The Last Firsts
As my baby approaches One I’m not sure what to do with the emotions I’m experiencing.
When Finley was four months old we spent five weeks in a mother and baby unit for postpartum depression and even after three kids it was the most supported I had ever been during my motherhood journey. Thanks partly to the support I received in conjunction with antidepressants my Post Partum Depression has been stable for around six months. I still have days where my mood is low but I no longer have the intrusive thoughts that originally compelled me to reach out for medical help. I've now been discharged from the Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Services (PIMHS) team, through which I saw a psychiatrist regularly and I feel adrift. I feel somehow less special, less deserving of help, support and consideration. So many services for mothers are no longer available once our babies reach the age of one. I wish there were services like PIMHS available for mothers beyond the first year of their baby’s life.
Part of me is wondering, have I done enough this year? Did I soak in all the last firsts? Did I give myself enough grace during the postpartum period like I planned to? Did I ask for enough help? I’m wondering if I’ve done enough to commemorate what is such a significant and pivotal time in my life, in my motherhood.
Approaching a year with my baby boy, my littlest love, my third and last child has me feeling a myriad of emotions.
With the throes of postpartum mostly behind me, I am entering a new phase of motherhood. My child, toddler and baby have grown. I know I’ll never experience pregnancy ever again and that fact has me feeling strangely sad. Especially strange as I suffered hyperemesis gravidarum with all three of my pregnancies. Why am I mourning what made me so sick? It’s not something I want to go through again.
The last first I will miss the most is the incredible feeling of meeting my children for the first time. I will never forget the feeling of having my first child, Grayson, placed on my chest. As a first time mum I was filled with awe and amazement, how did my body produce a human being? I remember gazing at him in wonderment in his bassinet. The birth of my second child, Harper, was quite traumatic as I had an emergency C-Section where I was put under general anaesthetic. I never got to hear Harper’s first cry. She was brought to me hours later when I was in recovery. I was unconscious for those first few precious hours of her life. It affected my bonding with her and my Postpartum Depression was severe.
So for my third pregnancy I was determined to be awake for the birth. I had an amazingly supportive and wonderful midwife through the Midwifery Group Program and I was so happy to be able to make the choice of a scheduled C-Section. His birth was a very healing experience for me. I will never forget the pure elation I felt as they held my baby boy over the partition during my C-Section. I burst into joyful tears and shouted ‘Finley! My baby! You’re here!’ It had been such a long, difficult pregnancy, and the joy of meeting him finally was all-encompassing. I was thrilled. I held my husband’s hand and we both wept while the medical staff completed all the required checks, wrapped him up, and brought him to us. The feeling of meeting him is honestly indescribable. I was on cloud nine.
I will miss the roundness of my tummy, I will miss the way that people cared for me so much more when I was pregnant and when I was early postpartum.
On the other hand I am so excited for the future. Watching my little boy’s personality blossom fills me with abundant joy. He has started clapping his hands, saying his first words, using his walker to get around the house, and interacting more with his older siblings. My favourite part of motherhood is watching my children grow. This first year of Finley’s life has been one of last firsts, but I know there are still so many to come. I am so excited to witness his first steps. It will be utterly beautiful watching his siblings cheer him on.
I’ve been asking so many questions, yes. But I do know that I am going to hold space for all of these questions and emotions and let myself feel whatever it is I feel without judgment.
Francesca is owner, CEO and creative behind Love Frankie Art, Mum of three and post-partum mental health advocate. Frankie believes in the power of art for both healing and celebration.
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