Tonight I finally sat down to recount my birth story – journaled for private consumption in all its bare honesty.
Postnatal post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is real for some women who just cannot recall their birthing process. We will forget details as time goes by, but I wouldn’t want my son to miss out on the roller coaster of emotions his parents felt on the day of his birth. I hope he shares our trepidation and joy when he grows up enough to read about his birth process.
Truthfully, I’m penning all these down for me, as a first-time mom, to accept that life has taken on a whole new meaning.
As cliche as it sounds, I’m typing as I pump – the 20-minute window every 3-hours when all is quiet except for the whirring of the breast pump motor – during which my baby sleeps, or is with one of his Grandmas in the living room or nursery. I’m living each day in blocks of 2 to 3 hours. Baby feeds every two-hours and a pumping session is due every three. In between feeds, there is so much washing and sterilizing to do. It’s a great blessing to have my mom take care of all my confinement meals, and to take over the baby whenever I’m overwhelmed.
I’m still taking all of this in: changes to my lifestyle, my body, my relationship with my parents, husband, in-law, family and friends, and accepting how this is the new norm.
Today, for instance, I got emotional over a minor episode.
I recalled that during our first night rooming-in with our one-day-old baby at the hospital, our baby fussed and cried so loudly, he only fell asleep when I held him close to my chest, as I reclined in my patient’s bed. I barely slept for that two hours in order to keep my arms and body so still, he can remain comfortably asleep. Although my back hurt badly from birth and epidural, I never felt happier and fulfilled in that moment from being able to comfort my baby.
Earlier this afternoon, I had to wake my sleeping baby up for his feed. After sipping half of his usual bottle, I burped him and he went back to sleep. When I tried to feed him the rest of his milk, he started wailing like a Mandrake. I couldn’t figure out what to do. He only stopped crying when his daddy held him and finished his milk. Worst still, he fussed and cried when I tried to carry him again. At that point, I was upset when his daddy pointed how my baby cried so hard when I held him, and calmed down when others did the same. Then my mom came in and suggested my baby was uncomfortable from the way I was holding him. I observed my baby for a while. Tried again, and sure enough, this time he fell asleep in my arms for the next hour and a half.
That instantly banished my notion of “I carried him for 40 weeks hence I should know him best“.
And refreshed my mindset that I would spend the rest of my life getting to know this boy.
What transpired set me thinking that there were indeed emotions we would never experience and comprehend until we became parents ourselves. That we’re here to educate our child as much as he’s here to teach us new and wonderful things.
Maybe I’m still running high on postpartum hormones and feeling all emotional and just had to pen this down. But I hope first-time moms, and even the seasoned moms out there, can relate to having these emotional moments as we navigate our way through this strange, unique and most definitely rewarding path.
Motherhood is a journey, and mine is just beginning.