I was sat rather unglamorously on the toilet when I found out I was expecting my son, and my husband was probably playing on the Xbox. I didn’t even rush downstairs to tell him straight away; instead I shrugged, hopped in the shower, and checked again once I’d finished, as though I must be delirious and only a thorough clean would clear the crazy-fog. Eventually it sank in that, holy shit I’m having a baby. Cue much flailing, hugging and swearing. I think I may have said, “what the fuck,” a record 30 or so times that day.
It’s so terrifying, so all-consuming to pee on that stick; it’s the punctuation at the end of a monthly sentence, a question mark turning into an exclamation or a period (pun intended). It’s the end of the ‘ifs’. It feels epic, monumental. And despite my muted initial reaction, it really was epic for me. More so even, because the only thing I’d ever wanted from my life and the only thing that circumstances from my past hadn’t tarnished was my desire to have a child, and there it was in my hand – two lines that told me good things really do happen and I was actually deserving of them.
Except I didn’t really believe those lines. I didn’t believe I deserved my happily ever after and I battled that feeling with every day that passed, my stomach growing bigger, my son moving inside me making him impossible to ignore. Of course I didn’t truly want to ignore him, I just felt every kick as a reminder that I wasn’t good enough to be his mother.
With a lot of chaos in between involving a perinatal mental health team, a group of one-to-one midwives, my husband’s patience, a long labour and a nasty Caesarean scar, I found myself mother to a beautiful baby boy, the child of my dreams, the child who’d been in my heart all my life.
Only I wasn’t happy.
I suppose with all that came before, during my pregnancy and even earlier, I should’ve seen it coming, and to some extent I did, but like the woman who thinks cosmetic surgery will improve her self-esteem I believed the arrival of Little T would miraculously assuage my fears. That’s a heck of a lot of responsibility to place on such tiny shoulders.
And so my journey with postnatal depression began, with guilt and pain and a baby I didn’t feel worthy of. 10 weeks on and the struggle is ongoing with lots of bumps in the road, but wonderful days too. I never thought that test would lead to so much, the hurdles and the exhaustion and the shit and the tears and the pure, unadulterated joy. Those two lines turned into two big beautiful eyes that have changed my soul forever.
I’m L and I love my son with all my heart.
And I’m a mess, but hopefully, eventually, a lovely mess he’ll one day be proud of.