The Postpartum Plan: Reclaiming an Inner Strength
We're honored to share this powerful guest blog post by Katie Lorando. Her blog reminds us of the power of healing, pain and the ebbs and flow of life. Especially if you are moving through something similar, know that there is support here.
There was a plan for how this was supposed to go. As I go through the motions of preparing myself and my toddler for our day, the deep pain of being a newly single mother threatens to crush my heart entirely and I bite back tears because it’s so important to me to send him off to daycare smiling. There is not space for the void inside me, and the vortex is slowly swallowing me but I can’t focus on it. There are too many things happening at once. How did we get here? I had a plan.
We were so in love. Soulmates we said. We married under vows of as long as love shall last, but we didn’t understand what marriage-love means. We did things in order, according to plan, how you are supposed to. Things were never quite right, but it didn’t matter because we had made it. After getting married, I wanted to give him a child. I can’t raise a child if I don’t own a home, I thought, so I bought us a house somewhere between my parents and transferred with the company I worked for. We were pregnant after five months of trying. Things were going to plan.
Pregnancy was one of the best times of my life. No complications, very few bothersome pregnancy symptoms, and I was the happiest I had ever felt. I would later say that it was my son sending out his own vibrations of joy into me, as he continues to be the most joy-filled person I have ever known. There were parts of the plan that I wanted, but was shamed out of, such as doing a home birth, but I felt that all would go well. All my reading and the easy pregnancy empowered and reassured me. I created my birth plan, shared it with my doctor, and tried my best to ready myself for bringing my little being Earthside.
At 38 weeks, sitting on the couch eating waffles and watching a movie, I felt my water break, except it wasn’t quite right. There was a snowstorm, so we took our time, my at-the-time-husband sliding off the road once on the way to the hospital. When I arrived, they told me that it probably wasn’t my water breaking, but upon examination, we learned that I was slowly losing amniotic fluid. From there, my birth plan went entirely out the window. I was subject to traumatizing and painful procedures, but I was able to have my vaginal delivery and my baby was just fine after a few days in the NICU.
We brought him home and tried to go about caring for our newborn how we had planned. After having my birth plan eviscerated, I thought surely things will go back to being easy and joy-filled. The lesson had not been learned. I produced almost no breastmilk for my son. I sat up trying to feed him and pumped in between trying to get my milk to come in, hourly for weeks. Soon he had lost too much weight and I had to begin supplementing with formula, plus the bilirubin blanket he now had to be in throughout the day because he wasn’t moving enough stool. The self-hatred I felt for everything up to this point was killing me.
Not only could I not give birth without invasive procedures and an epidural, but my body had starved my baby in his first months of life and now he had to have medical intervention. My fault. I didn’t measure up to other mothers. I was worthless. I could not live up to the plan. My husband was there, but he wasn’t. I don’t know if I could have felt him if he was. In the year to come, many more things wouldn’t go to plan. I felt isolated entirely, and if I tried to reach out, I felt my hands pushed back, wrapped around me and tied down in the straitjacket of my mind. All I had, all I could feel, was the adoration for my son. I am fully confident that had he not been there, postpartum depression would have killed me. He gave me purpose through it.
As my hormones rebalanced and I started to breathe again, something shifted. The coffin that I had willingly laid down in was nailed shut several times over, and yet, I found the oxygen to kick and punch and scream against it. Inch by inch, the wood splintered. People from the outside could hear my commotion and they came to help me, but I pushed them away. This was my great escape. No one could do it for me. As I emerged, placing my feet on the cool earth, feeling the sun on my face for the first time in years, I looked back at the remains of my coffin. Horrified, I realized that each plank had been crafted and constructed by me. It didn’t begin with my baby, but it took the extreme low of postpartum depression for me to see it.
This great shift would lead to many painful and necessary changes in my life. I divorced from my son’s father. I lost friends. These things threatened to swallow me again from time to time, but the awakening was pruning me into the woman I would become. Postpartum depression was my spiritual awakening and the journey continues from here. I have never felt more self-assured and I have faith in Spirit now. I am writing this to let you know that you are not alone. You are going to come out the other side, renewed.
Your depression feels insurmountable, I know. It can feel like you will never be joyous again. Please know that this process is shaping you. It is teaching you that you have had a mighty, unimaginable fortitude inside yourself all along. You did not have faith in it, and so you could not realize it. With faith in yourself and in the Universe, you will move mountains. Do not let this swallow you. If you need, reach out to me. Know that I love you and you are so important and necessary to the scheme of this life. It’s not for us to have the plan. It’s already in motion.
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About the Author~
Katie Lorando is a multipassioned truth seeker, mother, and lover of new projects. She travels somewhere in her mind at every opportunity. Katie knows that you are so cherished and invites you to reach out anytime.
Instagram - @katielorando
Email - firstname.lastname@example.org