Almost 7 weeks ago my life changed forever. For the third time I ended up in hospital after planning a homebirth. For the second time I found myself preparing for an induction. For the first time I ended up in theatre for an emergency caesarean.
People seem to think I should just be ok with that. You know, that I can get over it just like that… it isn’t that easy. There are a few things I’ve realised in the past few weeks.
You are allowed to feel grief
When you have a picture of something in your mind it is hard to let go. I pictured a calming, relaxed homebirth surrounded by the people I care about most. I began to grieve for that even before I left for the hospital.
I felt, and still feel, like I lost a part of me. I mean, 3 planned homebirths and not one of them came to fruition. That’s telling me something, right?
It is normal to feel grief when things don’t go as you would have liked them to.
You do need to talk it out
Don’t bottle how you are feeling up! I’m a talker; talking about what went wrong helps me to come to terms with it. I thought I was going to lose my baby; I had a caesarean; our baby has a congenital heart defect; I didn’t get to breastfeed (again). Each of those things I am grieving for and I need to talk about it.
It is normal to want to talk; make sure you do.
A healthy baby isn’t always the only thing that matters
Does Mum not matter? So many people say “a happy Mum is a happy baby”, so what if Mum is sad? What if Mum feels so alone that she doesn’t feel like she can be happy ever again? Where does that leave the baby.
I am over the moon that despite her bumpy start and VSD, Rainbow is here safe and is doing okay. BUT, there isn’t enough time spent making sure that Mum is coming to terms with everything (whether the delivery goes to plan or not).
You have nothing to feel guilty for
I feel guilty all day every day. I feel guilt for planning a homebirth (don’t ask me how that works); I feel guilt for not trying harder to breastfeed; I feel guilty for saying that sometimes a healthy baby isn’t the only thing that matters. But, I shouldn’t… Everything changed in a few minutes and I shouldn’t feel guilty for feeling overwhelmed by it all… and neither should you.
Enjoy your baby
This might seem obvious but you need to let go of everything else and spend time focusing on you and your new bundle. Shut out the world and just be together. Don’t feel like you have to do this or be that. Being a new parent is hard enough without the pressure of having to deal with plans going awry!