Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Wondering by Susan L.

  The moment my son was born, the nurses whisked him away. He was born with the umbilical cord wrapped around his chest and over one shoulder. I shudder to think of the consequences this might have caused. Thankfully, everything was okay.
  They wheeled him beside me in one of those transparent hospital infant beds. He was wrapped in a blue blanket, a tiny hat on his head. I remember lying there, looking at this beautiful bundle. The nurses bustled away doing what nurses do. No one thought to give him to me. I didn't know enough to ask to hold him. I thought I needed permission. (Wow. That's sad.)
  I was in the hospital three or four days which was normal for the time. Also normal for the time was keeping baby in the hospital nursery, not with mom. I woke up one night, looking to feed him. As I wandered into the nursery, the nurse curtly informed me that he had already been fed. A pang of grief and a sense of failure swept through my heart. I should have been the one to feed him.
  They weren't particularly kind. Any questions I had were answered with abrupt, almost rude responses. When needing help to nurse my son, I was treated with utter contempt. I've talked to several women who also had babies, pre-marriage, around the same time (1980's). They, too, found the nurses to be harsh and judgemental in dealing with them.
  Now dads, moms and babies are encouraged to spend time together in those crucial first days. Post-birth bonding is recognized as extremely important to a child's welfare, confidence and stability.
  I have to wonder if this separation is why my son never slept even as a newborn. Did he experience separation anxiety because of the small amount of time I was "allowed" to spend with him in the hospital? At home, trying to get him to sleep anywhere but in my arms was impossible. Eventually exhaustion would win and he would fall asleep only to wake up when I set him down. That is definitely a sign of trauma.
  Sigh. There's a lot of the next three months I don't remember. Sheer exhaustion, the responsibilities of home and children is all a blur. I was completely on my own, scrabbling along, doing the best I could. My ex worked the first six weeks of his son's life doing twelve hour shifts before finally taking a day off. I have to forgive him for that. At least, I will try.
  I am thankful hospitals have changed their practices regarding newborn babies.
  I am even more thankful both my sons are committed and dedicated fathers.
  I hope the medical profession treats single moms better. I hope the stigma of having a child out of wedlock has gone the way of the dodo bird.
  "May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble; May the name of the God of Jacob defend you; May He send you help from the sanctuary, and strengthen you out of Zion; May He remember all your offerings, and accept your burnt sacrifice. Selah" Ps 20:1-3
 
 
 

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