There are two situations that I wasn’t expecting as a result of a Diastasis Recti, Umbilical and Ventral surgery: stopping breastfeeding before I was expecting to, and not having more children. I shared my medical situation and here is the emotional side.
Diastasis Recti Surgery
For those of you who read the birth story of my daughter, I didn’t get the birth experience I wanted and I felt like I didn’t get to enjoy the final hours of being pregnant or the anticipation of her being born. Hence, when she was born, and in the days after, I wanted to do the one thing natural that I could. That was breastfeeding. The ability to be there, provide her with what she needed to live, and to hold her close. I could make something right. Now, it feels like I’ve gotten another setback. Where my body has failed me again, and my pregnancy continues to haunt me.
To have the surgery, I need to stop breastfeeding eight weeks prior to the procedure, so the hormones will have dissipated and my body will be in the state ready for muscle manipulation. So the issue is timing. The longer I wait to have the surgery (i.e. the longer I breastfeed), the more complications the surgery may entail, the harder the recovery, and more challenges I’ll face in recovery with two kids running around vs. just one.
The recovery period is similar to a c-section with the post-surgery limitation of lifting objects over 15 pounds. (I think you can see where I am going with this.) On one hand, if I want to breastfeed, my surgery is delayed. The longer my surgery is delayed, the more likely I won’t be able to lift my own baby and have rely on others to handle her needs. So, I could wait to have the surgery until such time that she could perform various functions on her own, but I’d be living in pain in the interim and potentially creating greater risk down the road.
One hot mess, right?
Furthermore, if I have the surgery, I cannot have more children. Or at least, be ready for that reality if they need to use objects to fix my tears and holes. How am I supposed to make such a final decision now? I thought it would be gradual determination, and as time went on, we would know. Now, I have to make a decision now as if it was an episode of Jeopardy. (What is, “I have no idea if I am done having children.”) Yet, if I have more children, with the hernias and weakened state that my torso is in, is that risky? Would it be fixable later with potentially more holes and tears from another pregnancy?
At times, I know I’m done. At other times, I dream of a little nameless face. As I’m up with my children at night, I wonder about the children I may never have. As I’m up with my children at night and desperate for sleep, I think two is enough. Am I okay with that?
As women, we go through a lot to have children, and our bodies take a beating. Well, us normal, non-supermodel women anyway (dang you Gisele). On one hand, having the surgery to help myself seems rather rather selfish. Then again, when is it selfish? When I stop breastfeeding her? Or when I continue, but then cannot pick her up when she asks for Mommy? On the other hand, is taking care of myself actually important to the well-being of my children, or am I vain for staring wistfully at clothes in a department store?
Nothing is easy, and at the moment, I don’t have a lot of answers. I can run (no weight lifting, which wasn’t happening anyway so no loss there), and that helps me process all of these emotions. All I know is that when you see me, please don’t ask me if I am pregnant. Know that I have a lot I’m processing right now, just a couple months after a rather tramatic experience. I’ve been through a lot this year.
Yes, there are many worse things that could have befallen me, but this has been one hell of a year as it relates to my body. I’m a bit weary, I still don’t know what to do…..and time is running out on an answer and a decision. But there is an even bigger fear…death. Here is my post on that.
Hugs to you! You know this already, but I am a strong believer that happy/healthy moms make for happy/healthy children and that being “selfish” not only means that you can better care for your kids, but teaches them (and especially your daughter) that it’s important to take care of yourself. You don’t stop being a person when you become a mom. As for having more kids, I’m sorry about that one. That’s a decision every woman would like to make for herself and not be forced into by time or health or other factors.
Honestly, you are going through a very difficult time and I’m sure it’s a combination of health issues, hormones, lack of sleep and emotions. If you can remove one of those factors, I think it’s in your best interest. If I can do anything to help (bring you lunch? coffee? just sit and chat?), let me know.
Christy – You are the best! Thank you! And love to have some girl time!