‘isn’t motherhood just a.ma.zing. As soon as Lily was pulled out of me , I wanted another one.Lets get back on the horse I said to Rob. I just want more babies. I love babies babies’ I didn’t say when I gave birth. My friend did but not me. I wanted to attempt to force my child back into the tyre of skin he came out of and sew it back up and wander around in a blissful child free daze until my final days. I’d just like to point out also that my lady garden isn’t made up of tyres of skin.I mean my stomach as Joe was yanked out of that instead of my fandango.
I had a c-section due to the Good Lord thinking my nether regions wanted to be an identical twin. I won’t go into it in dramatic detail here but if you want more in depth info, google uterus didelphis. I could play pass the parcel with my lady bits and still have some going spare. My dad was so unbelievably sweet and quaint when he first met john and referenced my medical rareness by yelling ‘I bet you think you’re slagging a porn star ‘ up the stairs . This was after I caught him attempting to smuggle a Viagra to john in the pub after they had consumed the entirety of a whiskey bottle. I repeat, this was the first time my beloved father had met my new , shy, sweet boyfriend. And john didn’t need a Viagra. I mean, look at me! I’m practically Cindy Crawford body double.
I didn’t stuff joe back into myself and now I’m thankful that I decided not to. I’m not sure however if I can ever bear to have another child. I know if I go crackerjack again that I will get better again, history has been shit to me in one sense for making me go through the horror of going bananas after having Joe but it’s also dealt me a wonderful kindness in showing me how recovery is well and truly possible. But I’ve been thinking a lot about being a mum lately and how it’s changed me and my life. Which is now our life. I’ve been giving myself such a brain ache as Joe is five this week, lots of my friends are wonderfully pregnant with their second or third children and I’ve been thinking of whether I could ever go through having another child again.
The concept of having another child after having a postnatal mental health problem is talked about a lot. I’ve had people say ‘ children need siblings Eve’ in an attempt to get me to reveal if we will ever have another baby. People have said ‘is that ridiculously expensive buggy you insisted on buying still clogging up space in your in laws attic? Don’t you think you should give it to a charity shop if you aren’t having anymore?’. I’ve even overheard someone saying to one of our parents ‘ ‘well Eve won’t be giving you anymore grandchildren will she?’. The reality is , no, I probably won’t . I’ve already made John well aware that I’m planning on using our life savings to have the worlds most mammoth tummy tuck in a few years, I don’t think I can handle almost taking my eye out with a rogue underwire from the potato sacks that were my maternity bras,the worlds reserves of bio oil will dramatically reduce if I ever get pregnant again and I’m not sure where on earth we would keep another child. I don’t think you can legally keep one in a garden. There is also the very small issue of me maybe losing my senses again to consider.
I said to my psychiatrist when I was about 8 months postpartum ‘I know I won’t feel like this when he is five’ but I didn’t believe what I said. I assumed I should have been better by then and that’s what I should say or the Mother and Baby Unit staff would think they had failed me in some way. And in the first three months of motherhood, I couldn’t see as far as him being five as I was so terrified of the very concept of forever. The idea that I was now a mum, in this life, trapped by my child, trapped in this role forever, haunted me into total despair.
I watched a wonderful,sad, raw, exceptional play earlier this week called ‘Friction’ by a great woman called Cally Hayes. It plays out a mum suffering from pnd and how she and her partner cope. I felt like I was watching myself when I was unwell and it made me vividly remember how and what I felt during that very very dark time. It was sad and it made me cry . A lot. But that’s not a bad thing. It’s a good thing as it shows in a very realistic way how this illness can affect a mum and those around her.
I will never forget the day we brought Joe from hospital. My mum,dad and sister were there all kissing Joe and saying this is the start of your new life. We posed for a family photo and everyone looks gloriously happy. Except me. I’m in floods of tears. My face is bloated as I had cried all the way home in the car. I hadn’t looked at Joe since we left hospital because his face scared me. His smell was a constant reminder that his presence would be here forever.
I spent the first week in a terrified daze. I don’t even know if it was a daze actually. I was in a state of pure terror. Everything in the house looked different. The walls looked like they were moving in on me, making the house seem smaller and smaller. I felt like the walls were crushing me as I struggled to breathe knowing my son was near me. Near me and needing me. And I didn’t want to be near him and definitely didn’t think we needed him in our life. It was on the third day when I said to John the words that became almost a mantra for the next six weeks, that devastated John and summed up the life sentence of terror that I thought lay ahead of me – ” we have made a terrible mistake . A terrible terrible mistake”. I saw myself say it in the reflection in the mirror as John stood there with his hands in his hands saying tell me what’s wrong wrong Eve .I looked petrified.Terrified of everything. We had decided to have a child and now he was here , and there is no way to get rid of him. It wasn’t like selling a house we decided we didn’t want anymore, or dumping a boyfriend who I quite liked the idea of in the beginning but then realised was a total ballache . We, I had a child now and he was here forever like it or not. There was no getting rid of him now. I couldn’t put him in a cupboard like a packet of digestives and forget about him. I’d taken a bite of the motherhood biscuit and realised I didn’t like it but realised I’d have to eat it forever, every day, constantly.And all I wanted to do was take the biscuits, shove them in the bin outside, wheel it to the street and leave it for the bin men. I knew I couldn’t do that with a baby though. He was here now forever and that scared the life out of me . So much so, that I want to leave this life forever.
I reached the point where I would frantically talk about my desire to be dead. My head was in such a mess that I thought I was talking logically. I’d say to John ‘if I’m dead, I’m not trapped in this life am I?’. John would sit there so patiently stroking my hair and face listening , reassuring. He broke one day thought. The day after seeing yet another doctor who didn’t have a clue how to help me,I sat on the side of the bed and screamed so hard. I screamed three times ‘ no one is listening to me , no one is listening to how I feel’. John heaved . He had been listening,helping and loving me the last few weeks. Trekking around to GP after GP,sleeping on the sofa in the lounge with Joe in the Moses basket as I couldn’t bear to be near him but he had reached his limit. For the first time since my meltdown had started,he cried . He shook his head and said i don’t know what to do Eve,I just don’t know what to do.
He took me to see a doctor in the middle of the night.Without looking at me and tapping away in her keyboard with her manicured nails she said to me ‘have you planned your own suicide?’. I can remember saying erm, um,I’m not sure,I don’t think so but erm. John said yes, she is talking about death all day everyday. She believes she would be better off dead and I can’t leave her on her own as I’m worried I’m going it walk into the living room to find her dead on the floor. The doctor, still apparently so consumed with windows 2000 didn’t move her head from staring at her screen and said if you have not planned it your own suicide you are low risk. Go home and get some sleep. She stood up and opened the door and went to usher us out. John said look, isn’t just saying she is trapped as a mother now, she is saying she is trapped in the world. She keeps saying she wants to cut the clouds with a pair of scissors and float above the clouds where she thinks she will be able to breathe again. DocMcShittins shrugged and said sleep is what you need ,babies are tiring.
I think now , is a woman supposed to attempt suicide in front of doctors in order for them to pay attention ? Do you have to plan your own death before someone offers you help , before someone says, you need to get better. Should I have gone in with razor marks already on my wrists ? Is that truly the depths a mother has to reach before someone,anyone , gives her some fucking help. Is it ? That’s not fucking good enough. It.is.not.good.enough.
I have spoken many times about the unbelievable struggle we had to get me help.we saw doctors on a daily basis in London who failed to diagnose me with anything more than sleep deprivation even though I was open with my terrible fears that I thought we had made a mistake.no one knew what was wrong with me, one doctor told me to bake a cake to get my maternal instincts to kick in,another said because I was wearing mascara that I couldn’t be ill.we had to move from London to Nottingham to get into a mother and baby unit. And it wasn’t a medical professional who told us about these units.if they had I would have gone to the one a couple of miles from our house.john found out about them, up sticked from London and moved halfway across the country. John was off work for three months to stay in Nottingham with me and upon my return to London four months after,I was told that no one in London knew how to provide outpatient care to me. By the local mental health team.so for a year, we spent over £200 a week for me to travel to Nottingham for my outpatient care . Talk about a postcode lottery.if we had stayed in London I would be dead now.
The next day is when I decided I wanted to die. I’ve mentioned the series of events in other blogs so won’t go into it now but it involved me staring at some shiny razors, locking myself in a bathroom, smacking my overly large forehead into John’s parents very hard wall , which really hurt and me telling him we either get joe adopted or I’m killing myself. That day a couple of hours after this somewhat frantic morning, I found myself in the mother and baby unit being cuddled by a lovely nurse, calm after some magic blue pills had been consumed (I’d been put on anti psychotics- thank god ) ,and my recovery started.
And here I am nearly five years later. And I’m better. I am writing this post to show myself how far I have come, to offer hope to others who are currently experiencing similar thoughts and feelings and to show my son that I am beyond happy to be well ,happy and most importantly , alive. My friend beth has the most wonderful saying – ‘Motherhood was going to be the making of me. It was, but not in the way I thought it would be’. And those words are so true for me.
I have great chunks of missing memory from when I was ill. I saw a video of me giving Joe a bath when he was about 8 weeks old and I couldn’t remember it. He looks beautiful, the most beautiful child in the world but this moment is lost in time to my brain. What I have now with him, I remember every second of.
Joe is most definitely my first child,most probably my last but will always be my everything. My fear of what if I have another baby , for me, I want to remain a what if. I have a desire to hold and smell and kiss another baby made out of love . I have the most wonderful pretend husband (my bare finger waves in front of him about 2 times a day while I say, I think it’s missing something. Something glittery and shiny and big . And not from QVC) and friend Beth again put it best when she showed a picture of her child and wrote the caption ‘look what love can make’. I can think of nothing more beautiful than holding a child in my arms made by our love again. You may all pass the sick bucket around as I continue in my romantic overtones but now I have Joe , I realise the love I would have for another child.I know lots of women go on to have more children and things work out wonderful second time around. Or things are difficult but they got through it again. And that gives me real hope. But for me, I need to think about our little family. Joe sleeps in our room, he clambers into our bed at 3am. His transformers sleep in our bed. Sometimes, the tractor sleeps in our bed. You haven’t lived until you have rolled over and attempted to spoon a Fisher Price fire engine . Instead of John rolling over for a cuddle, sirens start going off and not in a good way.The three of us are a little team.
After Joes’s birthday party today, we sat on the living room floor while he opened his 27,000 presents . I sat staring at the Lego with a hot water bottle pressed against my red throbbing infection ridden ear while john was building a 3mm long fire engine. I had hoped Lego would make some realistic looking firemen for me to build and salivate over but no such luck. I would have loved to have played fire engines if I could lay on the sofa pretending to be rescued by a 1 cm long Jamie dornan look a like Lego firefighter. Joe drove a tractor across my face, John muttered ‘I’ve lost the effing water hose’, Joe was singing ‘I was a male stripper in a go go bar’ and I had a lovely warm feeling inside. I felt utter joy. Total bliss. I may have just had cake smeared over my cheeks by the wheels of a child size farm vehicle and my son was blaring out the words ‘tips in my g string made me a living’ but I had such a feeling of happiness come over me , that I couldn’t contain myself. John looked at me and said you’re happy aren’t you and I said I am. I looked at him and repeated the words I said when my little boy was 8 months old. The words said when I was still pretty poorly,still scared, still wondering if those feelings of fear would ever truly go. I’m so happy those words I said in the psychiatrists office all that time ago that I said not knowing if they would ever be true have come it be so.
I looked at john. I smiled and looked at Joe, with his face painted like Spider-Man covered in chocolate buttercream and said ‘ I know I won’t feel like this when he is five’. John said see baby, and you don’t do you ?
And I don’t. I’ve spent today cowering in a corner while 40 five year old threw wotsits all over me at my boys 5th birthday party. I spent two hours cooking sausage rolls last night and stayed up until 2am decorating a cake to resemble a football pitch while necking gin to get me through the task.
I’m off to stick my head in a bowl of buttercream and attempt to lick it off my own face. All in one go. Anyone want to join me ?