Trigger Warning: This story mentions anxiety surrounding pap smears after birth-related trauma. If you are triggered by these topics you may wish to skip this blog or read it once you have support available. If you are seeking support for your birth trauma, you may wish to contact our Peer Support Service.
Dear Pap Smear,
I hated you before this happened to me. I hated the way I had to be vulnerable. I hated the procedure in general. I hated you like every other woman who hates getting you done. You are like the kid no one wants to play with at school but you are forced to be partners in an activity because you know it’s the right thing to do.
Since my birth-related trauma I had grown to go beyond just hating you. I had feared you with the uttermost terror. You gave me anxiety. I hated that you were one of the key things that I needed to do to unlock my past. Like a key to a door. I didn’t want to open you. Behind the door, there was going to be horror, pain and memories.
So I unlocked you. I used more than one key. I had too. I had to read out my script. I had to make sure I could avoid all other possible triggers. I had to face you in a new environment, one that was less clinical. I had to have someone there to support me, to keep me present. I had my breathing and grounding tools. I had medication. I had to have somebody perform you that understood my trauma. I had help. I’m glad I asked for help.
You were so hard to try to unlock. But as soon as you started with me, you pulled me back right where I feared to go. I hated the way you took me back there so quickly. You made my legs shake. You made me feel like I couldn’t escape. You made me feel pain even though you weren’t painful as a procedure in the now. You also made me cry. Lots.
You made go back to the horrible night. You made me feel so much fear again. I held on till I heard those words ‘all done’ so I could escape and come back to the present. I escaped the room. I escaped for fresh air. I escaped to reground. I escaped to come back to the now. Then held myself so tight and cuddled myself in the sun until I felt alive again. Until I felt safe from you.
For a long time, I avoided you Pap Smear. Avoided you even when your dam reminder letters popped up in my mailbox to say hi. Avoided you by telling my GP I wasn’t ready every time she asked. You really are unlikeable. But alike my trauma. I know its not your fault.
So here we will part for another 5 years. Unless we met again in the future early for an induction for baby number two. I’ll be courageous then too. Hopefully, you’ll be easier to get along with from now on. You’ll still make me cry. You’ll still make my legs shake. You’ll do all these things to my body till it forgets how much you hurt me. And that’s okay too. I’m not judging my body’s reactions to you. It needs to heal.
I am also so much more courageous now. More so than I was on that night. More so than before I got you done recently. I am courageous because I went through with you. I faced you even though you frightened the life out of me. Literally. I showed strength in the face of pain and I’ll continue to do so.
So farewell fear. Farewell, hate. Farewell, trigger. Farewell, body memory. Farewell, trauma.
Farewell First Pap Smear after BRT,
A Courageous Mum xx
This article was written by one of our members. It follows another article she wrote about her pap smear journey after birth trauma. You can read it here.