Posted by: Modern Mom | June 25, 2014

Baby Blues Part 1: Bringing Home Baby

This is part of a series that began here.

I was amazed at the way my body responded when I went into labor. My mental state completely shifted. Irrational was no longer present (but it would come back full force in the final phase of labor). I was suddenly a little more calm. I do remember being afraid to go to the hospital. “If I go to the hospital, this thing is going to have to come out somehow.” OK, so maybe irrational was still present, just not as prominent. None of the research I did was going to be of any help now.

Skipping the gory details, the labor went well and the baby eventually came out. Much to my relief and amazement.

I was a little surprised to see a boy. I had been convinced that I was having a girl. Well, up until that last month. Only a boy would sit on my pelvis for a month. I was really hoping for a girl. Longing for one, in fact. I pictured the relationship we would have. The cute dresses I would buy. Pink. Lots of pink. But that oxytocin kicked in and made me see what I needed to see, a beautiful baby. And all was well. I fell in love.

Unfortunately the oxytocin doesn’t last for long. The part I didn’t read in any books, or on the internet, was about to hit me. Hard. Postpartum depression. It’s a serious condition that is seldom properly diagnosed. I’m guessing it’s because we put so much expectation on women in our society. Supermom is supposed to bring home the bacon, fry it up, decorate her house Pinterest style and keep it spotless, keep her husband happy and interested, balance the budget, play taxi, shuffle schedules, run the PTA, and all while holding the baby, looking like Donna Reed, and keeping a smile on her face.

We’re all trying to be our version of Supermom. And I was no exception. I was trying to hold it together on the outside while feeling completely out of control on the inside. There was so much to learn. I didn’t have a clue what to do with a baby. I should have spent more time researching that instead of pregnancy and childbirth. Thank God for motherhood instincts. Otherwise, I’m not so sure that baby would have survived me.

When we brought our son home, our house was under construction – while we were living in it. We had cut the roof off and added a second story just one month before he was born. Brilliant. It was in the dry, but no drywall yet. I had no nursery, which I didn’t think would be a problem, until I needed to try to nurse a baby while drywallers were tromping through my house at all hours.

My mother, bless her, would do her best to protect my modesty as I sat in the only available clean space of the house, the living room, and tried to nurse this new baby while strange men came in and out all day. If it was now, after I’ve done it twice already, I’d just hang the girls out in front of God and everyone and get done what needed to get done. But it was new to me. New to baby. And I was having terrible anxiety about it.

Nursing was not easy. It wasn’t natural feeling to me. I didn’t feel like the instincts had taken over there. And my son wasn’t cooperating like I thought he would. I had pictured this amazing, beautiful nursing experience where mom and baby come together and naturally know what to do and how to do it. I didn’t think there would be any learning curve. Boy was I wrong.

Everything started going south. Neither of us was getting it and it was a real pain in the boob. Other mamas who’ve been there know, there is nothing so painful as trying to nurse a baby off of cracked, bleeding boobs from not having a good latch. It didn’t matter what I did. And he was constantly popping off, screaming, presumably at me for not getting it right. I couldn’t nurse him without crying. Both in pain and terrible frustration.

The anxiety was eating at me. WHY was I not getting this? What was I doing wrong? I must be a terrible mother. I can’t even feed my own child. And worse, I don’t like him much. How horrible am I? I can’t even seem to fall in love with this child because he’s causing me pain, and seems to hate me.

Then there was the dust from the drywall. That was what pushed my anxiety to a breaking point. I had to get out. I packed everything under the sun that I thought I might need, and went to my mom’s hotel room and checked in with her. I stayed for a week, until the drywall was done and cleaned up.

I had a follow up appointment at the hospital to check on us and finally found out what I was doing wrong (at least as far as nursing goes). I was able to eventually correct the situation and find some relief for my aching boobs. The first stumbling block was over. However, I didn’t tell them about what was going on with me emotionally. I was embarrassed. I didn’t want to look like I couldn’t do this. If I did admit my troubles, what would happen? Would they declare me unfit? Would my picture end up on the “Wall of Shame” of mothers who didn’t get it? I was raw. I wasn’t thinking straight. And it was just the beginning.

 

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Responses

  1. […] Find Part 1 of Baby Blues here. […]

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