My Postpartum PTSD Story

Guest post by Kerissa Potter
I gave birth to my son via c-section in October, 2010. The labor wasn’t what I’d hoped or wanted and after 3 hours of pushing…

PTSD Survivors SpeakGuest post by Kerissa Potter

I gave birth to my son via c-section in October, 2010. The labor wasn’t what I’d hoped or wanted and after 3 hours of pushing he just wasn’t coming down so a c-section was our only option. The c-section didn’t go well. I felt pain and had to be put under anesthesia. Afterward, I struggled with breastfeeding along with additional abdominal pain.

I was sent home and after 15 hours returned to the hospital for a surgery to correct a mistake made during the c-section. I was in the hospital for a total of 3 weeks.

When I came home in November, I was physically ok – they’d fixed the problem, but I still had a lot of pain. The pain eventually lessened after about a month at home, but I have some pretty impressive scars from the whole ordeal. The scar tissue and adhesions are now my biggest source of physical pain and discomfort.

I was one of the lucky ones in that I have a very supportive family but also in that I found a wonderful therapist who works specifically with women in my situation. She was a lifesaver. Literally. She has helped me to work through so much of the emotional pain and 9 months later I’ve made huge progress. I chose to use medication to help my situation improve more quickly, but I know many women who chose therapy only or just medication. For me both would help balance me out much more quickly than either could on their own. I was desperate for relief and whatever could get me there the fastest is what I felt the need to do.

I get asked all the time if I plan on suing. At this point I do not. To me, that isn’t healing, it isn’t coping or working towards getting ME back. It seems more of a lash out in anger. Sure, I have days where I would like someone to be held responsible for the errors that were made, of which there were many, but that won’t help me now. This decision could absolutely change in the future, but for now, the answer is no.

Instead of suing I’ve decided that my healing will come in the form of writing. I currently work on a blog about my day to day struggles and emotions; wins and days that aren’t so much of a win. It is also following my journey as I write a memoir of my experience.

In the months after my ordeal, I googled and researched my heart out, desperate to find anything similar to what I was going through. I found some amazing blogs, a few online articles and one support group of women that lifted me up when I couldn’t do it on my own. But I couldn’t find a book about Postpartum PTSD. Every book I found was about Postpartum Depression alone. An important topic for sure, but not what I was yearning for. I needed someone who’d been in my shoes and who had survived. I needed a story of someone who not only survived but found themselves again and was successful at life. Something I wasn’t sure I’d ever be again.

As my healing has progressed, I am now able to write about what happened to me. Some days it’s too hard and on those days I simply chose not to write. I’m learning more each day about my triggers and how to deal with them. I struggle with not feeling like my old self and at times I worry that I never will be me again. Yet, I have a lot of days where I do see the old me and that is happening more frequently. That gives me hope that the worst is over and as they say in Finding Nemo I need to “Just keep swimming” and get through this. It will end. There will be a day where I don’t think about this. It will continue to get better.

I’ve already come farther than I thought possible with the help of my therapist, my family, medication and most importantly, myself. I am going to win. You will too.

For more information visit Postpartum Support International.  This link has many valuable resources for all moms struggling with Postpartum Mood Disorder.

Kerissa is a first time mom and memoir author living in Washington State with her husband Jason, soon-to-be-10 month old son Gregory, her Golden Retriever Koda, and her cat Scotty McNaughty (the name tells the story).

She is currently working to publish her story of Postpartum PTSD and Depression, tentatively titled “To Breathe Again: One mom’s journey through Postpartum PTSD and Depression” in late 2012. You can follow her blog at

The ideas contained in this post solely represent the perspective of the author. To contribute to ‘Survivors Speak’ contact Michele.



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