When I was pregnant with Liam, he being my first everything, first doctor’s visit, first kick, everything was new and thrilling. I remember being so excited to go to Lamaze class because that meant I was coming down the homestretch. It’s funny in hindsight I probably should have been a little nervous or even scared, but I contribute that to the fact that I refused to read the last chapter of “What To Expect When You Are Expecting”—Delivery. Maybe I should have read it. I would not have been so surprised when the doctor told me to lie back down after Liam was born because he had to stitch me up. For the next 2 hours after that I tried to grapple with the idea of what a fourth degree tear was.
During my delivery I had an excruciating migraine to the point where during various times of pushing I had to stop to throw up. The minute Liam was born my wonderful husband began trying to hustle down any nurse that could give me just a little something to eat and something to take for my head. Persistence paid off and I was rewarded with a half a tuna sandwich and two Motrin. With that being said I was still really out of it and my first moments with Liam are a blur at best. I wanted to be happy and I wanted to be excited, but I wasn’t.
I had every intention to breastfeed Liam. I even got a really nice portable pump so when I went back to work I could continue, but Liam would not latch on. The first few days in the hospital nurses and breastfeeding experts came by to help me. Finally, one of them gave me a shield which seemed to help a little but Liam would have to suck so hard to get just a little half the time he would fall asleep only to wake up 1/2 hour later hungry. I was failing miserable in this. I could never produce enough milk for Liam and once we got home each time I finished feeding him I would have to supplement some milk with formula. The one thing I thought was suppose to be second nature I couldn’t even do.
I was so sleep deprived. Because of my inability to properly breastfeed Liam I was on a schedule that he would cry I would feed him, put him down, and then try to pump anything and everything out of for the next feeding, and then collapse back into bed for if I was lucky an hour before the process began all over again. Sleep deprived, failing at breastfeeding, new mother angst, I chalked the fog that I lived in up to it all.
It was a dense fog where I was very numb. Nothing good or bad really affected me. I had no motivation to do anything; clean the house, cook dinner, do laundry, nothing. Liam would cry and I would be unbothered by it. My detachment to everything was unhinging at times to me. I remember pretending at times it was upsetting me when Liam cried because I thought that is what a good mother would do. When I went back to work it never rattled me, to the point that someone said to me they were shocked how well I was “holding it together”. That was when I began calling home to check on him because that’s what a good mother would do.
Everyone around me kept telling me enjoy these moments they go so fast and how wonderful this time was. Those simple comments would send me to tears in the privacy of my car or shower because there was nothing wonderful about what I was feeling.
Liam was born in February and one of my best friends had her son that September. I remember her telling me how she was concerned that she might have postpartum depression because Baby Blues are only suppose to last 10-14 days. That’s when it hit me like a sheet of cold ice. I had read articles regarding postpartum depression, I had seen a movie about in the hospital before I left but it was that simple comment that made me realize this wasn’t normal. I am lucky that it was not severe but nonetheless it was difficult. At that point it was the first time I remember mentioning something to my husband. I remember feeling so helpless and hopeless. How could have such a wonderful thing made me feel this way? I prayed that I would snap out of it and slowly around when Liam turned 11 months the veil of gloom drifted away and I began to feel like me again. However, I felt terribly guilty about what was left behind. I had no memories of my little baby boy. I can’t remember anything about him as a baby. When I see pictures, I know it’s him but the moment seems so foreign to me.
I am trying to let this part of me go. I am trying not to beat myself about it too much. It’s hard though. Guilt sucks and no one wins with it but I tell myself now I have happy, smart, wonderful two year old and to enjoy these moments and let the other ones go.