I didn’t want to talk about this initially, cos it feels too personal. But then I think about all the other mums out there who are/were in the same boat and thought I don’t want them to feel they’re alone in this.
I didn’t finish my ‘Our Birth’ story.
This is what happened:
We eventually had the C section. Time of decision: 5.30 am. Brought to theatre: 6.10 am. Time of birth: 6.40 am. Time they handed Zayan to me: feels like forever as he was attended to by the on-call pads, who gave him some help on breathing.
As you may remember what I wrote before, this was almost a 24 hour ordeal for both me and M. It felt like a long dragged out movie, and we were just happy to have Zayan come out alive. I’ll let you in my first confession: I didn’t have that ‘omg epic, I just gave birth, my son is born’ moment where I cried tears and tears of joy. I did slip in a tear but to be honest, it almost felt like I made myself to feel emotional. What I really felt was: oh can you just stitch me up real fast, so I can get out of here into fresher air and have a glass of water? *suffocated, dizzy and extremely thirsty*
It all felt surreal after that. I mean, there is a BABY in front of me, that came out from me, this thing that has lived in my belly for 10 months. And now it’s out and breathing and doesn’t have 6 fingers on both hands (first thing I checked). He is tiny, and I just want to stare and stroke at him.
Now after eventually having a drink, I wanted to zonk out. Having not slept for more than 36 hours, I was ready to collapse in bed. But as soon as the painkillers and epidural subsided, I wasn’t comfortable. Wound in abdomen, still bleeding down below and all around discomfort on my tummy, my body is still not mine.
There is this baby to take care of too, who cried and cried through the night. I couldn’t move much from my bed and found it difficult to take him out from his cot. Now the best thing here is for me to recuperate. But I couldn’t. My baby needs feeding and changing and rocking to sleep and feeding some more.
Confession #2: I broke down. I can’t remember when but it was in the first few days. He kept on crying and crying, 2-3 hours in the night. And I just want to sleep, just for 1 hour, I pleaded. There is ayat from surah (can’t remember which) – something in the gist of if we turn to Allah, He will come running to us. And from then on, I kept praying – please Allah I’m running to you, run to me please and help me. Make his crying stop, make him sleep, make this easier for me. Run to me please.
Confession #3: I didn’t break down just that once. There was a time that it seemed like I was crying every day. I don’t think i had postnatal depression. I was still functioning and taking care of him and still have moments where I can smile and laugh. It all just became overwhelming, never ending. And why won’t he stop crying? I don’t mean crying for feed or nappy change. But crying for hours and hours, not placated by anything.
Confession #4: Whilst I cared for Zayan, I didn’t feel the love immediately. It’s not that I didn’t love him. It was just that I was this robot, sleep deprived, still trying to recover from the trauma of birth/C section. Zayan felt like a tamagotchi, I have to tend to him 24/7 or else his poo will build up or he will run away (apparently new tamagotchis are kid-friendly and don’t die. They just run away).
Confession #5: I feel like a really bad mum. And Zayan, if you ever happen to read this one day, know that Mama loves you very very much. I feel like a bad mum because there are times when I feel like I was ungrateful for what I have been bestowed with. In the first week or two, there were thoughts entering my mind – why can’t I have a well behaved baby that sleeps and sleeps and doesn’t cry much. *as I recalled stories of my cousins and anak buahs and friends’ babies*
I feel really bad when I think this. Cos I don’t want to be ungrateful. To think of the alternative – where Zayan never existed or is taken away from me, I don’t want that and pray I never have to go through.
Confession #6: When Zayan was still a tiny tot and has his screaming episodes where no feed or rocking or singing will soothe him, there were moments of anger. Followed by remorse. M and I (on separate individual occasions) googled about this and felt comforted we weren’t the only one. This mum from a mums forum wrote that she felt like throwing her baby out of the window whenever she has a screaming fit.
I remember this patient, a baby, came in to my ward because he wasn’t settling and just kept crying. The baby otherwise seemed healthy. The parents though looked like they were at the end of their tethers. They looked haggard and in need of much sleep. My reg asked me if I had any children (he has 2 toddlers and kept saying how sleep deprived he is). He said – a crying baby can put so much strain on a family. It isn’t until now that I fully understand what he means.
For those who has never gone through this, I know what you may think. Because I thought of it before. Kejam jua thinking of that. No patience. You should ber-istighfar.
And I did. I guess it didn’t help that I couldn’t pray yet then, hence feeling that distance from Our Creator when I haven’t prayed for awhile. But I did reach out and turn to God.
And you know what, He helped me.
My tears stopped.
I accepted that this is how my baby is.
I don’t know why he cries so much.
Is it because he had a traumatic birth? (my breast coordinator’s theory)
And if because of that, he needs more TLC. So be it.
I will give you more TLC, my baby. If you need it, to feel better after such traumatising entry to this world, let me soothe you and accept that your tears will be here for awhile.
Until you feel better.
I accepted that my pre-baby life is not here anymore.
Maybe it will come back one day.
Just on hold at the moment.
It might not be as it was before, I realise that now.
And I accept that.
And eventually, Zayan’s unsettled crying episodes turn to afternoon or early evening times, which is way more acceptable. I have more hands to help and relieve me, more energy at that time of day.
And now…..now Zayan is settling in well. No more crying episodes, well not that often or for long anyway. And usually with reason.
And he can smile now and ‘talk’ back (in his own language). So he doesn’t feel like a tamagotchi anymore.
And we can put him down to sleep on his own more often now.
The journey’s not over. It will never be, I’m guessing. Not even when he’s 18 and moving out. He will always be my baby.
This is a message from my friend, who were in the same place as me (and how I felt relieved that I’m not the only going through this):
“Enjoy the baby part as well though fiz, give as much love as you can, despite being so tired. hehehehe. have you felt love yet? It took me a while, the first week, I was only taking care of this little baby to stop her from crying, so macam factory, feed, burp, change bathe and then put to sleep. skali udah, i recovered a bit, baru tah ada macam attachment sikit, and then, udah a month plus, barutah I feel the maternal instinct, the protectiveness etc. And now, I don’t remember when it started, but I am obsessed with her, and can’t be away from her, and dont trust anyone else with her, hahaha. ia plg stifled kali.”
I couldn’t have said it better.
Love, mama lion (cos thats how i feel now if anyone messes with my baby)
PS. No one talks (much) about the above. But I’m sure it’s more common than we realise. It feels taboo to say it out loud these thoughts. But I just wanna talk about it, so others in the same boat know that they’re not alone and doesn’t mean they’re bad mums. They just need a big hug, hang in there and be rest assured, things will get better insyaAllah.