My Hormonal Rollercoaster! .. My Life Immediately Post Birth

My Hormonal Rollercoaster! .. My Life Immediately Post Birth


Hello All,

Hope you’re well!

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while but wanted to ensure I was really in the mood and in the right zone to do so. It isn’t always easy reflecting back to tough times as even the thought of the past stirs back strong emotions. I wanted to talk about life immediately after Arjun’s birth and a glimpse of life today.

So as you know from my birth story (My Birth Story),things didn’t quite go to plan. By nature (incase you hadn’t noticed!) I’m quite an organised person, I like order, I like to know what’s going on and I like to have a plan. I was quite flexible (by my standards!) when it came to approaching labour as I knew my hypertension meant that things may not pan out how I wanted but I was optimistic nevertheless.

I had the nursery ready, my labour bag all packed, my last minute bits list all sorted and I felt really ready and prepared for it all. There was nothing more I could really have done at that point.

I had a check list of things I wanted as soon as my baby was born – for us to say a prayer together, to have skin to skin contact and for me to breast feed to name a few. All of those things went straight out the window when he was born. Though I say I was open minded about labour, in hindsight I probably wasn’t. Or I probably didn’t think about the consequences of different scenarios enough and so what happened ended up sending me in to a downward spiral of guilt, sadness and vulnerability.

When I woke up in ICU and realised I’d given birth and I hadn’t even held my beautiful baby yet, I can’t describe how I felt. Did he even know who I was? That I was his mummy? That he lived inside me for nine months? Would he ever love me how he would have had we had skin to skin? Did he have the best start in life and would he be blessed without us having said our prayer that we’d planned? Will he get enough nutrients without my breast milk? How did I let all this happen? Why the hell couldn’t I just have pushed a bit harder?! I felt like such a failure and it just all felt way too much for me – I felt so disappointed and let down by my own self. I felt like it was my fault I wasn’t able to push, and that I ended up having a C section and in turn was in such a state. In reality, I never would have been able to give birth naturally to Arjun as his head was too far up but my rational side had done a runner. I really should have been focusing on the fact that my baby was born healthy and alive. But for some reason my mind kept dragging me in to a deep hole of self hate. It was horrible. It made me feel mentally more exhausted than I already was and it made me feel extremely selfish.

I remember waking up and asking Preetam to show me our boy – I couldn’t even hold him comfortably but he was so beautiful. I couldn’t believe he was here. I couldn’t get my head around the fact that he lived inside me. How crazy? How did he fit?!


Family pic – looking our best 😐
These thoughts were soon interrupted by a sharp pain in my abdomen – the painkillers had started to wear off. Then reality hit – Preetam had already fed him his first feed, changed his first nappy and had his first cuddle. All without me. Although I was so so grateful to have Preetam there (he was absolutely amazing and so hands on despite everything he had to witness), I felt so gutted. I just felt like a useless mother. I can often be my own worst enemy – my personal standards are so high that sometimes I need to give myself a break. But I don’t know how to.


Preetam still in his scrubs in awe of his little boy x

 

Hands on daddy (he does the tongue thing when concentrating and Arjun does it too! – Like father like son) x
The midwife bought me over some toast and jam with tea – toast and jam has never tasted so good! Especially as it had been almost 40 hours since I’d last eaten. I felt like I had a little more energy.
I messaged my family and was so pleased that they were all so overjoyed and thrilled. This wasn’t just about me, this was about our parents becoming grandparents – something they have waited for. They were so emotional and it made me forget about all my pain for a short while. I was so happy we were able to give them that gift. I couldn’t wait for them to meet him.


Proud grandparents – they met Arjun later that day x
I tried to breast feed whilst in ICU, it’s a little bit of a blur but I remember Arjun latching on quite easy. It felt nice – I was able to give him something that no one else could. But soon in to it, the panging pain of my scar started again and I was unable to carry on for too long.

Preetam had been awake for over 48 hours by this point so he asked my sister to come and swap with him so he could go home and freshen up. I don’t think words will ever be able to explain how grateful I was to have Preetam and my sisters there with me throughout. God put me in a situation that I struggled with but he put all the right people around me including the hospital staff – they were angels in uniform.

I remember when Goov arrived, I was so tired, exhausted I could barely keep my eyes open. I asked her to watch over Arjun whilst I slept. I knew how uncomfortable she was around babies but I felt she’d do a better job than I would at that point. I fell asleep. I know the next few hours whilst I slept were really daunting for her – she was as clueless as I was. Instead of panicking (which she’d normally do!), she got on with things for my sake – she knew I needed her.

I woke up and she’d changed his nappy (with a little assistance!) and managed to put him to sleep. Even my sister had changed a nappy before I could and managed to comfort my baby. The thought of having to lift myself out of bed and then have to lean over to change my baby’s nappy was frightening – I didn’t understand where I was meant to find the strength to do it. My body was aching, my abdomen was throbbing and I felt drained.

Proud masi x
One of the many midwives that were by my side helping Goov to change Arjun’s nappy lol

Because I was so exhausted, Preetam made the decision for us that I would attempt breast feeding during the day (my wish) and we’d bottle feed at night so he could do night shift and I could rest and recover. I was so thankful to him for calling that shot because had I made that decision, I probably would have beat myself up over it. It really helped being able to sleep at night whilst he took care of Arjun.

I stayed for an extra two nights after Arjun was born but the hospital were kind enough to let Preetam stay with me and also to allow one of the twins to come and spend the day with me to help me. I really appreciated the midwives care and sympathy. It made a huge difference. During the night, the midwives often came in to have a cuddle and to help feed Arjun and put him to sleep – I learnt so many different ways of burping him and holding him! They were amazing and I still think of them today. Initially I begged to be discharged the next day but my consultant and the midwife on duty were adamant that I needed to stay a little longer. I’m glad I did as I was given morphine whilst at the hospital which really helped. I was also offered so much support. Although it was a tough situation, I have such fond memories of my time at the hospital – parts of my ordeal make me smile 🙂 The midwives from Triage and the ante natal ward would come and see me to have a cuddle with Arjun and to see how I was doing. They are such blessed souls.


Another one of my angels helping me with Arjun during the night x
My sisters took the next two weeks off from work to stay with Preetam and I – I’m so lucky to have not one but two sisters. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to repay them for how much they helped us. I felt so much more comfortable having Preetam and them around as I felt so useless. I wasn’t mobile on my own – Preetam had to take me to the bathroom and help me shower so how was I meant to take care of my baby? I couldn’t even place him down in his moses basket because it hurt so much. Surely I should’ve found the strength from somewhere just by looking at my son? I didn’t. And it just reinforced my self opinion of being a failure.

One of many selfies with the twins and Arjun whilst they stayed over x

I slowly became really reliant on Preetam and the twins and began to lose any confidence that I could do this myself. I didn’t change Arjun’s nappy till he was two weeks old. TWO WEEKS! The feeling of being under confident still trickles through today – to some peoples surprise.

Our first outing was to the Gurdwara (Sikh temple) to seek God’s blessings and to thank the almighty for giving us such a perfect little baby. What would have usually taken 15 minutes took us about an hour. During the ardaas (prayer), I had an excruciating pain and the Giani (priest) offered to bring me over a chair. I felt so embarrassed but didn’t understand why. It was ok to be in pain a few days after major surgery! I wasn’t able to hold Arjun at all at the temple but was so glad we got to go. I felt so much better –he’d been blessed. I also felt a lot more balanced in that moment – I always find gong to the Gurdwara centres me. I find it so peaceful.


Our trip to the Gurdwara x
Preetam decided to take an extra two weeks off from work (four weeks in total) to give me the emotional, mental and physical support that I needed. I was relieved. We went out for lunch one day just to get out of the house – it was so difficult moving, everything took so much longer and was such an effort as I was in so much pain and found it so tiring. I was no longer on morphine but on regular Codydramol and Paracetamol and it wasn’t doing much for me. I knew I had to keep trying to become better mobile as soon Preetam would also be returning to work.


Our first lunch out as a family x
By this time (after three weeks), I’d given up breast feeding as I was really struggling to cope with it – Arjun was constantly hungry. I also knew it’d hinder me going out comfortably and I’d end up spending even more time at home than I wanted to. Giving up breast feeding wasn’t an easy decision either – something else I beat myself up over. Was I going to be able to form that same bond with him? I soon realised that even with bottle feeding, your baby gazes in to your eyes the same way. I definitely agree that breast is best but it just didn’t work for me and I felt the pressure from the health visitors.

The night before Preetam’s return to work, I remember panicking. How was I going to do this? Was I going to be able to care for my baby all alone!? Everyone told me I’d know what his cries meant – but I didn’t! Did that mean I was a bad mum?!

I wasn’t able to drive, I could just about manage to move comfortably alone by this point. What if I fell down the stairs with him? What if he didn’t want to be with me because he became so used to everyone else? What if he rejected me? I felt so down, so useless and so scared. Even the smallest task felt like a huge challenge and everything was starting to cave in on me.

The health visitor was coming to see us often and it was her that highlighted I was showing quite a few of the symptoms of Post Natal Depression (PND) – something I’d heard of. I knew I was prone to it especially after a car accident I had in 2009 where I was left with a fractured skull and suffered from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). I was very self aware but because I was so self aware I thought I’d be able to control it. Not quite the case when your body is raging with hormones and when the course of action is completely different to how you imagined it. Still, luckily I wasn’t too far gone and it was picked up early.

I remember describing to the health visitor how everything felt so “big” and difficult. How I didn’t feel like leaving the house – even to go in the garden (it was sunny then). She asked me why I didn’t take Arjun in the garden sometimes and eat lunch out there (we are blessed with a beautiful garden). I explained to her that that task seemed far too big for me – it wasn’t just a case of sitting outside, it was packing the things I needed for the baby, putting out a mat, taking out some sort of shade, taking out my lunch, taking out his bottle, ensuring the dog was locked away, plus how was I meant to transport everything to the garden whilst leaving the baby inside? My brain was processing things in such a complicated and irrational manner. It was so difficult. Even though I knew it was irrational, I couldn’t help myself.

The thought of taking him out for a walk was the same – packing his bag, taking the push chair out, getting him dressed for outdoors. Everything just felt like too much.

I also had this massive guilt that I was relying on others – my mum was cooking for me at least every other day, and her or my dad would drive from their home to mine to drop off food (at least a 20 minute drive) – my mum had a heart attack a few years ago and I worry about her so much, so the feeling of adding to her running around stressed me out! The thought of Preetam going to work and coming home and having to help me. The amount the twins had done for me was overwhelming. I just found everything so overwhelming. I was so grateful for the support.

I remember Mane (my sister in law) taking the day off to come and spend some time with us, she knew the emotions I was riding. She grabbed some lunch for us from M&S and helped me take Arjun’s things in to the garden for us to sit outside. Those kinds of gestures meant so much to me. People were taking out the time to try help and make things better.

 

As time went on and by working with my health visitor who was visiting we weekly, we established baby milestones for me to accomplish. Such as “take Arjun for a 10 minute walk”. I found an easier way for me to get out a bit more was by doing things with friends; my NCT friends, my other friends with babies, my relatives with babies. It made a difference being in the company of others. Perhaps it was a comfort thing – knowing the mothers would know what to do if something happened. I was released from their care only once my health visitor was comfortable that I was ok – that was when Arjun turned seven weeks.


Our first walk alone x

 

It’s really difficult for those that haven’t been through PND to really understand it – post birth your body is still full of crazy hormones and sometimes those hormones manifest in such a way that you can’t really control. I was lucky that I had the support and help of my family and friends to help me get through it as soon as the signs appeared. I listened to lots of prayers – as I have always done which also helps to cleanse my mind.

PND affects one in ten women after having a baby. Baby blues are common after giving birth, however if your symptoms are more persistent and don’t seem to fade, it’s important you seek help from your doctor or the health visitor before it gets worse. It doesn’t make you a bad mother and it is so much more common than you may realise.

I would recommend partners of those expecting to read up on PND prior to the arrival of your little one so they are also aware of the symptoms.

Symptoms can include the following:

  • A constant feeling of sadness and low mood
  • A loss of interest in the world around you and you no longer enjoy doing the things that you used to
  • A lack of energy and constant fatigue
  • Disrupted sleep
  • Difficulties with concentrating and making decision
  • Low self confidence
  • A change in appetite
  • Feeling agitated or uninterested
  • Feelings of guilt and self blame
  • And in extreme cases; thinking about suicide and self harming

PND can affect your day-to-day life. Some mothers feel they’re unable to look after their baby, or are too anxious to leave the house or keep in touch with friends.

Even today I sometimes find simple things really challenging – can you believe I’ve never taken Arjun to a shopping centre by myself? Because it’s still a fear of mine despite coming across as quite confident. I still have so many and sometimes I feel like it hinders my ability to be a “good mum”. I’m scared to do things alone and seek comfort in having someone with me be it another mummy and baby or be it Preetam or my sisters.

I’ve definitely come a long way – I’m comfortable being alone with Arjun at home but the thought of taking him to public places alone does make me feel slightly panicked. It’s on my to do list to take him to Westfield alone one of these days! I feel “ready”! Now it’s Preetam that has to ask me “when do I feed him?” or “how much milk do I give him” – mummy knows best! 🙂

For more information on PND: NHS Post Natal Depression

Preetam and Arjun have an indescribable bond – I’m not sure if it is to do with Preetam caring for him in the first few hours of his life, but it’s so special. Words can’t do it any justice – you have to just see it. The way Arjun looks at him, his mannerism around him and vice versa. I feel really lucky to have a husband that was able to handle things how Preetam did – Arjun is truly blessed to have a father like him.

 

A lot of people, especially since I started my blog, comment on what an amazing job I’m doing – I’m really grateful and humbled by the comments but I also wanted to highlight that I have had some tough battles and continue to do so and don’t always feel like I’m doing an amazing job. You’ll notice that a lot of what I do is centred around our home as opposed to going out because that is my comfort. Every mother does her best and every mother has her own struggles, battles and challenges – mentally physically and emotionally! You are all bloody amazing in my opinion and I find you all inspiring in some way!

Sorry for the super long post! Thank you for reading (if you haven’t fallen asleep and have managed to get this far!).

What have your battles been during and post pregnancy and how have you dealt with them?x

If you’ve enjoyed my blog content, then we’d be grateful for your continued support by voting for us to win the “Best Pre School Blog” category in the MAD Blog Awards, it takes 30 seconds to vote! 🙂 : VOTE HERE

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15 Comments

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  1. 2
    Donna

    Reading this brings back so many memories, I understand all those fears so well. It’s amazing you had such great support from your family, but it’s still an individual battle. Next time around I know I’ll be so much more confident with a baby, but it’s so hard with your first and not knowing how to do things like shower! So glad you got diagnosed and had people rally around you. Your baby is totally gorgeous as well 🙂
    xx

  2. 3
    Harps

    Hey hun, glad you can relate but also sad that you can – not the easiest thing to go through especially with all the other pressures you had! I’m really blessed to have had the family support – I physically (because of the c sec too) wouldn’t have been able to cope. You did amazingly well! Blogging also helps as opens you up to another world where you meet so many people that have been through similar things.

    Hopefully (when and if!) with our second babies we’ll be pros 😉 x

  3. 4
    Sharon

    I also had a c section – horrendous pain ? I remember crying in agony whilst I walked up the stairs , I got to 2 steps and just sat there crying

  4. 5
    Harps

    Totally feel your pain! I really underestimated what a c section entailed. How is your wound now? I still get the odd pain!:( x

  5. 7
    Guv chana

    This post certainly brought a tear to my eye, as I can relate to it completely. From suffering with contractions on and off for two weeks, not knowing what’s going on, having three membrane sweeps, losing my waters and not knowing and then rushed into hospital, then theatre, still remember it all like it was yday! My little girl is now two but it really is a challenge getting through each day. I also suffered pnd however I unfortunately didn’t have very much family support as I live with my in laws….so it took me much longer to get better and overcome all of my fears and anxieties, two years later I still sometimes question whether I’m the best mum to my daughter or not And whether or not I’m doing the right thing…….
    I follow your posts regularly and it’s so inspiring and touching to see you do so well. Well done and enjoy every moment of mummy hood, I have the terrible two tantrums right now and U have to enjoy them too. Hehe x keep up the posts n don’t ever forget you’re doing an amazing job.

  6. 8
    Harps

    Hello Guv! Thanks for visiting :). I’m so sorry that you also had a traumatic birthing experience but so glad you and your little one are ok! I hope you’re all ok after the PND – it can be so difficult. I still have really rubbish days where I feel like world’s worst mum and I just want to run away from everything! Perhaps it’s normal to have some self doubt because I can definitely relate to that. But we have to remind ourselves that we ARE the best mothers to our babies – we carried them and took care of them for 9 months all alone remember!

    Thank you so much for your kind words – but honestly I’m on the same journey as everyone else.

    Oh dear, terrible twos – I have so much to look forward to! 😉 I’ll be needing tips on how to manage all that sooner than I probably realise lol. How are you finding motherhood? x

  7. 9
    Guv chana

    Awww thank you for always sharing your experiences. I often giggle at your posts because you remind me of me, an ocd mum! I love mummyhood and enjoy it lots. I went back to work when AKC was nine months and we put her in nursery. This www probably one of the best things we did because the amounts of things she has picked up and learnt at nursery I do not think I would have managed even if I were a full time mummy. From paintings, to drawing, card making, talking, walking, singing, U name it! She surprises me sometimes for how much she knows at two! The tantrums are hard work though. She is the first grandchild on both sides so is very very spoilt which makes me really cross sometimes because in a tantrum situation grandparents never help. I end up upsetting people around me when trying to calm AKC down and then make myself upset too. I still need to master how to calm them down without making too much of a fuss. Walking away always helps but not when AKC s grandmother is around, because she will pick her up give in offer lots of affection n that’s it bsby then thinks I can do that all the time!!!

    I will comment on your storing baby stuff post soon n post some pics of how I organise AKC stuff very similar to U!!! I work from home on Fridays so will post again then xx

  8. 10
    Harps

    Hello Guv! Thanks for your kind words 🙂 I definitely am an OCD mum but I’ve calmed down so much – my sisters and mum are shocked at how “chilled out” I am (sometimes!).

    I’m so glad you shared your feedback on nursery – we enrolled Arjun yesterday to start when I return to work (July) and I was almost in tears on the phone to the lady at the nursery just talking about it – she must have thought I was nuts! haha! Arjun is also the first grandchild so I can completely understand. I guess they’re just super excited – Arjun’s grandparents turn in to big kids when around him. It’s cute but It’s tough as if he gets too spoilt, it’ll only make my life difficult as it’s us that have to deal with them 24/7 which can be tiring if they slip in to bad habits. I guess that’s where nursery will also help (I’m hoping!).

    Did you go back to work 4 days a week? I’m planning on going back 3 days. I don’t know how I’m going to cope with being a mummy and working! :\ x

  9. 12
    Honest mum

    Oh darling, I wish I could hug you, this made me cry, I totally related to how hard a traumatic birth can be, I had so much support as you did with a caring husband but my folks were far and I felt lonely and alone, wallowing in a time that felt I’d failed, I was aching mentally and physically, such a tough time. I hope you are much, much better now, sending you so much love, you are so brave to share this, it will help many women not feel so alone and confident to reach out for help x

  10. 14
    Jatinder Kaur

    I’ve totally felt some of this as I’ve read through. I put some of my experiences down to social anxiety and totally wished I’d done more with my son. I think I’m thankful for where I’ve got.
    Now I’ve had my twins and having lost one of them its all coming back. Reading about the breastfeeding and having an emergency c section I can relate to some of what you’ve written. I hope I get through these hurdles like you, honestly your an inspiration and i love your blogs if they don’t send a smile on my face they help me think differently about my situations.xx

  11. 15
    Harps

    Jatinder my heart just sunk … I am so deeply sorry for your loss. There are no words. If you’ve even taken a tiny glimmer of hope from my posts, it’s made my whole blog worth it. X

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