The day after Jay’s birth we were in tatters. Having ended with an emergency cesarean all our dreams about how this should be (for years if we include the fertility treatments since 2011) … crashed. He was there and he was alive and we had to take care of him but it was difficult.
The hospital staff helped but Char was hampered by her wound, making it hard to breastfeed. Few nurses had time to really help us with the breast-feed although they did their best. And we were shocked, sleep-deprived and … confused. I think that is the best word.
And shamed. We both felt, esp. Char, that we ought to feel more love and joy because the important thing had happened: The birth. One healthy son.
But … it was difficult.
I felt anxiety welling up in me for the first time since my hospitalization in 2005 for that. I was able to control it due to a mix of determination to take care of Jay and Char, the mental training I’ve done ever since and, well, faith.
But it was … hard.
Char’s mum showed up the day after, and that helped a bit. She had a small toy rattle with her as a gift for Jay. Char’s father, who died in 2015, had made that.
A thought struck me that day – and I write this on May 18 – that maybe what we needed to do was believe that the greater story was more than this event. Something good came – much good came – off my years in hell from 1999-2006 where I slid from stress to depression periods and into full-blown anxiety and hospitalization. I healed, I got stronger, I managed to help others and make a lot of changes in my life.
That all felt hollow Sunday. Yet, a part of me knew it was right.
We felt bereft of the birth we had imagined and ashamed that we couldn’t just concentrate on the joy of our son 100 percent and all kinds of confusion and … trauma I guess. It was all muddled up.
But by making the decision that this was not the full story, even though I didn’t know how this chapter of my life would be meaningful in the future, I managed to created my first strand of hope.