I finally went into the recovery room in the labour ward after surgery and had a lovely midwife come and ask if I wanted anything and I just burst into tears. She gave me a hug and I cried for a good 20 minutes before my partner arrived with our baby boy (who had to be taken to have a cannula put in as I got a temperature, so antibiotics for me and for him as a precaution).
I looked at him, then at my partner and began to cry again and I just couldn’t stop crying. The midwife suggested possibly holding my baby or trying to feed him as it might help but I just felt dead inside. I would look at him and feel nothing but pain, nightmares of what I had been through.
I knew (as a therapist) that it wasn’t his fault at all, I was just looking to point the experience somewhere and it took a lot for me to stop every time I thought about it.
It was finally time for me to go into the normal recovery ward downstairs and I was put in a bank of 6 beds.
It was incredibly busy, I felt like a robot just being placed in the line. It was loud, I was overwhelmed, so anxious that my body had just shut down and all I could do was cry.
That was, until my parents, my partners parents, my sister and my partners brother arrived excitedly to meet the new arrival to the family.
All the focus was naturally on the baby and it made me feel even worse. I just sat there very quietly, drugged up while everyone cooed over the new arrival, passing him around, taking photos etc.
Then a lactation consultant came and asked if would like to try and feed him and I said ok. So she shut the curtain while my mum and sister peered over. It felt like I was being watched like a hawk and judged. It was like these dead stares hooked on him and my breast, watching in anticipation as he fed.
I was not in a good place, all I wanted to do was cry and scream at everyone to go away and leave me alone, but I couldn’t do that to my family.
Attempting to breastfeed hurt, a lot. Every time I held my baby or he latched on I would get upset and want him to get off me. It sounds awful but I really didn’t want him anywhere near me. I didn’t want to touch him. I just wanted to curl up into a ball and hide under the covers until it all went away.
With these thoughts came immense feelings of guilt. What kind of mother doesn’t want to be near their child all the time? What kind of mother doesn’t want to hold her child all the time; and coo over this miracle that she and her partner made?
What kind of mother feels like she just wants to run away and escape it all? Pretend like it never happened, start a new life, leave everyone and everything behind.
What kind of mother does that make me?
I needed to be there for my baby, but I wanted to run away and pretend like it never happened.
I suffered with depression after birth, it was awful, I felt awful, I didn’t want to talk to anyone or leave the hospital.
Eventually all family left and it was just us. There was very little room and my partner asked if I was ok. Again I just burst into tears saying it’s all to much, I need to go away from here. He tried to calm me down as much as he could. But nothing worked to be honest. I just wanted to escape.
Every time I calmed down a bit a midwife would come in and check on me and I would burst into tears. It was after a few times of this happening my partner asked that they move me to a quieter space as I just couldn’t handle it all.
The baby, the noise, myself, the insanity of the ward. I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t think. I couldn’t stop it, I couldn’t stop the thoughts, I couldn’t stop the feeling of wanting to run away.
It took a few hours but eventually I ended up in a room with one other lady and her baby.
Which wasn’t any better.
She was lovely but her baby just screamed and screamed and screamed all night so I couldn’t get any rest at all.