First of all, have you had a baby recently? How are you doing? You? Not your baby, you, Momma Bear. I want to ask about you because I want you to know that you have not been forgotten. In fact, a beautiful woman who would often comment on my Facebook posts, Kathryn, had a baby around the same time as me and I often think about her and wonder how she is doing. You see, when A was born, the reason I missed being pregnant was because, in such a short space of time, everyone stopped asking how I was and focused on the baby. I felt, in a way, left behind as I tried to catch up to this world who graciously accepted and loved my baby into their arms. But it’s normal. Your bump is gone, the pain is no longer written on your face. But it’s still there, nestled in amongst the scars and quiet sighs. But still, we’re somewhat forgotten once the baby starts to hit their milestones and your pregnancy becomes a distant memory.
Little Bean is a whole 12 weeks old which means I am unequivocally recovered from the c section, right? Well, you’d imagine I was, considering friends and family no longer mention it and ask how I am, unless it’s at the last moment, like an afterthought. But truth be told, the c section has left not only physical and mental scars but enduring pain and awkwardness which I’ll admit I had forgotten about from the first time. So, three months post c section, how am I doing?
Not brilliant if I’m honest but not horrendous either. I teether on the brink of bleurgh most days and have a long lasting numbing pain like dreaded pins and needles that scratch and sometimes burn across my entire abdomen. I think B is the only one I have told about these pains because, well, I’m three months post c section, I should be well healed by now. No, in actual fact, I shouldn’t and I’m not. But that’s OK because time heals all wounds, eventually.
The Physical Side Effects
When A was born in 2013, I remember feeling much like my old self about four weeks after she was born. I remember lifting, pulling, tugging, cleaning and running around. Things haven’t changed much this time except I added a full two weeks onto that four before I felt like myself. For some reason, recovering this time round has taken longer and it’s been harder. Actually, I believe I know the reason but that will be for another post if I ever get to write D’s birth story. But there were a few weeks there when I thought, “I’m amazing. I’ve breezed through it this time again.” Then of course, I did too much, and I was knocked for six. In fact I was only two weeks postpartum when I slumped and gave myself a scolding… and again at four weeks and again at six weeks and admittedly I had to give myself a gentle reminder to once again ease up just two weeks ago. I may be technically recovered (apparently six weeks and you’re sorted… hah) but I’m still suffering. I don’t expect anyone to remember that the c section has left lasting aches and pains but once in a while it’s nice to know Little Beans arduous birth, and the toll it took on my body, is not forgotten. Gosh I sound a little precious! But isn’t birth a big deal for us all.
The Mental Side Effects
I’m deliriously happy to report that I am still managing to control my anxiety and I have gone from having thirty or more panic and anxiety attacks a day down to about five, with the odd day sending me into unshakeable wobbler mode. My anger levels have diminished as I’ve learnt to control my frustration. After all none of this is A’s fault and I desperately don’t want her to get the wrong impression about Momma Bear. I am managing and coping. I have discovered a balance between the three year old and the three month old. I have started to make good choices when it comes to my own food. I am looking after and appreciating myself more. I manage more than the one thirty second shower per week! But it has all been incredibly difficult and has needed a mental energy which is not only exhausting but something I never knew I had. Despite the ongoing attacks, I feel empowered and confident and know that I can do this job, just as good as anyone.
At The End Of The Day
So things are somewhat the same and also a little different this time round. When it came to my recovery on A, I didn’t have a blog. I had nowhere I could wear my heart on my sleeve and let the world know and perhaps understand my journey, which may be similar to theirs. I was rarely asked if I was OK because no one knew to ask. My thoughts were not out there for the world to read.
With D, the blog had been my saving grace as I can vent, explain and explore how these past few months have changed me. Many of my friends and family read the blog and so they know. They know my difficulties, they appreciate my honesty. At the end of the day, if I didn’t talk and tell them how I am feeling, how are they to know that I need them to ask me how I’m doing whenever they see me? If I wasn’t open how could they see the scars that are hidden?
I guess, what I’m trying to say, in this blur of sleep deprivation and mental exhaustion, is when you see that beautiful baby sitting in their mothers lap, gooing and gurgling, remember the women who is holding that baby gently. Remember what she went through so that she could hold and love that baby. Remember that she may not be feeling incredible, remember that she may still be recovering. Remember Momma Bear.