Mum of 1, Alice
When I got home from the UCH London, on a dark, December evening with my 2day old IVF miracle girl, I felt like an alien in my own body.
For a start, and let’s not beat around the, ahem, bush: my foof was unrecognisable.I was on a cocktail of painkillers from my grade 2 tear and episiotomy which had been repaired in theatre after the birth (“your perineal muscle is shattered!” said the doctor...so much for all that blinkin’ perineal massage I did!).
I could barely stand from sleep deprivation and blood loss (like an idiot I refused the blood transfusion on offer).
My internal organs felt like they were just kind of hanging out, mid-air, dancing around with no fixed abode.
My boobs were sore. My nipples were ravaged already. Everything, absolutely everything just...ached.
"On top of the physical hit-by-a-bus sort of feeling, I was utterly overwhelmed with emotion every time I looked at my daughter and could not stop crying."
I was elated but terribly lost at the same time. I felt like a child looking after another very, very small child. Another alien really. I have never felt more bizarre in my whole life.
These are the things I remember which made me feel held, supported, comforted, understood, loved and care for:
- My sister stocking my kitchen with fruit, treats, ready meals and more
- My friend sending breast-feeding tea, chocolate, as well as presents for the baby
- A friend coming to visit who turned up with a roast chicken, baguette and salad and made us all lunch without us having to do a thing
- My mum doing the dishwasher (among many other things!)
- My sister making sure she was there when I asked her to be when the breastfeeding woman came round
- My family insisting on looking after my baby for a few hours so I could sleep when I collapsed at the Christmas table through panic at the thought of the night to come...the knowledge that I desperately needed to sleep; but I wasn’t going to get any.
So...what would I say to someone visiting a new mum?
"Make her tea; bring her something nice to eat; offer to clean up and most of all... try not to make any judgements on how she might be choosing to look after her baby."
She is doing the very best she can. Even though she has landed on an alien planet in another universe.