Dealing with trauma through humour- a successful strategy?

I am always cracking jokes.  They are often unfunny but I have a tendency to babble and get a bit anxious with serious silences so fill them with nonsense.

I made some real humdingers of “jokes” during labour, and Munchkins time on NICU.

During labour I was screaming for a hammer.  They asked me what for. I was like to “to fucking knock me out with- seriously get me a hammer”.

When Munchkin was born not breathing or crying I think I said – “ah well bit of peace and quiet is nice” (meaning now I had pretty much stopped screaming my head off) then- “but if she’s anything like me she’ll never shut up in no time”.

When they were stitching me up “Seriously now my birth plan has totally gone to shit but one thing that was on there was “I want your best sewer on the job” (as my skin usually heals badly with keloid scars)- The obstetrician looked up from between my legs and said “you’ve got me”- that shut me up- she did a bloody good job though! 😉

On being told Munchkin might have brain damage- “Ah that’s fine if she has inherited her dad’s brain- he is a total genius- so this will probably just make her normal human brain level and able to interact in real world- more problematic if she has my brain!”.  This one I told to virtually everyone. I don’t think anyone laughed.

On being told Munchkin had lost 14% of her bodyweight- I said “well at 9.5lbs she has plenty spare, lots to lose etc. ” Again no else seemed to find this funny.

There are many more daft examples of me cracking jokes to get me through this time.  The last counsellor I saw asked me about how successful it was as a strategy for me.  Interesting question.  At the time it works for me to deflect the seriousness of the situation which I am not coping with but in terms of other people interpreting how I am feeling about a situation they may think I am coping with it much better than I am because I am making jokes.  I am still making jokes in my therapy appointments but maybe I should attempt not to and see what happens?

As a final note- the only health care professional who has cracked a joke back at me really makes me giggle.  She is my community midwife for this pregnancy.  I told her that because I had now experienced, miscarriage, traumatic birth, ectopic, I was kind of convinced that this pregnancy would end in stillbirth as that would be full house in the “my uterus hates me bingo” game I seem to be playing.  She said completely deadpan. “oh don’t you worry about that- we’ll aim for premature birth at 35weeks instead”.  Anyone else might have been shocked at that but for me that was funny and what I needed to hear. Still makes me smile now.    Daftness.


About LadyCurd

Likes ladybirds & lemon curd. On reflection combining the two names was a mistake.
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4 Responses to Dealing with trauma through humour- a successful strategy?

  1. KatieB says:

    Ahhh, I like your new midwife. That made me smile, anyone who just looks at you in disgust when you crack a joke in a situation like that obviously doesn’t get it. People just don’t understand that those who are most humorous are often in the most pain xx

  2. helen says:

    my mum, as a psychiatrist, deals with a lot of shitty stuff. so she tends to be a)quite cynical b)essentially rarely bear her emotions and c)have quite a gallows humour.

    I once repeated her assertion that my nephew (as yet unexplained developmental issues, probably cerebral palsy but caused by something else ?genetic ?biochemical) was a ‘friday afternoon model’ and ‘that we’ve just got to accept we’ve got a dud in the family’ to a group of friends who don’t know her well. they were horrified. but i know this is how my mum is coping- or trying to cope, and doesn’t mean she loves the wee mite any less.

  3. Pingback: Labia wards and birthing sheds- a patients perspective. | childbirthptsdandme

  4. Pingback: Dear Midwife | Letters From LadyCurd

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