Maternity Matters

My Journey Has Only Just Begun

I didn't complain~ #birthtrauma :ghostwritermummy.co.uk

I’ve fallen down before, many times. And each time I’ve risen again. Maybe not quite dusted myself off, but risen none the less. Maybe on shaky legs and tentative toes, but risen none the less. Maybe slowly, but surely none the less. And as I sit here tonight, thinking over the way today has gone, I’m starting to realise that this has been here all along. It’s no surprise, not really. It’s been lurking for months, years even. It’s been waiting for me to notice it. It’s been peeping around door frames and hiding under beds, waiting. Holding its breath, biding it’s time. Waiting, just waiting, for me to accept its prescience. And now that I have? I must get up.

I must go on. I am a mother and I must go on.

But first, a rest if I may.

I was feeling so cross with myself! I was sure, so sure, that my journey was almost complete. I didn’t know it was only just beginning. That my decisions had been holding me aback, preventing me from travelling further. Instead, I’ve been going around and around and around in circles. Chasing my tail like a faithful dog, so determined to show the world how strong I am and how far I’ve come. In reality though, I’m no different from every other mum who sits with her head in her hands as she admits, at last, that she’s a little bit broken.

Post natal anxiety.

Depression.

Exhaustion.

All of those things are ME. Me, the mum who decided three weeks was long enough to take for maternity leave, before getting back to the business of proving how strong and how capable she is. Me, who refused to seek help, insisting instead that writing was her therapy and she’ll sort her own way out of it all thank you very much. Me, who truly truly believed that she was actually ok.

It seems two pregnancies in a short space of time following a traumatic birth actually is enough to tip you over. A stressful pregnancy is enough. Months and months and months of broken and disturbed sleep. A child with health issues. A busy house. All the stuff that comes with being mum.

I want to be me, too. But I don’t know who that is right now. All I know is that my journey really is only just beginning.

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I Won’t be Silenced

Those who ask aren’t you over it by now? Those who expect you to have moved on. Those who cannot fathom how something so minor can have such an effect on you, still. Those people? Those people will never get it. Those people will never understand. Those people may never be educated otherwise. Because to those people, what you went through was nothing. No big deal. No reason to complain. Or, it was so awful, so horrid and so terrifying that you should really be mindful of scaring other women. You cannot win.

I Wont Be Silenced_ghostwritermummy.co.ukYou cannot win because birth trauma already claimed the victory. While you were sleeping, or screaming, or crying, or nothing, birth trauma was there. Seeping through your life, into your being and around your soul. and it’s a long and lonely road. Because even I fall to get it sometimes. Even I struggle to comprehend the enormity, how much my life has changed. How much I have changed. And I’m sick, and tired, of feeling like I need to explain. Or apologise. Or pretend. And I’m so, so sick and tired of feeling this way. Of being embarrassed and ashamed of who I am. (more…)

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Wait

It’s 3am. The house is still, quiet, sleeping. The clock in the hallway downstairs ticks softly: one two, one two, one… two. Outside, a cat mewls softly and a bottle falls onto hard ground, tinkling faintly in the distance. Between us is a door. Solid, yet thin enough to hear his breathing. Rasping and uneven. Faltering. Fragile. Underneath me the carpet starts to sag and I shift my legs slightly, trying to conserve warmth but failing miserably. It’s hours until the heating will kick in and anyway, nobody else is up so why heat the house?

And I wait.

Wait_ Ghostwritermummy.co.ukHe’ll wake soon. And it will all begin again. And I’ll sob quietly into the darkness because I know that this night will be exactly like every other night. Except that this night might be the night that breaks me. Finally I will fall, shattered. A million tiny pieces of useless motherhood splintering onto the ground. Swept away with the rubbish. Gone. Forgotten? Probably. Hopefully. (more…)

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All That Matters

You’re sitting in a room, all alone. You’re seated on the edge of the bed and your body feels heavy as it sags towards the floor. You’re breathing hard. Shallow. You close your eyes because when you do that, the reel inside your head begins to slow and the flickering images start to make a little more sense. But they’re still there and you know that no matter what you do, those images are staying. Imprinted on your soul forever. Because you’re changed forever.

Someone beside you reaches for your hand. They know you’re broken. You’re scared. You’re screaming for help. You don’t know what they’re thinking. You don’t know what they’re feeling. You don’t know if they understand. But you need them. And as they take your hand in theirs you fall into them.

“At least your baby is here, healthy and happy! That’s all that matters.”

And the world comes tumbling down.

I have heard this so. Many. Times. I have learned not to react. Not to shut down and wallow. Not to question myself and my own reactions to what happened. I’ve learned that not everyone understands. They can’t. They won’t. I’ve learned to appreciate that birth trauma is still so misunderstood.

I get comments and emails and  messages that question my motives for writing about birth trauma. What happened to me is nothing compared to what happened to them. They went through what I did and they aren’t traumatised, so why am I? They’ve been through much worse, what gives me the right to complain? They don’t have a baby, happy and healthy, at all. So how dare I feel cheated, or mournful or angry?

I won’t dismiss your feelings. But I won’t accept that it’s ok for you to tell me a healthy baby is all that matters. I matter too. My birth experience matters. My emotional wellbeing. My state of mind. I matter as much as you do.

I took a baby home from the hospital and I will always ALWAYS be grateful that I did. I will always know how lucky I am. I will always appreciate the work that was done to save my son’s life. But I will also always remember the horror that was his birth. I only wish I could forget.

A healthy baby is important. But it is NOT all that matters.

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