations that triggered something hard to even discern – are all in the textbooks. “Disorder” is where I question the language. I think it’s possible to point to a reaction and call it “post traumatic stress” without characterizing yourself as having a disorder. It’s all on a continuum.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Agreed. I am a Licensed Professional Counselor, so I am qualified to diagnose. While I would not diagnose MPB with PTSD without meeting with her one on one for multiple sessions, I can say with confidence that many in the infertility world are likely experiencing it. And for good reason.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I am so sorry. That sounds really stressful and scary and overwhelming. Is there an end in sight to the paperwork etc? Thinking of you.


  3. I’m a mental health professional (a social worker) and as a previous poster said, I wouldn’t diagnose based on a blog post but I will say that trauma doesn’t have to be a big event like witnessing an accident or being in combat. It can be a series of smaller events that build up over time and recurrent losses or infertility would certainly fall into this category!


  4. Solidarity, sister! When I broke down bawling like a baby in front of my doctor a few weeks ago, that shifted my perspective on the whole PTSD thing. Like you, it was something I equated with large traumas, like witnessing death, destruction, torture, war etc or being the victim of abuse. Not infertility. But after reflecting on it, it makes sense that the years of stress and anxiety and sadness would eventually catch up to me and burst out of my body in the form of uncontrollable crying caused by nothing in particular. I don’t know if I actually have PTSD, but I do believe my reaction was in that ballpark.


  5. My friend, I’m so sorry for what you’ve been through, are working through and deal with 😦 I wish I could make it better for you, and cure the world of assholes for you. (Now there’s a million dollar idea!) I do want you to know… this past month I was finally diagnosed with PTSD. If you would like to message me privately, I would be more than happy to talk about it and support.
    My counsellor and her team frequently engage in new learning and research and told me that even her understanding of trauma and PTSD has evolved in just a few years. She guessed that many family doctors are not adequately informed.
    I agree with an above comment, that many infertility patients are likely afflicted with some degree, or situational depression. There is so much that has gone into your journey in addition – great loss, life upturned, family stress, feelings of loneliness and isolation – it’s not just one little compartment of life, it can feel like one’s whole life.
    I know you are overjoyed to be a mommy and love baby MPB like no other, but be gentle with yourself as the other stuff is real and doesn’t just do a disappearing act.
    I’m here for you if you need me.


  6. I can’t speak on the PTSD aspect of this, but I am sorry that you’re dealing with still more stress for the adoption. No matter what you call it, these things we’ve gone through definitely stay with us and affect us when we least expect that it will. I like to think that eventually maybe it will dull a bit, but who knows? Either way, I hope that your adoption is finalized very soon so that you can at least put that behind you. Let me know if you need to vent!!


  7. No matter what we call it is is most certainly trauma. Can sorry you had to have this experience 😦 and your agency just blows.


  8. I first heard what I was going through described as PTSD when I met my acupuncturist. We had a long initial session where I described my symptoms and what I was hoping to accomplish. This was immediately following my second loss. And she described the physical reactions as a PTSD – and reasoned, why not? I had endured two “procedures” to terminate pregnancies within less than a year, and in her opinion it causes a traumatic effect on our internal processes – the pregnancies were interrupted. And she treated it as if it were PTSD, and I can say that I noticed a marked improvement in my physical symptoms immediately following my first session.
    The second time I heard it described as PTSD was by my genetic counselor, who also serves as a support group facilitator/bereavement co-chair at my hospital. After an ultrasound I was describing the intense emotions and thoughts I had driving to the hospital, and my hyper-vigilance about this pregnancy, etc. And she said – well, of course – PTSD.
    Before hearing it from them I never described it that way myself, but it makes sense to me and I haven’t shied away from using the term now. I don’t think war veterans own the term – neither do victims of rape and violence. Trauma is trauma, and what we’ve been through is traumatic.
    I hope that whatever adoption issues you are dealing with get resolved quickly for you. It shouldn’t be this darn difficult!


  9. I think I have called my recurrent loss experience PTSD – especially when it comes to hospital triggers after Adam’s birth/death but also surrounding doctor office visits to that particular clinic where everything went down time after time. I felt dramatic at first, too, but it certainly was trauma and I realized how disordered I was in certain situations. Anyway, it’s nice sometimes to realize that it wasn’t war but it was something monumental for us as individuals to integrate into our lives. I am so sorry you continue to have such awful circumstances with your adoption agency. I feel the pain. Mine hasn’t proved to be easy to work with either. A fellow mom adopting said she thinks she has PTSD from the process too. I said I think I have PTSD from the last 3.5 years! Support sent to you from the U.S….


  10. I have PTSD. It sounds like you’re having some kind of trauma related reaction so it’s definitely worth looking into and getting a diagnosis. X


  11. I can’t begin to imagine what your agency put you through but it just makes me want to cry! I’m sorry that you’re dealing with this and I can imagine that with as much loss as you’ve been through, you very might have PTSD.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I have had a long infertility road and am now a waiting adoptive parent. Our agency has been so terrible, that I have compared the feeling I get when they call to a (more minor) type of PTSD. It has been so so awful that every time their name comes up on my phone I am anxious, my heart races, my body temp rises…


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