Nearly eight years ago, my husband and I decided to have my tubes tied after the birth of our second child. It was a big decision, but one we were comfortable with and made with ease. Condoms weren’t our kind of thing. I had used a coil for ten years and felt there were side effects I wasn’t comfortable with.
So our gorgeous baby girl was born 31 December 2011. My son from my first marriage was 12 years old, and we were navigating our way through the highs and lows of having a baby in the house. The first few months, I was coping well. I was lucky enough to have a live-in nanny that could help with some night feeds. So I got my much-needed rest.
After a few months, I found my mood dipping. I have bipolar, and it was always a concern I would get post-natal depression with my second child as I did with my first. The signs were setting in. My appetite was waning, I was oversleeping, I no longer wanted to be sexual, and I had no desire to leave the house. I was terrified of driving with my daughter alone in the car in case she choked, and I wouldn’t be able to help her in time. I had these horrific crime scenes running through my mind late at night of people breaking into our home. I didn’t want to get out of my dressing gown or do any exercise. I smoked a gazillion cigarettes. Deep down inside, I felt like I was a terrible mother. I love my children, but I had no idea how to engage with them emotionally. I was lost in a sea of tears and anguish a gut-wrenching place to be.
I knew that depression has its roots in anger turned inwards. So I went on a quest to figure out why I was angry with myself. One of the reasons was that I had been sterilised. I had no idea how much my identity and worth was wrapped up in the ability to have children. On some level, I felt less than. Not good enough. Like my self-worth had run out. It took me a couple of years to come to terms with that I was sterilised. I sat in therapy, grieving my unborn babies. I mourned my worthiness. I grieved. Until one day, I was able to wipe away my tears and like a phoenix rise above the ashes of my tears. I started on a lifelong new journey of freedom, self-love and compassion. It was the birth of me valuing myself for characteristics that were soulful, healthy and life-affirming.
Now I help support, guide and mentor other men and women who are going through their particular grieving process because of trauma or life circumstances.
I am called to do this grief work. I have lived experiences that make it possible for me to hold space for others to experience their pain profoundly and to heal from the injustices caused against them.