Raising Will

Getting happy after Baby


I had a hard time with the end of Xavier’s pregnancy and his birth. After ten weeks of crippling pelvic pain followed by nineteen hours of excruciating posterior labour followed by what felt like the world’s most traumatic c-section, let’s just say when I held my baby boy for the first time (three hours later thanks to his trip to Special Care) I was in a funny place.

And not funny ha-ha.

While I pottered around in my hospital room for the next ten hours in my clouded, funny state – a familiar feeling crept into my right shoulder. Not only was I dazed and confused, I was now in breath-taking pain thanks to a surgery complication the midwives refer to as ‘shoulder-tip’ pain (I’d also suffered this when I had Will – I knew no fun was coming my way any time soon). Caused by air pockets under the diaphragm referring pain into the shoulder blade – I was literally stopped in my tracks; couldn’t sleep; couldn’t move. As forty-eight hours of this came and went with about two winks of sleep and big fat dose of Pethidine, I somehow emerged with a  little champion breast-feeder. I still don’t know how I survived those first days to be honest. I’ve never felt so unlike myself…. ever.

There's a storm inside...

There’s a storm inside…

Unlike myself? That’s totally how it was. I was full of anxiety about my boys and how I was going to handle them. I was full of disappointment for not achieving the VBAC I had so desperately hoped for. I was full of vicious sarcasm for any midwife that rubbed me the wrong way. I was full of anger for the hospital and doctors that brought Xavier into the world while I screamed in terror at the feeling of all my insides being pulled out. I was full of fear about the thought of another pregnancy (yeah I know – why the HECK was I thinking about that!). If I’d been full of a colour it would’ve been dark, dark grey. I felt cheated, powerless, weak and scared. Not. Me. At. All.

And at the time, I knew this wasn’t me. It was a little surreal, like I was watching it happen to someone else and I was giving them advice about breastfeeding, breathing exercises, feeling grateful and thinking positive. It was as if I was floating above my body shouting ‘this will pass’. But alas, my body was determined to stay in the storm.

Then we came home from hospital. And I cried. A lot.

At Xavier’s four week check, the Maternal Child Health Nurse asked that stupid* question – ‘Are you OK?’…

I wasn’t OK…

I was not OK.

The problem I had wasn’t with my baby. The problem I had was with me and I realised I needed to deal with the dark grey that was clouding my brain.

At the very moment that I understood how serious my situation was becoming, I felt my floating self come down and walk next to me. It’s voice became stronger. Every time I caught myself being negative, my floaty self would sit on that negativity with sunshine blazing out its bum saying “You are ok; this was just something that happened; you are not a failure; forgive yourself”… There was a real internal struggle going on inside me and I’m sure when people weren’t looking, my two selves were literally wrestling each other.

Postnatal Depression Awareness Week

Postnatal Depression Awareness Week | Nov 18-24 | #bePNDaware

Next week is Postnatal Depression Awareness Week.  15% of women and 5% of men will be diagnosed with this condition in Australia this year, so it’s important that people are aware of the signs and have the confidence to seek the assistance they need. Whilst I wasn’t diagnosed with PND, had the MCH Nurse not confronted me about my feelings that day, this may’ve been a completely different post.

One of my favourite bloggers, Naomi at Seven Cherubs faced a true battle with Postnatal Depression. When I was in the dark, I watched Naomi’s vlog post here and identified with so much of what she had to say. Sometimes its the sharing of stories that can be the best therapy – knowing you’re not alone in your battle.

Looking back now from my place in the sun, I know which self won my battle. I’m so glad that the grey is all gone and I have accepted what happened to my body. I can get on with life. I can dream about another pregnancy  I can breathe. And when someone asks me “Are you OK?”, I can say “Why yes, thank you.”

* This is NEVER a stupid question!

Click Here to check out PANDA’s Fact sheet on Postnatal Depression

If you or someone you know needs help you can all the PANDA national helpline on 1300 726 306 or visit www.panda.org.au

**Part of the Postnatal Depression Awareness Week Blog Hop. Click on the link below to see all the amazing posts**

Author: Michelle @ Raising Will

Loves Mr RW, two sweet boys and ALL the coffee. Sporadic Blogger. Sewing Addict. Perfume wearer. Chocolate eater. Stop the clock, I need a sleep!

16 thoughts on “Getting happy after Baby

  1. Michelle – thank you so much for sharing your story. I could relate to quite a bit of it including the maternal health nurse being the one to ask the question. I love that in your bio above it says “mother doing her best” as that is all we should ever ask of ourselves right? I wish I was told that in antenatal classes!
    Deb @ home life simplified

    • Too right Deb – we shouldn’t expect any more of ourselves than what we can do.
      And no matter how abrasive MCHN’s can sometimes be, they have picked up PND in its early stages twice for me – I will always be grateful for that fact.
      Thanks for visiting x

  2. What a great post!!! Thank you for sharing your story. Isn’t it amazing the pressure we put on ourselves during and after pregnancy! I’m glad your positive self won over!!!

  3. My MCHN picked it up for me too. Icky wasn’t for her help and support who knows where I’d be now. Mish you are a wonderful mum and doing a great job xx

  4. Thanks for sharing. This kind of story is very close to my heart as I suffered and it’s a tough battle to win. Do you think we ever fully recover? As I was reading your story it brought a tear to my eye and all those feeling came back. The MCHN’s are awsome and do a great job. I am so glad to hear you are feeling better and enjoying you lovely family.

  5. Thank you for sharing your experience Michelle. The worst part about PND for me was feeling as though I was being ungrateful and selfish, and that came from the lack of loud voices. This is such an important week! I’m glad your battle is over x

  6. I love your words. Thank goodness for the little mini-you giving you gentle, positive reminders along the way! The blogosphere is so unique in that it’s a place we can all hear each other’s stories and identify with them, whether we’re close in location or not. I love that.

  7. I think it’s wonderful how you’ve had the courage to share your story with others. It’s through the honest and real conversations like these that “the sisterhood” is being supported and we can all realise that it’s ok to not always be ok. Much Love, Vanessa

    • Well said Vanessa. It’s amazing the response PND Awareness Week has garnered and its impact on not only myself but many of my blogging buddies, has been such a positive one. It’s crucial that the conversation continues to be had amongst parents. Thanks for visiting.

  8. This is a fantastic post, it’s so important to get this out there. Too many women go into pregnancy and childbirth thinking that PND is something that happens to ‘other’ women. To other mothers. To bad mothers. The more we are honest about it, the more they will know they can speak up and get help.

    It’s been a couple of months since you wrote this. But I didn’t want to leave without saying “I was here. I read this. I heard you. And I’m so glad you’re ok now”.

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