I am a doer.
It becomes evidently very clear to me that using ones body is a privilege. A divine one, that for a short period after a surgery, one must delegate and accept every ounce of help offered. I am so blessed to have had so much help. The whole hospital team was very caring. My hubby, first born daughter and dm helped me through the whole home stay.
Despite all of this, being dependent on others for everything was so emotionally draining for me. I’m used to being the matriarch, the one who sorts out things, the helplessness aspect of recuperating really frustrated me. It had to be done.
The healing process after my second CS was much, much more painful. I didn’t see it coming. This, in combination with not being able to quickly get myself a glass of water left me in a mental state, where I felt I would never recover. My anxiety grew to be its own monster. My usual remedy, of trying to do something about whatever is making me anxious, was impossible to implement. This called on a situational depression, in combination with the anxiety, they conspired to give me a hard time.
One of the greatest sources of anxiety was this: “Is the milk enough”. Breast feeding is interesting, because you can’t tell for sure if it is working adequately, until the baby is full and asleep. When there is less milk, its possible to sit and Nurse, for hours, most of which you are thinking “Shes just about to drop off…”. Hours of ‘she’s just about to drop off’ in combination with a hugely unfinished to do list, it was mentally taxing and emotionally unnerving.
Due to these factors, the first few weeks from the hospital, involved a lot of tears. I cried buckets, whenever I could be sure of some privacy. Between tears, I prayed prayers of gratitude, and I began to promise myself something:
“This body, and it’s movements are not a given. The restrictions I had were not even as limiting as some conditions can be. I myself will use my body, to the best of my ability, I will move, and live in it, to its full capacity, for as long as I can.”
I used the waiting period to work up the resolve for consistent exercising as soon as it is allowed and comfortable.
My first two weeks were fully overwhelming emotionally, I had extreme relief, tension, gratitude, fear and all of the in betweens too.
We moved house, during my pregnancy, my nesting and home organizing were greatly affected by having very limited energy. This meant that right after delivery, this was another task on my mind. The sitting room still had boxes in it. Boxes I wanted to go through carefully and put away in a way that made for easy retrieval. I was busy during all my waking hours and yet feeling like I was achieving nothing. People wanted to see the baby, and I couldn’t imagine letting them see the house.
Babies clothes were meticulously disinfected and folded like a tidy filing cabinet, mine on the other hand have not even been organised since I moved in. I think it is something quite common, for mothers to put themselves last. I am working on it, it is not as simple as one may think to put oneself first when there are those who are depending on you.
The main purpose of this article is to let new mums know one thing. It is ok, for the way you feel when your baby first arrives, to be complicated. People stop asking how you are, and the standard greeting turns into “Hows the baby?” If you answer any negative responses at this time, people will judge you. “You should be grateful” sits at the tip of tongues, waiting to come greet you. It is simply, not that simple.
Emotions are influenced by two main things. Environmental factors, and biochemical factors. Giving birth upsets both these factors. Consequently, the emotions one goes through right after delivery can be enormous and founded. The world may not understand, but I do Mama. All your concerns and fears will likely be dismissed as “being negative” by people who just don’t have the time or empathy to understand how you feel. You are not. You are simply planning for the worst, as a mothers instincts demand of her.
It is at this time, that (if you haven’t already) you need to make sure you are in touch with a network of mothers. Mothers often share resources with each other, and will have more understanding of what you go through than other people. That said, even among mothers we can be hard on ourselves, and each other. Bear in mind that each persons journey is individual, if someones advise always leaves you feeling worse, don’t keep going back for more. Mothers are a demographic who are so heavily judged, that you have to develop a sense of autonomy, or else be walked over.
Looking back now I think WOAH! That is a lot I dealt with internally. Despite having support around me. Anxiety can be very hard to reach out about. Thoughts of inconveniencing others act like a gag, postponing requests for help until one can no longer even imagine reaching out. I got through, and now that I’m feeling better, I’m back to work too. My household, motherhood, exercise and professional capacities are back, and I’m not wasting a moment of energy. Mama, finding energy for yourself can be tough. I have homework for you. The next time you have two free minutes, do five squats, five sit ups or five push ups. Give your body a little circulation boost, and start getting your mind around dedicating minutes in the day, to you time.