Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Feeling Whacko - Post Partum and others' role in helping/hindering

Have you recently returned from the hospital or given birth? Are you feeling out of your sorts? It is ok! You'll be alright! There are a ton of resources to tap into if you're scared of the thoughts you're having. In fact, the more you're able to share or talk about your feelings the better you'll feel afterwards, if you have a good, solid support network. Skip talking to that judgmental friend who claims to have it all figured out and seek out good listeners and those who are able to empathize.

Disclaimer: I'm pretty much as cool as a cucumber when it comes to most things and have been described as bubbly, and friendly at work, by friends. I think I've thankfully returned to that original person for the most part but it took some time.

In the days and weeks after I came home from the hospital with my little bundle of Theo I felt up and down almost minute by minute.

Sometimes there would be total elation especially when the sleeping baby snuggled into me or when he would get a good latch and I wouldn't feel pain while feeding him.

Other times there would be darkness that wrapped around me like heavy metal chains. Anxiety and fear. How will I ever live my life again? I would think. I am the only one that cares about this baby's safety? Was another one. Mission: must keep him healthy, alive and not let others expose him to anything that could harm him.

The transition of him outside my body and now here wandering the earth was much harder than I had imagined. I swooped like a sparrow anytime others wanted to hold him (besides my husband). They would tell me to go relax, take a nap, "yea right," I would quietly mutter as I went in my room and cried silently. My cheeks hurt from fake smiling in the weeks after the baby had been born when others visited. I didn't want anyone to touch him except maybe the grandmas as they checked with me about everything - having once been there themselves.

I felt really messed up. I told my husband that the surprise C-section felt somewhat like rape and I was having a hard time recalling all the details. I had flash backs in my sleep and awoke in sweats. I remembered the first doctor criticizing me for being upset about the circumstances. I cried in my dreams. I wasn't supposed to go anywhere or do too much as I was ordered to heal. We walked a couple blocks, getting outside helped my mental health immensely. Sometimes we would just walk and I would have tears streaming down my cheeks, no need to repeat the things I was feeling over and over to my loyal partner. He had heard me and he rubbed my back and held my hand.

I found breast-feeding to be a wonderful excuse to get people out of the house. Not being able to go upstairs due to the surgery and unable to successfully feed under the blanket, they had a small window of time to visit.

Jokes. I fucking hated jokes. Any jokes about feeding the baby something while I took a shower or he can do ____ right? Or he can entertain himself, right? I fucking hated jokes from any of the men that came over. I didn't want to address them, I didn't want to laugh at them. I just wanted to be as sure as I could be that if I was leaving the room they wouldn't do something so totally stupid. (A positive note: now is that I can handle jokes now and give it right back to them. I still think its really fucked up how people like to stress mums out with those jokes about giving them whiskey and such, but I don't automatically wish pain upon them when it happens now.)  

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