POST-TRAUMATIC Stress Disorder (PTSD) is usually associated with members of the Armed Forces who have been through combat, but a Swansea woman has spoken out about how it can also affect new mothers.
Lora Evans found herself among the 9 per cent of women who are affected by the condition following childbirth.
The 29-year-old from Sketty has decided to share her story in order to raise awareness of the condition and to help other women realise that they are not alone.
Her son Harri was born six weeks prematurely in what turned out to be 18 hours that turned her life upside down.
She said: “It was a complicated birth and I still find it a sensitive matter and difficult to talk about.
“I was in hospital for two weeks after and started experiencing symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety straight away.
“I knew what was wrong with me before I spoke to the doctors.
“Even now I can’t drive past Singleton Hospital or go to any mother and baby groups, in fact I try to avoid anyone who will ask me about the birth.”
Mrs Evans, who has only just managed to return to work as a make-up artist following her trauma, puts her improvement down to entering a beauty pageant.
She says: “I have been recently named as Mrs Galaxy Swansea 2016.
“I am a mother to an 18-month-old and also work as a self-employed make-up artist.
“I have been suffering from PTSD and anxiety since the very traumatic birth of my son in April 2014 and I didn’t feel ready to return to work, that is until I entered the Mrs Galaxy pageant 2016.
“After being made Mrs Galaxy Swansea it has given me my self-confidence back, so much so, that I have returned to work.
“I have also met some lovely people since entering the pageant. I entered to push me out of my comfort zone and in a bid to help build my confidence up, and it has helped.
“I know I will never be completely myself again, but I’m not going to allow the PTSD and anxiety to define me any more as a person and it’s not going to waste another year of my life.
“I want to show other mothers out there that they can still feel beautiful after having children and that it really is so important to make some me time for themselves.”
Mrs Evans will now compete in the grand final of the pageant in February and, if successful, represent her category in the world pageant in Orlando later next year.