*Vistors knock on the door*
“Oh hia what you doing? Wheres the baby? “
I look down at my chest, the new baby snuggly strapped into the Carrier fast asleep. His sweet breaths falling fast and steady
– He’s here, and I am just doing some laundry
I proceed to shove the clothes into the machine, somehow breaking into a sweat trying to manage it with the baby across my front and my aching empty womb calling out to me for some pain relief. My pad is probably filling with lochia in response to the physical activity.
They stand at the door of the kitchen, watching me for a while.
I finally finish and slam the machine door shut, then hit the start button. The machine clicks, and beeps into life, followed by the swishing of the clothes turning around in the drum.
I rise slowly, trying not to make any sudden movements for fear of busting my stitches or waking the baby.
“Ah… well we won’t bother staying if he is asleep, we came to see the baby again. He’s so cute isn’t he? “
Huh? So I am not important then ? I think to myself
-Err.. Oh, yes… Yes, he is very cute
My voice falters slightly and my throat drys. I think only I noticed the change.
I look at my visitors and my eyes start to prickle with tears, threatening to overflow at the thought of being alone once more.
I don’t say anything, of course. I take a large gulp to force the lump in my very dry throat to go back down
I walk, or rather shuffle behind them to the door so I can see them out. My feet feel heavy, my body feels heavy.
-See you then, I guess
“Okay byeee! we will come back and hopefully he is awake and out of that carrier so we can play with him and have cuddles!”
I can’t even bring myself to reply but a force a half smile, then shut the door as they exit the patio gates
The baby whimpers and wiggles, his breath changes and his little fists bunch up – feeding time again
I ease my tired bones in my body down into the spot on the sofa, unfasten the baby and get him into place on my breast. He latches fiercely like a babysaurus and starts to suckle.
He will be here for a good half an hour now, I think to myself…must not fall asleep with the baby in the chair – that’s the guidelines.. Now what to do for distraction..? I am talking out loud- to the baby or myself? Who knows
I let out a sigh, realising the remote is across the room. Silent room, yet my body and thoughts are speaking to me ,getting increasingly louder as they call out for a slither of help and attention – I’d rather block them out.
Lonliness creeps in
My throat still feels dry….
Everyone wants to hold the baby, but who holds the mother?!
What is missing from this story?
Why was I feeling so tired?
Sweaty, doing laundry, on the verge of tears and yet the focus was not on me at all. Noone was looking out for me it was all about the baby
I needed an offer of help
A listening ear to talk to while I nurse
Someone to help me get comfortable or allow me to pop to the toilet before the baby fed
Someone to fetch me a cup of tea or water
Perhaps I should have been even encouraged back to bed – imagine feeling snuggled up to feed laying down with a fresh drink and a snack nearby. It can make a difference to feeling functional or not. Stable or not. Bordering anxiety or not. Dehydrated or not
Please stop to pause and tune into the new parents when you visit – be a helpful guest and give them some praise and attention . for they have done and are doing the biggest job of all.
I offer all this love and support plus way more as a postnatal doula. For more information about my postnatal doula services click here.