26 Jan Lighting our Way
Every parent walks a road, with a unique story to share and hold. Here is one that took us 10 years. A decade is what it took us to finally make and welcome our blessing, our little Owen. We’ve worked hard for this bundle of joy for so long and thought our dreams have finally come true. Just when the lights were at its dimmest and we nearly gave up all hopes, our shining star decides to surprise us with him and arrival earth side on March 17/2022. Papa was happy with this landing on St Patricks day, another excuse for a pint of Guinness!
We are so madly in love with him and overjoyed with his presence, although we still cannot believe he is our son! Our son was born, divinely into our arms and this was only the beginning of everything new. A new chapter has begun. We felt a huge shift in our being and that is because we were born too, born, a new family and diving deep into parenthood.
Remembering that first night at home, it was calm and joyful, almost skipping around the house with glee. We sat for a meal and the smiles never stopped. We took turns clearing up and getting ready for bed when night came. And then, the first cry began. We thought, that’s ok, all babies cry and that’s fine. But it never quite stopped, papa panicked and tried to google where we could buy a pacifier at 3am while mama with her tired bones, heavy eyes and sore nipples kept rocking, giving cuddles and crying, herself. These tears were happy tears, the oxytocin was flowing, we were all in a bubble of love.
For us, we had hired a confinement nanny, to stay with us and help around the house, mostly with food for the family and a little tidying up and a few relaxing massages when there was the time. That first night was the start of mama, feeling alone. Although papa was there and was very hands on and strong, this feeling of loneliness kept creeping in ever so slowly. I (mama) was TIRED, I was weak, and I let exhaustion get the better of me. The first month was actually ok. I had help with the house chores and I was so very blessed to have had the time to focus on baby. It was really a joy, until it wasn’t. I mean, for many days, I would catch myself thinking about running away and how I didn’t feel like this was my dream come true, like everyone kept reminding me of. I didn’t connect with our bundle of joy the way I wanted to. And then, the guilt set in BIG time. That month, I was strong. I would say things like” brush it off you silly thing and move on!”
I was lucky to have my wonderful husband to turn to, he was amazing and at that time, I still could clearly see how much he has been doing for us as a new family and this brought me so much joy each day. The tears we cried were of pure happiness. I still had the smiles, but they were fast depleting.
Roll on month two, our nanny left after her month stay. My folks flew in from Singapore and we planned a fun trip to Scotland. This was also the month my husband (Papa Owen) was diagnosed with sarcoma, a rare form of soft tissue cancer. My strong husband was suddenly fearful, and so was I. I feared losing him, and not being able to watch our little Owen grow up together. This was the month I lost my strength, my confidence, my patience and even myself. We officially entered a bubble of blur. My parents were there, but it wasn’t helpful enough. I enjoyed their company but was too tired, too sad, and too fearful to ask for the help I needed. Maybe because papa and I were in shock, but truthfully, we just didn’t know how. We were on a very different path of parenthood, it was evident that we did many things differently or at least, we had plans to do them differently from our folks.
I noticed that this month, I could only ask papa Owen for the help I need, like a little nap, time to take a shower, or just a few moments to myself. I still felt that I had to do it all and i let frustration get to me. I took it out on my folks a few times. Luckily, they understood and remained calm for us.
When my folks left, it felt like all the lights in our world got switched off. I had the support of my doulas, and we arranged a closing of the bones ceremony on the third month. At this stage, my husband and I were simply going from thing to thing, like a robot.
This was probably the most challenging time in our postpartum period. We had stopped expressing our love, we left the kisses, cuddles and I love yous for little Owen. We still have a strong bond of love and respect for each other, but we did drift apart, especially intimately and emotionally. There was no village or community. We were not blossoming, and there was a huge lack of support. When a baby is born, a family is born too. There should be a space created for families to heal, love, laugh and play. For this is a time, just after birth where there should be the right support to create a healthy, nourishing space to grow in love and joy.
Closing the bones ceremony was the beginning of the end. We gathered at my doulas land where it was peaceful. We shared, we cried, we healed, and we closed a dark chapter that needed to be turned and we were listened to. It felt like a mini retreat where we were fully supported. This was the day I realised that we were not the only ones going through this and that the most important part of modern-day parenthood was to ask for and get the help we need. Both Owen and I left feeling a light has been lit for us We knew there was a little work to be done, more lights to be lit and about 2 months later, at the sea where little Owen had his baby blessing, Papa decided to open his heart and soul to me. This was almost a first, for him to be truthfully honest, to be utterly vulnerable and that moment was the light that I was waiting for all this time.
This was the month where we found ourselves again. Where the oxytocin flowed once more, and the sparks had started to sparkle. We became inspired to create a longer retreat and begin a community, WellMama World, for families to connect and rediscover, to renew and replenish their strength with each other.
We strongly feel that during pregnancy, birth, postpartum, and new parenthood, mothers, babies and fathers need to feel nurtured, supported and nourished along their path of becoming families, where their rites of passage begin, and a wholesome community filled with pure love and joy is made. For more information, visit the ‘Blessing the Way’ retreat between 24th April – 3 May 2023 – www.wellmamaworld.com/bali-about