My daughter’s first birthday is quickly approaching however I don’t feel excited or happy, whenever I think about the day she will turn one it feels like someone has punched me in the stomach because I can’t stop the “this time last year” thoughts from running through my head.
This time last year I was roughly 3 weeks away from my planned C-section. I was nervous & scared having had a very traumatic birth with my son, and I was also wondering how this baby was going to slot into our lives. I was wondering how this baby was going to affect my relationship with my son, the very person who I loved so much I could burst, who had been my entire life for the past 2.5 years …. how were we going to adjust to not just being the 3 of us anymore.
On the day of my section I sat waiting nervously on the delivery suite, I was second on the list. We didn’t know the sex of our baby, I had a feeling it was another boy, “we’ll call him Louie” I said to my husband, who nodded in agreement. After what felt like an eternity it was our turn. In we went to the operating theatre, it took a good four attempts for them to administer my spinal block but eventually we were ready to rock & roll. After a bit of pulling and tugging the baby was out, furiously screaming its head off, “what is it, what is it” I asked … “a girl” one of operating team said!
I couldn’t actually believe I had a beautiful baby girl, I had secretly longed for a little princess and now here she was, everything had gone amazingly well with the section and I was taken to recovery where my beautiful daughter began to feed without any issue. How lucky was I, a beautiful son and now a beautiful daughter too.
But all was not well, a few weeks went by, my initial elation that she was breastfeeding (where I had failed to do so with Theo) was turning to despair, it hurt, a lot, my nipple was so sore it looked like something out of a horror movie, I couldn’t establish a routine and I felt like I had no time for Theo. I wanted to switch to bottle feeding which I did when she was 3 weeks and I am glad I did, I felt like a weight had been lifted when we switched to the bottle. However as time went on she was very unsettled, I was convinced there was something wrong with her, she was very jumpy and didn’t settle well, I couldn’t put her down without her crying which with a 2.5 year old also making demands on you, I just thought I can’t cope with this.
I took her to a cranial osteopath in the hope of getting her “fixed”, quite what I was hoping to achieve I don’t know, it is only now I look back with a clearer mind that I can see that this is when the post natal depression was really starting to get to grips on me. I was so weepy and I knew it wasn’t the baby blues, but how could it be the dreaded post natal depression? I loved my baby and I cared for her so it couldn’t be ….. but that didn’t change the fact that when I went to bed at night, I sincerely hoped I wouldn’t wake up, I couldn’t cope with this situation I had created, I felt guilty for ruining Theo’s life as he knew it and I was grieving the relationship we previously had.
I eventually knew I had to ask for help when I had taken Poppy off to the doctors again as I was convinced she had silent reflux, I had read about it on Google so naturally that’s what it was, after coming out of the doctors being told it wasn’t silent reflux but constipation (as if, I scoffed to myself, I think I know my baby better than him), I broke down in the chemist, Theo was yelling because he wanted a lolly, I hadn’t got the outcome I had wanted from the doctors and I just couldn’t cope anymore, I stood in tears in the chemist, people looking at me strangely but I didn’t really care …. I need help I said to myself and I need it now.
I took myself off to the doctors, cried a lot and came away with a prescription for Sertraline, please let it work quickly I thought to myself. Poppy was around 8 weeks old at this point and beginning to give me the most amazing smiles
After around 4 weeks I was starting to feel stronger, I can do this, I thought to myself and slowly but surely I began on the road to recovery, I still have awful days, when the head fog doesn’t clear but on the whole I am much better, but it is this resentfulness and anger I feel at post natal depression that refuses to budge, I am so angry that an illness robbed me of my precious girl’s early days, that instead of just taking the time to sit and cuddle and love her, I thought there was something wrong with her, I am never going to get that time back and it breaks my heart.
I am really trying to draw a line under these feelings, I can’t change what has happened so I have to move on, I hope that on the 3rd September as we celebrate our little girl’s first birthday that I am not clouded by negative feelings and upset, I guess only time will tell.
This has been a long post and if you’ve stuck with it, thank you for reading.