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Home Aftermath The Dark Days

The Dark Days

written by Eno April 27, 2018
The Dark Days

Some of the things I am about to discuss, I have never discussed with people outside my family. I decided to share these very personal things to help women that I know are going through the same things but have no one to talk to or feel they are alone. You are not alone. I went through it and I am back to normal and I know you too will survive. All the best!

After labouring for 48 hours, delivering a baby without epidural and then finally having the chance to rest, it was time to go home with our new addition to the family. We were discharged the very next day. I was given all my paperwork with the information I would need for his vaccinations, appointment dates and a public health book I was supposed to read to guide me with his nutrition and all that. We carefully placed him in an infant carseat and whisked him off to the car. Kobby had proudly stuck the “Baby on Board” sticker at the back of the car and he looked both nervous and excited.

The ride home was so surreal and I couldn’t believe I was actually a mother now. How Crazy! I gazed at his tiny fragile frame and watched as he slept so peacefully. I was still sore and couldn’t sit properly and I was deeply worried about how I was going to take care of him. Here I was thinking I was done with the difficult part and was naturally going to settle into motherhood.  All this while, I had been trying to breastfeed but was unable to because the milk hadn’t started coming out and he had been on formula at the hospital. My mom had made two jugs full of mashed kenkey which was supposed to help produce lots of breast milk. My sister-in-law had also graciously sent a video of how I could stimulate the breast to produce milk. I did all that and nothing came out. We stopped by a pharmacy and I bought a jar of NAN-1 which was the same formula he was given at the hospital so I maintained it. We finally arrived home.

My mother moved in with us the day we arrived and was sleeping in the nursery. I was told not to exert myself too much and to rest. I ignored all that and unpacked everything and tried to put the house in order. The next day, I finally resorted to something I had heard about; using a syringe to pull out the nipple and suck out the milk. It was PAINFUL! Pain was the last thing I needed, but I needed to feed my child and I knew the first yellow milk (colostrum) was the most important milk I could give him to fight diseases and I couldn’t be selfish. It worked. The pores in my nipples finally opened up and I tried expressing into a bottle with the breast pump. It took forever! I was only getting little drops of milk at a time and I would sit for hours doing this and I couldn’t even fill a 180mil bottle to the brim. I looked at the milk storage bags I had bought earlier (when I thought I was going to have so much excess milk left over that I would need to freeze) and scoffed. My mom always bragged about how much excess milk she had and I was sure I would be the same. I had sworn no baby of mine was going to be on formula (as if it was the worst thing) and life just humbled me.
The act of breastfeeding itself was a whole new ball game. I had to help him latch onto the nipple properly and this was another excruciatingly painful process. He was now learning, but he was hungry and impatient and he would latch onto the wrong parts and my nipple would be so sore! The milk was also not enough because he would be feeding and crying and I knew the flow was too slow for him. Through this painful process, another painful thing was happening; my uterus was contracting. Breastfeeding helps the uterus to contract to its normal size before pregnancy. It is a necessary but painful process and I honestly thought I was done with the word “contraction” till now. So, in essence, I was sore from childbirth especially when I sat, I had to sit to breastfeed, breastfeeding was painful because he hadn’t yet mastered the skill of latching on properly, not latching properly was making my nipples sore, the act of breastfeeding itself was making my uterus contract and I wasn’t getting any sleep because I was either breastfeeding or expressing. H-E-L-P!!!!!.

While all this was happening, my mother was also on my neck, telling me “You need to hold him this way” “You need to sit like this” “Always carry him with a blanket” “His neck isn’t properly supported” “Wrap him up properly” “His head shouldn’t be exposed” “Wake up, he needs to eat” “Motherhood is about sacrifice” and it went on and on. I knew she meant well but it was pure torture. I was making so many mistakes with the baby because I was obviously now learning but that didn’t stop me from feeling like a terrible mom.
Apart from what I was going through emotionally, physically, my body had completely changed. My tummy was dark and still bloated, my face was also still bloated, my skin was looking rough, the stretch marks were still there, I was obviously not my original size and don’t get me started on what was going on down there. The painkillers had worn off and my “hoo-ha” was on FIRE especially when I peed. This wasn’t just because of the vaginal delivery, it was more because of the incision and the stitches. The thick maternity pad I had to wear for the bleeding wasn’t helping either. Yup, you bleed continuously for 4- 6 weeks after delivery. I would scream anytime I peed and so I dreaded going to the bathroom. I was also scared to sneeze because that could rapture the stitches. My body image also gave me self esteem issues and I was truly in a dark place. I felt unattractive and I had convinced myself Kobby felt the same way because of all that he was subjected to in the labour ward. He had actually said “After this experience, I’m done, one child is enough”. I knew he had been traumatized. On the flip side, his respect for me was on a whole new level. I seemed like a superhuman to him all of a sudden because certain remarks he would make like “I could’ve never done that” “I don’t know how you went through that and you’re just walking around like nothing happened” lol.

I honestly had no idea. To me, I was rather dealing with the aftermath very poorly. Because of all that I was going through, I would hide and cry for hours. I was always in a bad mood and Kobby and I were arguing a lot because he felt I was ungrateful for what I had and didn’t seem to understand what I was going through. “People want babies and you have one, what’s there to be sad about? It’s like you’re constantly looking for something to complain about even when your life is perfect. I don’t get it” he would say. “What are you crying about exactly? Tell me” he demanded. I couldn’t express it in words. Yes, my son was healthy and yes I had a child, yes I didn’t die on the hospital bed BUT being in constant pain and not knowing when it would end was nothing to smile about. I was unknowingly falling into postpartum depression and my mum was very worried. She had that for several days after she had given birth to me and she detected the signs very early; (Unable to properly bond with the baby, secluding myself, constant sadness, crying spells, guilt etc). She had a long talk with me about how I was feeling and we prayed. Well she prayed, I was too upset to.

The next day, Kobby and I went grocery shopping. I was moody the whole trip and I was in a rotten mood when we got back. The minute he parked at the house, I left my bag, my phone, basically anything I took with me and walked straight into the house to the bedroom and cried for no reason. He was so upset and didn’t speak to me for the rest of the day. I didn’t speak to him either and my mom came to the rescue as usual trying to diffuse the situation. It was tense. I didn’t understand why I had to go through all this and he didn’t have to, when we both made the baby. I didn’t understand why HE didn’t understand what I was going through when I didn’t understand what I was going through either (confusing I know). It was madness in my mind. This is not how I expected to feel after just having a baby.

It had been only 3 days but it felt longer than that. I stuck a mirror down there to find out what exactly was happening with my hoo-ha. I had questions that needed answers. “Was it healing? Would it ever go back to normal? Was I going to be left with a scar?”. I took a look and gosh I wish I hadn’t. It was like an open wound, very red and I could see the stitches and the area that had been cut. It wasn’t pretty. I was sure I needed to be re-stitched at this point. We had an appointment the next day at the hospital to take our baby for his BCG & Polio immunization and I also had my post delivery appointment. I decided I would let them know what I was going through.

The next day we got ready and left for the hospital. Kobby took him for his immunizations, while I got examined by a midwife. I had wanted the actual midwife who had delivered the baby but she wasn’t on duty then. This elderly lady rather did the examination. Once I took off my panty, there was a dark blood clot on my pad, and I got very alarmed. “Oh don’t worry my dear, once the clot is dark, it means it is an old one and not a new blood clot forming.” she assured me. She took a look down there and didn’t look too pleased. She told me I was healing but at a slow rate and that I needed to come back on Monday to be re-examined. I didn’t like the sound of that. She also examined my boobs and said they were very full and hard and that wasn’t a good thing. That meant I did have breast milk but it was all stored in and I needed to get it out. “When you get home, soak your towel in warm water and then massage your breast with it. Afterwards, apply shea butter and you should be able to breastfeed nicely. If you don’t do this and continue this way, you will eventually get a fever and fall sick. Trust me, you don’t want to fall sick in your state.” she warned. “Also next week, after examining you again, you can start the sitz bath”. (The sitz bath was basically sitting in a tub/basin/ bucket of warm water and letting the steam or the water itself naturally heal your hoo-ha.) I was surprised she was telling me this because, this directly contradicted what the other midwives had told me the day I was being discharged. They said, “Make sure you don’t get any warm water down there, just wash with room temperature water and Savlon and you’ll be fine. Don’t listen to the old people and their archaic remedies”. My mom was very offended when I told her what they had said, because that was her remedy after she delivered all three of her kids and she had been hounding me to do this for some relief and I didn’t budge. I left the hospital feeling quite stressed but slightly optimistic as I narrated what had happened to Kobby.

We got home and I tried the warm towel remedy for my boobs and it worked. I was able to express more into a bottle and my boobs which were rock hard were slowly deflating which was a good thing. It still took a while to fill up a bottle but I was now finally filling a full bottle a day. I was making slow progress but progress all the same. For my fiery hoo-ha, I sprayed the Earth Mama Bottom spray down there. It had a cooling effect and I did it as many times in the day as possible and even in the night and it was divine. I had hesitated using it at first because I felt, it was too soon, but it was now almost a week and so enough time had passed by. As these changes were happening, I was starting to heal emotionally as well but I still had quite a journey from where I was to where I wanted to be and my impatient self wasn’t having it.

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43 comments

Ruth Dabi April 27, 2018 - 10:39 am

?????? I don’t have any words.

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Cherry April 28, 2018 - 7:58 am

Wow hmmm.. This is so vivid and I almost feel I’m you Eno! I love your writing skills! Been following your blog even though I’m currently unmarried and it’s been a real eye-opener. Thanks for sharing all of this. You have no idea how helpful this is to loads of us out there. These are the stories we want to hear and how to deal with real-life happenings.

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Eno April 28, 2018 - 9:10 am

Thank you you too! It’s not easy opening up about your deepest issues but the fact that it’s actually making an impact makes it worth it. Thanks love❤️

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Esi April 27, 2018 - 10:40 am

I teared up reading this. God bless you Eno. And God bless all our mothers for all the pain they’ve endured for our sake. Post-partum depression is real and is something that Ghanaian women need to discuss and help each other.

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Eno April 27, 2018 - 12:09 pm

So real. It’s such a pity we have been conditioned to believe it happens to just white people and not Blacks/ Africans. This is a human thing that we need more awareness on. Thank you for reading??

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Ruth Dabi April 27, 2018 - 10:43 am

It’s so emotional and I can’t even begin to imagine how you were feeling.

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Eno April 27, 2018 - 12:10 pm

Typing that took me back to that place. It was super hard but I’m glad it doesn’t last for long.

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Dzidzor April 27, 2018 - 10:52 am

I got goosebumps reading this. Your really opened your heart out and this will help a lot of people. I read about postpartum depression before delivery so I was really battling with myself to fight it and I had such great support but that didn’t stop the “senseless crying ”

One thing that help me with bonding with my child soon after birth was “kangarooing”
I go naked and get my baby naked and hold her tight to my chest. She started knowing me by my natural smell and got better with latching when breastfeeding. We bonded so well but I think I over did it and got too attached where I couldn’t bare not being around her which I had to work on for my own sanity

Even tho she started to latch well my breast milk production also failed me and that is another kind of disappointment to deal with

Thank you so much for sharing. There is so much we need to know about childbirth that it’s normally hidden.

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Eno April 27, 2018 - 12:16 pm

Yes I was sure it would never happen to me because I’m usually very upbeat and positive but I guess it just creeps up on you without your control. Wow never heard of Kangarooing. I have to read more about it for the next one. Thanks for this info. It sounds just like I would imagine bonding to be like. Yes there is so much we discover for ourselves that no ones tells us. Thanks for reading!

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Keziah Gyamfuah Kyei April 27, 2018 - 11:10 am

Wow ? Don’t know what to say again. Never heard it like that.

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Eno April 27, 2018 - 12:23 pm

Yes Keziah, many people don’t share such stories because it tends to taint your image of child birth which is supposed to be a joyous occasion. It may deter people from even wanting to go through with it but I think it’s important to be fully prepared and know that it’s perfectly normal and lots of women go through this same thing and survive. Don’t worry, it doesn’t last for too long.

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Ena April 27, 2018 - 1:46 pm

Reading this made me sad and very scared for the journey ahead. However, knowing that you went through it and were able to survive is comforting. Well done! Btw. Where can i get the Earth Mama Bottom spray?

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Eno April 27, 2018 - 2:02 pm

Aww don’t be scared at all. I can assure you that I’m 100% back to normal now. It’s a phase most women go through but don’t discuss and it’s better that you know now and understand that it’s perfectly normal . I didn’t have that and felt i was supposed to be happy all the time but it wasn’t realistic at that time. You will be fine trust me. You can get the spray from @fusionbabygh on ig . Warm water also works wonders. Will talk about that in my next post.❤️

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Ena April 30, 2018 - 8:11 pm

Thank u soo much ?

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Kim April 27, 2018 - 3:53 pm

To go through all this and come out winning is not a joke. You’re strong Eno

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Eno April 27, 2018 - 6:32 pm

It’s crazy! Thank you Kim

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Ekua April 27, 2018 - 5:02 pm

Thank you for sharing this Eno, and being this open and honest with us who have yet to get there. I’d never have thought African mothers deal with postpartum depression.
When I saw the title ‘Dark Days’, I just wondered what could possibly go wrong after having your beautiful baby. Thank you Eno ? ?

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Eno April 27, 2018 - 6:36 pm

Yes I can imagine lots of people were confused lol. I needed people to be more aware of the post labour recovery process. It’s a very real thing that we don’t often speak enough about. You’re most welcome!??

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Mina April 27, 2018 - 6:00 pm

Wow..thought I was the only one. You would think you would be free once the baby is out but it definitely doesn’t end there. Even coughing turns out to be a nightmare

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Eno April 27, 2018 - 6:37 pm

And that’s the problem. I also thought I was the only one. Glad we’re all not alone

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Sonia April 27, 2018 - 6:12 pm

Girllllllllllll bless you!!!! U just brought back memories!!

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Eno April 27, 2018 - 6:38 pm

Writing this took me baccckkk! So glad it’s over?

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Joshilla April 27, 2018 - 9:11 pm

Wow…….not a mom yet but ur blog is really educating me on what lies ahead. Thank you for sharing this Eno…..it’s worth it!!!

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Eno April 28, 2018 - 9:04 am

You’re most welcome! ❤️

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Maame April 27, 2018 - 9:28 pm

Just Wow Eno!! I just remembered the strong urge I had to pray for you about a week after your delivery. I wondered what could possibly be wrong since the worst part would have passed by then and must have been all joy from there. Little did I know!
Bless you for shedding such vivid light on the matter❤️

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Eno April 28, 2018 - 9:21 am

Really Maame? Wow! God really speaks through us. I’m glad all these prayers went a long way to help me through this difficult process. Bless you too????

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Stacey April 28, 2018 - 12:37 pm

Thank you for sharing this part of your journey. We hardly get the chance to talk about the way we feel and how things affect us. I didnt go through this after delivery, i did all my crying before,lol. i had an easy pregnancy but had a lot of emotional issues going on in my relationship/life and it wasnt easy. It’s great to have someone share it like this. Bless you mama

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Eno April 28, 2018 - 10:53 pm

You’re most welcome!That period is tough and yess we never talk about it but thank God more and more women are opening up. We need to hear more so no one feels alone. Bless you too

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Alexy April 28, 2018 - 8:36 pm

God bless you Eno! I’ve been reading from day one and never thought I’d comment though I enjoy every bit but this gave me chills. I always thought it was all ”fun fair”after having a baby. Thank you for this candid write up!

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Eno April 28, 2018 - 11:27 pm

Aww thanks for taking time to comment. I’m glad you enjoyed it. That’s usually the misconception but as we open up more about these issues more people will be fully prepared.

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Awo April 28, 2018 - 9:23 pm

Oh wow. I also did all my crying before the baby came but damn!! ?????? please clap for yourself every day okay ?? wow

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Eno April 28, 2018 - 11:14 pm

??? I have no idea how I went through that!! Congratulations on your baby!

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Eunice April 29, 2018 - 2:12 pm

Wooow, we share the same pain oo.
It took me 3weeks to produce milk for my son and that was my darkest moment.
God bless u for opening up and telling us what we weren’t told

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Burnyce April 29, 2018 - 7:22 pm

Wow… this is the side no one talks about..you only see pictures and think it’s all rosy!!… Thanks Eno really insightful…God strengthen all expectant mums and new mums.

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Eno April 30, 2018 - 2:00 pm

Amen!! ??????

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Adwoa April 29, 2018 - 8:02 pm

Oh my gosh Eno, you are ????. Your blog is soo original. This was very helpful.

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Eno April 30, 2018 - 2:01 pm

Thank you so much!❤️❤️❤️

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Akosua April 30, 2018 - 9:42 am

Hmmmm…. story of my life. New mums the hussle is real. Thanks so much for sharing this. Our mums are trying but they should take it easy on us. This is my first baby and it hasn’t been easy. My baby is a 4 weeks.
Just this dawn I had to cry …lol.. I love u Eno for this. God bless u n I know i will be fine. My hubby has been supportive too.

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Eno April 30, 2018 - 2:03 pm

The crying! Aww it gets much easier don’t worry. Very soon you’ll look back and laugh. I’m glad you have the support you need, you’ll do great. All the best!❤️❤️

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Linda May 4, 2018 - 9:23 pm

??. Thank you Eno. Just thank you. xx

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Eno May 7, 2018 - 10:16 am

Aww you’re welcome!

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Sonia Sedinam May 5, 2018 - 4:04 pm

Hi Eno.I had goose pimples all over me whilst reading this and I even had to put my phone away to come back and continue reading.Thank you for motivating me☺️

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Eno May 7, 2018 - 10:27 am

Awwwwww you’re most welcome hun!

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