Baby Brain Memoirs
I first started blogging as an outlet for making sense of my feelings that I can only describe as being alien to me at the time. I experienced this straight after the birth of my first born, a son. Before his arrival I had everything worked out, however when the little guy arrived what I actually felt was the complete opposite to what I thought I would feel. There was a constant wave of sadness washing over me with no light in sight. I felt scared and helpless. Enduring the physical pain after having a caesarean can do that to you.
Life as a new mum didn’t look anything like what I had seen in glossy magazines: bright smiles and pure joy. Despite being surrounded by loved ones and having so much support, I was lonely. I felt empty and I didn’t understand why.
Much to my surprise, after I published my first blog, I was contacted by many women who were experiencing the same kind of emotions. They were just too afraid to admit it. I quickly realised that I was not alone. It became obvious to me that speaking out about mental health was considered quite the taboo, especially in the South Asian community. Despite that, the stigma was something that I did not allow to hold me back. On the contrary it encouraged me to share more of my journey. People who were experiencing the same challenges that I was facing, needed to know that they were not alone.
I found the smallest tasks impossible and this little voice in my head would tell me ‘I am not good enough’. The love and encouragement from my husband, sisters and both of our parents was intense and valued. Despite this, I still felt like a burden and soon became overwhelmed with guilt. There was a strong disconnect to everything around me, but at the same time, I was also consumed by the terrifying thought that my son would be taken away from me by social services. Thankfully, due to the support of my health visitor, I was reassured that this would never be the case unless I was completely incapable of caring for him. The health visitor set me mini goals to work towards in an attempt to illustrate to me that I ‘was’ more than capable.
Although he felt like a stranger to me at the time, I loved my baby. I reminded myself that I had carried him for nine months and that he knew me best. By reiterating this thought to myself I grew more confident over time. It was my Arjun that pulled me through; my knight in shining armour.
When we decided to have a second baby I was apprehensive about facing the same ordeal post the arrival of our new addition but nothing could have prepared me for what was destined for us as a family. Our second born bought with him pure joy. I finally felt everything that I had previously dreamt of feeling.
It lasted all of 10 hours.
When Dr Cruz, the paediatrician came to tell us that our son was born with Down’s syndrome, our world’s fell apart. The thick black storm that it brought with it ripped through our lives as we grieved for the baby that we thought we were going to have. How could this be happening? We had all the tests done prior to Saajan’s arrival. We had a 1 in 100,000 chance of having a baby with any genetic defect. We were that 1.
Watching Arjun love his brother unconditionally through his innocent lens taught me what love looked like.
When Saajan was 4 months old, our world was rocked yet again. We were given the devastating news that Saajan would require immediate open heart surgery. This was our turning point. It didn’t matter that he had Down’s syndrome, his life mattered.
It has been a rollercoaster journey, but with intense therapy, perseverance, keeping faith and through Arjun and Saajan themselves, I have learnt to love and to rejoice in the beautiful souls that God has blessed us with. Though my blog originally started off as a page to share my journey about post-natal depression, it has also become a
platform for raising awareness on Down’s syndrome.
I am currently in the process of writing my book, “Baby Brain Memoirs: An Unexpected Journey through Motherhood” which documents the trials and tribulations of my experiences as a young mum. I hope our story can provide someone with the optimism and silver lining that they may be looking for.
Both of my sons have been our greatest teachers and what an honour it is to be their mother. We have been in some rough storms, many of which I did not think I would live through to tell the tale, but here we are, standing stronger as a family.
You can follow Harps’s journey on Instagram