When parents normally look back on photos of their baby, are they happy memories?
Do you experience pain and disbelief that you could not see something that now, seems so glaringly obvious?
Despite all the episodes, cycles or whatever I was/am calling the hallmarks of my psychotic episode, the fact is that I as Master X.’s mother could not see (and I mean, literally see) that he was not a ‘healthy’ baby. I mean, he had happiness and met his developmental milestones in the first 3 months of his life, but his weight gain was not normal, for him.
All the time.
I have the photos and the memories are returning as obvious glitches. Not clear memories, very clouded, dark, sad, troubling, sickening memories.
I can see now though, his skinny legs
bony, defined face
with dark, sunken eyes
As a very good friend said to me recently, he looked like a baby from a third world country.
And Mr. A. and I agree that he did not look, or act, ‘healthy’.
I feel sad.
Don’t get me wrong, Master X. was not being starved. He was gaining weight. And I was further assured by our doctors and nurses that any weight gain that keeps your baby tracking within the percentile range in which they fall once their weight initially drops in the first three days of life, was ‘normal’.
Mr. A. was concerned about exacerbating (what we thought was, but actually was much more than) my anxiety condition. My psychotic episode.
Other people tried to tell me. But they tried to tell me in the wrong way for my head.
‘Oh, your legs aren’t as fat as such and such a baby’
- the speaker was trying to make me feel like a bad mother
- judging my ability to mother
- building up a case against me, as a mother
‘Maybe you should just change to formula’
- breastfeeding was something that I had I envisaged us doing throughout all my preparations. It was my ‘end goal’ vision that I held throughout the third trimester and birth. I had the clear image that we were going to be in our lounge, breastfeeding.
- breastfeeding was my ‘image’ of myself as a mother. It was my identity.
- and now I can say that my brain was convinced that everyone was against me breastfeeding, even though ‘breast is best’. I thought that breast was the ONLY way to feed our baby and that I was weak if we supplemented or stopped feeding. There was no other choice, in my head, other than breastfeeding.
Even if it was not working out.
‘You can stop breastfeeding when you feel you are ready’
- I did not actually know what was going on.
I look back on the photos and realise how illogical,
my thoughts were.
thought believedknew that no-one actually wanted me to be a good mum.
That THEY really wanted to take my baby from me because I was not fit to be a mum (perhaps I was scared that I was not fit to be Master X.’s mother?).
Round and round and round it goes… now it is sadness.
But I must remember, to heal. To know that we have come somewhere, even if it is just here. I need to look at the photos. To see reality; understand that I am me, now. Even if it causes me pain.
If you or someone you know is experiencing thoughts of suicide please contact Lifeline immediately 13 11 14