It has been close to two years since I have written anything on this blog. Honestly the last one and half year have been nothing short of an emotional roller coaster. Since my last post in 2018, I have gotten pregnant, given birth to my first son and now my son will be having his first birthday tomorrow! Coming back to this morning, I came into my office, turned my phone on and logged into Facebook! People who know me know that I am no a big fan off the app anymore but why today?
Well here are the two posts which I saw on my TL;
- One of my friends had shared a post about the dangers of an ‘epidural’
- Another person had commented about losing their wife during the birth of their son
I knew at that point that this post was long overdue. I have promised myself to write about the dark side of pregnancy and child birth since I had my baby, just because we do not hear about it that much. Secondly because I want new moms to look at this post and understand that they are not alone, take this post and appreciate their scars, appreciate why they feel like they are not coping and why it is important to educate both women and men about what the women go through.
At the end of the detailed account below, you must already understand the amount of support I have gotten until today, from my husband, family and friends! I now stand proud with my permanent scars, and have all the courage to continue in life.
Now here is my account;
First trimester trauma
The first trimester was very horrible for me. I lost weight, I hated food, I hated the smell of a fabric softer,an air freshener, even my own body lotion. I felt horrible, sick all the time, crying every single day, extreme fatigue, constipation. How could such a ‘beautiful thing’ feel so horrible? Well I thought I knew something but I definitely didn’t understand how bad pregnancy can mess up your hormones as a woman. Only a few lucky ones have a breeze during the first trimester, the rest are miserable so brace yourselves.
Hemorrhoids aka Piles
I definitely had a better second and third trimester. I had constant hip pain, swelled ankles and feet but in contrast to the first trimester I felt so much better. This is why when I suddenly discovered I had hemorrhoids at seven months I was so shocked. I never thought in my life that I would have piles! Apparently they are common as well in pregnant women, I never new. Not only were they very uncomfortable all the time but they were actually painful. Wait but that is not the end of it, most women like myself continue to have hemorrhoids even after birth, so I make sure to have add fiber in my diet and keep an over the counter ointment for my piles. It’s just one of the things that I live with now.
It’s obvious that the body goes through a lot of change but exactly how much change? Well at lot more that I expected. To say the least I am not ruling out the possibility of having a boob job after having all my children! I understand people who it, I understand the people who go on to do a tummy tuck. The physical changes are different from woman to woman and some people really have the most amazing genes, they shrink right back. I gained 15kg during my pregnancy, and six months post the baby I had lost only 7kg, meaning that I had gained 8kg overall! I am working so hard to get back on shape, and taking it a day at the time.
Labour & Delivery
Labour is on the top of the most physically paining things a woman will ever experience in their lives. Even after countless pain medication and injections the body still rejects that. I was in labour for 24 hours, some women take less hours than that though which is a blessing. It is hard to explain what active labour feels like, but imagine the kind of pain where you end up giving in, where you feel you have lost your mind, no sense of what is going on! It doesn’t end, you just toss on the bed, cry, walk and hope that it ends! I was given an epidural shot at after 22 hours in labour which was a relieve. However it doesn’t come without side effects!
The forth trimester refers to the the moment the baby is born and lasts for three months. Therefore after giving birth I thought the worst was over but no, the struggle was not about to end. First of all its either you are nursing a c-section incision, an episiotomy stitch, or a simple vaginal tear. Secondly sleep deprivation is very much real. The entire adjustment to new mother hood is very hard, perhaps mostly for first time moms. It is lonely and overwhelming, and the hormones contribute to that as well. This is when one needs a mom, sister or another close female person to take care of them because they are the only people who understand completely what one is going through, perhaps the reason why Basotho suggest the new mom must go to their birthplace ‘ho behoa setsoetse’.
Baby Blues and Postpartum Depression
Many moms suffer from baby blues due to the sudden change in hormones after delivery, combined with stress, isolation, sleep deprivation, and fatigue.They might feel more tearful, overwhelmed, and emotionally fragile for the fist one to two weeks after the birth of the baby.
Postpartum depression is a more serious problem and persists beyond two weeks. I had baby blues for the first two weeks. I however was never officially diagnosed with postpartum depression, although I believe I very much close to that. Here are some of the symptoms of PPD which I had, and again this is very common but nobody really talks about it.
- I was unable to bond well with my son
- I had extreme anxiety, I wouldn’t sleep during the day even when my baby was asleep
- I had feelings of guilt and worthlessness, and extreme sadness
In conclusion I wish that the we continue to educate women and men about pregnancy and birth. In our culture giving birth is almost taken for granted, so many people have done it effortlessly…or so we think. There is a lot of risk involved, a lot of selflessness tat is needed from mom ad dad, and a lot of sacrifice, birth of a child is a mystery of creation. We are blessed to be able to bear children as women, it is both the biggest ‘ask’ and the biggest ‘honour’.
My I extend my condolences to my friend Mr Pule Khiba who has inspired me to write this blog, for the loss of his dear wife, may the Lord continue to comfort you and your family. You are in my prayers and thoughts.