This past November I became a mom to Cameron James.
Since then, I have asked myself what has motherhood meant for me? Well, something very different than what I expected and anticipated. Something very far from what everyone told me it would be.
So, this is my letter to every mother who might be experiencing any feelings other than happiness now that their baby is here.
To say that I bonded with Cam the second they put him on my chest would be a lie.
To say that I stared at him longingly with tears in my eyes from the overwhelming feeling of love I felt just wouldn’t be true. And I’d be fooling myself to say that I’m writing this as a ‘fixed’ or ‘cured’ mother.
I knew something was wrong when someone asked me if I have ever looked at my baby and cried because of how amazing he was. I replied with yes because isn’t that the way people expect you to feel?
Isn’t that normal?
The truth was that in no way did I love my child right away. I felt no joy about this new life that could ever facilitate happy tears. I started thinking about how my life was now so incredibly different. My freedom, independence, sleep, and precious time were forever changed.
I was mourning the loss of my old life and wondering why the hell I chose to do this.
I would think, “what did I do? How do I go back and change this? I don’t want this.” I started to resent him for taking away my life, my time, my husband.
Seasons of change.
We all go through big life changes: moving away to college, starting a new job, getting married. Over time you can make adjustments to those changes to find some sort of equilibrium. Having a child that is immediately dependent on you compromises the independence that you once had. You can’t make adjustments to that.
They’re born. They’re here. Deal with it.
That realization paralyzed me with sadness.
I just kept thinking…Doesn’t it make sense that I’d feel scared that my life was now forever changed into a life I’d never experienced? It’s now a life filled with sleepless nights because of a screaming baby. It once was a life filled with sleepless nights because I was out having fun.
I fought my new life and I fought it hard.
I couldn’t accept it. That sucked and I wanted out.
I would never have hurt myself, but I thought it would just be easier to die because then these horrible feelings would go away and I could sleep. I would have never hurt my baby, but I thought it would be ok if he disappeared. These thoughts didn’t make it any easier because then I felt guilt on top of sadness.
I wanted to run away.
There was this feeling like I was in a black hole and I couldn’t get out. It was a sad place. I would tell Cam with tears in my eyes that I DID love him. All I needed was to get better and I’d be a better mommy. Watching other people admiring him would fill me with an overwhelming sense of guilt. I wondered if he was thinking, “this is what it feels like to be loved!”
The scariest thing about becoming a mom and enduring these feelings was believing it was just how I felt about motherhood. It was ME who didn’t like it. Everyone said it would get better, but what if it wouldn’t for me?
I never thought that I would experience Postpartum Depression.
Having dealt with similar feelings in the past, I thought I was self aware. I would know what to do, but I didn’t. Two weeks after Cam was born, I asked for help. If you are feeling this way, let me tell you that you are not alone and you should get help too.
Now, everyday is a toss up, but it’s better. I found out that it wasn’t just me, but it IS the craziness that comes with the aftermath of having a baby. Slowly, I am bonding with my baby and I am finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. The joy that people talk about is finally finding me and it will find you too.
You are not alone.
Just know that I wasn’t ok at first and that I struggled. I want you to know that just because motherhood is projected to be this amazing and euphoric time, it’s okay if it’s not. It’s normal if it’s not. It’s okay and it’s normal. You are okay and you are normal.
I wish more women would speak up about their experiences with Postpartum Depression. It would give others some sort of reassurance and hope that it WILL be okay. I don’t want anyone to go through these feelings alone. Just because it isn’t always talked about doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you for feeling it. Talk to someone. Talk to me. There is hope. It isn’t who you are and it isn’t who I am. You will heal and so will I.