Category: postpartum

Beauty in Small Things: My Birth of Daisy | Guest Writer Toni Gordon

Being pregnant was pretty great for me. I was lucky enough to not get morning sickness, I stopped working at 5 months, I went to yoga, ate ice-cream, watched Netflix, lazed in a hammock and snuggled with my pup. I was such a calm pregnant person. My husband who worked away was very caring and made sure that I was as comfortable as possible from afar. He’d send me flowers, and make sure that I had everything that I needed. My doctor ensured that I had to relax, as I was “high risk” with psoriatic arthritis. I was in a moderate amount of joint pain, from my hips and lower back, but I managed because hey… women have been doing it for centuries. I was really lucky. My obstetrician seemed to be very attentive, he told me “Don’t worry, I will be there through out your journey because you are high risk” As my husband did work away, and that I was high risk, we all decided on a date in which I would be induced.

(Mistake #1)

The day before my induction date, my husband flew home. I had my bags packed and we set off for the hospital. I was pretty excited to meet Daisy. Daisy was always going to be Daisy… it was a very strong lightning bolt that hit me in 2012 which was a whole year before she was even a sparkle in my eye. The day started like expected, the tried to ripen my cervix and the doctors and nurses wore my privates like an old glove. I think that was the point where I left my dignity at the door. Anyway, I was in the zone. I had no drugs, I have the song playlists, the calming lavender mist sprays, pillows, breath mints you name it, I had it I was prepared AF for the labour. I had watched every episode of born every minute and I knew there was no turning back. 8 hours passed and I was 4cm dilated.

They warned me that I may need to have a caesarian because of the risk of infection. I was fine with that, my OB would call in every 30 minutes and I was on the happy gas. I was fine. Then, the next call, the babies heart rate was dropping with every contraction, we are prepping you for surgery… I was cool, I was prepared for any which way they were going to give me Daisy as long as she was okay. They doctor care to give me the epidural. My mother and husband nearly fainted as 3 attempts to place the needle were too much to take. But that was fine. Finally after 10 hours I was getting prepped for surgery.

They took away the happy gas and as I entered the taxi rank my OB approached me and my husband… “Look, its my wife’s sisters birthday and she would be very disappointed if I wasn’t there, I am going to put you in the hands of my associate… do you mind?” WHAT THE FUCK do you want me to say? Where do you go from there? I had been in induced labor for 10 hours, 3 botched attempts at an epidural and now my OB that said he’d be there all the way through as I was high risk, was not going to see my delivery through? FINE. Go …

The surgeon that I did have was lovely, for someone that had been called in last minute and had literally just come from having his evening run. He cracked a few jokes, made the delivery and seconds later, I had this red slippery vulnerable thing on my chest. All I could think is you need to bond with this child this is the most important time. You need to breast feed right now. All I wanted to do was vomit and pass out. I just had my belly cut open and all my organs were pushed around which feel bloody terrible. Its not painful but I will never forget that feeling. The nurses ripped down my gown and latched the baby on to my breast.

(Mistake #2)

I don’t remember much for a few hours, but I remember being back in the room and having absolutely no idea what to do. I was pretty happy and success my baby was healthy. On day 3, I began to complain of an incredibly sore wound and I could hardly walk. I was sweating and became violently ill. My wound become infected, I had a super bug MRSA. I was transferred to Fremantle hospital isolation ward. My new baby and I, stuck in a cold room and everyone who came in had to wear top to toe infectious disease gear. I was isolated. My husband was in Mandurah, he came everyday but he also had to go home. This was not part of my plan… I had been pretty open to anything until this point, I wasn’t fussed how Daisy came into this world as long as she was okay. I didn’t care if I had to stay in hospital, but as long as I got to take her home.

I started spiralling into depression, They told me it was the baby blues and I needed to rest. They suggested that my husband take my daughter home. I was mortified, there was NO WAY anyone was taking my baby away from me. They told me I needed rest I refused and told them that I didn’t trust them. A nurse finally talked me into letting Daisy go into the baby ward for a night so I could sleep, I agreed and they let me sleep. After 2 gruelling weeks stuck in that shit hole, having blood tests, X-rays, endoscopies I was finally discharged.

I had a pic line and had to carry a bum bag of antibiotics with me 24/7 for another 2 weeks. I was home though, I had a whole 5 days left before my husband was due to go back to work. He was FIFO 4/1 so I was scared shitless what the hell was I going to do? The last 5 days, I couldn’t sit back and let my husband wait in me. He was doing everything and I had to learn how to do it. Because of the fact I was on such heavy antibiotics, I stopped breastfeeding. It was a huge decision, but the added pressure of it all was too much. Yes, I felt like a failure and yes I felt super guilty but I didn’t have time to dwell on it. I was now a single mum for the next 4 weeks. I remember how the air really chilled off as soon as I was alone.

A Revelation

Four years later, chilly April mornings still bring back the daunting feeling of being abandoned. The next few weeks, alone with my newborn, a daily visit from a nurse to change my Vank (Vancomycin) alone with my thoughts and the changing of season, was the perfect recipe for deep depression to slip in. I felt so alone, I felt so silly for feeling so alone. I felt like I was weak for feeling abandoned. You may think that my feelings of abandonment was from my husband going back to work?

No, they were from my doctor. The one who said he would be there through it all because I was high risk. The one who made me fill in mental health forms because I was a fifo partner and because I had a chronic auto immune disease. It was he who abandoned me. I thought of ways that I wanted to end his career. How was a dinner more important than my health or the health of my newborn? I set up a meeting. He apologised for what had happened. It wasn’t at all sufficient. But it woke me up. I realised, that there was not anyone that was going to make me feel better, but myself. I realised that my child (thank the universe) was 100% healthy and that I had to make sure that this child never ever felt abandoned or that she was a burden. It was hard, I never knew how hard being a parent could be. I was one of those women who thought that being a mum was an easy way out and a way to not work!

Yep. I was one of those. Well, there isn’t a man alive that I respect more than I do a mum. We do the best that we can with what we have with the absolute bear minimum, which is primal organic love. I could never have thought that I would be where I am now, with clear vision and goals, without have being a mother. Before being a mother, I was flippant and fickle. I swayed with the wind and was as shallow as a spill of milk. I may still be flippant and go with the flow, but there are things I will never do again and one thing I know I will never give up on and that is Daisy. Being her mother has taught me how to be patient, and to realise that things grown with time. I have also realised that the things you say today will not be forgotten tomorrow. I wish that I had some incredible thing to end with, but I don’t. I just want to say, the love that motherhood has given me is closely followed by the love I have got from fellow Mothers since.

Toni Gordon is a social media marketing & content creator. She started Left Coast Australia to showcase the best of the West Coasts people, places and products. If you would like your brand to stand out with video content that show the authentic you, get in touch.
Visit us: www.leftcoastaustralia.com
Or Email: Toni@LeftCoastAustralia.com

We Are the Face of Motherhood: a Series on Postpartum Depression by Mommy in Flats

Lion Fox & Co are privileged to welcome Jamie aka Mommy in Flats. Jamie is from the USA, the youngest of five, mother to four, and wife to one (although some aspects of the idea of a sister wife are appealing). Growing up, she was a quiet introvert who much preferred reading to running around outside or going places with lots of people. Not much has changed…oh wait four kids later and she doesn’t have time to sit still much less concentrate on a whole book. Jamie can be found, running around her house after a crazy two year old, snuggling a sleepy infant, or feeding two (always) hungry growing girls.

In honor of Maternal Mental Health Awareness month, I am kicking off a series on real women’s experiences with mental health and motherhood. Every week day in May, a blogger or guest blogger will share her experience struggling with mental health and motherhood. Check in here to read their stories and for warning signs and advice on how to spot PPD, PPA, and other mental disorders. Please consider buying a PPD Awareness t-shirt, all proceeds go to help mothers in need. Have questions or need support please join the discussion on Facebook.

Did you know that Postpartum Depression affects more American women than breast cancer, than sexual assault, than eating disorders? Sure, you hear about the random woman who shows zero interest in her baby or maybe a woman who can’t get out of bed and thinks of self harm. But, what about the rest of us? What about the ones who continue to put their feet on the floor and carry on day after day. We’re here to tell you that the face of PPD is varied. A smile can mask symptoms of sadness, fear, and anxiety.

In the USA, Postpartum mental disorders affect roughly 20% of new mothers (the statistics are hard to pin down because many women go untreated or unreported- this also doesn’t take into account those suffering with general anxiety, bipolar, and other mood disorders). That’s approximately 4% more than women who will experience physical assault, 8% more than women who will experience breast cancer, and 10% more than women who will face an eating disorder each year. Yet, there is no ribbon for mental health disorders. No fundraisers. No one is walking to end depression or anxiety associated with motherhood. In fact, we’re afraid. Afraid to speak up and admit that our mental health is affected. Afraid how outsiders will perceive us. Afraid what our friends and family will think of us. Afraid of how our status as a good mother will change if we admit just how much we struggle to get through each day.

When someone has a physical ailment, a doctor examines her. She is diagnosed through a series of tests that can (hopefully) accurately pinpoint the cause of her distress. At that point, she can begin to treat it with traditional or alternative medicine.

When you have a mental disorder, there is no definitive diagnosis. Anxiety looks very much like mania or ADD. Depression can mean days spent in bed or it can simply be the inability to focus, irritability, and impatience. A lot of times, these disorders not only mimic each other but coincide. So, the person with bipolar may also suffer from anxiety. Or someone with OCD may also struggle with depression. This further confuses the diagnosis. Often, even when there is a history of episodes, it is hard to pinpoint exactly what one is struggling with. Is it bipolar or anxiety coupled with seasonal depression? Is it ADD or a mix of perfectionism and compulsivety?

If you can get a concrete diagnosis, that is only half the battle. Next, what do you do? There is no magic pill to fix depression or anxiety or even bipolar. It’s all a mix of trial and error. This may be why so many women go undiagnosed or untreated. The road to help is too hard.

I have had four babies. I have had at the very least heavy baby blues with four babies. I have sought help at least two times. Yet, it took a severe series of never ending panic attacks (if I had to describe hell on earth that would be a close description) for me to get real, reliable, steady professional help.

Why? I mentioned to my doctors my second time around that I was struggling badly. I was prescribed estrogen (which I never took since my mom had breast cancer, which puts me at risk) and an antidepressant that didn’t work along with some anti-anxiety pills. I don’t know how many times I visited my family doctor those first few months. Not once did she refer me to or suggest I might want to see a psychiatrist. I chugged on and got over it. Why didn’t she see my pain (pain I was desperately expressing to her time and again) and really treat it? She did (at my request) give me a list of therapists. I thought about calling one of them. In the end, I made it through without any successful treatment (I will be talking more about my experience next week). It makes me wonder why we don’t have more thorough mental care for new mothers (first time or sixth)?

Our goal with this campaign is to show you the many faces of motherhood, to raise awareness, and remove the stigma associated with post (and pre) partum mental health struggles. There is no one experience, no one sign, no one symptom that encompasses all women. We are the face of motherhood and we are here to share. We are here to support. And, we are here to show you that you are not alone. One in five new mothers in the USA will experience some sort of Postpartum mental health issue this year, and here are our faces.

{Think you or someone you know may be struggling with postpartum depression, anxiety, or another mental health disorder? Please contact your health provider including your OBGYN or family doctor. Need more information? Visit PANDA for great information on maternal mental health disorders and more. If you fear that yourself or someone you love may be contemplating suicide or facing a mental health emergency, call Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636 and/0r visit your nearest emergency department.}

#motherhoodunplugged

As you all know.. I have two gorgeous, lovable, delightful and amazing little boys that I am so lucky to call my own.

Lucas, the Lion. He is our wild, dramatic drama queen and has an absolute zest for life. From the minute he wakes up in the morning to when he goes to sleep at night, he just doesn’t STOP. He is our wild child, and doesn’t do anything by half, which includes misbehaving.

Flynn, the Fox. He is our quiet, sensitive and content baby boy who loves nothing more than to just sit with you and enjoy a cuddle. He is curious and eager, and loves exploring. Which for now is mostly my face, including sticking an occasional finger up my nose.

Now it ‘may’ come across that I have this gig called “Motherhood” worked out, and that it ‘may’ seem natural to me. Well here is the truth about what motherhood means to me.. Without a doubt it has been the most challenging and anxiety driven period of my life. Mostly caused by my lovely son Lucas, haha lets face it.. he has not been an easy child to contend with.  And seeing how I am laying down some truths, it has only been over the last few months where I finally feel comfortable enough with my capability of being a Mum.

When I was learned that I was pregnant with Lucas, fear stained me. I was 27 years old, so definitely old enough to be able to manage the new role. I was in a relationship, content with where my career was heading, and I thought I was a very mature and responsible person (haha what was I thinking). But shit.. the thought of pushing a child out of my vagina just did not sit right with me. I had never been around babies, never changed a nappy, never burped a baby, never taught how to hold them the correct way. I was way out of my depth!

The pregnancy was shithouse, I suffered terribly with heart burn, gall stones, and ligament pain which often left me unable to walk, sleep, and be sane?! And finally when it was time to give birth my body was like..nuh..not happening. I never experienced a contraction even after my waters had broken, so of course after 24 hours I was induced and finally gave birth to a squashed face little boy. The poor kid was stuck in my birth canal after pushing him out for three hours. His poor sweet nose resembled what you’d find on a troll doll. And my bottom has never been the same after that traumatic event. Hello hemorrhoids.

Lucas terrified me, I didn’t know what to do with him. I kept asking myself, “when am I going to feel that glorious hormone oxytocin?” Honestly, I did not know how to be his Mum. Chris though.. he was beyond amazing, he just got stuck in and did it. He has never been afraid to get his hands dirty, which funnily enough happened at Lucas infant photo shoot. Sharted right into his hand..

I never bathed Lucas, for fear of drowning him. I gave up breastfeeding, because I was not psychologically able too. Anxiety drove me to quit, which is my biggest regret because breastfeeding is something I have such passion for now. Thinking back, I probably had some sort of post-partum depression, but I wasn’t going to admit to that. I didn’t want to be stigmatized, judged and pitied.. Even though I was 27 years old, I was being so immature about it.  Especially now, that I have addressed my own mental health issues and it gave me my life back. People..please don’t be afraid to step up and ask for support. Talk to your GP!

I started to calm down a bit when Lucas became a toddler, but I was still a helicopter parent. Forever holding him back for fear of him hurting himself. Whenever he got sick I mollycoddled him. I was taking him to the doctors for the smallest things. I was just constantly under duress, my poor brain must have been damaged by the constant arousal of the neurons. I constantly doubted myself as a Mum.. But.. I need to remind myself that there was a few challenging factors that most (term used loosely) families don’t face. My husband was away.. ALOT! Most of Lucas life he was absent, which at the time was awful but we had to create a means to an end. We also live in a state which is thousands of kilometers away from family, so being able to reach out for support was impossible. And lastly I was not yet diagnosed with anxiety. Again.. speak with your GP!

Now falling pregnant with Flynn.. It felt different. I was calm about it. I felt at peace with the idea of having another baby. Plus lets face it, Lucas was due for a sibling.. as it had been three and a half years until we finally decided to fall pregnant. Even when there were hiccups along the way, I remained calm. I am actually quite proud of myself as I rarely experienced anxiety at all. When Flynn was born, he was born into a calm and relaxed environment.

Now as cliche as it sounds, I feel like my role as a Mother has been reborn.. A born again Mum. Now it sounds ridiculous, but hear me out. I have never felt more at ease with being a Mum. When there is crisis, no matter how small, I hold my shit together and get on with it. I no longer compare my children to others, I no longer do dr google, I don’t even have any baby/child related apps on my phone. I just go with my gut and it always leads me correctly.  I now gaze upon my children, and that sweet sweet love hormone just makes my heart strings sing. Now it has taken five years, but finally I am happy with my new role as a Mummy.

Much love

Melanie xx

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