Posted on 05 May 2017
I see mainly women at my post natal PTSD clinics in Henley on Thames and Harley Street, but I also see both male and female partners and am very aware of just how they can similarly suffer from birth trauma.
I saw one man last week who had been struggling for years following his wife’s emergency caesarean. He felt so guilty for struggling which is very common. Partners frequently do not think that they are allowed to be suffering! Often, they have watched the person they love most in the world go through a terrible time.
They may be helping their partner deal with physical consequences, as well as the mental fall-out of the birth. Patrners have little mental space to think about themselves and to look after themselves, but if the issues are not addressed, they can lead to severe problems later.
Many of the ‘partner’ clients I see have gone through a situation where there has been a medical emergency. For example, the medical team are on high alert, focusing on mother and child, and they do not have time to explain what they are doing. To a non-expert this can be especially terrifying as these men describe here.
Professor Marian Knight, of Oxford University conducted some research into this a few years ago and some of the quotes from men she interviewed really resonate with me. One man, Darren Dixon described how he felt after his wife nearly died in childbirth and his newborn daughter was rushed to intensive care. He said “For the first three years my flashbacks were off the scale . . .suddenly I’d be able to smell the hospital . . . I’d be back in that theatre with my wife . . I just cried from morning to night.”
As this partner makes clear, these symptoms can last for years and affect all aspects of life. So, I would strongly encourage any partner who has gone through a traumatic experience and feels it is affecting their life to get the help they need.
I can work with you to change the way your mind codes those traumatic memories. You will not forget what happened but it will no longer feel so intrusive and painful. I can also help you deal with any feelings of guilt you feel towards your partner and give you the tools you need to get back your happiness and the relationship you once shared.
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