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The first is that Martha’s detailed recollection of her first birth experience provides a place of solace and hope for women who may be suffering and feel alone in their struggles, with no one who understands them or who can relate to their experience. This book proves to this overlooked group of women that they are not alone, that there is realness in what they are experiencing i.e. it’s not in their heads, and that help is available to them. The second key element of Real Healing after Caesarean is that it introduces and thoroughly explores the under researched field of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) linked to childbirth. The research and explanation of this disorder in Real Healing after Caesarean provides an effective guide to help women, their partners, family members, and health professionals identify and understand the causes and symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder-PTSD, how it can be treated and what help and support is and should be available to sufferers.
By Elizabeth Otto, professional counsellor.
The area that the reader may have difficulty with, which I experienced, was the amount of detail given to the research around PTSD. Not having much knowledge of medical terminology (which although used in this book is not overdone) or illnesses, at times it proved challenging to continue to read through the descriptions, symptoms, causes of PTSD and other related disorders. However, I do believe that this is an important part of Real Healing After Caesarean, especially for medical professionals who need to be aware of this condition in women, and who will in turn have the greater impact on their diagnosis and treatment. Personally, as a result of persevering through these detailed sections, I will be more informed and in a better position of supporting a friend or family member who may display symptoms of PTSD, which I believe is one of the overall goals of Real Healing after Caesarean.
The third area I would highlight is that Real Healing After Caesarean examines how women can be commonly misdiagnosed with Post Natal Depression (PND) following childbirth, but combats this by clearly distinguishing the differences between Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Post Natal Depression, as well as its similarities. Real Healing after Caesarean also goes further to describe the other related conditions that can stem from PTSD following childbirth, which include Tokophobia (fear of further pregnancy) and Vaginismus (a disorder which makes intercourse painful and in most cases impossible).
The fourth and what I believe to be the most important area of Real Healing After Caesarean is that it provides accounts of real recovery for women suffering from postnatal illnesses. I believe this coupled with the research and facts about PTSD moves this book from being anecdotal to a real and thorough self-help guide. Not only does Real Healing by Martha Jesty demonstrate the personal recovery of the author, it gives the reader details of other women who have walked through ‘the fire’ and come out victorious at the other end. There is nothing more effective than hearing how a person has overcome extreme conflict. The power of its effectiveness is all the more enhanced by the countless personal witness and personal experience of others. The possibility therefore of a postnatal sufferer reading Real Healing After Caesarean and starting their journey to ‘real healing’ is extremely likely. The obvious strength of Real Healing after Caesarean is Martha’s story, which instantly engages the reader. It provides good background of the author, who comes from Lima, Peru and how her cultural expectations had a significant part to play in what she experienced. Without this it may be hard to fully understand the contributing factors that lead to her diagnosis of PTSD. For example, Martha Jesty recalls in her book the abundant support that is commonly available to women through their journey from pregnancy to motherhood in Peru, and how that contrasted with her frustrating, isolating and traumatic experience of motherhood in the UK.
A section of Real Healing After Cesarean that I found very insightful was the account given by her husband Paul Jesty. He described his feelings of Martha’s traumatic experience and how he supported her through it. I believe this was important to include, because fathers are often neglected and unsupported when their partners experience trauma in childbirth. In addition, they are left ill-equipped to deal with it and feel helpless about how they can best support their partners. However, I would like to have seen more accounts of fathers’ traumatic experiences and how they coped and overcame such a difficult period.
The greatest appeal of Real Healing after Caesarean for me is that its target audience is not just women alone. No doubt its readership will mainly be women, however as I have mentioned before Real Healing After Caesarean also appeals to partners, family members and friends of a PTSD sufferer, as well as health care professionals and those in health care training.
As a fellow Christian, it was very encouraging to read about Martha Jesty's faith and trust in God through hard times. Through her book Martha not only demonstrates her utter dependence on her faith as a Christian and believer in the healing power of God, it is also complimented by the practical steps she took, the discoveries she made about her illness, the research, support and further work she then made her passion, to which she is extremely dedicated to. A combination of these elements would be beneficial to a fellow Christian and non believer alike.
Although I have never experienced PTSD or encountered another woman with this illness, I can honestly say that I was deeply affected by what I read, as well as being enlightened. Martha Jesty writes with such raw emotion in her book that I found it almost impossible not to be moved, and in fact on many occasions I was lead to tears as she recounted the treatment that she experienced. What I was most moved by was an absence of resentment that Martha Jesty presented in her book, when it would be the most normal human reaction to be bitter and angry. Instead she speaks with a heart that has found forgiveness for those who mistreated her and a heart that was then lead to help others through her story. This then shows that there was a purpose to Martha’s experience and a real opportunity to be a catalyst of hope for other women like the organization she started called Help Women and Children.
As a Christian I know and believe that we perish because of lack of knowledge. Real Healing after Caesarean is a book through which the author, Martha Jesty, opens up her heart and life to ensure women who are suffering with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder do not perish but are treated and supported in the best ways possible.