It hadn’t even been 24 hours since I had a c-section when my small ward room had suddenly filled up with well meaning family members and friends.
They were super excited to see my newborn. They cooed over him and cried. What’s wrong with this scene, you may be asking?
The room was suffocating, the stench of flowers filled the room (not the worst stench) but my scar was fresh and barely healed, I suddenly had a newborn and an overwhelming responsibility.
It was all sinking in. I was now a mother. There was a lot about childbirth that I was unprepared for. There’s the icky stuff, the bleeding and all the TMI stuff that I will spare you from, but one thing that I hadn’t prepared for was how I would feel.
Baby blues is a very real thing and few women are immune. It should be not be confused with post natal depression. They are not the same thing. But in a nutshell, when your body has been through the rollercoaster that is pregnancy there are huge fluctuations in your hormone levels. This can create a drop in your mood and you can find yourself crying for hours…for no reason. This mood ceases though, unlike post natal depression.
Nonetheless I was locked in the bathroom crying for no reason. I did this for an hour before people started showing up at my ward.
My mother in law asked me if I was tired. I nodded. Not wanting to admit that I had just been crying for absolutely no reason.
Planning on giving birth? Monique Bowley and Bec Judd discuss everything you’ll need for the first three days with a newborn, on Hello Bump.
I was trying to mask my baby blues (because having a baby is meant to be the happiest day of your life and anything less than that is met with criticism). Trying to navigate breastfeeding and a newborn…all under the watchful eyes of others. No, I’m not talking about the midwives or the lactation consultants. I’m talking about people I know.
They all wanted to see my newborn. Ready to put their hands on my defenceless newborn who wasn’t even 24 hours old.
People come to visit women who have given birth because it’s the norm. It’s expected. No one questions that and new mothers are expected to ‘suck it up’ and smile for the camera while it gets posted on social media.
No one had asked me whether I was ready for visitors. Whether or not they could touch the baby. It was already assumed they could.