My awful experience in the postnatal ward after Little Buttons birth is no longer a shameful secret that I harbor, buried deep to avoid at all costs. Perhaps if I had known about the vast supportive parent bloggers network that would be there to catch me when the truth outed, then maybe I would have been brave enough to tell my story sooner. Hindsight is a wonderful thing.
While I am here I would like to thank everyone who got in touch directly and those who commented on my experience in posts on Meet Other Mums and also over here on the Button blog. It has meant so much to me, and whilst I have found it difficult to directly reply to everyone, please know that your support has made me stronger and given me the courage to be able to stand up and shout what happened was not my fault and it was not right.
This is a letter to my post-birth self. I will forever wish time-travel could have made it possible to deliver it to me in those first few days at home after being in the postnatal ward.
You made it out of the hell hole or should I say THAT postnatal ward… and in one piece. I know you didn’t believe you would at the time, but it’s ok. You are out. Stop pinching yourself. Your nightmare is over and you are not dreaming. You are at home at last with your own little family and they are going to need you as much as you need them.
I need to tell you something very important. You will be OK.
You see, you will spend the next two weeks frantically checking yourself all over, convinced that you are going to keel over and die. You won’t.
No one will be cross at you for lying your way out of hospital before you were actually well enough to leave. No one will ever know how much pain you were in when you stood there in the postnatal ward reception with a bright smile, laughing at the doctor’s jokes and pretending that the postnatal staff were sublime. Only I know what it cost you as you dropped the act in the car park, shaking violently in pain and crawling into the car. ‘Just drive’ you yelled at husband. It’s OK. He forgave you before the words even flew out of your mouth.
Your frightening postnatal care will continue for just a bit longer. Be brave. The midwife that will visit you in the next few days will take the stitches out of your c-section incision way too early. This was a genuine mistake. Don’t be cross at her.
Your c-section incision will open and you will need treatment. Don’t panic. Your own doctor can sort this out. You won’t need to go back to THAT hospital. It will hurt, a lot, but you won’t fall apart, I promise.
Your first few days at home will be filled with equal amounts of endless love and terrifying fear. An amazing love that you never knew possible towards baby, and a renewed love for husband that came out of nowhere. Enjoy and live in this as much as possible.
What you experienced in the postnatal ward will frighten you. You will re live it every time you shut your eyes and you won’t be able to look at any photos taken in the hospital without panicking. You will get used to the nightmares, but don’t bother making yourself look at the photos. It will take over a year to be able to do this and even then it will be very difficult.
Towards the end of the week you will start to wonder about baby blues and postnatal depression. You will wonder if you have it and when you work out that you don’t, you will believe that you will get it. Not everyone who experiences an unexpected c-section birth and the trauma of being mistreated post-birth will get this. Don’t believe everything that you read. You won’t get either and 6 months later you will consider yourself very lucky to be fine.
There is just one little thing.
That feeling of not wanting to ever go through what happened again, despite wanting a second baby won’t go away. It won’t change. But that’s ok.
Your beautiful baby daughter will grow up into a mischievous Little Button. She will be the daughter of your dreams and together with Mr Button, they will positively consume all your time and energy. So much, so, that you will feel utterly complete.
They will inspire you and before you know it you will be writing again.
You won’t believe it now, but you will become a blogger, and you will be pretty good at it. You will make friends with some amazing bloggers who will become a terrific support to you.
You will keep what happened to you in the Postnatal Ward a secret, until one day you get to know Sally from Meet Other Mums. You will write a blog post for Sally and somehow your story will pop out. You will think, what the heck, and let it be published. You won’t know it at the time, but your post will be read and re-read loads of times. Other parents will get it. Some will have gone through similar experiences. Your blogging besties will have your back, and somehow sharing your secret will be a relief. You won’t be haunted by what happened from that day on.
Instead, you will have extra courage and determination not to allow anyone to treat you badly ever again. It will transform you into a stronger you.
Like I said, really… you will be ok.
With much love,
The stronger future you x