My Story: My first baby was a week late. It was a particularly hot and humid summer and I have always hated being hot. I was miserable and nervous. My doctor decided to induce me and my husband and I packed our bags and went to the hospital on Tuesday afternoon. They started the medicine and I had a fitful night full of contractions, never able to get comfortable or more than 30 minutes of sleep at a time. My husband struggled to sleep on the chair next to me. Around 10:30am the next day I was finally able to start pushing. After 2 hours of pushing with very little progress, I started to realize a c-section was in my future. I could see it in the nurses eyes.
An hour later I signed the paperwork and they wheeled me into the operating room. To say I was nervous would be an understatement.
My healthy baby boy was born at 1:30pm and my life forever changed. He was beautiful, pink, and screaming. I didn't get to touch him for several hours as I lay in recovery, freezing and scared. Not being able to feel my legs was pure terror to me. Once they finally brought me to my room to see and hold him, I was much more relaxed and at ease. He really was beautiful. The amount of love I felt was overwhelming, and equal to the amount of fear I felt.
I gladly sent him off to the nursery so I could sleep, and start my road to recovery. The next 3 days were spent attempting to breastfeed (NOT EASY) and to get a little movement. We brought him home on Sunday morning to an empty house. My parents and in-laws had gone back home, and I had no other family close by. The first night was okay, he slept and my husband was kind and gentle with both of us.
The next morning I woke up feeling sadder than I have ever felt before. It was like I was drowning in a sea of sorrow, with no hope for survival. I was sobbing uncontrollably and couldn't seem to get a hold of myself even for a moment. I looked at the beautiful baby and could only feel total resentment towards him. Loss of my previous way of life, fear of being responsible for him for the remainder of my life, and total uncertainty of what the future would look like.
These feelings remained with me for 72 hours. It was all I could do to try and breastfeed him occasionally, but I also made my husband supplement with formula. A never ending flow of tears, curled up in my bed, hopeless. I ignored phone calls, texts, facebook messages, not wanting to talk to anyone.
I was deeply ashamed of how I felt and felt it was something I couldn't ever admit to anyone.
My husband didn't understand what I was going through, but he didn't ask questions, just rubbed my back and took care of the baby. I'm forever grateful to him for being there for us those first couple of days at home.
Miraculously after those 72 hours, it was as if I slowly started to rise to the surface. I could breathe easier. I could hold him and feel love and awe. I was able to have a normal conversation and feel like a real person again. It took some time, but I began to normalize. I talked to my doctor and she had me go in to see my psychiatrist, who was a loving and understanding support system.
A few years later when I was pregnant with our second child, I was fully expecting to go through these feelings all over again, but they never came. I proactively decided to forego breastfeeding for bottles this time around so I could get right back on my antidepressant medication. I had a few minutes of sadness, but nothing like I experienced the first time.
Now that this topic is more acceptable to talk about, I have talked to every pregnant friend about it. I don't give specifics, since everyone's story is different, but I make them aware of the feelings and that talking to someone is necessary. My two other pieces of advice for new moms are to 1 - send the baby to the nursery in the hospital so you can start your recovery right away, and 2 - always accept offers for help. If you just don't want another casserole, ask if they'd mind doing a load of laundry, walking the dog, or picking up some groceries.
The fact is - we can't do it alone, and we shouldn't have to.
Anonymous | Wisconsin