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Life with Lavendar in London town

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Love is a Battlefield

Pat Benatar was right. Love really is a battlefield. It's a war zone. It's the night of the living dead.

Dragon entered my life one month ago. She came promptly on her due date in a birth so glorious and straightforward that it seemed too good to be true. Yes it was painful. Yes it was hard. But as I twisted my sweaty head towards the open hospital window and watched dawn break as I pushed my baby into our world, I was conscious of how wonderful all of it was. Post birth, I was on a high.  I vaguely clocked that the little blinking creature on my chest was my responsibility. I was too busy cracking jokes with the midwife and doula. My husband was slumped in an ashen, grey heap somewhere in the corner.

They're tiny but they pack a punch
 I lost that high somewhere in the post natal ward where they deposited me and Dragon afterwards and left us alone. I realised that the buck stopped with me. I was her lifeline. It was utterly terrifying. Like many new, first time parents I didn't sleep a wink that night (or any thereafter), watching her breathe. I got on my Blackberry and unleashed my terror upon all my friends who handled this first time mum with care and understanding. That night was also when the tears set in. 

The tears continued for many days and nights as the spectre of breastfeeding reared its ugly head. All I can say about that right now is that if I had the guts to chop my breasts off, I would. Breastfeeding rendered me into a state of despair so deep I feared for my mental health. In the space of three weeks, I'd experienced thrush, mastitis, having Dragon's tongue tie snipped, severely damaged nipples and pain so bad that I would go through labour again rather than endure it.

Subsequently I have learnt a lot about breastfeeding the hard way. Not only about the physiology of it but the politics, the socio-cultural context and the pros and cons of how it is promoted to new mums in the UK.  More of that another time.

They say that nothing can prepare you for it and that's true. I could not have predicted the brutality of new parenthood, which in my case was severely exacerbated by breastfeeding problems.  But I'm lucky for Dragon was born a healthy, happy baby who I hope to keep that way for as long as I can.

For nothing can prepare you for the intensity of the love you have for your baby either. The love which keeps you afloat amongst the gruelling drudgery of looking after a newborn on no sleep.

Love is a battlefield but the fight is wholly, with yourself.







1 comment:

historvre said...

wow.
ouch.

not my battlefield unfortunately, but one familiar to my understanding.

my thoughts and inadequate wishes go with you and your new-found motherhood journey ...