I painted this when I was deep in postpartum emotion and falling down a well of spiraling anxiety, shock and exhaustion. I was trying to be so strong everyday. My babe held close and tight to my nourishing breasts. My face frail and skinny drained from blood, iron, sleep and freedom. A strong backbone. A handprint relating to aboriginal art and the awesome family culture they have and the thoughts of how they have it right passing the baby around the tribe all helping and caring for the newborn and allowing the mother to heal.
I was shocked I hemorrhaged and lost two letres of blood on the birthing hospital bed. Horrified I was dying, my vision turning grey about to black out. Nurses running around me in a flurry trying to contract my uterus and stop it from profusely bleeding me out. My partner holding my hand lost for words, crying. My newborn four weeks early in a separate room struggling to breathe. I wanted him on my chest in my arms.
"How could they take him away from me so soon? I miss him already, he's mine give him back."
"Is this it?"
Giving birth like a earthy warrior queen in labour for four days and birthing with no pain relief or drugs? Shocked I was dying in childbirth in 2014 how could things go so wrong? I researched, I was prepared, I knew everything!
I wasn't prepared.
Then having to breastfeed and save my boy from bilirubin blood allergy. Anxious for his life trying to avoid a full body blood transfusion for him.
For four months I tried to stay strong doing everything. Having a party a week after birth, going to walking mum groups and play group. I was tired. I was shaken. I was living in a dream. I couldn't handle the weight of breastfeeding, losing my freedom and having my baby relying on me so much.
I was fragile full of ranging hormones, low on sleep, trying to use my spare time to shower, to eat, to dance and paint. I couldn't be strong anymore. My body and mind gave way.
I loved partner and my baby more than anything but I was broken. I needed to heal. I needed to rest. I needed to find myself again.
My partner was amazing, he stepped up, he did everything, he was there for our baby and for me every hour, every day, every night. He gave up work and we healed together.
My parents were an amazing help too, always there when things are tough. I am so grateful to have such a loving, giving family. I hope you are too.
I was hospitalized for five weeks with postpartum psychosis. A mixed mania. It was a terrifying, surreal, confusing, horror of an experience... one that you wouldn't want again... the delusions, the paranoia...
So get help when you need it before it's too late.
Even though I became unwell and was diagnosed with Bipolar Affective Disorder, I would not ever take back having my baby. It was worth the pain and terror. He is amazing. My rainbow miracle first baby boy.
May you have a blessed and easier experience than mine and some others.