:::Before reading this know I am completely stable, my son is not in danger, and I have plenty of support. But this is the raw, honest truth. And more people need to embrace the truth.:::
After a relatively easy pregnancy, my son has finally made his way into the world. Weighing in at a whopping 6 lbs and 9 ozs, stretching 20 inches long, and screaming at the top of his precious but strong lungs Owen entered the world on July 1st at 2:58 pm. The labor was 23 hours in total and lived up to its name. Even being numb from the waist down (which was cool as hell and I would do it again in a heartbeat, but that’s a whole other post topic) it was definitely hard work. A few complications, talk of an emergency c-section after Owen went into distress, and a few moments of borderline hyperventilation on my part. My team of nurses and my midwife were absolutely phenomenal. I probably would have strangled someone if it hadn’t been for my mom and my sweet husband. One in each ear reminding me that I could do this. And I was doing it.
“You’re doing great! Just breathe.”
“I’m so proud of you.”
“You’re almost done, baby. You’re so strong.”
A room full of strangers helped me bring my son into a world I’m absolutely horrified of.
The first few moments were complete shock. This was my son. My tiny human. My responsibility. His only reaction to the world besides screaming was to my voice, searching for its source as soon as he heard me. And then there was the actual physical shock of said tiny human no longer being inside me, and my body began to shake uncontrollably. It felt so violent and strange to not be able to calm my own body.
My biggest fear with this whole journey has been the aftermath of the pregnancy. No, I’m not talking weight gain or stretch marks or disproportionate boobs. Who cares. I’m talking depression. Disconnection. Isolation.
Everyone tells you having a baby is a big deal. It’s hard work, they tell you. But nobody tells you why. Nobody tells you that you could very well feel utterly and completely alone. Nobody tells you breastfeeding makes you feel used and unwanted, like you’ve been shunned to the farthest corner of the house to be discarded.
It’s such a beautiful bonding experience. It’s hard work and it can hurt but the bond!
Yeah. The bond. They tell you all about how good it all is, how much better it is for baby. Everyone talks about bubbles and rainbows and about how good it feels to hold baby for the first time. About how much love surges through your being that first time you look at them.
But what happens when you don’t feel that???
What are you supposed to do when you’re expecting this overwhelming sense of protective love to overtake you and you feel nothing?? Sure. I love my son. He’s my son. But sometimes I look at him and it doesn’t even feel that way. I keep waiting for someone to come through the door and praise me for being such a big help and watching their little one. I look at him and he is absolutely perfect. And all I can think is surely he doesn’t belong to me.
The friends I normally spend all my time with, I don’t want them anywhere near me. I just want to be alone. But then when I am by myself, all I can do is cry. Breastfeeding has been a complete emotional nightmare. Sure, I feel incredibly empowered knowing my body makes exactly what Owen needs. But my anxiety is through the roof thinking what if he’s not getting enough of what he needs? Plus there’s the normal stress of no sleep yada yada yada.
I realize this all comes with the territory. This too shall pass. But it destroys my heart to think this is all I’ve wanted, and he’s my miracle, but yet all I can do is cry. I’m not all bubbles and rainbows and overwhelming joy. I’m stuck at the bottom of a well. And what’s worse, it’s comfortable, almost welcoming, to me. When thoughts like “what would my life be like if I didn’t get pregnant” pass through my mind I can hear new cracks spread across my heart. I know those thoughts aren’t mine. I don’t want to know what my life would be like without him. But apparently the darkness does.
Then there’s all the hate and discontent flooding every news channel broadcast. Two clowns are running for control of the entire country. People are getting shot and killed for doing their job. Other innocent lives are being threatened simply for the color of their skin. (And, by the way, that goes both ways. All I’m gonna say about that.) Riots and shootings and protests gone wild. People blocking major highways. And for what? Attention?? We get it. You’re pissed. As well you should be. But on that highway that you’re so effectively blocking, there sits a little girl being transported from one hospital to another. St Jude’s children’s hospital nonetheless. But she can’t get there to get the treatment she needs because you hoodrat, ignorant hooligans are acting a fool and causing more harm than you are good. Stupid. Stupid stupid stupid.
Anyway. Totally off track. The point I was getting at, was if one more person asks me “so how does it feel to be a mom?! Isn’t it amazing?!!?” I’ll have to try really hard not to smack them. Because no. It’s not amazing. Should it be?? Absolutely. Should I be thankful?? Of course, and I absolutely am! But women really need to stop painting birth and breastfeeding and motherhood in general in only the bright hues. Don’t leave out the shades of black and blue and grey, because the darkness is just as real.
Stay weird, y’all XOXO ❤️
And stay safe 💋