It’s been 8 weeks since I had an elective c-section for my beautiful baby boy.
The weeks have flown by in some respects but in others it really hasn’t, sometimes the days would feel so endless and so isolate that I’d check my clock and question – is that REALLY the time? It was usually only 2 or 3 hours from surfacing from the depths of my bed, the bed that the previous night I had tossed and turned in, unable to drift off to sleep.
There have been many stories of late that have come to light about post natal depression, it still pains me to say those words, to say, “I have postnatal depression”, but as one truely special person has tried to teache me, it is NOT a badge of failure.
From my other posts you would have learnt that I have a baby with additional needs whom is only 1 years of age, it was all rainbows and butterflies when we found out I was pregnant and we kept it quiet to reveal on Christmas Day that we would be expecting our new bundle of joy.
I was so excited and so happy to finally be meeting my little boy, I was called to theatre at around about 10am, and if I’m honest that’s where it all went wrong. It was the same theatre almost a year to the day I had been rushed as an emergency to get Ava out, and it’s where she was delivered and received 3 rounds of CPR. My heart sunk and my experience was shattered in an instant.
A c section makes you feel pretty horrendous any way, a concoction of drugs and equipment is enough to make any one feel “out of sorts” if and when I ever have children again if possible I’ll have a natural birth again. Baby Steven entered the world at 10:38 screaming, and being held up over the screen, he was mine, he was here, and all they kept saying was he’s fine, he’s healthy.
What’s healthy? What is this!
I immediately didn’t want to hold him, they offered my baby to me and I said no. What mum does that? Me. That’s who, does depression come on straight away? It doesn’t, but that was just the start, it opened a can worms. I eventually held him and I was just over come with guilt, I felt an earth shattering sink heaviness within my heart, I felt a sense of loss, I felt like I was mourning, and I was.
I was mourning the baby I never had. I was feeling guilty for Ava having been born in terrible condition and being taken straight to neonatal intensive care, I had all these feelings…. I got to hold my son, I got to breast feed my son, I got to lay all night with my son. With my daughter I didn’t.
The first 4 days were a struggle, he wouldn’t feed properly and had quite severe jaundice, for almost 2 days I was told feed him change him and put him back on the photo therapy. He was not to have prolonged time away from the lights, it was hard , the same feelings crept in, I felt the same fears that I had when Ava was poorly, but this time they were multiplied on a completely irrational level.
When we finally got home it was so overwhelming, I had these two children that were totally dependant on me. I had my partner, but truth be told, even to this day I don’t know how he was coping with it all, but he continued to renovate our new house and I didn’t really get much in terms of support. I was partly to blame. I wanted the house in order so he chose to spend his paternity doing the house up just so one of the rooms in the house was habitable for me and the children whilst we slowly worked on a room at a time throughout the house.
I was extremely sore and comforting two children one of which was almost 2 stone was impossible having just had major surgery, it would stress and frustrate me on a ridiculous level, I would have them both screaming and wanting me and I was alone unable to do any thing in any real hurry.
I feel this contributed a lot to how I became so depressed, to how low I became. I felt useless as a mum that I couldn’t pick up my children, I could barely even take myself to the toilet, I felt like I’d failed both of my children. I didn’t have the support network that I should have, I’d kind of slipped off the radar and slowly but surely I was sinking and that little light at the end of the tunnel had gone.
To be honest with you, I knew I didn’t feel right, I was resenting my eldest daughter, I felt I’d been robbed of motherhood; I wanted a normal experience, I wanted a day free of syringes free of blue episodes a day free of her desperate cries as she tries to make sense of this world… I hated myself.
The days and weeks that followed all seemed to merge into one, all I can take from that horrendous dark, consuming place was it was lonely,- and it still is. When I walked into the room and both the kids were screaming I’d turn round and put my headphones in my ears, go upstairs and ignore, it was a toss up between this or walking out the house, would I return? Probably not, so I needed to prevent that one foot stepping out the door.
So many times I wanted to walk away and never come back, I felt guilty, a sadness, like I just couldn’t go on. I had planned in my head over and over an end for me. Then I would further drive myself mad thinking how could I be thinking this, it was one sick twisted merry go round and I wanted off, I wanted to jump off to stop my spinning head.
Id often storm out of the house, I’d trash the kitchen and throw things around when it all seemed too much, but I never hurt the children.
One day not too long ago I got so angry with everything that I got my youngest put him in his pram and went for a long walk, I left Ava at home with her dad.
As I was walking my mind was doing 100mph I just knew I wasn’t going to shake this feeling on my own, the wounds lay much deeper then I thought. Feeling hopeless, lost and disconnect from everything and everyone in the world, I knew it was time to change before I do something stupid. I was no longer coping with daily life, I was healed from my c section and fully mobile now but to even drag myself out of bed each morning and face the day was arguably the hardest part of everyday.
People have images of people with PND walking around with a sad face, not forming a bond with their children or, Simply ignoring them and it being obvious they have this horrible illness.
It’s not true, it’s a taboo PND can take form in Anger, real rage like mine has. It’s frightening, it’s lonely, it’s consuming, and it’s down right awful.
With therapy and tablets I’m getting there, the road to recovery is long and turbulent but the reward at the end is worth it.
I reached out to my midwife, I sent her a text one day and she came round the next and spent 2 hours in my home discussing everything. She would always say how admirable I am to deal with the children how I do especially with one who is so disabled, – it’s life, it’s no picnic I knew it was always going to be hard, and to be honest I don’t think I deserve any special recognition for it. Marj taught me it’s okay not to be okay, and I had done the right thing in asking for help the way I had.
I owe everything to her, she is an unsung hero of the NHS going above and beyond her duties for me and even talking to my GP.
This post isn’t very in depth, I’m only at the beginning on my recovery so, putting into words and pinpointing exactly how I feel is hard, in fact near on impossible. But people need to be aware of what’s normal and what’s not, to not hide and be alone, please speak up, to any one, grab a stranger of the street, scream to the neighbour, any one. Just tell someone.