This post feels like it’s been a long time coming because what a wild ride the past two and a half years have been. For everyone. But for me personally, what a bumpy, unpredictable, life-changing ride. And I finally feel like I have the headspace needed to really get into it with you.
Dyls was due on the 6th of March 2020 but didn’t actually feel like making an appearance until two weeks after that. And during those last two weeks, pre his arrival, the news had started rumbling of a virus. In all honesty, this wasn’t even on my radar, my mind was full of Grey’s Anatomy, whether I needed to get up for another pee, and just when my darling son might decide to make an appearance.
What I can remember is that the hospital would only allow one consistent visitor per patient and that paracetamol was in short supply.
We left the hospital on Mother’s Day of 2020 and entered lockdown, stage left. Other than my midwife, in full PPE, we had no visitors. No new grandparent cuddles. No stream of friends knocking at the door. No baby groups. No nipping out for a hot choc and a slice of cake with new mum friends. Nothing.
Just the three of us, blurry-eyed and sleep-deprived, trying to figure out life with a newborn.
Our parents met Dyls for the first time through the glass of our bedroom window, each time leaving with one of us in floods of tears. Even writing it I can feel tears prickling at the corner of my eyes. I struggled postpartum. I ended up having an emergency c-section and was fairly unwell post-birth – I can’t remember what was up but something to do with my blood pressure and heart I believe… I felt broken. My emotions came in waves of highs and lows. I found breastfeeding tricky. I found moving after a c-section tricky. I found navigating the unknown tricky, constantly checking Dr Google that I was doing everything ‘right’.
I lived for our daily walk outside, my c-section recovery gradually allowing me to walk for longer periods without feeling like my scar might burst and my organs all fall out. Fucking hell, sneezing and laughing, while holding your midsection is no joke.
It took me a long time to not feel like we’d missed out. That Dyls had missed out. That our families had missed out. That I’d missed out.
But then I remember how we got to spend so much time, just the three of us, in our little bubble. How being in lockdown allowed me the time and patience to persevere with breastfeeding. How Al, then furloughed, was around every step of the way. And I can’t help but smile.
But there were some real lows that I wasn’t prepared for. The daily news updates added to my anxiety, the worry of not knowing what was going to happen, how long we’d be in a state of limbo for. That feeling of not being in control, one I’ve tackled before during CBT. All in all, it was really fucking hard.
Last year I emailed my therapist after noticing a sense of prickling anxiety bubbling in my stomach. I asked if we could meet up so I could unpack everything that had happened before my cup spilled over. It was one of the best decisions for myself that I’ve ever made. We spoke about everything. Pregnancy, birth, postpartum, anxiety, the sense of loss due to the pandemic, my new identity as a mother, Dyls, my relationships. I cried from start to finish. I got everything out of my head and left feeling so much lighter.
And now, as I watch my confident, hilarious, caring little toddler chatting away to his grandparents, cuddling his aunties and uncles, playing with his cousins, and causing chaos with his nursery buddies, I know that he’s turned out just fine. That I’m just fine. That everything will be just fine. The scars in time will heal.