“So, you must be finally ready to go back for number 2?”
This innocent enough inquiry soon became the common theme that threaded through my life as my son celebrated turning one. Because surely I had to be considering a sibling for this adorable cherub of mine by now, right?
Wrong. Not even in the slightest.
It wasn’t that I disliked children – quite the contrary. But instead of being overcome with maternal urges of cluckiness at the thought of a bringing another brand new bub into our world, in its place was an icy fear that clutched firmly at my heart and refused to let go. I was left with an anxiety so intense that I was happy to forgo future additions to our family if it assured me that I’d never have to endure anything like my son’s dramatic entrance into the world ever again.
After complications at childbirth that resulted in countless stitches and a third degree tear I was reeling. Flashbacks to the horrific scenes haunted me: like being wrenched off the bed with full force by the doctors, so much so that my husband had to pin me to it while they fought to extract my now in distress baby from my birth canal (I was too far gone for an emergency caesarean) and was left sporting quite a bit of collateral damage down below.
It took 6 arduous months of struggling to sit, sleep, stand, walk, exercise, go to the toilet (let’s not even start on the subject of sex) – before I was officially given confirmation that my body had finally returned to full health. While all this was going on, I was also to trying to adjust to the role of motherhood, with a child who was anti-sleep. Despite my body being given the doctors tick of approval, the mental scars lingered far longer, with no cure in sight.
While I agreed to meet with a hospital appointed counsellor in the weeks after my son’s birth, the public health system being what it is, saw fit to refer me to a man.
Now, I don’t mean to be blatantly sexist but it was difficult to relate the depths of my true feelings to someone who did not – nor ever could – know what it was like to have a bowling ball ripped out of a hole the size of a marble. So I simply turned up, said what he wanted to hear, and let my fears about childbirth fester untreated.
By 2010, when I was the parent of a 2-year-old, the questioning of whether I’d have another child had crescendo to fever pitch. Reluctantly I sought out further counselling – this time selecting a wonderful, compassionate woman who provided the countless tissues required during my 6 sessions.
Slowly I began to unleash the demons that had shadowed me since giving birth. And while it was a cathartic experience, the thought of a second child still ultimately remained a terrifying prospect to entertain. I’d only just survived with my sanity intact during round one and feared another stint might just destroy me.
Finally, as my son crept closer to the age of 3, it was a conversation with a clairvoyant that began to sow the seeds of some promising healing in my future.
“You need to find a really good kinesiologist and get your body realigned; it hasn’t recovered from having your son.”
I put the conversation to the back of my mind for months, until one night, as I prepared for sleep I decided to whisper my request to the universe in hope that it might deliver me what my clairvoyant had prescribed. It was, for me, the final frontier in the hope of overcoming this fear.
That next day, with a sleepy son nodding off in the back seat of the car, I decided to detour my way home and took a left onto a road I’d never traversed. And what greeted me but a glistening white a-frame sign, shrouded in sunlight, with one word, and an arrow adorning it, pointing up the hill.
Literally, it was the sign I had been waiting for.
What then ensued was amazing. Over a period of two and a half months this wonderful woman managed to realign and mend my fractured body and mind in such a unique way that I began to actively encourage the idea of welcoming a new little person into our world. And 2 short weeks after my 5th and final session with my kinesiologist, two little pink lines appeared on that trademark white stick.
My first reaction? I pumped the air with my fist and mouth a silent “YES!”
So while it may have taken almost 4 years for the cluckiness to come back into my being, it was worth the wait. I’d finally arrived at the headspace that allowed me to greet this prospect with great joy. Parenthood phase 2 was finally, wholeheartedly, being embraced – by me.