Sometimes things in life creep up on you. You don’t see them lurking around the corner, breathing silently in the deep of the night.
You don’t realise that all the things you’ve been saying and writing and believing are not actually true. None of it. Or some of it. It’s all so muddled you’re not actually sure any more.
And yes. Yes, sleep deprivation makes it worse. Sleep deprivation makes everything a lot worse. But sleep deprivation doesn’t change the facts.
I’ve been here before. I’ve felt this gnawing, throbbing anxiety and I’ve touched the edge of the darkness too. And after The Toddler was born, I truly believed that it was all over. Ended. But it seems that burying doesn’t make things disappear after all.
There are many similarities between my second and my fourth pregnancy. The sickness, the uncertainty. The failed VBAC. The lying on an operating table and not wanting to be there, not feeling in control. The dark days afterwards where all you can do is cry. Look at your baby, and cry.
I love them no less. I am allowed to feel this way. I am allowed to mourn the pregnancy that was not what I’d hoped. I’m allowed to mourn the birth that I never had, and never will have. And though I know that some of you will not understand, will believe that a healthy baby means that all was ok- that is ok too. You cannot understand unless you have been inside my skin.
I did not want a knife held against me again. I did not want to lie shaking on a table in a cold, sterile room. I did not want to feel that burning white hot pain slashed across my stomach again. I did not want to be scared to sit up. I did not want to scream silently with every step I took. I did not want to look back at my pregnancy and feel such an immense sadness. I did not want birth trauma to creep up on me again.
I knew it the day I realised there were no photos of Elsie and I. More noticeably, the photo I refused to have taken when my son was born (that shot everyone has, right after birth in the hospital bed. Holding baby, smiling.) I had once again refused to have taken. That realisation broke my heart. No photos of Elsie and I. No reminder that I had done it. I had birthed her, one way or another. I had done it. And I had the photo to prove it. Four children, and only one such photo.
And while days may be bleak, I know that they will get better. My health visitor has been wonderful and despite catching me on a very bad day she seems to get it. I need time. And understanding.