When my second daughter was born I found myself in the grip of Post Natal Depression and it really sucked…. Mother’s Love (part one)
However, by the time Pigeon turned one I had accepted and embraced my crazy little family. We were complete. I was 37 years old and I had two beautiful daughters and a loving partner who was a wonderful dad.
I could clearly remember what my life was like before children (staying up after 9pm, getting up after 5am) Of course there was still the occasionally nostalgic whimsy about going to concerts and staying out until dawn and making fashion choices based on ‘fashion’ rather than which floral pattern was most likely to hide the boob juice stains… but this was a new phase in my life with G and I kind of liked it.
We moved back to Australia, briefly, with our little sticky rice eating princesses and rented a cottage in Canberra (Please don’t think we wanted to live in Canberra, it was a decision based on G’s work)
Now THAT was some serious culture shock!
Monkey and Pigeon did not like the cold. They did not like wearing shoes indoors, they did not like having to go to daycare. They wanted temples with ‘orange monks’ and street food and the constant adulation that all western children get when in Asia (particularly blonde haired, blue eyed ones who speak the local language)
Mummy and Daddy did not like the cold. They did not like wearing shoes indoors, they did not like having to take their girls to daycare. They wanted temples with ‘orange monks’ and street food… ooh… the street food!
Australia had some benefits. I LOVED being back at work. We grew vegetables. We drank good coffee. I have to admit I was enjoying the ‘normality’ of it all. However, G was not happy. He HATED Canberra… and the cold… and his job was pretty dull after all the excitement of his time in Asia.
So, when an opportunity for him to move to Vientiane, Laos presented itself there really wasn’t too much debate. I packed up the house and the kids (again) and we moved back to South East Asia just as the the winter frosts subsided and the tulips and daffodils I had so lovingly planted started to bloom.
Our uplift was limited so I took the opportunity to ‘spring clean’ our belongings. Goodbye cot, change table, stroller, baby clothes, monitor, maternity bras, breastfeeding tops and other essentials of babyhood. The girls were both in beds now. Nappies were a thing of the past. We were moving on.
I was excited. I had beaten PND. I had survived the early years of motherhood and breastfeeding. Finally there would be more balance in my life, still mostly mummy but maybe, sometimes just me.
So we settled into Vientiane. The girls loved it. G loved his new job. I concentrated on keeping it all together and began my first tentative steps back into the world of adult conversation and job hunting.
One day my boobs started to hurt. I started to cry during episodes of ‘Modern Family’. Wine started to taste like vinegar. I was overwhelmed by unexplained bouts of nausea.
Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck!
I bought a test and left it in my handbag for another week. I didn’t say a word to G. I was sick to my stomach with fear. Finally, in the pre-dawn light after yet another sleepless and dread-filled night, I pee’d on that bloody test-strip and watched, numb with shock and horror, as the two blue lines appeared once more.
FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK!
It was like the air had been sucked out of the room. I could actually feel the blackness descending…. again! I opened the bathroom door and walked to our bed. I don’t actually remember what I said to G. Probably something along the lines of, “Well, everything is fucked, I’m pregnant again!”.
He lay motionless for a moment, then sat up and grinned! It was a look of pure joy. It was a smile that sprang from the depths of his heart.
His honest and heartfelt response was, to say the least, not what I had expected. I had been assuming more ‘shock and horror’. How dare he hit me with ‘joy and delight’.
“You don’t get it do you, this is the worst thing that had ever happened to me.”
“You don’t get it do you, this is a wonderful, magical gift.”
Quite obviously, we were not on the same page!!!
I contemplated a termination. I am a firm believer in freedom of choice for women. However, after giving life to two precious souls already, it was harder to make that decision. More to the point, there was nowhere I could safely and legally access that procedure in Lao,s or even in Thailand. I could have returned to Australia and investigated my options but… and this was the deciding factor …G had smiled. This was his baby too and he already loved it.
My world went into a tailspin as I came to terms with this new reality. I tried to focus on the practicalities, keep busy preparing for the arrival, planning the birth (I couldn’t have the baby in Laos as there are woefully inadequate facilities and the logistics of moving to Bangkok for a couple of months were quite time consuming), sourcing a cot, buying a ‘family size car’, preparing Monkey and Pigeon for being big sisters (they were so very excited) but the truth is I was miserable.
I withdrew completely from G. I couldn’t even bear his touch. It must have been so hard no him. How could I begin to explain what I was feeling.
I don’t want another baby. I am heading towards 40. I have done my ‘baby’ time. I want MY LIFE BACK. This was not what I planned. This is not what I want. What about me? What about me? What about me? I can’t do this again. I am not strong enough. If I get sick again, if the darkness takes over again I won’t make it. I know I won’t make it. I am so afraid. Please…. help me… I am so afraid of the dark.
My belly swelled. My body ached and I waited, in fear, for the birth of our third child.
I moved to Bangkok. My ankles swelled. My body ached and I waited, in fear, for the birth of our third child.
G and Monkey and Pigeon arrived in Bangkok. I was fit to burst. My heart ached and I waited, in fear, for the birth of our third child.
On December 1st at 4 o’clock in the afternoon, while watching TV in our apartment, the baby let me know it was time. Between breathtakingly rapid and intense contractions I kissed the big girls goodbye, struggled downstairs, hopped in a tuk-tuk (yes, a tuk-tuk) and made my way to the Hospital.
At 4:45pm our daughter, Chilli, made her fast and furious entrance into the world.
Let me hold my baby. Please, please, just let me hold my baby.
She was pink and slimy and naked and squashed. She was beautiful and tiny and precious.
I loved her. I loved her. I loved her.
I was no longer afraid of the dark.