June 30, 2021
It was about the third time I’d been pissed on that day, the day I fell off the edge. That shimmering golden arch, shooting off the change table direct for my clean-enough top, covering my stretched, scarred and empty belly.
For the third time, a piss-stained t-shirt smeared past my puffy face, and over my head, and onto the ground. And I followed it. Onto the ground in a tragic heap. I couldn’t hold myself up any longer. I was alone with my baby, and I couldn’t stand up.
I’d had Remi weeks, maybe months earlier. He wasn’t planned, but he was wanted. We learned about him after we’d decided to move from Wellington to Nelson, away from friends, and even further away from family. I was used to being apart from Hamish - he’s an adventurer. One of those types that would rather be kept awake by cold wind halfway up a mountain than get a solid eight hours in a warm bed. He also worked away a lot, but I was independent, and I was proud. I could handle a baby.
I could point my finger at Hamish, for thinking I was so tough. For not knowing this would happen. For not sacrificing his need for adventure over my need to survive. Or at my son, for his ability to retain urine until the precise moment between cloth coming off and new nappy going on. For his impeccable aim. His strength of flow and disregard for feelings.
Or I could blame myself. I wasn’t tough enough, nor maternal enough. Not brave enough, nor empathic enough. I couldn't cope. I wasn’t enough.
I’d met a beautiful friend at pregnancy yoga, back when we were the size of barrels, laughing at our busy days that involved one appointment, a leisurely walk for coffee served hot, and an afternoon nap. I couldn’t tell her how low I’d become, and how much I truly was not coping. Because she was. Wasn’t she?
She was amazing. She read between the quivering and brushed off lines, and she asked for help on my behalf. It took just a day or two for a kind and comforting face to show up on my doorstep with an armload of home-style meals; lasagnes and soups and macaroni, things that fill your belly. It made me wonder, when was the last time I ate?
Anne from Bellyful delivered food. She delivered kindness, a sense of community, understanding and hope as well. She gave me the energy I needed to stand up. I was suffering PTSD and post-natal depression, and she gave me energy to seek help.
I’m proud to have come out the other side with a cheeky, chubby baby, and to now be paying it forward as a Bellyful volunteer. We’re not here just for new Mums with PND, but for families and caregivers of young children who need support, for whatever reason. It takes a village to raise the hopes of a family in need, and we are part of your village. Reach out.
Words and image by Anita Watson.
Having a new baby or a sick family member can make life tough! Having someone pop around with a couple of cooked meals can go a long way toward easing the stress. Giving to Bellyful via onepercentcollective.org helps them to help communities look after each other.JOIN the collective NOW