It’s 8pm. All the visitors have gone home. I’m all alone again. I always knew that having a baby would come with a certain sense of iscolation, but I didn’t realise it would start so soon.
I cradle my brand new baby girl to my chest, and though I’m lonely, I’m happy.
“You’re holding her too much.”
I look up, startled by the sudden intrusion on my solitude. It’s one of the few midwives that are on the ward after visiting hours. My daughter was born on the 3rd of January, Christmas time. Many of the hospital staff are still on holidays, and the ones who aren’t are apparently bitter.
“She’ll become dependant on being held.”
My internal voice is a primal scream. This tiny creature has been born of me not twenty four hours ago, and this woman is wanting me to put her down. I have carried her for fourty three weeks. I was the first person to feel her move, I was the first person to love her. How dare you, a stranger, tell me to put her down. She is mine, and I will cradle her in my arms just as long as she lets me.
My external voice is a weak smile, followed by an even weaker “okay.”, as I set my tiny daughter down in her cold, plastic bed.
Pregnant with my second child, I know I simply won’t let this happen again. People talk about the “fourth trimester” and I firmly believe it. If I wasn’t so hung up on having an “over held”, I would probably not look upon the first three months of my daughter’s life in despair. All she wanted was me. All I wanted was her. Why did I feel the need to please this faceless midwife?
I’m just not doing it this time. Becoming a mother has taught me to take shit from no one, especially not the medical profession. If I’m faced with a similar midwife, I will draw upon all my inner strength. I will take a deep breath, smile, and explain that this is my child. I will hold her just as long as she lets me.