Dear Child-free/less friends … (yes, rant incoming)

Thank you for all your invaluable advice as to how I should be raising my child and how I should be as a parent.

I am not sure if you are entirely across with parenthood.  I’ll let you in on one important bit of information.  Ready? Yes?  Ok.  Here goes.  There is no such thing as sick days off.  That’s right! We don’t get to take days off ‘work’ when we’re sick.  You know, all the times when you call in sick at your work for feeling a bit meh?  Ya know, it’s that easy?  Well, we don’t do that.  So it is best we don’t get sick.

So.  When I get an onset of something or rather, I am going to take all the medicinal drugs I can take to not get too sick, to get better faster, to be able to function tackling the illness and looking after my child.  And no, I will not let the fever/whatever do its thing and run its course.  I can’t afford to be sick.  I am responsible for keeping a little human alive.  I will do whatever it is to make sure I am able to.

So.  You think I should let my very young child to crawl around the floor in a pub to build up immunity?  Or that I should take my child to swim class?  Or that I should put my child in day care to socialise with other kids and to swap germs?  Oh it’s ok for them to be sick, you say.  Have you ever seen your child being so sick and you feel so helpless?

What do I feed my child?  All kids love bananas?  Well mine doesn’t.  Sorry to shatter your expertise in child rearing.  Bananas can also cause constipation.  Have you seen the pain your child go through with constipation?

Let me ask you one very important question.  How many babies have you conceived, carried, birthed and raised?

Oh none?

You never have to see your own child be in so much pain that you hope you were the one going through it instead?

You never have to stay up all night to make sure your child is breathing?

Well then, shut the fuck up with your advice that I never asked for!

Midwife

midwife
ˈmɪdwʌɪf
noun
  1. 1.
    a person, typically a woman, who is trained to assist women in childbirth.
verb
  1. 1.
    assist (a woman) during childbirth.

(source: oxforddictionaries.com)

 

 

When asked why she became a midwife, the hospital staff who was with me during my labor responded with: “Oh because I really love babies. I already have four and won’t be having anymore.  So this is my opportunity to snuggle lots of babies.”

Now, in my epidural haze, I thought, “Wow, that’s so lovely.  My midwife loves babies, that’s why she became a midwife.”

So, she became a midwife not because she has an interest in assisting women, the mothers-to-be.  She became a midwife for the babies.  She also told me I’d better push or the doctors would take over.  Erm, isn’t that her job to let me know when?  Did she not remember the epidural they gave me?  Wasn’t she the one who was supposed to be monitoring me?  So it would be my fault the doctors intervene?

This was quite evident in the hospital I was at.  The midwives in my ward had no interest in looking after me, one of the women who had just given birth.  None whatsoever.

The only midwife who remotely care was the initial midwife who was assigned to me when I went in for my induction (who was subsequently taken over by the senior midwife and a student midwife).   Then there was a young midwife Mel who discharged me but didn’t look after me.  She had a similar bad experience as I did at the very hospital I was at.  She was a RN and decided to train as a midwife as a result of her bad experience at the hospital.  She explained that even over 18 months after the birth of her son, she was still affected by her experience.  But she channeled that anger towards becoming a midwife so as to hope other women didn’t have to go through what she went through.

My five days stay at the hospital was horrendous.

 

(1)  They wouldn’t let my partner stay with me even though I had been there since early morning and was cut open.  He was promptly kicked out an hour after our newborn and I arrived at the ward;

(2)  They took my newborn away while I was passed out and not return to me for over 24 hours.  And without any explanation.  They told me an hour.;

(3)  I was still in the hospital gown I was put in before they rushed me to theatre.  It was covered in blood and meconium.  It was not til the next day when that a midwife got me a clean gown and helped me changed into it and also cleaned me up. (I was hooked up and couldn’t really walk);

(4)  The midwife assigned to look after me the majority of my stay had no interest in looking after me.  She was instructed to remove the catheter and the cannula but she refused.  Took many attempts by the seniors to instruct her before she remove them.

(5)  The very same midwife refused to help me get a wheelchair so I could go to the nursery to see my newborn.  I wasn’t able to walk and I was still hooked up to drips.  It wasn’t til towards late afternoon before someone got me a very big wheelchair with deflated tyres.  I hadn’t seen my newborn and I was scared.  I couldn’t even recognise which baby in all the cubes was mine!

(6)  The same midwife, again, told me off for not changing out of my hospital gown.  Uhh,  what?  I had tubes sticking out from my body and every few hours someone checks my back.  But yea sure ok.  When I could finally go to the bathroom, she told me that my partner would have to help me (even though all the hospital material said the midwife would help the patient).

(7)  The midwives refuse to help me with the pumping equipment so I could get colostrum to my newborn in the nursery.  My partner had to ask a lot of midwives until one finally pointed him to a cabinet saying that’s where all the stuff are then gave him a couple of shields (that were way too big for me but we didn’t know til after we engaged a lactation consultant when we got home).  No one showed us how to use the pump.  We had to figure it out ourselves.

(8)  The midwife was as charged with looking after my newborn in the nursery not only use a dummy on him, she also fed him formula milk.  When I went down to see him, I asked to feed him but she refused.  I gave her the syringe of colostrum I expressed, she just left it on the bench without feeding him.  She left it there and went home.  Not only was I not allowed to feed him, she kissed my newborn’s face in front of me.  I was too drugged up, too tired, too scared, too shocked to do anything.  I felt like I failed my little boy.

(9)  None of the midwives knew what was wrong with him and why they took him away to the nursery while I was sleeping.  Til this day, we still don’t have an answer.  On the day of discharge they were still refusing to let him leave even though the paediatric coordinator signed off on the discharge (after a lot of noise made by me for not getting any answers from anyone).  They were throwing random numbers about infection and one even told us to be prepared for the worse (and to leave without him).  Then when we asked the next midwife, she looked at us like idiots and told us she had no idea what we were talking about.

(10)  I was told by the ward co-ordinator that she had assigned a midwife to help me overnight with breastfeeding and help me while I was expressing.  She didn’t.  It was all a lie and cover-up.  The young midwife on my last night not only did not help me with anything, she gave me a bottle of formula to go ‘help yourself’.  I did not sleep at all that night.  My whole hope of getting my newborn home the next day hinged on getting him to feed and that I would expressed sufficient amount.  They didn’t even tell me this.  I only found out from Mel the next day.  She pretty much said if I didn’t express enough and he didn’t gain enough weight, they wouldn’t let him leave.  I was horrified.  I was trapped in that hell of a hospital.

 

So tell me, midwife.  How are you assisting the woman?

I am still scarred by my experience.  I am still waking up to check my baby hasn’t been taken away.  Do you know how this feel?

I still look at my scar and blamed myself for not being able to ‘push’.  A stark reminder of my failure.  The words of my midwife still rings in my mind.

The image of the young midwife kissing my newborn is still fresh in my mind.  Now I am afraid of someone taking him away.

Tell me midwife, how are you assisting me, the woman who gave birth.

The woman who was cut opened.

The woman whose newborn you took away from her room while she was asleep.

The woman whom you refused to help with expressing colostrum/milk for her newborn.

The woman you wouldn’t help to feed her newborn colostrum.

The woman whom you refused to help breastfeed her newborn when you finally returned her newborn to her.

Midwife.  If you do not like nor enjoy your job in assisting the mother-to-be.  Or you have decided you have made the wrong career choice.

Please, for the sake of us, leave and find a different career.

 

 

 

 

Another child?

My partner is wanting us to try for another child.

I am not sure I am ready yet.  Or if I really want to.

After giving birth to my lil boy, I said I didn’t want another one due to what I went through.  To be honest I am petrified.  Probably 3 days after coming home from the hospital, he talked about giving our lil boy a sibling.  I was shocked.  I thought we agreed it’s fine if we have just him.  Obviously not.  So I’ve been going through this massive guilt trip.  If we don’t try and give him a sibling, he’ll be an only child and lonely.

Physically, emotionally, mentally, psychologically, I am not ready.  I am scared.  Also I love this lil dude so much, I just wanna spend all the time with him and love him with my everything.

I remember what I was like when I was pregnant.  I had morning sickness for a long time.  I couldn’t stand a lot of smell and couldn’t deal with a lot of flavourful food.  I was constantly tired.  I just wanted to sleep all the time.  Yes.  All.The.Time.

This time round I will have a toddler to look after.  I can’t bear the thought of not being able to play with him as much as I can now.  I can’t bear the thought of being humungous and not able to run around with him.

What should I do?  Am I thinking too much?

 

Will I ever recover?

I don’t take it for granted that I am so very fortunate to be a mother.  I never thought I would and could love someone so much.  The love I have for my son is different to the love I have for anyone else ever.  I am so thankful to be his mother.

However I also know that my mental health has had taken a beating.  Physically and mentally, I am still trying to recover.  I didn’t have a good experience in the hospital and to this day I am still traumatised by it.  The hospital’s interest is in the delivery of the baby and they have no interest in the mother’s welfare.

“We’ve taken the baby out of you, it is alive, you’re on your own now lady!”.

Well, pretty much.

On very difficult days or nights, they remind me of what a failure I am.  I wanted the best for my child but can’t help being angry about what happened at the hospital.  I failed to birth naturally.  I failed to breastfeed.  I failed to protect him at the hospital.  I should’ve been stronger and demanded he be returned to me when they took him away to the nursery.  The sight of him barely a day old hooked up to tubes and being fasted still haunt me.  I’m afraid the hospital experience has scarred me, possibly for life.

I have a very energetic high needs child who is currently also very clingy.  His clinginess, I guess is also part of his natural development of curiosity wanting to know what’s going on all the time.  I love him.  I love that he is so observant that he picks up how to do things very quickly.  The thing with learning and development is he also has difficulties with sleep at night.  I am so proud of him though.  I am grateful of being his mother.  However, I do know there will be many more parenthood challenges to come.  I am bracing myself for them.

 

I finally ventured out on my own

For the second time since leaving the hospital, I ventured out on my own.  Not just another outing with my partner and my precious boy.

The first time was for a mere hour when I went to get a hair cut.  Just on the weekend, I went out for 5 hours.  I gave myself a time limit and told myself I wouldn’t go home until the time was up.  I made it!  I went out and aimlessly walked around, looked at shops, had a coffee.  I almost cried as I ventured out.  My heart was pounding so hard, it almost jumped out of my body.

I know it sound very strange but it is a very big achievement for me to be able to go out and do things on my own away from my lil boy.  We’ve been stuck to each other.  I love him dearly but it got to the point where I was frustrated and scared.  I didn’t want to be away from him for any amount of time.  I know exactly why this is so.  When we were in the hospital, they took him away from me while I was sleeping.  8 hours after he was born.  I’ve been badly scarred from that ever since.  It was a horrible experience.  It should not have had happened.  It was irresponsible of the hospital.  Not only to have taken him away from my room while I was asleep, they could not, would not explain to me what was wrong with him.  To this day, I still don’t know why they did that.  Why it was necessary for them to do that.  It was horrible.  It was frightening for a first time mom who already had a bad birth experience.

My partner is encouraging me to go and do things on my own and this in a way also allows him to spend one on one time with our lil boy.  So I have overcome the first obstacle of venturing out on my own but I will have to see if this will happen on a regular basis.  I know I need to do this for everyone’s sake.  I can’t just stay home with him all the time.  I have to make time to go do things for myself.  Or so I tell myself.

 

Another breakthrough is he’s been trying to put himself to sleep.  He’s really been trying to do this by himself.  Sometimes he’s able to, sometimes he can’t and get frustrated.  So he asks me to help him by rocking him to sleep.  I don’t mind rocking him to sleep.  I know this shocks a lot of people who have sleep-trained their babies or have very independent babies who go to sleep by themselves.  I am happy to rock my baby to sleep.  This is not forever.  He’s already  growing up very fast.  I feel a tightness in my chest that I can’t catch up.  He’s growing up.  My lil boy is growing up.

 

 

 

“Your body will do what it is capable of”

I really hate reading this.

Really.  Hate.

On internet forums, parenting/mother-baby websites, when the question posted by any woman about to have a first child her concerns of childbirth.  You will no doubt read at least one post from Madam Earth Mother that ‘it will naturally happen, your body will do what it is capable of’ and ‘I had mine no drugs, no gas, all natural birth, I didn’t even feel the pain!’ and ‘IT WAS MAGICAL’.

Well, Madam Earth Mother, for the rest of us mothers whose body couldn’t do ‘what it was supposed to be capable of’, what of us then?  Are we lesser women than you are?

For those of us who couldn’t naturally birth, are we lesser women than you are?

For those of us who had to be induced, had to use gas or be administered epidural or pethidine, are we lesser women than you are?

There is so much written about the ‘magic’ of (natural) childbirth, that first time moms don’t really get told or read much about that their birth plan or whatever this fantasy instilled upon us could go wrong.  Our once idea of having a drug-free, natural childbirth (well, because it’s the most natural thing is the world right?) is shattered when we end up in the theatre being butchered up.

What do you say to us then?

 

How did mothers in the past survive without parenting books/sleep schools/sleep training books? (Alt title: How parenting books/sleep schools can fuck up your first year as a parent)

Right, what’s my beef today?

Parenting books. Sleep Schools.  Sleep Training Books.

What the actual fuck?

From under which rock did they turn up from?  How did mothers in the ye olden times look after their sprouts?  How, really?

As if this parenting (especially first timers) gig isn’t daunting enough.  Desperate parents fork out loads of dough to seek ‘advice’ from these books/schools.  All they do is add more stress to the cause.  Thanks.  No Thanks.

 

Put down awake but drowsy

Good luck to you if you are able to do this.  I don’t know who you are but congrats, well done etc.  You try doing this to some babies and see what happens.  This is not possible for most parents.  For the sake of self-assurance (ok, more of a what the fuck am I doing wrong), I trawled parenting forums to see what other parents are doing.  It’s ok, I’m not the only one who isn’t able to do the put down awake but drowsy bullshit.  Some moms are still rocking/feeding/cuddling to sleep.  Yet most of them have been suffering silently while they read of other moms’ ‘achievements’ in getting their bubs to ‘self-settle’ (oh don’t get me started!) and sleep at the appropriate nap times and night bedtime.

Seriously get the fuck out.

 

Self-settling

HAHAHAHAHAH a 12 week old baby self settles to sleep?  Or some moms like to embellish the truth a little by telling all and sundries that their babies self settle at 6 weeks.

I call bullshit.  Who the fuck are you people?  Do you know babies are babies for a very short while?  You want to put them in a big cot, all alone in a big room by themselves and put themselves to sleep on their own accord?  Who the fuck are you people?

Who was the first person who came up with this genius of an idea that it is good for the baby to be put flat on the cot, in its own room, by itself, self-settles in the early weeks so as to be independent?

 

Sleep through the night

Just have a quick glance through parenting forums and you will find the common question asks for how to get baby sleep through the night.  Look, most babies don’t.  It’s natural for them to wake up during the night.  Maybe once, maybe twice, maybe I don’t know.

To expect a 6 or even 12 week old baby to sleep through the nigh is ridiculous.  Reality is some babies won’t even sleep through the night at 2 years old.

Get used to it.

I know I’d been stressed for the past months of WHY ISN’T THE BABY SLEEPING! But now, I appreciate all the extra cuddles times

 

Cry It Out

Why would you intentionally let your baby cry it out?  So it won’t be dependent on you?

They are babies, they are supposed to be dependent on you!

 

Breast is best

Ok, we all know breast milk is best for your baby.  But what happens if you are not able to breastfeed?  It’s frightening how many of these ‘experts’ are saying to persist as breastfeeding is the most natural thing (oh, like vaginal birth without drugs?).  This puts a lot of pressure on some moms who want to (or maybe not want to) but can’t.  Can’t/not able to, due to a myriad of reason.  Not all new moms can breastfeed and this can be distressing.   We should encourage FED IS BEST.

 

Being a first time mom is a learning curve.  It is daunting enough for most of us (I say most because judging by ‘instagram moms’, seems to be an easy gig for them, in between baby wearing and breastfeeding and housewarming and looking glam all at the same time).

 

Ditch the books.  If you can’t, take and disregard.

 

My human child and my furry child

So this is happening in my household.

My partner got our human child a walker (a Joovy Spoon – best of all the walkers he’s researched on) and he loves it.

Put him in it and he’s the happiest boy ever, zipping and bolting around the place.

He loves his walker!

But he also loves his furry sister.

Every opportunity he gets, he wants to be near her.  He’s so happy now that he is mobile on his own accord.  He seeks out his sister to play with.

However, little human child hasn’t learnt the skills of gentle as yet.  While he loves to bolt toward his sister to touch her, she defiantly sits in the middle of his path.  This is a recipe for a lot of tears.  From her.

Lately, she’s become more needy.  She never used to like much attention from us, happy to just do her own thing.  She’s been wanting more from us lately and becoming more daring in sitting near her human brother.  Well she really wants to be near us so she gets pats.  But that’s the sort of risks she is willing to take.

She didn’t want to be near him for the first 6 months.  Then one day, while he was having his afternoon nap, I found her laying at his feet during his nap time.  I think it’s at that point, she’s decided this little human is ok.

It’s a big change for the old girl, having been an only child and now she needs to share the attention and love.  But she gotta look at this way, she’s getting more love – from another human!