Bringing you home, postnatal anxiety and finally falling in love…
I don’t want to alarm you… but when the day came to leave the hospital and bring you home, something quite strange happened. No one checked that I was ready to actually look after another human. They just…let us take you home. Your dad and I walked to the car and kept checking with people around us that we were allowed to leave with you.
When I bought a new car, I filled out a loan application, aproof of income, insurance coverage and bank account details. Christ, I think Ieven answered more questions about my financial and living situation when I triedto upgrade my movies package on Foxtel. But when I gave birth to another humanbeing and took full responsibility for your survival, they pulled out my catheterand wished me luck.
Your Dad and I were lucky to live only 15 minutes away fromthe hospital you were born in, but on that fateful Sunday it took us over 45minutes to get home. Bad traffic? No. Roadworks? Fraid not. Absolute terror at transferringa human being in a vehicle? Absolutely. The next part I’m definitely not proudof…. But on that trip home there was a detour. It had been a long 9 monthswithout chicken nuggets Rosie so I’m sure you understand that when a McDonaldsis basically on your trip home, it would be criminal not to get some of those badboys. You slept, we held hands and you were a total star.
Rosie, before I tell you about your first week home, it’simportant to tell you that our last few days in the hospital together were alittle tough. You still refused to latch, I was pumping hours and hours everyday to make sure you had breast milk and you were dropping a lot of weight. Somethingwas also shifting in me that still takes my breath away when I think about it.
I became completely scared of you. Scared of hurting you,scared of not feeding you properly and scared to be alone with you. I stoppedholding you in fear that you would reject me again and I was becoming more anxiousby the minute.
That first week home went by in a blur of microwave meals,pumping every 2 hours to maintain supply, burning nipples, c-section recoveryshorts, hourly feeds and still, the fear of holding you. Thank goodness foryour Dad (more on that hunk soon).
During the daytime I would stare at you while you slept andwondered when the overwhelming feeling of love was going to kick in. I wouldrub your cheeks and wonder when I was meant to start feeling like a real mum. Wherewas this overwhelming feeling of love new mums are instantly meant to feel?
These feelings later went on to be diagnosed as post-natalanxiety which is incredibly normal in new Mums and deserves to be talked about FARMORE without fear of judgement.
Fast forward 5 weeks and my life was spent attached to a breast pump. Hours upon hours every day, getting you as much of the good stuff as I could. The only issue was that my mental health was plummeting, along with my supply.
The decision to stop expressing breast milk was one of thehardest decisions I’ve ever made sweet Rosie. The voices in my head wereincredibly loud. All the benefits of breast feeding were swirling around myhead. Was I robbing you of a proper start to life? Was I enhancing your risksof viruses and ear infections? Would we never connect as mother and daughterbecause of this decision?
I will always wish I couldhave given you more breast milk, but I had to put my own mental health first. Youhad been getting formula top ups here and there but one day I stood up, turnedthe breast pump off, sent your Dad out to buy more bottles, more formula andsome chocolate and told him you were about to be an exclusively formula fed baby.I picked you up and for the first time in 5 weeks, I felt like I actually lookedat you. I wasn’t too busy pumping, massaging my swollen breasts, crying becausethings were so hard or trying to sleep for those few precious hours between pumpingagain. I held onto you so tight…for hours.
That day I fell in love with you Rosie. I let everything else go, I let go of the guilt, I let go of expectations, I let go of the disappointment and I just held you. You were perfect and you were mine.
Rosie, I’m so sorry it took me so long to see you but every minute since that day I have loved you with every breath in and every breath out. I had to put myself first that day Rosie, because by doing that I started to become the Mum I wanted to be for you. You are growing, smiling, rolling, playing (almost) laughing and my goodness, you are so LOVED.
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