My Story: I welcomed my first child into this world in March. After a difficult pregnancy, and even more difficult delivery, I was excited to hold my beautiful baby boy in my arms. The nurse placed my new bundle on my chest, and I looked down at him. He was beautiful, but I did not feel that overwhelming sense of love that everyone told me I would feel. This tiny person was a stranger. I would have done anything for him from his very first breath, but I did not experience love at first sight.
After my second day in the hospital, my milk came in. As a first time mom, breastfeeding was already foreign to me, and I was still trying to figure everything out. Now, I was so engorged that my poor baby couldn't latch properly. My nurses joked that I had enough milk to feed every single baby on the unit - they weren't wrong (I couldn't wear a bra for 3 full weeks).
They sent me home after three days in the hospital, but I didn't feel ready. I didn't want to leave just yet. I needed help. I needed the nurses to remind me to eat and drink. I needed the lactation consultant to help me nurse my baby. I needed someone to check on me every hour to make sure I was ok. Once I was finally home, it felt as though my life was falling apart around me. I couldn't remember what day it was. I couldn't remember when I had last taken a shower. When did I last eat? Was it time for more of my medication? Every time the baby fell asleep, I struggled between taking a nap along with my baby, or making myself some lunch. When I finally decided to do one or the other, that beautiful baby woke up, crying for my breast.
I cried too. I cried because I was exhausted. I cried because I still wasn't completely in love with my own baby yet. Who doesn't love their own baby? I cried because breastfeeding was hard and it hurt. I cried because my baby had a lip and tongue tie that were so severe that he would need surgery to correct them. I cried because I was hungry. I cried because I felt like I was a selfish mom for being so concerned about myself. I often thought that this could be postpartum depression, but I didn't want to tell anyone. I cried because I felt so alone. I cried all the time.
People came to visit me. They dropped off food and gifts for my new baby. This was supposed to be a joyous occasion. I put on a fake smile, and told them how great I felt! I told them that I loved being a mom. And I did! I loved being a mom, but it was so hard. I wanted to tell them that I only got 3 hours of sleep the night before. I wanted to tell them that my baby was going through his first growth spurt and was stuck to my breast for hours at a time. I wanted to tell them that the soup I heated up for myself in the microwave for lunch was still sitting in the microwave, and was now cold again. I wanted to tell them that I had spit up in my hair. I wanted to tell them the truth about everything.
By the time my baby was a month old, I could honestly admit that I loved him with every single ounce of my being. I had gotten the hang of breastfeeding, and I felt much better once I could wear a bra again. I still cry, but not for the same reasons. I cry because I blinked, and all of the sudden my newborn was almost 7 months old, who sits up by himself, and can almost crawl. I eventually realized that what I had felt was not postpartum depression, but a normal reaction that many women feel.
I wasn't alone after all.
Audra | Rochester, NY | Mama to Jack, 6 months