I woke up at 3:30 the morning of my scheduled c-section. We arrived at the hospital at 5:00 sharp to check in, sign paperwork, and go to the maternity suite where I met everyone who would be involved in my labor and delivery experience. At 7:00, my doctor came into the room to greet me. She just woke up. She had been delivering babies all night and mentioned that one of the c-section deliveries “didn’t go well”.
When she left the room to go prepare for my surgery, I fearfully said, “Keith. Did you hear that???”
He didn’t respond. He was asleep.
I realized that God did not want me to project my fears onto my husband at that moment. God needed to deal with me intimately. So, I embraced the quiet of the room and began to release my fear. I prayed like my mother. Like my grandmothers. Like them, I professed that the Lord controls all things and that I would trust Him with my life and the life of our unborn child.
Around 7:30, I went in for surgery.
An hour or so later, I was back in the room, well and numb from anesthesia. Recovering with a tiny newborn pressed against my beating heart.
I couldn’t believe Junior was out of the womb, laying on my chest, and that I was done being pregnant.
It was all a matter of time. A matter of course completion. The end of a long, miraculous journey. I was elated and emotional. Imagine carrying a baby inside of you nine whole months and then, suddenly, it’s all over.
With my first two children, I instantly missed being pregnant. I could feel involution happening and I didn’t like the emptiness of my womb.
FYI: During the involution process, the uterus is transformed from its pregnant state to its non-pregnant state. A woman’s body is literally and physically done with being pregnant.
After having this third cesarean, it was as if there were an understanding between me and my body that this was it for child bearing. Before, I sensed I would carry again.
This time, I had acceptance.
I was ready to live my life with the children God had assigned to my and Keith’s care. And my poor yet resilient body was ready to go through postpartum recovery one last time.
Postpartum, to me, means heal the hard way. And it comes with feelings of being overwhelmed, restless, not cared for, disconnected from the world, enraged, and anxious– as if you’re a captive animal, pacing back and forth in a cage.
During this third postpartum journey, I fell completely a part.
I was losing my wits.
Jumping to conclusions.
I was mean and annoyed.
The only thing standing between a postpartum mother and her sanity is a stretch of unbroken sleep and some me-time. And with three kids in my life, that’s just rare. But it’s all good. I’m managing…
*places a coffee pod in the bottle warmer*
6 weeks after having Junior, I went to see my doctor. She checked my incision and told me I had healed beautifully; however, nerve damage was likely the reason I didn’t have any feeling in my incision area. She told me that I could resume normal activity and return to work. I left her office and went straight to the track for a walk.
I’m now 7 weeks and 4 days postpartum.
I’m less anxious.
More loving and kind.
I’m back exercising.
After months of being surrounded by pillows, Keith and I are back to being like spoons in a drawer.
Professionally, I’m working on some projects that are giving me life.
I’ve lightened up.
I’m laughing, singing, and dancing.
And watching reruns of “Everybody Loves Raymond”.
I have peace.
I have gratitude.
I’m determined to maintain this calm and collected spirit.
I’m determined to watch my thoughts because I know they will manifest.
And it’s all because of time…
If you let it run its course, it really does heal. There may be some scars. Some damage, even. But, my love, you will heal.
Clinnesha is a writer and social entrepreneur who feels most accountable to southern, black citizen-artists, elders, children, and families. Her work is at the intersection of arts, culture, innovation, and community.