PTSD Triggered

Yesterday I got the opportunity to visit a new mum and her now two week old baby girl. They are both healthy and getting to know one another. Mum has plenty of milk, baby is sleeping as newborn babies do, in little spurts, and they are in contact consistently.

When I held the baby yesterday I had the strangest feelings. It wasn’t a feeling that I wanted to have another baby, in fact it was the exact opposite. I felt uncomfortable holding the baby and really tried to get into the warm loving mood with the newborn, but it didn’t really come. I marvelled at how new she was and how perfect her little features were and was able to almost objectively enjoy the situation, but deep down it wasn’t what I thought I would feel. As most of the mums in my mums group are “clucky” I excepted that I may feel like that too, but no.

The interesting thing is that I could feel the feelings of trauma, of hardship, that I associate with that stage of life. They felt incredibly real, and even moreso today for some reason. I came home and told my husband last night that I was officially over that stage of life and that we will not be having any other children. He was agreeable as he usually is, I think he was rather relieved, because it was also quite a traumatic event for him too. The son we do have is an incredible person and I am thankful every day that he is ours and that we get to grow and learn with him. I certainly don’t think we will be missing out by not having another child.

So all day, I’ve been really sensitive. I read a children’s book online earlier to vet it before reading it with my son and I started full on bawling. I mean sobbing and had to lay down, which was good timing since my son was down for a nap. It was a story about a mother who has a child and goes into the childs room at night, no matter how he’s been in the day, and rocks him and says she will always love him. It goes through the different stages of life and at the end, she needs him to come to her house, and she is too frail to pick him up and hold him, the next scene is him picking up his own daughter and singing the same song about loving her forever. I am crying now thinking about it. I feel this strong lump in my throat and my stomach feels upset and a headache is present. Whoa. What an emotional response I’m having.

So this experience of holding a newborn baby has acted as a trigger for me, bringing back the helpless and challenging feelings that I experienced after my son’s birth, when I was fully in a post traumatic stress disorder scenario. I really had thought I had moved past this, but apparently not. It’s eye opening, and I’d like to move on from this wholeheartedly, and acknowledge that I have these feelings.


I don’t know if I believe in an afterlife, going to heaven or hell, or reincarnating. I do know that the fear of death has been with me even when I was a child. I recall sitting at my grandmother’s knees crying asking her about death. She was a good god-fearing woman and would lean on her bible for strength in those times.

As an adult I have experienced moments when in deep stretches of meditation, that everything is unified and all of this is transient. I feel like that is more of a truth to me than believing of some light at the end of the tunnel. I have lived my life with the acceptance that now is what is, and it’s up to me to make the most of it. I have changed my life again and again in pursuit of my own growth, without a thought of if I do x now, then maybe I’ll be redeemed in heaven, or whatever. I live a moral life. I have a strong sense of right and wrong. I don’t lie on purpose, which is a great distinction from saying I always tell the truth because maybe some times I do lie but it isn’t on purpose, it’s just that memory isn’t in my memory bank at that moment, so I go with what I know and is fresh in my mind.

All in all, I really am the best person I can be and live as good of a life, making as positive of an impact as I can amongst the people I associate. I feel good about all of this. If anything, the feeling that I can be doing more is always there, which is why I am changing course and heading into medicine, so that I can positively impact even more people and have the influence so that people may actually do what I suggest.

So in researching and studying for the upcoming medical school test, GAMSAT, I have been diving in biology, anatomy and physiology, psychology, philosophy, chemistry (only lightly so far), and have recently watched a succinct version of life from start to finish from a scientific standpoint, and I was crying by the end of it. The amount of change that a person goes through in their life, especially for women, is tremendous. I am aware of my own mortality again, and all of this life seems so precious, and so fleeting, and I am tinged with sadness because there isn’t anything I can do about it. I know that I will flip this perspective and use it the opposite way, of making most of every moment and finding happiness and alleviating stress because I know it makes life better and healthier, but in this moment, right now, I am sad and I feel it.

Sadness is a rich human emotion and I am glad that I get to feel it. If I had to choose to know that I would die, I don’t know if I would choose that again. I would like to know the preventative measures I can take in order to make my physical life as healthy as possible, but if I could choose to be like an ordinary mammal and not know about my own mortality, I would. Perhaps I will change my mind when I am in a better disposition, but for now I just want to cuddle up and escape for a moment.