My honesty continues all the way into the postpartum phase.
Looking back now I can see that this stage was never going to be an easy one, but I did not realise at the time. I was so overwhelmed from my birth experience as well as exhausted, anxious, uneasy in myself, sore and just not present. So, my postpartum was going to be a tough road.
I had Freya in London and unfortunately there are just not enough resources for new parents. They have a shortage of midwives, so I feel I was overlooked in a way. I was so worried about expressing my real feelings to the midwives on the home visits because I did not know that it was okay to feel upset, down or even anxious. I did not know what the result would be if I told them.
Would they think I was not coping?
Would they understand?
No one told me on the team that it was alright and totally normal to feel all these things. I also feel they knew what I had been through and it was not spoken about. I remember on my day three home visit I broke down in uncontrollable tears. I instantly apologised. The midwife did say it was alright and told me about the ‘baby blues.
From then, I never really spoke, or I suppose even realised that I had a traumatic birth for at least a year after having Freya.
I was also feeling anxious about feeding Freya in public. I was breastfeeding her which was the one thing that went perfectly for me. However, in the early days she cluster fed a lot. I remember my mum coming over to visit and we decided to go for a walk. Freya started crying as soon as we went into the park. I panicked, mum panicked, and we rushed back to the house. There was no calmness about it. It was hectic. My poor little baby was so upset and because I am feeling so anxious, I felt like I had to go home to feed her. I will never forget that walk home.I felt under pressure to leave the house.
Learning to walk alone with Freya and maybe go for a coffee alone. Would the buggy fit? Where would I sit? What if she cries? (these are all normal thoughts when you are feeling anxious) although, I did enjoy walks to our local park! I would go early in the morning so I would not bump into anyone. Then there is the topic of the ‘mum groups’. These are good for new mums and to be honest they did help me! However, I did at times feel out of place or even felt obligated to meet up. This again was a feeling that would come with my anxiety. I remember the first group I went to. It took months of persuasion from Brad but I went. I continued to go every week and I did get support from that group.
I still go to groups now, I still meet up with mums from classes I have attended but when I was a first time mum I put myself under pressure and that led to me feeling even worse. Only go if you feel up to it. Only go if you want to go. I did enjoy a coffee and a chat with others that were going through the same baby situations.
My body changed, my mind changed, my attitudes changed. It was a very hard time for me. I had a tiny human that was relying on me for absolutely everything and I did not know how I was truly feeling. I also had to think of Brad. He was there too! We cannot forget the dads!
Even though I enjoyed breastfeeding no one tells you how difficult it can be at times. I was constantly feeding and the effects on the mums mental health is not spoken about as often as I would like to see. Due to me feeding Freya exclusively she would not take a bottle which would mean I would get no time for self care or ‘me time’ . I did not know at the time how important that was.
I know I am not alone in this. I know there are mums out there that were and are in the exact same boat as me. It is not uncommon for anxiety to overcome you even if you did not have a traumatic birth, Being a new parent is a very strange yet wonderful change, Its not just you anymore!
Advice I would give? Ask questions, just say it. Say how you are feeling. Its normal. I know that now especially after having a second baby. You matter. You need to be heard. Your baby needs you well. Be kind to yourself. If you don’t want to go out on a certain day, don’t! If you cancel on someone, that’s okay. Do what you feel is right for you and your baby.
Thanks for reading 😊