You hear over and over again that when you first hold your baby you will experience a love that no one can explain to you. You may also be told by a growing group of women that having an epidural can block the hormones you need to fully enjoy that bonding moment. When I first held my baby my first thought was “That is NOT MY BABY.” That’s right I had just spent 7 hours
feeling like I was ACTUALLY being ripped apart from the inside out, only to hold this ‘bundle of joy’ and not recognize her. My next thought was, “WHAT ON EARTH WERE YOU HIPPIES THINKING? NO DRUGS? I AM NOW SCARRED FOR LIFE BY THE PAIN I JUST FELT AND I DO NOT FEEL ANY OF THE EUPHORIA YOU PROMISED ME!” When I was done cursing all of the feminists of the world, I felt guilt and shame. I did not love this little baby girl. I was the worst mother in the history of the whole world.
It pretty much went down hill from there. As soon as she was home I wanted to give her back. The first week I only knew night from day because she screamed ALL NIGHT and napped during the day. After a week she switched those two around. You might think that helped, but it did not. You see at night Daddy was home. Daddy experienced a happy, sleepy, wonderful child. Mommy experienced a screaming terror. I read a book that said if I just lay her down and let her cry she would fall asleep after 10-15 minutes. LIES. I read that if I fed her on a schedule I wouldn’t feel any post partem depression. LIES. I knew so many babies whose mom’s went with a parent-led approach, and it worked every single time. How was I the only mom who couldn’t make this work? Another check to the worst mom in the world column. I started to break down and try a little bit more of the demand feeding, sleep in my arms approach and that didn’t work either. It seemed my parenting philosophy was not the problem, I was.
I started to resent Emma Grace. I resented that she wouldn’t nap but slept for Daddy. I resented that she was colicky. I resented that I couldn’t leave her for more than an hour because I had to nurse her. I resented that even though it wasn’t supposed to, breast feeding hurt. I resented every single time someone looked at her and said ‘oh I miss that stage’. Most of all I resented how much Shane loved her. Shane was (is!) the love of my life and now this child, who was making my life miserable, was stealing him.
I cried all the time. All new moms do. Most will tell you it’s the combination of hormones, no sleep, being overwhelmed, and loving the baby so much. That is probably true for those moms. That isn’t why I cried. I cried because I was the worst mom in the world. I cried because I resented my baby and it wasn’t supposed to be like that. I cried because I felt like I was drowning. I was weighed down by an anchor and no one knew, so no one was coming to save me.
One day Shane came home to both of us crying (Emma Grace and myself) and told me I should go take a break. I immediately got in the car and headed to Starbucks. While I sat in the car at a light a thought crossed my mind… What if I just keep driving? How far could I get? When would he cancel my credit cards? Would he send the police after me? I sat at the light as it turned green and considered, for just one moment, leaving.
I didn’t. I got my starbucks. I cried in my car. I went home. I did the thing I feared the most; I told Shane everything. He was wonderful. He said God gave us this little girl in HIS perfect timing. He assured me that he loved me more than ever. He told me that it was ok if I wasn’t the perfect mom because God is the perfect Father. Shane told me that God would continue to love and care for Emma Grace and me no matter how I felt.
It didn’t change overnight, but that was a turning point. I can’t tell you when I started to delight in my baby girl. I can’t tell you the first time I felt I loved her so much I could burst. I can’t tell you when I stopped fearing I would never love Emma Grace, and started to fear never being able to love a second child the same. But by the grace of our amazing heavenly father, all those things are true now.
I swore that when I met other mom’s with newborns I would never say ‘enjoy it’. I would never say ‘I miss it’. I would tell them the truth. If you are loving it then I am so happy for you. If you aren’t loving every moment, please know IT GETS BETTER! What I want every mother of a newborn to hear is that if you don’t feel everything you thought you would and more, you are not the only one. It doesn’t mean you are a bad mom. What I want every mother to know more than anything is that you are never alone. Whether you are a single mom, a depressed mom, a mom who hasn’t showered in a week or a mom who is out in public when you realize there is still spit up in your hair YOU ARE NOT ALONE. There are thousands of other moms who feel the same way even if they aren’t talking about it. More importantly, God is with you. He loves your baby and you more than you could ever imagine. Jesus’ blood already covered every short coming you ever had and will ever have as a mother. Cling to Him and every time you feel like the worst mom in the world, and remember that even if you are (which you are probably are not) it is ok. God is the best Father in the UNIVERSE and He will never leave you. When you know that is true, you realize that it is already better.