Researchers are claiming some mothers are left as mentally scarred by child birth as those who have experienced a terrorist attack. But before any prospective mother runs for the hills screaming, just ask yourself, in reality which would you rather face, a bomb or the labour room?
According to research into the effects of child birth on mothers, many experience the same kinds of lasting trauma as those who have experienced a terrorist attack.
To be precise, one in three mothers are said to suffer from some degree of Post Traumatic Stress, which is also commonly suffered by those who have been victim of terrorist activity.
Symptoms include heart palpitations, avoidance of any discussion about the event and flash backs.
Not surprisingly in light of this, these mothers showed great reluctance to have another child.
The scientists behind this research talked to 89 women in the first month after they had given birth. Out of that 89, 80 per cent had given birth naturally. It was found just over three per cent suffered full blown Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, whilst just over 25 per cent suffered some symptoms of it.
The main cause was found to be the pain they went through, but other contributing factors were fear of serious or fatal complications for themselves or their child, or a traumatic delivery. It was also found the fact women had been undressed for some time in front of others had left a lasting mark.
The effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder can reduce over time but they can stay with you all your life.
With this research I actually find it difficult to quite know where to place myself. In reality the percentage of mothers developing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in the full-blown sense is quite low, only a good three per cent. Though the fact just over a quarter of mothers suffer some symptoms of it is actually quite significant.
There are of course some mothers who go through horrendous births where their own or their baby’s life is threatened, while others seem to be unable to come to terms with how degrading or painful the experience was. It is quite understandable that these women should be marked for life.
But whether this trauma is on a par with say, being involved in the London bombings or the twin towers I don’t know.
The fact the women involved in this study were interviewed in the first month after giving birth is surely going to effect the findings somewhat. I can tell you a month after giving birth there was no way I wanted to go through that again but you find that over time you gradually change you mind.
I don’t like to dwell on what went on in that labour room, I try not to think about it and I avoid pretty much any discussion about it but am I traumatised – no. As for the indignity of the event, well you kind of just have to laugh about it as you have to remember the midwives just see it as doing their job and you just have to think it is all a means to an end – and what an end when the reward is the birth of your own baby.
My heart goes out to all those mothers who do have to deal with life-long stress as a result of giving birth but to the majority, I would say you have to get it into perspective. If you had a choice whether to give birth or find yourself caught up in a terrorist attack, which would you rather go through? There’s really no comparison in my book.