The Dark Side of Motherhood

The Dark Side of Motherhood

It took the end of my marriage to realize there was a name to those dark feelings I’d tried to suppress for a long time.

Nothing like sobbing in front of your marriage therapist as she reveals the name of your feelings.

Then it all clicked.

When I sat quietly in front of my ob-gyn after having my four weeks incision check-up post-emergency c-section.

Are you ok? How are you coping?

I still remember the soft tones in his voice. This doctor who helped to bring my son out to the world on that December 7th cold winter day gently asked me.

All I could muster was “Yes…” but looking back, my voice must have shaken a little, trying to cover up how I was feeling. How every night felt like total torture instead of those glowing new motherly tale I’ve heard and read so many times before.

Maybe it was from being forced to be bedridden for four excruciatingly boring weeks after a sudden hospitalization on the 30th week of my pregnancy. Severe preeclampsia was the diagnosis. Strict bed rest. All I did was lay in bed, fearing that I might go into labor at any time if my blood pressure kept spiking.

Maybe it was the fears when what was supposed to be a ‘regular check-up’ (I had to see my doctor once a week during that four weeks) turned into a “You must deliver this baby now or your life is on the line. You can get a stroke at any given time.” Followed by “How’s 5 PM cesarean sound?

Everything felt like it went spiraled down out of control since then.

Almost paralyzed by fears…by the unknown…by dark thoughts that came to mind “I am not ready!” and “This is not how it suppose to be!


I felt cheated by what I thought was a normal birth experience. How my son entered this world was entirely not what I imagined it would be. It is not like what my pregnancy book told me it would be! I felt robbed of what motherhood meant.

There was no contraction…

The only pain was the pain of my freshly put-together incisions.

Pain coming from the hospital’s big loud breast pump machine forcing my milk to come out because one of the nurses told me, “Listen, Mama, you must pump now if you plan to breastfeed your baby or else your body will think your baby died and your milk will never come.

I sat there alone on the hospital bed, pumping alone as my ex-husband was in the NICU – sent by me – to ensure our baby was ok. With the back of the bed turned upright, I pumped and sobbed silently from the pain of trying to get those precious colostrums out and the pain in my heart.

I was angry…

Holding my son in my arms took me three long damn days. Three days!

He was ok but had some problems breathing from being born four weeks early, and he spent a week in the hospital.

I nearly freaked out when the nurse took him to spend our last night in the hospital room with me.

What am I supposed to do?!

I was scared to be left alone with this tiny baby.

I was scared to take him home and thought about how his father would have to return to work soon, leaving me in charge of this tiny human by myself.

Me, who never change a diaper in my whole life before!

There were no families to help me out. My parents and families were on the other side of the world. I relied on my ex-husband too much as I had no one, not even a friend, in that small town of Alabama.

Sleep deprivations, resentments, and my betrayed feelings brew deeply within me. My patience was running thin, but I had to mask it. It spilled over to the ex-husband, who took the wrath of someone who didn’t know what was wrong with her. I blamed him for working the second shift leaving me alone with our baby all day. Failing to communicate with him made things get even worse.

Motherhood is supposed to be all happy and jolly…or so they made it to be.

And when I didn’t experience that, I got even angrier. Bitterness consumed me.
I was angry but couldn’t figure out who or why. How can I be so mad at the wailing baby in the middle of the night and love him deeply at the same time?

It took a kind marriage counselor to give me a name for those dark periods of my life.

Post-Partum Depression

After I was diagnosed with that, I started to google the heck out of PPD, and everything I found mirrored back exactly how I felt in that early year of motherhood.

What I went through was more than a baby blues. It was deeper, darker.

I didn’t know exactly how I got out of that hole.

PPD didn’t break my marriage. My marriage ended because it has to end, and it was the point that forced me to face my demons. To heal from within.

It wasn’t until I went to Joyful Living Retreat last month and met Ina, the villa manager, that we shared our childbirth stories, and something clicked inside me.

The traumatic birth…

Maybe that’s what triggered the PPD. Perhaps that’s why my connection with my son wasn’t as instant as the childbirth shows I watched for months during my pregnancy.

Whatever it was, I realized I could not control how my son made his grand entrance into this world. I can accept what it is, make peace, and be grateful that I have a healthy, happy boy now.

His birth was nearly a decade ago, but writing this brought back waves of emotions. Tears even.

It is important to seek help. Talk to your doctor when he/she asks how you are doing. No need to be ashamed and hide your feelings. They may be able to help point you to the help you need. Childbirth is not always perfect; they don’t always go as planned, which is OK. We have to make peace with it.

If you are a new mother and feel unhappy, angry, upset, frustrated, or depressed, please seek help. There are a lot of resources and support out there today. You just have to take the first step and take off the motherhood perfection image

Motherhood is not about perfection…it is about love. Unconditional love.

Spread the love

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *