Gemma Atkinson says she’s ready to have second baby after ‘traumatic’ first birth
The former Hollyoaks actor said she was so traumatised by the birth of her daughter Mia, 2, that she had nightmares that left her “screaming”.
When Atkinson gave birth to Mia in 2019, she needed an emergency c-section and suffered a haemorrhage after the birth, losing nearly a litre of blood.
Following the experience she said she was “adamant” that she and her partner, Strictly Come Dancing professional, Gorka Marquez, would not want another child.
“All these things were going through my mind, what did I do that caused all that to happen? I was telling myself for weeks and weeks I’d failed at childbirth,” the 37-year-old told Channel 4’s Steph’s Packed Lunch .
“I was having horrible dreams that someone was going to take Mia from me. I remember my mum running into my bedroom and I was sat up screaming, sweating.”
Atkinson added that a woman approached her and her mum when she was out with Mia one day and said: “Oh I believe it (the birth) wasn’t a success was it, you know, what happened?”
Atkinson’s mum replied: “It was a huge success, Mia’s there, Gemma’s here, total success.”
“Something clicked in me then,” Atkinson said of the exchange. “My body had done me proud because it had recovered and got me through.
“I’m at the stage where I want a sister or bother for Mia. The first few months of Mia’s life, I kept saying to my partner, Gorka, ‘I’m not going through that again’. I’ve now come of it and I feel I could.”
According to the Birth Trauma Association (BTA), around 30,000 women per year experience birth trauma in the UK.
“A traumatic birth can lead to symptoms of PTSD: flashbacks, a sense of heightened anxiety, constantly feeling on the alert, avoiding anything that reminds you of the trauma,” BTA states on its website .
Atkinson said she met with a psychotherapist to learn more about birth trauma and how women can be helped through it.
“It was strangely comforting speaking to the women, it makes you feel like you’re not on your own, you’re not the only person who had a difficult labour,” she continued.
“If anyone needs help, please ask for it because you deserve to be the happiest, healthiest parent.”
Additional reporting by PA.