We’re nearing the three week mark as a family of three. Feels like three months considering the huge learning curve, the amount of change that’s taken place, and how quickly we’re seeing Luella grow before our eyes.
The birth of our daughter was one of the most profound and beautiful experiences of my life. With it came a flood of changing emotions. Following a long, intense labour that didn’t quite go to plan there were a lot of ups and downs in the first days of her life beyond the usual “baby blues”.
I won’t get into too much detail, but after checking out of the labour ward on their early discharge program we ended up needing to be re-admitted because of a combination of my extreme sleep deprivation and anxiety. I’ve struggled with anxiety since my mid-20s but never in such an extreme way. We did some math at one point and realised I’d been going for six days with no more than an hour of sleep and my anxiety was spiraling out of control, keeping me from relaxing enough to sleep in an awful vicious cycle.
Once back in hospital I was given medication to finally sleep and monitored for my anxiety. Now three weeks in I can proudly say I’m coping a million times better, though there are still hard days of course. And seeing my munchkin’s chubby cheeks make all the awful moments worth it.
But I felt there were a few reasons to write this post.
I’m at high-risk for post-natal depression and the best decision I ever could have made was to ask for help before it got even worse. To keep PND at bay and keep my anxiety in check I’m starting up weekly therapy sessions with a Psych Resident. I’ve also been doing my best to get active, take Luella out of the house, and have visits with friends which has made a huge difference.
This brings me to the second reason for my post. I owe a huge debt of thanks to the people who have supported me during this time.
Firstly, the midwives and other health professionals at RPA Hospital. I don’t really believe in heaven, but if it does exist there is a special place there for these women, without whom I really don’t think I would have survived my first week of motherhood. I felt so supported and safe the whole time I stayed in hospital. In fact, the whole experience really changed my views on hospitals in general – and in particular I am hugely grateful to live in a country where public healthcare is so phenomenal. I shudder to think what our experience might have cost us in the U.S. or a less developed nation.
Next, my family and friends – Jim’s family who were a huge moral support to us during a tough time and came by with food, gifts, and cuddles for Luella. My parents who I know would have given anything to be there, but whose moral support from far away meant the world. David and Zoe who went out of their way to do us a huge favour, giving us comfort that friends would be there for us no matter what. All the friends who’ve come to visit us, brought gifts, and leant a hand. All the new parent friends who shared their stories of struggles with me on Facebook. While I don’t like to hear of anyone struggling, there is some consolation in knowing you’re not alone.
And lastly, the biggest thanks of all to my husband Jim.
I’ve often heard that having a baby increases your heart’s ability to love. While that’s definitely true and I love Luella in a way I’ll never love anyone else, I’ve also been bowled over by how much my love for my husband has increased. Jim is the strongest person I’ve ever known. He’s seen me at my best and my worse and stuck by me through it all. I don’t have enough words to thank him for everything he’s done in the past weeks and can’t imagine parenthood without him.
So I guess what I’m trying to say is, despite a rough start, I’m basically feeling like the luckiest mama in the world to have been given this beautiful daughter, and amazing people in my life to help me raise her.