Saturday, April 19, 2008

prematurity, ppd and homeopathy

when callum was born 6 weeks early i didn't feel that wave of unconditional love wash over me. i had heard that the moment you meet your child, you'd fall in love and a part of your heart would now be outside your body. it didn't happen that way for me.

although i made the birthing experience as calm and complete as possible given the circumstances, i quickly realized i would be contending with deep feelings of anguish over the loss of a natural birth and a full term baby and having my baby home with me. seeing him in an isolette - gauvage tube, monitors and all - and the bruises on his little hands and feet from all the bloodwork and tests ruptured my dreams of feeling the instant connection and bond with this tiny little person.

and then the dark feelings came, and the horrible thoughts and the flashbacks. and i would re-traumatize myself over and over with them. i didn't want to take meds even though i fantasized about harming myself and my child. i would weep as i pumped breastmilk out of me, with a child that was unable to latch. when he finally did latch after exclusively pumping for nearly 3 months, the feelings were still there.
i did not want to risk our breastfeeding relationship so i refused prescription drugs. but i knew i needed help. i did research and came across natrum muriaticum, and it helped get me through the worst days to feeling like myself again.

natrum muriaticum, or nat. mur. is essentially cell salts. i like to think of it physiologically as helping bring my body to homeostasis - to balance. funny that not only is it considered potentially helpful for ppd, but also mucous-y conditions. in the past it has always been my sinuses and respiratory tract that have contributed to times when i felt unwell. it would be interesting to see if it all could be linked together - i believe it is in me.

ppd is rampant in women who have premature babies. when i think of the nicu, and abandoning the home birth plan and having the most unnatural of births in the end, i think ppd is really inevitable. i liken the nicu, and going home without my baby to the symptom picture of post traumatic stress syndrome - they are really quite similar. i was warned that it is very common for mothers of premature babies to have it - and i was no exception.

in many ways, breastfeeding has done as much for ppd as anything else could. after the struggle, it has saved me. as i continued to question myself and my body with no answers and no risk factors for a premature birth and ultimately and medically no reason for having a premature baby, breastfeeding helped me regain - piece by piece - the joy, the sanity, and the connection to my son.

i feel like nat. mur. helped create the bridge too - toward healing and connection. my son has taught me humility in the realest sense and has been my greatest teacher.

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