It has been 6 whole months since we welcomed our little one into this world, and I have yet to write about it, so I thought it was about time I did...
As most of you know I struggled with major depression while pregnant with our second child, if you haven't read about it you can here... In consequence, I had a really hard time connecting or identifying with this new little girl growing inside me... On the flipside when I was pregnant with our first daughter I had ALL the FEELS... I could picture her, I could see myself being her Mama, and I felt like I already knew her. Suffering mentally like I did the second time around I just felt SO different. I doubted my ability to mother another child, and she felt like a little alien to me. I think this drastically impacted my experience when she was born. Of course I imagined it would be much like the first time, an overwhelming feeling that you've known each other for years, an instant love, and bond...
It was 11pm by now and the nurse said, "Well it looks like this baby will be born tomorrow unless you are ready to push in less than 20min." Well someone must have been listening, because at 11:20pm I was fully dilated and baby's head was there waiting. The doctor was called, and we got prepped. Once Dr. Foss arrived she informed me it wasn't going to take much to get this baby here. At the next contraction I gave one little push and she was born at 11:38pm. She was instantly put on my chest, and I waited for all those feelings... but they didn't come. I knew I loved her, I knew she was mine, and I wanted her with all my heart, but I didn't have those feelings. So I turned to my husband to watch his expressions. I asked him and my mom repeatedly, "What do you think?" And I tried to soak in this precious special moment I had waited 9 months for.
I had completely forgotten how small these babies come because she seemed SO tiny to me. I was just sure she had to be smaller than her older sister when she was born. I couldn't believe it when she weighed exactly the same as her sister, 6lbs 8oz, and 19 1/4 inches long, just a little shorter than big sister. She immediately started smacking her little mouth trying to suckle, it was so sweet. It was a moment you never want to forget. She had lots of hair, a squished little nose, and lips you couldn't help but kiss. Soon after delivery we were moved to another room, and I tried to wrap my head around what had just happened.
Soon after a dear friend of ours came to capture some of these precious moments for us. I will cherish these pictures forever. It's a time we can never get back, and so I am grateful we have some nice photos to remember it all by. Then the family started coming to meet the new baby. I was still in this funk, and felt so overwhelmed by everything. I kept all these feelings to myself, I couldn't admit I was having a hard time.
Days went by and of course as I cared and sacrificed for this new little baby the bond I expected to be immediate grew. Just as I couldn't imagine life with her before, I can't imagine life without her now. My depression and anxiety is much better controlled since then, and I have been thoroughly enjoying our sweet baby.
It was when a friend shared with me her postpartum depression troubles that I felt comfortable enough to share with her my feelings when our child was born. It was hard for me to admit because I felt like less of a Mom for having felt the way I did. She shared with me a TED talk she had recently listened to about "Parenting Taboos" one of them being, "You can't say you didn't fall in love with your baby in the first minute" it was like I could take a breath of fresh air for the first time again. If others have felt this way, I must not be the only one, and I am not a bad Mom for it.
So there it is... here I am being vulnerable again, hoping by sharing, just as my friend did with me, that it will help someone who might feel as I did. Being a Parent is hard, being a Mom is hard, and cutting myself some slack is even harder. So just remember to be kind to yourself, that is my everyday reminder.