Fat and Not Afraid

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The Beginning: Defeat

February 15, 2012

Trigger warning for body hate, depression, suicide

I've mentioned not a few times on here the Gabe's labour and delivery was long and difficult, and that afterwards I feel deeply into post partum depression. I'm not sure if I've ever detailed how deep I went, or why. In order for this not to turn into a novel (which it may in the future anyway, who knows?), I'll try to be brief. For Gabe I had very high expectations of what labour and delivery were going to be like; all natural, empowered, me loving my woman self, giving birth proudly and strongly to the life I had carried for nearly 10 months. It was going to be awesome. I read everything I could about natural labour, had a kick ass doula lined up that I knew well and trusted, Ryan was ready to be my rock and my family supported my decisions. And then everything other than that happened.

Well, not everything; I still had my kick ass doula and Ryan and the support of my family but in the end, I felt like my body had let me down. 23 hours of back breaking posterior labour, drugs and a c-section left me defeated, weakened in a way I had never been before. I spent the first 2 days after Gabe's birth laying in the hospital bed, unable to get up or move around, not seeing him or hardly anyone else for hours at a time. That's probably good because I was too tired to be good company and too weak to take care of Gabe. Seeing Ryan playing with Gabe for the first time, as much as you can play with a newborn, broke my heart and made me jealous. I didn't feel hardly anything for Gabe and here was Ryan, all super dad already with the changing diapers and holding him because I couldn't. I finally got to go home I think the afternoon of the third day in the hospital and the next six weeks or so are a blur.

My surgery HURT; for the first week I could barely stand up straight. I remember getting out of bed at night to go feed the baby and unfolding from rest to stand was agony. Breast feeding was the last thing I was going to give up on so I did it, which was probably a stupid thing now that I think of it. But, I had screwed up everything else, so I wasn't going to let THIS go. My mom came by every day to make sure I could get a shower, eat whatever she made me (I had no interest in food) and keep the house up. She was my saviour while Ryan was at work. Still, I was exhausted. Like nearly all newborns, Gabe didn't sleep at first so neither did I. I didn't sleep while he slept, which was also stupid, and it slowly drove me crazy. Between all of this and my inability to bond with Gabe, I started having suicidal thoughts, and thoughts about hurting Gabe. I was so tired. I just wanted to sleep. What kind of mom was I who didn't love her kid? What kind of mom was I to want to abandon her kid through death? Or hurt him? I was a terrible mom. I should just slit my wrists in the bathtub while he's napping before Ryan gets home and then it'll be better for everyone. Ryan can be super dad, Gabe will be taken care of and that will be that.

Through the haze I realized that these were Bad Thoughts, that I should tell someone, but I was afraid that if I told someone they'd take Gabe away or put me away and confirm "Yeah Jen, you really ARE a bad mother!" Finally one day Ryan came home from work. Gabe was asleep. I had walked in and out of the bathroom probably ten times in the time before he walked through the door. I must have had some kind of look on my face because Ryan asked "How was your day?" I shook my head and said "Ask me how I'm doing." So he did. Gods, I'm crying as i write this, it still hurts so much five years later. And I said "Not very well." and started to bawl. Ryan was very confused but as we lay on the bed together he was able to piece together what I'd been thinking, even though I didn't come out and say it. I couldn't. But he's a smart guy and while scared, got me on the phone with my nurse. That was the beginning.

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