Do you all remember when you were pregnant with your first baby? All the fairy tales you had in your mind about how perfect everything was going to be. How birth is going to be this magical thing, that everyone tells you about, when your precious baby comes into this world you will be overwhelmed with this love and affection. You all hear about the mothers that instinctively know how to hold their tiny newborns bobble head and have so much confidence when it comes to nursing. They don’t stay up worrying for a straight 48 hours that something is wrong, or could go wrong with their baby. They have this sense of calm come over them called “maternal instinct.” So many moms told me about this instant connection I would feel and it would be the best feeling of my life. They told me I would never forget that first moment that I lay eyes on my daughter and fall madly in love….
They were wrong…
After having Finley I just sat there and waited. I waited for that instant love. I waited for that strong connection to knock the wind out of me. I waited for the “maternal bond” to make itself known to me. I laid there listening to her cries and I waited…..
When they put her in my arms I cried…but I wasn’t crying for joy like the room of nurses and family members thought I was…I was crying because that feeling didn’t come….it hadn’t come, and I felt broken. Here was this baby who was absolutely breathtaking with long gorgeous dark curly hair, big round eyes, a perfect round head, the cutest little nose I had ever seen….and I felt nothing but panic. I took one look at my husband and could instantly tell he was madly in love with her. My mother, grandmother and mother in law were also in the room and they were completely taken with this beautiful baby as well. So what was wrong with me?
That first night in the hospital I was so vacant. I went through all the motions of getting her to latch, smiling for pictures, acting in love with her…but inside I was numb. I was afraid of her, afraid of this tiny little 7 pound girl. I was afraid to hold her, touch her, love her, and bond with her. I was convinced that something was going to happen to her and I didn’t want to get attached to her.
What is wrong with me?
I knew pretty early on that something was wrong. I did not change one diaper while in the hospital, I never changed her clothes…my husband did everything. He was so amazing and looking back at that time now, I have no idea how I would have survived without him and my mother for never judging me. They never once made me feel like a bad mother for the things I would say, or not wanting to hold my own baby. They would try and comfort me as much as they could…but nothing helped. I would cry all day and all night. I wouldn’t sleep for fear of something happening to my baby while I was asleep. I was terrified of SIDS and I just knew it was going to happen any minute.
This went on for a few months before I said anything to my doctor about it. I got the normal answer that it was just my hormones and a case of the “baby blues” and it would pass…but it didn’t…it kept going on and no matter what I would do it got worse. I continued to go through the motions of taking care of Finley. I was a stay at home mom, so the responsibility of a lot fell on my shoulders. My poor husband had to go to work every day worried about his wife and how she would be that day. I never had harmful thoughts towards my daughter and I assume that is why my doctor wasn’t worried at first. When I went for Finley’s 6 month check up our family doctor could tell that I still wasn’t better. I cried so hard in that exam room that day and told her everything I was feeling. I laid it all out there and feared she would think I was a monster and a horrible mother….but she didn’t! She held me and told me I was going to be okay and that I had Postpartum Depression….
To Be Continued….
More about after the diagnosis and what I learned from it next!