On the Eve of Matilda’s birthday, I was thinking about the night before she was born. I started writing about all of the anticipation of meeting our new beautiful baby and then all of the feelings of the first year of her life flooded back, so I let the words fall out of me and onto the screen as I typed and typed and let it all out. I’m sharing this here because I truly believe it could help you… or someone you know.
On the Eve of Matilda’s birthday, I was thinking about the night before she was born. There was much excitement and anticipation. I finally finished those fabric pompoms in the back corner there hidden by the balloons and knew I was ready to meet her. It was to be one of the greatest achievements of my life and definitely the most well known.
I had prepared physically, emotionally and mentally and I finally knew I was truly ready to open my heart to meeting her beautiful soul. Only 11 days prior I’d experienced labour, but I shut it down, I was neither physically or emotionally ready and she knew it!
The morning of her birth was exactly as I had envisioned- labouring in the dark whilst Charlie slept. At first light I realised that my labour had begun and that my sweet baby girl would be welcomed into our world in only a few short hours.
Everything seemed slow and fast all at once. When I did meet her, only 3 short hours, after I got up from bed in the wee hours of the morning, it was perfectly magnificent. It happened in many ways exactly how I planned it but also exactly how I could never imagine.
She looked exactly as I pictured, and even more angelic than I could ever imagine! I felt love for her but I didn’t fall in love with her the way I did with Charlie, she was different. She didn’t demand my love or attention like Charlie, instead, she just was... well, her. Quiet and charming and so so gentle and lovely (exactly how she is now!) she fed softly, she moved gracefully and she oozed loveliness.
Those first days were a massive blur! I remember crying... ALOT. Joy, fear, immense love, and a lot of anxiety were all in the mix.
I remember my friend visiting me the very next day at home and giving us the most sweet hugs and being in such awe at how tiny and perfect she was... and then I don’t remember much.
Nights and days blurred and I continued to cry.. ALOT.
Weeks went by and things started to fall into place and we found our rhythm as a family of 4. Breastfeeding was a real struggle but my determination and grit served me well and we persisted and did everything we could to make it work and then I went on to do ‘extended’ breastfeeding.
Around 6 weeks things took an awful turn. My gorgeous birth experience went viral and left me feeling exposed at such a vulnerable postpartum time, it would take me years to work out why it affected me so greatly. I could hardly manage to get out of bed. I definitely couldn’t get myself dressed and all I wanted to do was to cease to exist. I didn’t want to die. I didn’t want to live. I just wanted to fall asleep for a long time.
My children were beautiful. I had a beautiful life. I had a beautiful birth. Why did everything feel so heavy? I recognized the signs, it was the same as last time (after Charlie was born) but this time I acknowledged that it wasn’t normal to feel this way. This was not how mothers just feel. This was not circumstantial depression. This was intense postpartum depression and anxiety. My usual ‘just do it’ attitude slipped away, and I was a shell of my usually charismatic self.
This time, I sought professional help.
This time, I asked for help.
This time I was able to work through the heaviness and understand what I was experiencing and had the support to overcome.
It’s been a long journey, with crying... ALOT of crying.
It’s been a long journey, with hopelessness, LOTS of hopelessness.
It’s been a long journey, with love, LOTS of love.
It’s been a long journey, with JOY lots and lots of JOY.
And I am now feeling like myself. There are definitely times I catch myself in a cycle that’s not healthy... but I catch myself. I know what to look for and what things trigger me and how I can get out of it.
I now mourn that era of growing babies inside my body and birthing them through the incredibly and perfectly designed body that is mine. I mourn those beautiful weeks of getting to know the new little human that will grow into a beautifully kind and strong human being and those cute milky smiles!
Our family is complete.
I welcome this new stage of our lives with open arms and a bit of sadness because I don’t feel I was able to enjoy those first years as much as I *should* have.. there’s that word I hate... should!
Tomorrow, my sweet baby girl is turning 5!!! I have absolutely not enjoyed every moment of being a mother, but I have enjoyed HER! She is an absolute delight, she is smart, funny, sassy and brilliant and I love her more than I ever could have imagined.
Why am I sharing this? Because I can!! I’M ALIVE! And I’m happy to be here. To watch my children grow into the magnificent people they are. To spend time with the incredible people I call my friends.. ok AND family. And to serve my clients in the best way I know how.
Did you know that the Suicide is the leading cause of maternal death? Did you know that mothering is hard but it shouldn’t be so hard that you can’t get out of bed. It shouldn’t be so hard that you can’t find any joy in life. It shouldn’t be so hard that you wish you weren’t here. It shouldn’t be so hard that you feel your baby or family would be better off without you.
If you are feeling this way, please, reach out for help. There is no bravery in suffering. There is no medal for sucking it up. There is, however, help and support.
YOU ARE WORTHY OF HELP AND SUPPORT. YOU MEAN MORE TO YOUR FAMILY THAN YOU’LL EVER REALISE!!!
If you are in Australia you can get in touch with Lifeline on 131114
Or head over to https://www.cope.org.au/getting-help/
Or perhaps you’d like to reach out to me. I would absolutely love to sit and let you get it all off your chest, be there for you, whatever that looks like for you.