Out of the woods?

birth, babies, bodies, breastfeeding, depression / Monday, December 13th, 2010

Since my first post I’ve been thinking that there are other reasons I wanted to write too. Partly because after my last pregnancy I experienced post-natal depression, another area which is plagued by both a lot of ignorance and also by a lot of teeny bits of knowledge. This time, so far, I haven’t experienced post-natal depression – although I’m aware it is early days.

I have a teeny three weekold snoozing at my feet and a super busy three year old who is part fireman, part spiderman, part bewildered first baby not sure of his place yet. I find myself eager to make comparisons regarding the post-partum period, but also keen to avoid any suggestion that the birth of my first son was a terrible time for which my second son’s birth and infanthood could make up. After all, that wouldn’t be fair on either of them. But I do feel moved by some realisations.

The first, which may only be news to me, is that childbirth can be something which ends, psychologically at least, on the birth of your baby. Yes you have to push (or have pulled) a placenta, but last time, three weeks in I was in and out of hospital and deranged with tiredness, horror and confusion. I was bleeding dreadfully, terrified because of the constant readmissions with something I could barely spell (haemorrhages), and still feeling like some bewildered teen at the mercy of a large medical building and the constant stream of nice but everchanging care givers. A lost Gretal covered in blood, inching her way through an unknown forest really unsure of whether she’d ever lose her hospital bracelet.

This time I am sitting in my lounge in some non-maternity trousers with a sense of who I am, or at least who I have been and could be, and no hospital notes or ID to suggest I am absconding from the scary wooded wilderness of childbirth. Part of me feels it could all go wrong at any moment, but I took the plunge and let the midwives sign me off. Maybe I can be ready to go it alone after a mere 24 days? Who knows. Still, it really is a revelation, and something I feel inordinately lucky about. I’m sure I’ll be moved to graphically describe my births at some point, and maybe to politely make the mental adjustment which allows me more correctly to refer to them as Son 1 and Son 2’s births. But for now, an easier time with Son 2 has offered me a platform to look back and forward rather than stumble around barefoot in the dark.

It is partially a whimsical observation on my part as come the first week in January I must woman up and make my way to the gynaephysios to have my fanny assessed and possibly rebuilt. But for now, I have a couple of weeks where I can dip my toe in the normal, brilliantly boring chaos and confusion of a new born. Hours lost gazing at his teeny face and toes, more hours lost changing nappies just as I should be leaving the house with spiderman in tow.

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