Brooke - Congenital heart defect, PND, the birth of a strong and brave Mama.
I felt: Mentally exhausted, overwhelmed, terrified for what was to come and all at the same time happiness and sense of being complete.
I was: Putting on a brave face - every single god damn day.
I needed: To be reminded that there is no right or wrong.
Postpartum is: An unexplainable journey for every mum.
What was your greatest challenge postpartum?
I had a number of challenges through pregnancy and postpartum. At 20 weeks pregnant our daughter was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect which required open heart surgery. Alongside that she has two syndromes. Long story short she did not need the surgery, but she may still one day.
Because of the stress over a long period of time, I suffered postnatal depression. During pregnancy I had actually mentally removed myself as a means to protect my heart, should the worst happen. Eight months post baby I am still learning to move forward and overcome the trauma, anxiety and stress every day.
In the movies you always see that ‘love at first sight’ connection when mum meets baby. That was far from what I had experienced. I was terrified of our girl. We had her via c-section at 11:54am and I didn’t hold her until 4am the next morning. When you give birth you are kind of lead to believe that you will have this instant connection. One of my challenges was learning to open up, remove the barriers I had put in front of myself and love her unconditionally.
Your greatest achievement?
She is by far our greatest achievement. There is nothing better then seeing a little human smiling back at you first thing every morning. I honestly don’t know what we did before her.
What surprised you?
I seemed to have this
What do you wish you had known beforehand?
I knew that breastfeeding was a journey but you really have no idea what level of pressure you are about to face until you are in the thick of it. Some mums have an enormous supply and others don’t. Then there was me – sahara desert. To put that into context, week 2 post partum I had a total of 3ml per breast despite pumping and taking medication to work. The amount of pressure heath professionals make you feel is insane. At the end of the day fed is best – don’t let anybody tell you any different.
Anything you would change/do differently next time?
We had a huge amount of support offered to us but I struggled to accept any of it. If there was ever a next time, I would try to be more accepting of others help. It was tough being in a high stress situation with a baby with health conditions. Adding COVID into the mix made it really difficult to want anyone to help.
Some words for expecting Mamas to be?
Hang in there mama. You are going to do amazing! Postpartum is a wild ride, literally wild.
You will question yourself every day of the week and that’s only normal. Do whatever you can to get sleep, even if that means snoozing next to bub. Most importantly don’t be afraid to ask for help.