As many of you know from my previous posts, I’ve been very busy during this past year: I’ve been pregnant, given Alexander a baby brother and he is now 8 months old. Life just got a little bit more hectic! I am feeling really blessed, but it hasn’t been an easy journey. Physically, I was ill with “morning” sickness and fatigue for the first few months and mentally, I suffered from anxiety. I had always been told by people that a Rainbow pregnancy wouldn’t be easy. It definitely wasn’t an easy pregnancy! I will talk about my anxieties in more detail another time but in short, my anxieties placed me in a lonely world. Many people didn’t share my anxieties and so it was very difficult for them to reassure me and be patient with me. I am lucky that I have a handful of friends and my family who supported me throughout. They have been there with me, never judged or ridiculed me. They listened and treated my fears as if they were theirs. When I was upset, they listened. When I was anxious, we talked through my worries. They were also honest with me. These precious people are so important to me and I often wonder how and why I have such lovely people who walk in front of me at times I needed guidance, behind me so they have my back and beside me so that I wouldn’t be alone (I am certainly well covered). I also have a very caring and dedicated counsellor who has helped me process a lot of my emotions. I will be forever grateful to these people.
James (Jamie) arrived in January. It was a cold day, with snow on the ground. I woke up around 6 am with mild contractions. He was due out by planned c-section in 2 days’ time and with my overnight bag half packed, I was hoping that the contractions were Braxton Hicks. No chance. Jamie arrived a few hours later. I don’t remember feeling very anxious at the time- perhaps the physical pain and the Entonox (gas and air) helped. I remember asking the midwife to monitor Jamie’s heart rate when I arrived at the maternity hospital and feeling frustrated at her lack of speed. I remember lying in theatre waiting for Jamie. I remember the whole process taking a long time then I remember seeing a baby held up and hearing loud cries. I still remember thinking that my baby must be ok because I heard crying. Very shortly afterwards, I saw a baby held towards me and I remember discovering that we had a little boy. Alexander’s baby brother.
The first week was difficult- I was in hospital during this time and Jamie had jaundice. Jamie needed light therapy and his bilirubin levels required monitoring for a few weeks after when he came home. Being in hospital for a week meant that I was on my own- mentally and physically. I was on my own dealing with Jamie’s jaundice. The help I received during my hospital stay was variable. I encountered a few really kind midwives, but I also encountered some who didn’t see me as a mother. Having anxiety labelled me. Having anxiety made some midwives and doctors see me as someone who might reject treatment for Jamie’s jaundice when in fact, I did everything to help treat Jamie’s jaundice. Having anxiety also made a few people saw me as a hypochondriac. I remember waking up in the middle of the night with uncontrollable tremors and when I spoke to one midwife, I was told that it was just my anxiety. No, it wasn’t my anxiety. Feeling anxious and wanting to make sure my baby is ok doesn’t make me unreasonable, mad or a hypochondriac. Feeling anxious about my baby also doesn’t mean that I am anxious about everything. Having anxiety doesn’t mean that my baby doesn’t come first or that I am a bad mother. It has been an extremely disappointing time. There are many other examples which still upset me. However, whilst some people seem to perceive me as an unreasonable mad woman, there were also others who treated me like a normal mother, a mother who had the same worries as other mothers. A mother who wanted to protect her child. A mother who hasn’t had much experience. I am forever grateful to the few who supported me and treated me as a normal person. Anxiety puts you in a lonely place, made lonelier and more isolated by the few people who have little compassion and are quick to judge.
After a week in hospital, Jamie and I were discharged. I still remember putting Jamie into his car seat. It was easy back then- he was asleep, and I didn’t have the issue of an arched back and tantrums like I do now. I remember sitting next to a sleeping Jamie in the car on our way home. That night, back in my own home for the first time after leaving the house with contractions a week ago, I remember sitting in the lounge and looking at Alexander’s photos on the wall. I was suddenly aware that this was what it was meant to be- bringing a baby home in a car seat. I was aware more than ever what I had missed with Alexander. The car seat we had for Alexander was empty and Alexander never came home as a baby. I only ever got to carry his ashes home. The contrast was stark.
Jamie is 8 months now. There have been countless sleepless nights and there have been times when I don’t get to eat on time or do anything for myself because Jamie comes first but there isn’t one moment I don’t treasure or enjoy looking after him. I feel satisfied every time I feed him, knowing that I’m giving him the best start in life and I feel blessed every time I change his nappy. My heart swells every time he smiles at me.
I still suffer from anxieties. Some of these have gone and some have dampened down. Understanding about my anxieties has helped me battle my fears and has given me some of my confidence back. I have good days and I have bad days but, every day, I am a mummy to two beautiful boys.