Postpartum Depression was something I feared I would get.
As though it was some kind of sickness or virus that you can just avoid. That if I exercised and maintained a good diet it would “skip” me, but when I didn’t immediately connect with Bailee after she was born, dread overcame me. My thoughts began to race. Will I hurt her? Do I love her? Will I be able to give her what she needs? I didn’t have much time to process all those emotions while I was in the hospital. There were too many people around. Nurses, family, friends. I didn’t really have much time to sit in my feelings.
Instead, I smiled for pictures with Bailee, endured breastfeeding and tried to do as much skin to skin as possible. It wasn’t until I got home that all those emotions that were suppressed at the hospital all came spilling out. I cried everyday all day for 3 days. I remember even falling to my knees in the shower one day and crying for an hour straight. I felt so helpless, so defeated, and angry. I prayed so much for God to let me love my child, to help to not feel like a failure. I felt unworthy to even be given such a beautiful baby.
Breastfeeding was a real struggle for me and the thought of failing her as a mother was becoming more overwhelming. I just kept thinking “I can’t even feed her.” I would cry to my husband and he would do the best he could to console me, but let’s be honest, “there, there” was about all he could do.
Overtime, the course of a few weeks, I got to know my new baby and she got to know me. The fear of failing her slowly began to diminish. I learned which position she liked to beheld, and what songs I would sing that would calm her tears. That she loved me regardless. Regardless if she got breastmilk or formula. Regardless, if she was dressed in a cute onesie or just sitting in her diaper. Regardless if I gave birth with an epidural or not. She loved me, and I loved her.
I never ran across any articles sharing how hard it might be to connect with your baby after delivery. Everything I read said I would be immediately enthralled with affection. That my life would drastically change forever. That it would be the best feeling in the world. So when I was met with fear, doubt, and shame I felt even worse. That I wasn’t being a good mom because I didn’t have those feeling right off the bat. I’m grateful that those feelings other moms spoke about did eventually come. I just would’ve felt a little better to know it was okay if they didn’t come right away.
Some moms may have the “head over heels” love experience after they give birth and it may take others of us more time, and THAT’S OKAY! You are not a failure. Your baby loves. Your family loves. I love you. You’re not alone in this battle. We are in it together. It does and will get better. It’s like getting married on a blind date. You’re attached to someone for the rest of your life, but you’re still getting to know them. Those feelings of shame, guilt and fear will slowly fade and you will begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel. It feels good sometimes knowing that all your baby wants is for you to cuddle with them, that no one else will do. You will experience, how special you feel when only your voice or touch will stop their cries, and your kisses will bring a smile.
So be encouraged momma, a rocky road doesn’t mean a failed journey.