FOUR months after becoming a mother for the first time, Gill Skene found herself sitting in her car in an M&S car park sobbing, planning how she could empty the joint marital bank account and flee.

A couple of hours earlier a mundane spat over emptying the dishwasher had escalated to the point where the former oil and gas worker believes she would have murdered the husband she loves.

"Had I had a weapon at that point, my husband would be dead," says Skene.

"As we were having this argument the baby was in her Moses basket and he made the mistake of getting between me and my baby, and the rage I felt was just indescribable.

"I thought 'I just have to leave'."

Read more: 'In three quarters of cases of birth trauma, women tell us they weren't listened to' 

It was the tipping point that would eventually lead to a diagnosis of postnatal post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after months of nightmares and flashbacks brought on by memories of her daughter's birth.

The 38-year-old from Oldmeldrum in Aberdeenshire is one of the estimated four in every 100 women who suffer PTSD as a result of childbirth.

Many cases are believed to go untreated, however, or are misdiagnosed as postnatal depression.

She wants to share her own experience ahead of Birth Trauma Awareness Week, which starts on July 7.

Parenthood had been a long-awaited dream for Skene and her husband, Mark. They were on the waiting list for IVF when they discovered in March 2012 that she had conceived naturally.

In early December, she was admitted to hospital in Aberdeen for a planned induction because the baby was fairly large and Skene was suffering pelvic girdle pain.

It was the beginning of an ordeal that would require three years of psychological therapy to recover from.

"When my husband and I reflect on where things started to go wrong, it was then," says Skene.

"It felt like the midwife had just decided that I was a bothersome patient.

"The induction process isn't nice, it's quite invasive, and I was struggling with the pain of one of the procedures. One of the midwives asked my husband if I was 'always a drama queen?'.

"I do feel that their opinion of me was formed there and then, and informed their care in a way that made them ignore several very large red flags when my health was deteriorating later on."

Read more: Births in Scotland at a 163-year low 

It took three days before labour finally began, but it was soon blighted by mistakes.

A student midwife failed to properly attach the synthetic oxytocin drip required to keep an induced labour moving and instead of flooding Skene's veins it pooled on the hospital room floor.

By the time anyone noticed the error, six hours later, the contractions had stalled.

Another midwife who wanted to change the bedding 'rolled' Skene and ended up causing nerve damage in her back.

The pain was so extreme that even the maximum epidural dose "didn't touch it", says Skene.

Eventually, after nearly 18 hours in labour, medics discovered that the baby had not turned properly and Skene would have to undergo an emergency forceps delivery in theatre.

Once in the operating room, the midwife in charge told her she would have to move herself from her trolley onto a theatre bed.

It was a moment that became the root of the young mother's subsequent PTSD.

"I asked 'how?'," says Skene. "The tendons in my wrists were swollen. It's common in pregnancy but means that hands and wrists lock out, so I wasn't really able to pull myself up and I couldn't really feel my legs after the epidural.

"I asked if she could help me move but she said 'no, it's health and safety'.

"Then she stood really close to my face and said if I didn't move myself I was going to hurt my baby.

"When I complained about her conduct later I was told that was said to 'motivate' me. But on what planet is that appropriate?"

Skene's daughter, Abigail, was delivered quickly but soon transferred to neonatal while her mother suddenly began haemorrhaging. She lost four and a half pints of blood.

"There was a lot of stress and tension within the operating theatre because they didn't know why I was bleeding - they couldn't figure out the source of the bleed," says Skene.

"At this point, I thought my baby had been taken away because I had done something and hurt her, because I hadn't moved quickly enough.

"I was petrified that she was going to die, I thought I was dying, my husband thought I was dying because there was so much blood."

Read more: Back to the future - will home births ever become the norm again? 

Eventually the bleeding was stemmed and Skene was transferred to a recovery room and then a postnatal ward.

She did not see her daughter for 36 hours, during which time she became convinced that Abigail had died, that it was her fault, and that no one wanted to tell her.

When she was finally reunited with the infant she was initially convinced that the baby was not really hers.

Besides the mental distress, Skene was also suffering physically from placenta accreta - the cause of her haemorrhaging - and potentially deadly sepsis.

Neither were diagnosed until weeks later, however, long after she had been sent home.

"I was getting a message loud and clear from the staff in hospital after the birth that I was only there because Abigail was there - that I should be fine now," says Skene.

"When they asked how I was and I was honest and said I felt 'pretty awful', I would get quite a passive aggressive 'well you've just had a baby, that's to be expected'.

"A lot of 'tough love' language was used: 'pull your socks up', 'grin and bear it', 'you've to to get on with it now' - 'man up' at one point.

"So I just stopped asking for help."

In the months leading up to the fateful argument with her husband, Skene was tormented by fears that her daughter would die and "everyone would find out it was my fault".

She was plagued by nightmares and waking flashbacks of the operating theatre lights, the bleeding, the midwife warning her she was going to hurt her baby, and believing Abigail had died.

"The analogy I use for PTSD is that it's like being sat your desk trying to work, and every time you try to do something or concentrate, something keeps flashing up on your screen that is your worst ever experience," says Skene.

"It's a bodily reaction as well. The body remembers the trauma in a way that is physical, it's immersive.

"If someone could invent virtual reality that was as good as a PTSD flashback they'd be a billionaire."

After a misdiagnosis of postnatal depression Skene spent more than seven months on a waiting list to see a psychologist, but credits the three years of eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy she had on the NHS for her recovery.

Two years ago she became a mother for a second time after her daughter, Georgia, was delivered by planned C-section.

She now volunteers with Maternal Mental Health Alliance campaigning for better perinatal psychological support.

"If a mother isn't mentally well, that can be hugely damaging for their baby. I'm lucky, I got treatment in time - but some women aren't even being diagnosed."