I didn’t want them to leave. And I suppose my face said it all as we stood in the doorway of the bathroom. She had just helped me out of the shower and had applied antiseptic cream to my infected scar. I was bent double, in pain and in grief, and I didn’t want to look at her in the face because I knew that when I did I would have to let go. Those tears would have to streak their way down my face and I would have to admit that there was a baby down there that I wanted nothing to do with. Not in a neglectful way. In a detached way. And then she did what only your mum can do. She took me into her arms and held me. And her words, though brief, have stayed with me ever since. ” You’ll get through this.”
And did I? Did I get through it? Some days I am still finding my way. Some days I don’t think of it at all. Some days I do.
It was snowing. Really thick and heavy snowflakes had been falling all day, and so they had to leave early. They needed to make their long journey home before it became too treacherous. The world was laying down a gentle blanket and pulling me into the cold. I watched the snow continue to fall long after their car had disappeared into the white and I stayed like that for a while. The Polar Express was playing on the television but nobody was really watching it. The baby, for now, was quiet. The world seemed to go to sleep.
To those who told me that I should pull myself together
To those who told me I was making a fuss over nothing
To those who told me that they had had a c-section and they were not traumatised… I want you to know that I got through that day.
I got through that day, and many other days afterwards. But it did not change what happened. What happened will never go away, and yes I am right to talk about it still. I am right to remember the small things that knitted together to make it what it was.
It’s in the eye of the beholder. You may think that you had a worse time than me, and I am sorry that you think that. It might be true. And I’m sorry for that, too. You might think that what has happened to you deserves more sympathy, more attention, or more empathy. And maybe you are right. But until you live in my skin, and walk in my shoes you will never know what my birth trauma was like.
The snow continued for weeks and weeks, painting our little world in various shades of bright, glittering white. It stuck to tree branches, caught in pram wheels and hung from telephone wires. It sugar coated the house in a cloak of cold. It enveloped us in winter. And we got through it.
I am getting through it. And if you understand even a small part of all of this, let me tell you what my mum told me.
You’ll get through this.