I never expected motherhood to be this hard. I never thought it would be this painful. After years of trying to conceive I imagined our days filled with crafts, reading books, snuggles and exploration. It was- at first, when we had one VERY easy baby who turned into a VERY easy toddler. Easy to the point that I literally couldn’t tell anyone how easy he was because they would kill me! You know textbook. Hit all his milestones on schedule. Slept 12 hours a night. Took two 3-hour naps during the day. Was 100% potty trained by 2…. So easy in fact that when he was 17 months-old we decided to try again for another. . . and we got two. Even though I was 39 when I was pregnant with the twins, I will tell you the pregnancy itself did nothing to prepare me for the coming storm.
The first few weeks were the normal for newborns. We got to know each other and it was difficult but in a “I’m caring for two human babies’ kind of way”. Then the symptoms of silent reflux started. We tried everything we could think of at the time to go the natural route- including going 100% dairy free (again) so that we could eliminate a dairy protein intolerance in my breastmilk. Give them formula you say? Well if there was 10 ways to give a baby milk from something other than a breast, we tried them all. They. Were. Not. Having. IT.
So, what does any of this have to do with PTSD? And mine specifically? In case you’re not counting when the twins were born, I had 3 under 3, my oldest only being 27 months old. I had a total lack of autonomy being tethered to my children 24-hours a day with no relief in sight left me completely depleted, which triggered a shame response “there’s something wrong with me for wanting time away” and then I would set an unrealistic goal (perfection in motherhood) and then become overwhelmed again, have another outburst. Rinse and repeat.
B.C (before children) I was able to manage my PTSD by living a well-ordered life. If I was tired, I slept. If I was hungry, I ate. In hindsight my life (other than infertility) was relatively stress free. I was able to self sooth in whatever way was pleasing to me at the time (most of the time those were healthy choices) I was seeing a therapist but because I wasn’t having “classic” panic attacks she never really let on that the sudden outburst of tears during a high pressure conversation (B.C) or in other situations that I would break down were actually panic attacks related to my PTSD from childhood trauma.
So, I know you might be thinking does she really have PTSD? And if she does, what from. Before I shed some light on that let me just tell you a little about PTSD. It’s not just for war vets anymore. Today over 7.7 million individuals are diagnosed with PTSD. Individuals suffering from PTSD may experience reoccurring nightmares, flashbacks, anger, rage, shame, guilt and extreme emotions. Typically, PTSD occurs when an individual has, among other criteria:1) Witnessed or is exposed to a traumatic event involving actual or threatened death or serious injury or a threat to the physical integrity of self or others. 2) experienced intense fear, helplessness, or horror from the event, resulting in the future avoidance of anything associated with the traumatic event. 3) continued neurological stimulation resulting in an inability to relax1.
Because of trauma I suffered as a child in the form of sexual and emotion abuse and abandonment I am triggered when I a) don’t feel heard b) I’m overstimulated c) I feel out of control. This manifest itself in so many ways but usually an exaggerated emotional response to the situation (aka-mom’s flipping out) or crying. None of these leave me feeling good about myself. Knowing what I know now, it's no surprise that I had all the major fertility issues I had.
After the twins were born, I didn’t want to go on medicine but I felt like I had to do something to help my mental health. I had already gone as far as seeing a psychologist to get a RX when I got introduced to Young Living. As soon as I started using the peace and calming that came in my kit, I knew that I had found the solution that I was looking for. I felt so better from day 1. I really felt empowered and started researching all the ways I could help myself with them. That’s when I found the gut /brain connection and started taking the Life 9 probiotics which totally cut my anxiety in half. I was calmer and happier mom that I wanted to be AND I also had a way to help my babies with their big emotions.
As the saying goes.... little kids, little problems. Big kids, bigger problems. As my kids grew, my emotions grew alongside them. Less control, meant more outburst. So now along with the essential oils I take a pure CBD isolate by Nature’s Ultra to help me cope. Now, I have tool. Now I have come to recognize when I need to have some quiet time. Now I’m finally also learning to take care of me.
HERE'S YOUR TRIBE
 American Psychiatric Association: Diagnostic and Statistical manual of Mental disorder, fourth edition. Text revision, Washington D.C., American Psychiatric Association 2000. Pp 218-220