Three years ago on July 7, my third child was 'due'. Due dates are not an expiry date, people. On July 29, she was born. The whole three weeks of being post-dates was an emotional rollercoaster for me. The birth itself, was traumatic. That's not something I often admit to people outside my 'birthy' circle, because many people just don't get it.
"But at least you have a healthy baby."
Yes. Thanks for reminding me. I know that. People lose their babies, or have very sick babies/children, I know that. Two good friends of mine have lost babies at full-term in the past few years. THEY would never say this to a woman who has had a traumatic birth, because they 'get it'. My pain does not diminish yours, nor does yours diminish mine; they are separate entities and we are different people on different journeys.
'Healthy' is sometimes a misnomer, anyway. Yes, she was alive and she is certainly strong and healthy now, but there was damage caused to her and to me by her birth and I don't think that should be ignored just because we are both alive.
My two over-riding memories of that night are being helped on to the hospital trolley in the ambulance bay and lying there thinking, not again, I've failed, and of the hours I spent alone, being prepped for theatre (E2 had been born, she was in the SCBU and I was haemorrhaging), and later after I came out of theatre, entirely alone and crying because I did not have my baby in my arms.
I have discovered this week that yes, this does still bother me, three years on. Anniversaries are hard; birthdays are not always joyous occasions. I celebrate my daughter's life, but I am sad inside. I am struggling with the emotions, with feelings of failure, loss of control, and being not good enough. I am eating too much, and not exercising enough.
I write this not to scare those of you who haven't had children - I do NOT want to be one of those people who take joy in scaring mothers-to-be with horrible labour/birth stories - but to tell those of you who have had children, have experienced trauma and stuffed it down because your baby is "healthy", that you are not alone. Be angry, I find this is at least a more productive emotion than guilt and sadness. Or, like me, at least recognise what you are feeling, and allow yourself to deal with it.