There have been so many things that I’ve wanted to write about but I just don’t have time to shower anymore, nevermind write a blog post. Juniper is currently snoring away next to me so I probably have about five minutes! I’m planning to just have a bit of a ramble and see where it takes me.
Before I gave birth to Juniper I was warned to look out for post natal depression and told to watch for falling into a downward spiral. I’m not depressed, motherhood isn’t like a slide into the darkness, it’s more of a terrifying, exhilarating, thrilling roller coaster. Juniper is so amazing and I absolutely adore her but that doesn’t mean that it’s all been plain sailing.
Physically the first ten days were, quite frankly, horrendous. I ended up in a lot of pain after straining a muscle near my csection scar and needed stronger painkillers. I was unable to sit up, turn to get out of bed, stand or sit down independently. Paul became my full time carer, a hard enough job on its own but incredibly tough when you add a new baby into the mix. Emotionally it was pretty tough too. I had this beautiful little girl in front of me yet I was still missing my little boy. I felt like I was betraying Lentil when I was happy and betraying Juniper when I was sad.
I had gone a bit mad buying baby clothes while pregnant. I’d bought things which I thought were unisex but once on I realised they made Juniper look like a boy. People kept mistaking her for a boy. I wasn’t ready for how hard this would be, missing my son so much and seeing this baby in front of me that looked like a boy, that others referred to as ‘he’. Luckily we were given lots of pink clothes and I bought some more girly items. In those first few weeks I couldn’t bear it when she ended up looking like she could be a boy. Two very large gorgeous eyes have just pinged open so I’d better stop for now!
Juniper is sleeping again and it’s reminded me of something else that I’ve found hard, something that I’m struggling with right now. After a couple of weeks we decided that Juniper needed something to sleep in downstairs. I ordered a Moses basket online but I was horrified when it arrived. It hadn’t even crossed my mind for a second that the Moses basket would look like the wicker casket that we buried Lentil in. I’ve used a large muslin to line the Moses basket, draping the edges over the sides in an effort to disguise it. Even now when Juniper is in a deep sleep and her breathing is shallow I can’t help but panic. Seeing her so still, it’s impossible not to think of Lentil the last time I saw him, lying so still and cold in that casket. At the time I found comfort in the fact that it looked like a Moses basket, it looked like he was sleeping. I can’t believe that I didn’t consider the emotions that a Moses basket might provoke when I bought one for Juniper.
While I’m on the subject of Lentil I feel like I should mention our first visit to his grave since Juniper’s birth. I felt awful that I hadn’t been to visit for so long, like I was neglecting him because we had a new baby. Eventually when I was healed enough we went to the burial ground, we took Juniper and introduced her to her brother. I felt like I had concentrated on Juniper too much during the visit and as we walked away from the grave, with Paul and Juniper slightly ahead of me I whispered ‘I love you Lentil’, I felt like I needed to say it aloud, just as I finished the word Lentil a butterfly landed on my arm. I felt like Lentil was telling me it was ok, that he knew, that I shouldn’t feel bad. Having a baby so quickly after losing Lentil has been hard, but I’m sure that carrying on after losing Lentil without the hope of another child and now our gorgeous girl would have been harder.
There have definitely been challenges since having Juniper. Clearly emotionally it has been hard, I’ve previously written a post about my journey in breastfeeding which has also had its ups and downs. On top of everything else I also have my disability to contend with. We were so careful buying equipment that we thought I’d be able to manage when I was pregnant with Lentil. It turns out that being able to manage something in a shop doesn’t necessarily mean that I’ll be able to use it out in the big wide world with a baby. We spent ages choosing a pram only to find that I can’t get it in or out of our house with Juniper inside it. Every car seat was tried in my search for one I could use. Finally I found one I could manage (it turns out thumbs are fairly crucial when managing car seat buckles) but I can’t fasten and unfasten it in the car and I can’t lift it with Juniper in it. This means that at the moment I can’t leave the house with Juniper unless there is someone else there to help. I am essentially housebound.
It’s been over a week since I wrote the first part of this blog and today we found a car seat that I can manage. It swivels in the car so that I can turn it towards the door in order to get Juniper in and out. We tried the same car seat a while ago but I couldn’t quite manage it. We went today armed with a tool that my husband designed and made that pushes in a button I couldn’t quite reach. It worked perfectly! After all these years together Paul still amazes me. I could have cried when it worked! I’m not one of those people who hates their own company or can’t stand staying in but being unable to leave the house under my own steam is starting to annoy me! The car seat is ordered, it will be here in 3-5 days. I can’t wait! A physical barrier will be removed and in theory I’ll be able to leave the house on my own.
There are also some mental walls that I need to break through though. I’m feeling really anxious about going anywhere on my own with Juniper. I haven’t driven for so long, it’s been around eight months! We have a new car since I last drove and I’ve never driven it, the idea really scares me. The idea of driving with Juniper scares me even more, what if she screams the whole way? The scream of a baby seems able to completely scramble the brain of a mum. I hope that I could keep calm if she became upset during a journey but I don’t feel like I could guarantee it. Luckily, so far, Juniper has been great in the car and I have no reason to believe that my driving would have a different effect! Then there’s the big one, the real worry, what if people see me and think I can’t cope? Try to help when I don’t want them to? What if there’s no one there to help when I need it?
I’m trying to build my confidence by getting out more with my husband or my mum. Gradually managing more on my own but knowing that I have a safety net there if I need it. I’m still not one hundred percent recovered physically. My stomach muscles are not what they used to be which is difficult as I rely on my core strength a lot. I’m trying hard to balance the need to push myself to do more and to take it easy enough to allow myself to heal. Hopefully I’ll soon be out and about helping Juniper to make friends and see the world.