BY RACHELLE ROWLINGS
This is for 21 year old Roman …
I kept having the same day dream.
I was at a deli, I requested some shaved ham & they asked what part of my body they should take it from?!
That was me, feeling like a deli meat, potentially now a vegan & lying motionless on a cold, sterile operating table.
I’d gone from assuming I’d deliver in a room not dissimilar to Ceders Sinai, with a couple of hearty pushes & a cold flannel dabbing my forehead – To being dressed like a human condom, breathing deeply & bending forewords while they inserted a lamp post into my spine!
To add insult to injury, I’d had to tan my 39 week Mum-bum because my anethetist was a Calvin Klein model!
I was terrified & so full of resentment!
Why couldn’t this body, this magical body that had made, cooked & carried a healthy baby, not deliver naturally?!
Why did my son have to have his head against my spine & why was my pelvis too small?!
Did I fight for it enough?
Should I have tried harder?
Did my $7000 paediatrician just want a scheduled delivery so he could hit the first tee by 9am?!
Even till the moment that my legs went numb I was disappointed in myself.
A hasty, uncomfortable (relocation of some major organs) 4 minutes later & we were parents!
10 fingers, 10 toes, 1 little penis & here was our boy. Eyes fused shut, covered in fish batter & the closest thing I’ve ever seen to perfect.
He, this magical being, was the easiest part of the following 5 days!
I wish that I was stronger!
That motherhood instantly toughened me!
That the intense love for my son would make me numb to the pain!
I’d describe my emotional state as when ‘Wind Beneath My Wings’ plays in ‘Beaches’.
My mental state as a convenient store slushie!
And my will to live – low.
I loved my son & I appreciated this healthy, beautiful baby but I was broken!
I hated the drugs that were being forced down my throat hourly but without them I was in agony!
I hated that I couldn’t stand, sit, function without someone helping me.
I’d always been so independent and now I was that browning pot plant that you tried so hard to take care of but it somehow still died.
I was sure my husband was going to throw me out and buy a new one.
Especially after he had to help me to the toilet each day, change my surfboard pads & endure my catastrophic emotional assaults on him hourly!
After a fairly feral fungal infection, an allergic reaction to the hospital tights (WTF), excess fluid around my spine & my pert C’s being eaten by gravel rash EE’s – we were on our way home!
The fact that every minor bump in the car felt like a ferret gnawing at my abdomen, sort of prepared me for the harsh, cold reality of what lay ahead of me!
And since I’m not sugar coating a damn thing – it was a terrifying, lonely, agonising 6 week recovery!
I’m not that Queensland Vegan yoga teacher who 3 days later, after being blessed by monks & swam with dolphins, was healed & back doing headstands!
I was that whingy, anaemic, antisocial, train wreck who left the operating tape on for too long & went into complete hibernation.
I ignored calls, watched too many episodes of ‘Botched’ while trying not to drown my son with the excess milk I was blessed with! I may have eaten a worrying amount of cheese toasties!
I’d fear a cough, be terrified of a sneeze & once considered wee’ing into a cup so I didn’t have to squat onto the toilet.
It was real, it was raw & it was all I had to think about during the long days of my new human sausage laying motionless on my chest!
I remember thinking that I would become an acrophobic.
That I would use salad tongs to reach for things for the rest of my life! And my only form of exercise would be walking to the fridge!
If it weren’t for the love of my husband, the strength of my family & my desire to be the best Mum I could be to my son then I would have let it defeat me.
Each day got a little better.
Each day I gained a little more belief in myself.
Each ‘Botched’ episode made me realise – it could be worse. A lot worse!
I could have contracted a flesh eating bacteria after having my $60 boob job done in Guatemala.
It was just a cesarean for goodness sake!
So I went for a walk to the end of the street.
Then to the end of the block.
Then to the bakery.
And then I stopped looking back.
My body still loved me – my body was still strong & agile & young & it was fighting for me to love it back.
This potplant just needed some water, some sunshine & to be told that even though is was a little limp, discoloured & droopy – it was still pretty!
This potplant was not done yet.
Nearly 12 months on and I am running, box jumping & spinning my 11 kilo burrito in the air!
And would I do it again?!
Over and over if it meant I could cuddle my son, smell his glorious smell, listen to that infectious giggle & hold his little hand as he conquers the world.
And my body did that.
And I couldn’t be more proud!!!
Follow Rachelle Rowlings and her refreshing take on motherhood @rachelle.rowlings