Feelings and Thoughts Post-Birth
When my baby was born, I was filled with so much emotion: Awe, happiness, fear and love. After a natural birth, I was kept in the hospital for the standard three days and was taken care of by the kind nurses and doctors. Lactation consultants came to help me with my latch, nurses taught me how to change my baby and offer advice.
When I looked at my baby, I had this strange feeling that he didn’t totally belong to me, as if we were strangers. I asked myself, “is this baby really mine?” I couldn’t believe that I just became a mother, responsible for another human being. However, it didn’t really feel like I was a mother because I was just following the nurses’ advice all the time. I was unsure of everything I was doing.
Not Cut Out To Be A Mother
We came home from the hospital and I felt my hormones go into full swing. I would cry because of a song, a book, a comment, my baby’s yawn, food, everything. I also got physically weak with headaches, shivers and soreness. I experienced a lot of problems breastfeeding and found it extremely painful. I was cracked, bleeding and blistered. Every time I had to breastfeed, which was very often, I shook with fear thinking of the toe-clenching pain I was about to endure. The hormones, fatigue, pain and my incapacity to satisfy my hungry baby brought out a very ugly side in me.
Is This Normal?
As a new mom, “is this normal?” was a question that I asked myself on a daily basis. Was it normal that I didn’t feel like a mother? Some of my new-mom friends congratulated me and frequently asked a seemingly rhetorical question, “Being a mother is the best thing, isn’t it?” Not really, if I was being honest. Was that normal for a new mother to say? I agreed with them because I was embarrassed to say otherwise.
A few days after we brought our baby home, my husband made a comment: “I’m more in love with our baby with every day that passes.” Shouldn’t I be saying things like that? Was I meant to be a mother? Why don’t I feel like a mother yet?
My mother came from Canada to help me. I don’t know what I would have done without her and the support of my husband. She helped me get through breastfeeding, she cooked, cleaned, ironed, brought me tea, rocked my baby to sleep, held him for hours and gave me massages. I feared the day she had to go because I wasn’t ready yet. I wasn’t a mother yet and it made me sad.
Becoming A Mom Doesn’t Happen Overnight
During my late night breastfeeding sessions, I came across a documentary on Netflix called, “First Comes Love”. It is about a woman who decides to get pregnant on her own. Towards the end of her pregnancy she visits a psychologist with her friend/birth partner who gives them a birth class. What this psychologist said saved me. She warned that, we don’t become mothers as soon as our babies are born. Becoming a mom is a learning process that takes time. Once mother and baby start understanding each other, things will get easier.
Finally, Some Progress
When my mother left, I was scared and felt alone. But, a funny thing happened when I got home from the airport: I felt empowered. It was as if my mom’s absence gave me permission to be a mother. This new feeling of empowerment and knowing that becoming a mom took time put me at ease. Sure enough, breastfeeding got easier, I was producing more milk, baby and I were sleeping a little longer at night and we started to understand each other better. I was truly growing more and more in love with my baby. I was becoming a mom.
Now, my baby is six months old and I have so much love for this little human being that it seems impossible that I could have anymore love left to give! I am also thankful that I am a woman and have had the chance to experience a connection this strong and beautiful. Now, I can truly agree with my new-mom friends that being a mom is really the best thing.