I used to imagine that my post birth photos would be a vision of serenity. A perfect memento of the moment my children had emerged peacefully into the birthing pool, caught by their father and handed to me to go straight onto my chest for skin to skin time. The midwife would then offer to take a picture of our new family, and we would beam proudly at our baby as the candles flickered and my carefully chosen birthing playlist provided a gentle audio backdrop to the magical moment we’d just experienced.
Turns out there’s not much time to grab the camera when prepping for an emergency c-section, and not much point in bringing one anyway when the mother can’t hold their baby until half an hour or so after birth as they are shaking uncontrollably and vomiting whilst still opened up on the operating table.
After suffering pregnancy losses and the fear my dream of being a parent would never become a reality, I guess I thought birth might go a bit easier on me, not to ‘make up for it’, but maybe to at least cast a more positive glow on what had been quite a traumatic road to motherhood.
I have a problem with that saying “All’s well that ends well”. All is not necessarily well, even if it has ended well. I also have a problem with the saying “A healthy baby is all that matters”. It’s THE most important thing, but not the ONLY important thing. I’ll talk more about my experiences with traumatic birth and pregnancy loss soon, but for now I’ll just say that I did eventually come home with two healthy babies, and I am so thankful for that. I know many others haven’t.
So these are my first post birth photos with my beautiful babies. Both taken in recovery by my husband, as the midwives were too busy monitoring my vitals after surgery and writing up copious amounts of notes from the days of labour preceding it.
In the first I am giving Welshy a bollocking for nearly blinding the one hour old Midge Bean by not switching the flash off before taking the picture, and in the second, three years later, he’d remembered the flash thing and so I was just trying to focus on feeding T Bean as the poor thing had been crying after being kept waiting too long to eat whilst his Mummy was being sewn up and then monitored for Tachycardia so wasn’t allowed to hold him. “Just hand my baby to me for God’s sake then maybe my heart rate will go back to bloody normal!” It did.
I never wanted to publicise these photos as they didn’t depict that perfect post birth scene that was ‘supposed’ to happen. Now I realise that I am and should be as proud of these images as any mother who did have a textbook birth. They aren’t how I’d imagined, but I’m incredibly grateful they exist.
I’d love to see your post birth photos too! ❤