My goal after having my daughter was to write my birth story as soon as possible so that I would remember it, however that didn’t happen. It took a few months (or really a year and a half) to have a clear enough mind to be able to tell my story in a way that does it justice. I think story telling of the human experience can be beautiful and therapeutic but for me, I had to be far enough away from that experience to clearly and thoughtfully tell my story. My pregnancy and post partum period was a mix of emotions and I hope to touch on as much of that experience as I can. This story may not be for everyone, but feel free to continue if you are compelled.
I would like to begin with some thoughts on my pregnancy especially because had I been clear minded enough I would have been able to acknowledge the extreme amount of stress and anxiety I was experiencing. My emotional state played a major role in my labor and my postpartum period. When I got pregnant and found out in February, one morning before church, I was shocked. I wasn’t expecting to be pregnant and I even brought the pregnancy test with me in the car so that I could stare at it. It was a beautiful time and we couldn’t have been more excited. I was filled with hope and already had so much love for my baby. We were updating our kitchen during my first trimester so that brought some challenges and I was exhausted but I was also thrilled and excited. I remember loving my second trimester but once I hit the third, everything started to change. My anxiety, which is honestly my baseline, spiraled out of control. I cried most of the time and struggled immensly to put together Lilly’s nursery as I was afraid that somehow I would lose her. If I lost her, would I even be able to look at her nursery? I was in disbelief that I was pregnant and the idea of something happening to her was too painful so I shut down. Friends started to notice that I was different, and one even remarked that I had not been painting my nails which as weird as that may sound, was actually something I always kept up with. Not painting my nails was a warning sign of my apathy and deteriorating mental health. As often as I could, I asked the midwives to check for a heart beat and I didn’t tell anyone I was pregnant until twenty weeks “just in case something happened”. Looking back, it was a hard time. A very hard time.
I was in a fog. It was difficult to acknowledge that my life as I knew it was about to change drastically. It was hard to experience my growing fears and lack of ability to express them despite understanding the benefits in doing so. I can only use the word “strange” to describe what it feels like to be so excited for your baby and terrified beyond belief. As to be expected, thoughts on my own upbringing started to surface and that further complicated matters. On top of all of this, my relationship with God was minimal. I felt so paralyzed most of the time that it was hard to focus on prayer. I did spend time with Mary however and took great comfort in knowing that she was by my side.
To be continued…3