Battling Depression & Anxiety as a SAHM

Life is like a fruit basket. When you keep putting fruits in – one at a time, or several at once – sooner or later, you won’t be able to put anymore fruits in without any rolling off.

Quote from an old friend, Dr. H.

These past few months have been tough. In front of my friends and especially my family, I act like I have it all together. I act like I’m elated. Like I’m excited. Like I’m bursting with happiness! New home, new chapter right? This is what I have wanted and waited for – for a good three years. But little did anyone know that I was crumbling to pieces within. In my new home, I felt numb. I felt desolate. I felt hopeless. I felt… Helpless.

So it happened about two months back. I slid down the pit that I fought so hard to climb out of for more times than I care to remember. I retreated. I neglected my children (I’m not proud of that). I almost decided that the pain inside was too bad to continue. I almost wanted to end it all.

Almost.

But Kevin spotted the signs. He made an urgent appointment for me to see my regular doctor because he knew that I had been secretly missing my sessions. On the day of the appointment, I went into one of my modes again and my husband had to half-carry me out of the door, with the help of my 2-year-old.

The medical team decided that admission was best – just so that I could have some uninterrupted rest and a break from being on-call 24/7. I was warded for 5 nights. I wouldn’t say I walked out of hospital completely 100% renewed, but the break did help somewhat. It’s amazing what naps can do for a severely sleep-deprived person.

Some people, being human, would have wondered why I burnt out even though I engaged a helper the minute I moved into my new home. I don’t blame them for doing so, and I know I do not owe anyone an explanation, but I just need to get this off my chest – hence the title of this post – so bear with me.

My helper, Anita, has been great. Why? Because she helps me with the physical work of running my household – and we decided to engage her precisely because I need help physically. Due to my history with vestibular issues, there are limitations to what I can and cannot do – and I’m not ashamed to admit that. Unbeknownst to many, I struggle with simple everyday things, and it’s definitely not due to the lack of trying… But that’s a story for another day.

I certainly am grateful that Kevin has given me a chance to be a SAHM, even though we made this decision KNOWING FULL WELL that it will not come without challenges. But it was a choice we made together, and it has worked out so far – all thanks to the One above for His limitless provision.

As a SAHM, I get to live out my calling in this season of life every single day. And I do love being with my children, please don’t get me wrong. We have really good days and we have good days.

And then there are days where I just do not want to face them. These are days which are dark, where I struggle with my thoughts and with my emotions and with my innermost desires to end this fight to live.

I will be honest here. As much as I’m appreciative that I get to stay home and watch my children grow, it is literally all that I have become. Who am I? What do I do all day? The answer is one and the same. I am a mum. I am a mum all day, everyday. The hours fade into days, which fade into weeks, which in turn fade into months. And just like that – I’ve been a full-time mum for exactly three years.

Many times, the isolation is real. And it’s easy to sink into depression (even for those who aren’t already struggling with this) when the only people you face day in and day out are your children – who, being children, are self-centred and self-serving. And to be constantly expected to give of yourself, is an almost impossible task when you are running on empty. That’s exactly what happened to me.

My love tank emptied.

The thoughts overtook.

Emotions overwhelmed me.

Everything came crashing down.

My two arch enemies, depression and anxiety, took over.

Since my relapse, I’ve been pretty much on an emotional roller coaster ride – and my patient husband and innocent children have taken the brunt of it. I have been overbearing, paranoid, angry, impatient, irrational, and basically a pain to be around. But they have been constantly loving on me though I don’t deserve it.

I want to be better. I want to get better. For them. For myself.

So I’m trying to be better. Damn, I’m trying. No doubt I still have my bad days… But I’m trying.

Our Renovation Journey

It’s been a longtime dream of mine to write about building our home… And this dream is finally coming to fruition!

Caution: This post will be an extremely long one, as I have consolidated ALL information and photos here. Will probably work on a mini home tour post next, but we’ll see.

So we finally collected our keys after almost 3 years!

If anyone’s interested, here’s why we waited so long even though we bought our home via HDB’s SBF exercise:

26 May 2016. Applied for flat online.

12 Aug 2016. Got a ballot number of “210”. There were 378 flats on offer so we were in the queue.

21 Dec 2016. Selected our flat of choice.

24 May 2017. Signed the “Agreement of Lease” and paid 5% of flat value as downpayment.

28 Feb 2018. Collected keys, got our combined CPF wiped out, and got ourselves indebted to HDB for a long while!!!

Anyway, our search for an ID / contractor started from September 2017. We spoke to 8 people in all – 4 IDs and 4 contractors – and finally settled on engaging Uncle Alan at the recommendation of a church friend. He’s a contractor and the most experienced one of the lot.

After two rounds of minor defects checking, and several back and forths with our estate’s BSC, we were ready to put together our very first home.

We started renovation works on 20 April 2018, though the initial plan was to start a few days earlier on the 16th. We had a tight deadline to work with because we had to move in by end May as the lease on our storage unit was ending. Thankfully, Uncle Alan only needed 4 weeks to do up our home.

We engaged him as our main contractor to do the carpentry for our kitchen, MBR, and living room; as well as the electrical, plumbing and painting works. On the side, we had another subcontractor do the flooring for us; as well as hack the kitchen wall, flush the living room wall and make good both areas.

TIMELINE OF WORKS DONE

20 April – Kitchen half-wall hacked.

23 April – Concrete sink support constructed. Our sink is a double bowl stainless steel undermount sink from Rubine.

25 April – Tiles from Lian Seng Hin arrived. Likewise for the powder needed for cement screeding, as well as bags and bags of prepacked cement.

27 April – Cement screeding done, tiles stacked into the respective rooms, kitchen entrance reduced from 1.2m to 0.9m, and aircon system from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries installed.

30 April – Over the weekend, living and dining tiles were installed!

5 May – Aluminium grills installed. Living room wall flushed. Kitchen entrance made good. Selected carpentry laminates and paint colours together with Uncle Alan as well.

Kitchen + household shelter carpentry laminate: Wonderful Knit (code: SWL-6873-MT)

MBR carpentry laminate: Desert Pearl Oak (code: SWL-8302-T)

Nippon paint colour codes: Base – Whispering White (code: NPOW1001P) • Living / dining feature walls – Lush (code: NPBGG1605T) • Children’s / study feature walls – Sunlight (code: 1190) • MBR feature wall – Millenia (code: NPPB1444P)

7 MayCity Gas piping installed.

10 May – All paint work by Nippon completed! The first round of acid washing was also done.

18 May – Uni-Arm installed in matte black to match our decor. Moving plans finally settled too after one month of logistical planning with Kevin and Moving Star Express, the moving company that we engaged!

19 May – Finished packing at my parents’ place!

20 May – Our friend from Bangladesh, Arshad, helped us install our many many LED lights from Starworld Lighting, ceiling fans from Fanz, and wall fans from KDK.

23 May – Our helper, Anita, helped to wash the entire home.

24 May – Second round of washing! Our carpentry was finally constructed offsite and brought up to our home after a bit of delay.

25 May – The big move, which took 7 whole hours and 7 men (4 locations in total, and a total of 49 man hours); as well as the installation of carpentry! Amazing how we managed to survive the day with little to no sleep the night before. Thank You Jesus!!!

26 May – Kevin stayed overnight alone to complete the kids’ wardrobes and chest of drawers. Carpentry installation continued in the morning.

30 May – Our 585L Samsung fridge was finally delivered!

31 May – Almost a week after moving in, our kitchen countertop was installed, along with our semi-integrated hood and gas hob from Mayer, and our tap from Hansgrohe. So our sink was functional, but our hood and hob weren’t because our City Gas installation was only scheduled a week later. An oversight on our part, but no big deal.

4 June – Our alkaline water dispenser and air purifier from Novita were delivered! No more need to boil water because our machine can dispense hot, warm, and cold water yay.

7 June – Our half-leather sofa from Teck Seng Furniture crossed the causeway safely!

8 June – Second appointment with City Gas! First time cooking a meal on our stove via gas, instead of on our induction cooker via electricity. No more living like we were camping! Hahaha. Was really quite an experience surviving without a functional kitchen for two weeks.

WhatsApp Image 2018-07-16 at 5.48.15 PM

9 June – Tempered glass installation for kitchen and MBR toilet. Also, our dining table from Island Marble Works arrived!

12 June – Curtains from NST Curtains were installed. And. Our. Home. Is. Done!!!

Planning for our home began immediately right after my confinement ended in February. It has been one heck of a ride – with meetings after meetings to attend, and errands after errands to run. As we decided to engage a contractor instead of an ID, most of the liaising fell on our shoulders. With Kevin busy with work, and me busy with both kids plus attempting to recover from childbirth (I didn’t, and couldn’t, but more on that in future posts), managing so many things all at once was really really tough. Only by God’s grace and limitless provision did we get through this season of life with 2 young children to care for, and a family of 4 thriving (not just surviving) on a single income. We are forever grateful, and immensely thankful.

Valerie’s Surgery

My brave toddler went for surgery to remove an abscess from her left forearm just 11 days before her second birthday. Such a brave warrior!

The timeline went like this:

10 March: She gets bitten by a mosquito and starts to scratch the bite. The skin around the bite starts to thin and even bleeds a few times as she’d unconsciously scratch the bite at night.

15 March: We notice that the wound(s) where the bite was started to harden and swell up. Kevin even managed to drain a bit of pus from the area before dropping her off in school that day. When we picked her up, the area had already swelled up considerably – it was hard, red and felt warm to the touch. We rushed her to the GP that night and she was diagnosed with cellulitis and given Augmentin to fight off the bacteria infection.

18 March: The swell only got bigger, and harder. We decided to bring her to KKH A&E to get it checked out because it was worrying as the oral antibiotics we had been giving her religiously didn’t seem to be working. The doctors immediately suggested admission so that Valerie could be put on IV antibiotics as soon as possible. I then asked if there was any other oral antibiotic that we could try first because I wanted to avoid anything too invasive. The doctors agreed, but asked to mark out the swell so that we will know if it had grown, or not. So we left with another oral antibiotic (Cephalexin) that was seemingly stronger, and an appointment to see the specialist in two days.

20 March: The night before we were due to see the specialist, we had already decided to admit Valerie for surgery as the swell GREW despite changing antibiotics. The surgeons who saw her in the outpatient clinic agreed surgery was necessary too. And so with a heavy heart, we had to do what was necessary to rid our dear girl of this horrible bacteria infection.

This was how bad the swell was upon admission. Notice how the skin was stretched thin already due to the amount of pus in her arm.

(Bad photo because it was a really quick shot. I barely used my phone that day as I wanted to focus on her 100%.)

So the swell suddenly burst open while I was playing with her and sticky pus flowed out. Nurses didn’t do anything but cover it with gauze as she was due for surgery soon.

Napping before going down to the OT. She was scheduled to have surgery at 5pm but the porter came to take us down at 4pm.

After what seemed like an hour-long briefing that had me signing a gazillion forms, we were finally gowned up! So thankful I was able to accompany Valerie ALL the way until she was put under GA.

Note: Extremely impressed and immensely grateful for the compassion of KKH’s OT nurses who were not only a calming presence for my two-year-old, but for me too.

1. They were always smiling and cheerful, from the moment they greeted us, till I was wheeled up to the ward with her lying on me.

2. The waiting room we waited in for about 15 minutes while the OT was being prepped was a HUGE playroom. I did not expect this one bit, but Valerie waltzed in and made herself right at home. There were cars she could sit in, toys she could play with, and cartoons she could watch. She was so happy and relaxed! I started to relax too. (Thank you thank you thank you KKH, for being patient-centric.)

3. My first impression of the OT was it being a cold scary place. Heck, it was my very first time being in one! But the nurses were reassuring and played with Valerie while they were setting her up (she was sitting on my lap). They were even blowing bubbles at and with her! Then… She was slowly given the chocolate-scented GA mask and gently drifted off. The nurses carried her off me and I (reluctantly) left the OT.

My heart shattered, but I had to be strong and not breakdown.

I can’t begin to describe the worry and anxiety that almost suffocated me while she was in surgery. I could barely eat and my legs felt like led. I was drenched in cold sweat and trembled from head to toe. I only got through it with God’s supernatural strength. Thankfully, she was out in around 45 minutes.

Poor babe had difficulty waking up from the GA, though she tried her best. I sat there, all gowned up, rocking her and singing to her for about 1 hour post-surgery. In the end, I carried her and was wheeled up to the ward.

(Quick shot for memory’s sake.)

She was very groggy upon waking up. Drank a little milo, though she threw most of it up. Went back to sleep shortly after.

But after a 2 hour nap, she was back to her chirpy self and enjoyed (read: gobbled) the pandan chiffon mini cakes I bought for her from Prima Deli. Oh, how my heart sang with joy at seeing her be her cheeky self again!

21 March: My brave trooper was discharged from hospital after the first dressing of her wound!!

It was such a journey. But she walked out of the hospital with a testimony to tell of the goodness of God, and so do all of us. Praise God for His limitless strength and unconditional grace!

The Fourth Trimester

I’m not one to mince my words so I’d be honest: Life is so tough now.

The late-night feeds. The through-the-night feeds. The baby-refuses-to-latch feeds. The baby-struggles-at-boob feeds. And the baby-won’t-stop-crying-though-boob-in-mouth feeds.

You guessed it. I’m struggling with breastfeeding Isaac.

My supply is really good this time round, and I have more than enough milk for his needs. I have so much milk, in fact, that out of Valerie’s three milk feeds a day, two are of my milk (morning and night), while she takes formula in school after her afternoon nap on weekdays.

But as with all things, there’s the good, and there’s the bad. Good supply is what every breastfeeding mum dreams of, but for me, my good supply comes with extremely forceful letdown that causes Isaac to choke.

I know how strong my letdown can be because I observe my milk flow when I use my trusty Haakaa, and my milk SHOOTS out. Like a fountain. So I can imagine how Isaac feels when the milk suddenly sprays HARD towards the back of his throat. Of course, he’d get a shock and unlatch. Then he’d be upset that he unlatched and cry badly. Then I’d (quite) forcefully re-latch him and he’d be struggling. Rinse and repeat.

I spoke with Aunty Tok about this yesterday and she watched me breastfeed Isaac and the same thing happened. She came to the same conclusion I did – that my letdown was too strong for Isaac. I mentioned to her too, that I was honestly considering being an Exclusive Pumping (EP) mum, and asked for her thoughts because I value her opinion.

I’m currently still seriously considering the EP route. I mean – whatever works best for Isaac and I, right?

This was taken on Kevin’s 38th birthday. Isaac coincidentally turned 38 days old that same day too.

I’m posting this photo up because… Well, I need a reminder that his infantile stage, especially the fourth trimester (!!!), will pass before I know it. And though now it seems like things will never end, I will miss this phase when he goes into the next. (Oh, the irony of life.)

He is now sleeping on my chest after feeding. Such moments are far and few between, but these are the moments I treasure most. It’s during these moments that I feel him breathe, I feel him live. It’s during these moments that he is near and still enough to hear my heart beat, just like when he was still swimming around inside my womb.

He rarely is this still. He rarely is this quiet.

And this is another struggle of mine.

Isaac is a very light sleeper. He wakes up at the slightest noise or movement.

He constantly grunts – I think that’s just his way of babbling but it does get too much, at times.

He prefers to be carried, and cries to be cuddled. BUT it must be in HIS favourite position – the cradle.

Day in, day out; I’m either latching, pumping, or cuddling him. Just really thankful that I have extra hands to help me carry him when I need to pump, eat, shower, spend time with Valerie, or just take a y’know… BREAK.

Honestly, it’s tough. And I am struggling. There seems to be so much more to do now with two children completely dependant on you, though Valerie spends the most part of the day in school (thank GOD seriously).

Before I delivered, I was told that the BIGGEST transition any mother would have to go through would be going from ONE child to TWO children; and now I totally get it.

I’m a mess. I’m a complete mess. My children’s schedules are not in sync. My pumping schedule is chaos (I’ve gone nine hours without pumping before). I feel like I don’t even have proper time to eat, bathe, or even pee. I’m locked in the room with my boobs out half the time to milk my jugs… And I haven’t had a proper sleep in ages.

There are times when I feel like giving it all up. When I want to run away. When I want to just take care of my own needs again. When I want my body back to myself.

But then I think of life before I had my children, and as tough as it is now, I’ve truly never been happier.

So I’m pressing on, step by step. But man, it is hard.

First Outing As Four

One word: C. H. A. O. S.

But at least we survived, hey.

So the plan was for us to drop by IKEA to have lunch and to look at clothes and toy storage options for the kids’ room. Sounds simple enough, right? Not.

Here’s how our day went.

1020: Kevin and I jerked awake and went “crap” at the same time because we slept in when we weren’t supposed to. So many things to do, so little time – hello?

1200: Finally left home after feeding Isaac, pumping milk, getting him bathed and dressed, getting ourselves washed up and dressed for the day, eating a quick bite, packing the Anello and preparing both prams.

1230: Drove out of carpark after setting up the Doona for Isaac, putting the Fedora and Anello in the boot, and packing ourselves into the car.

1330: Arrive at IKEA Tampines after doing a detour to collect Valerie from my parents’ place as she spent the night with them. The car ride was interesting as I sat behind with both of them wanting my attention at the same time. Isaac wanted out of his car seat because he wanted to latch, while Valerie wanted to sleep on me. So I latched my son while being my daughter’s pillow. I’m immensely glad both children managed to fall asleep for the most part of the journey.

1400: Finally reached the IKEA restaurant for lunch as Kevin and I took a good 20 minutes to unpack everyone from the car. It was kind of like a circus, for lack of a better word. Imagine Kevin putting a sleeping toddler into her Fedora, removing the Doona and then strapping Isaac in while I get, uhm, myself in order and button up my dress. Meanwhile, Valerie wakes up and decides to wail while Isaac fusses as he’s not used to the pram. I started to feel overwhelmed but this was just the beginning…

1430: Started eating, finally. No food photos because who has time now seriously. I was just trying to prevent Valerie from rocking Isaac’s pram from her high chair.

1530: All four of us were done with lunch. (Yes, latched Isaac at the table too.)

1600: FINALLY (I’m using this word a lot hahahahaha) started our shopping trip after a half-hour trip to the nursing room which saw both kids changed and Isaac fed (again).

Going from this…

… To this took about two hours.

Those two hours consisted of a mini melt-down by my toddler, constant cries by my infant, and whining and more whining from both.

We are fortunate to have been able to purchase SOMETHING from the sale. At least it was not a wasted trip!

1930: We reached back to my parents’ place to drop Valerie off (she was due to stay another night) and where dinner awaited us.

2100: Kevin, Isaac and I reached home. I forced myself to take a quick shower and then pumped milk before feeding and changing Isaac. Turned on a movie (Pitch Perfect 3) and barely watched till the halfway mark before falling asleep.

But we survived. We survived our first trip out as a family of four! I’m proud of us. Things can only get better from here on out… Hopefully.

The Inner Child

Today, I’m going to write about something different. It’s going to be a difficult topic to talk about because of my journey, both past and present – but I feel I have to.

To begin with, I do feel that this complex referred to as “The Inner Child” is REAL. Not physically, but figuratively and metaphorically real. It is a psychological or phenomenological reality, and an extraordinarily powerful one at that.

Experts in this field claim that most mental disorders and destructive behaviour patters are somehow related to this unconscious part of ourselves.

You and I – we were all once children, and still have that child dwelling within us. But most of us adults are quite unaware of this. And this lack of conscious relatedness to OUR OWN Inner Child is precisely where so many behavioral, emotional and relationship difficulties stem from.

Your Inner Child… Is the echo of the child you once were.

We each have our own history and we have all been influenced by our environment, events and the significant people around us. Our Inner Child has stored those memories, and their impact upon us.

As a child, we will all have made decisions at a sub-conscious level about how we ‘should’ be and what we ‘should’ do in order to be seen as OK. For instance – what’s culturally and/or socially acceptable.

Our experiences in our teenage years will have reinforced these beliefs and formed our own SCRIPT for how our life ‘should’ be. We carry these immature scripts and decisions with us into adulthood – when they, unfortunately, run our lives more than 90% of the time.

So where did it all begin?

We have all been influenced by our environments since the time we were in our mother’s womb.

The sounds around us, our mother’s stress levels, the abundance or deficit of the ‘feel-good’ hormones, our nourishment or lack of it etc… Will all have played their part in how safe we felt even before we were born.

Then the actual birth experience, our early infant care, and the EMOTIONAL AVAILABILITY of our mother will have either reinforced or soothed the impact of those first prenatal influences.

As young children, we will have been absorbing a great deal from our caregiver(s), immediate families, extended families, friends, and education or religious institutions.

We may not have had words for these experiences but they will have been IMPRINTED in our subconscious minds and bodies.

This all creates the POOL in which we float, or sink. Inevitably, the water will be a bit dirty. But sometimes, it may even be as thick as mud.

In this pool… Resides our self esteem, body image, family trauma, shame and secrets (even if not spoken about – as they all affect the quality of the care our caregivers are able to show to us).

As adults, we will tend to sink down into this pool, or mud, whenever we are overwhelmed by negative thoughts and emotions, self-doubt or self-loathing.

What happens when the Inner Child within us gets hurt?

In each of us, there is a young, suffering Child. We have all had times of difficulty as children and many of us have experienced trauma. To protect and defend ourselves against future suffering, we often try to forget those painful times. Every time we’re in touch with the experience of suffering, we believe we can’t bear it, and we stuff our feelings and memories deep down in our unconscious mind. It may be that we haven’t dared to face this Child for many decades.

This isn’t dissociation per se. Rather, it is a far more common, pervasive and insidious sort of socially sanctioned (read: socially accepted) dissociation.

In layman terms, the wounded Inner Child is the parts of ourself that was hurt, terrified, vulnerable, neglected, or invalidated… During our younger days. When all we wanted, as children, was to be loved, protected, and nurtured.

The sad truth here is that adults like you and me are unwittingly being constantly influenced or covertly controlled by this UNCONSCIOUS Inner Child. For many, it is not an adult self directing their lives, but rather an emotionally wounded Inner Child inhabiting an adult body.

Imagine this:

A five-year-old running around in a forty-year-old frame. It is a hurt, angry, fearful little boy or girl calling the shots and making adult decisions.

A boy or girl being sent out into the world to do a man’s or woman’s job.

A five or ten-year old (or two of them!) trying to engage in grown-up relationships.

Can a child have a mature relationship?

A career?

An independent life?

Yet this is precisely what’s happening with us everyday to some degree or another.

And then we wonder why our relationships fall apart.

Why we feel so anxious. Afraid. Insecure. Inferior. Small. Lost. Lonely.

But think about it. How else would any child feel having to fend for themselves in an apparently adult world? Without proper parental supervision, protection, structure or support?

One thing I’ve learnt is that the first step to healing is the awareness of and willingness to face your Inner Child.

Next, we need to learn to take our Inner child seriously, and to consciously communicate with that little boy or girl within. To listen to how he or she feels and what he or she needs from us here and now. The often frustrated primal needs of that perennial Inner Child – for love, acceptance, protection, nurturance, understanding – remain the same today as when we were children.

Many times, as pseudo-adults, we futilely attempt to force others into fulfilling these infantile needs for us. (I have experienced this firsthand.)

But this is doomed to fail.

What we didn’t sufficiently receive in the past from our parents as children must be confronted in the present, as painful as it might be.

The past traumas, sadness, disappointments and depression cannot be changed and must be accepted. Becoming an adult means swallowing this “bitter pill”, as I call it. That, unfortunately for most of us, certain infantile needs were, maliciously or not, unmet by our imperfect parents or caregivers. And they never will be, no matter how good or smart or attractive or spiritual or loving we become. Those days are over. What was done cannot be undone.

Bottom line is… We should not as adults now expect others to meet all of these unfulfilled childhood needs. They cannot.

AUTHENTIC ADULTHOOD requires both accepting the painful past and the primary responsibility for taking care of your own Inner Child’s needs.

PS: #iwrotethisforyou

Stop running. There’s nothing to run from.

Stop escaping. There’s nothing to escape from.

The past is the past. Forgive yourself, forgive the people around you, and move on. It may be a difficult road to walk because you’re afraid and that’s ok. But take the first step and you’d be amazed how healing can and will take place.

I hope you will live a more positive and rewarding life filled with fun, laughter, spontaneity, and authenticity.

Finally, start loving yourself.

You are worth it. You are more than enough. You are God’s beloved child. You are you. You have a story no one can tell.

Be a blessing.

[Credit: x, x]

The Truth About Birth

I decided to post this photo up because I want to be as real as possible – and well, this is as real as it gets. That was me on Isaac’s birth date, and I honestly wasn’t feeling my best. I felt sick (dizzy and nauseated), was exhausted (hadn’t slept in 2 days) and just wanted to pack up and go home. (But obviously couldn’t because there was a baby about to come out of me.)

“I can’t do this”, I thought to myself.

“Yes, you can”, I fought back.

My mind was tired. Everything was a blur. I didn’t even know what time it was or what day it was, even.

I just wanted for it all to be over.

“It’s been a really long time since I’ve felt ok.”

“I just want to eat again.”

“How did I survive a pregnancy once more?”

“Can you take off all these tubes and just let me go home, please.”

Thoughts like these were floating around in my head the entire seven hours I was in active labour. I didn’t even know what I was thinking of half the time.

And then Isaac arrived. After three pushes in nine minutes, he arrived.

He was here!!!

After all the pain and discomfort I went through, my rainbow baby has arrived. I should have been elated…

But I felt nothing. I was numb. I was too exhausted to even WANT to hold him and held him out of sheer obligation because the midwife insisted I do skin-to-skin with my newborn.

You see, no one told me this.

No one told me the truth about birth.

I went into the delivery suite expecting to come out a few kilograms lighter and with the new love of my life – my baby.

But I’ve given birth twice and that has never happened. Not the first time, and certainly not the second time round either.

No one tells you how the sheer anticipation of your little bundle of joy (and of course, labour itself) can completely wipe you out.

And no one tells you how grossed out you will feel after you shoot a baby out of your vagina.

The blood. The amniotic fluid. The placenta (that’s basically like a huge bloodied mass that weighs about 500g). Not to mention, having to put your legs up in the stirrups for a stranger to see you in all your (bloodied) glory AND have him/her stitch you up.

… Tell me now. How am I supposed to fall in love with my baby with all this going on? I barely even saw what he looked like because I could not keep my eyes open, anyway.

And honestly, I just wanted everyone to leave me alone. I wanted to be cleaned up as fast as humanly possible. I wanted to curl up into a ball and go to sleep.

Fast forward 12 hours and finally feeling somewhat human again.

Seeing this photo again brings back all types of feels because this was the moment I first held Isaac in my arms. This was the moment I saw his face (and thought – hey another photocopy of Kevin). This was the moment I vowed to protect him until he grew wings to set up his own nest away from ours. This was the moment I fell in love with my son, my little boy.