It took the end of my marriage to realized there was a name to those dark feelings I’ve tried to suppress for a long time.
Nothing like sobbing in front of your marriage therapist as she revealed the name of your feelings.
Then it all clicked.
When I sat quietly in front of my ob-gyn after having my 4 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 really 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 4 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 laid in bed with fears that I might go into labor at any time if my blood pressure keeps spiking up.
Maybe it was the fears when what supposed to be a ‘regular check-up’ (I had to go see my doctor once a week during that 4 weeks period) turned into a “You must deliver this baby now or your life is on the line. You can get a stroke at any given times.” Followed by “How’s 5 PM cesarean sounds?”
Everything felt like it went spiral 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 supposed to be a normal birth experience. How my son enters this world was completely not what I imagined it would be. It is not like what my pregnancy book told me it was going to! I felt robbed out of what motherhood really meant.
There was no contraction…
The only pain was the pain of my freshly put together incisions.
Pain coming from the hospital 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 make sure our baby was ok. With the back of the bed turned upright, I pumped and I sobbed silently both from the pain of trying to get those precious colostrums out and the pain in my heart.
I was angry…
It took me 3 long damn days to be able to hold my son in my arms. 3 days!
He was ok but had some problems breathing from being born 4 weeks early and he spent a week in the hospital.
When the nurse took him to spent our last night in the hospital rooming with me I nearly freak out.
What am I suppose to do?!
I was scared to be left alone with this tiny baby.
I was scared to take him home and thinking about how his father will 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 a little too much as I had no one, not even a friend in that small town of Alabama.
Sleep deprivations, resentments, 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 is 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 got even worse.
Motherhood 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 angry at the wailing baby in the middle of the night and love him deeply at the same time?
It took that kind marriage counselor of mine to gave me a name for those dark periods of my life.
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 I got to meet 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. Maybe that’s why my connection with my son wasn’t as instant as that childbirth shows I was watching for months during my pregnancy.
Whatever it is I realized I cannot control how my son made his grand entrance into this world. What I can do is accept what is and make peace and be grateful that I have a healthy happy boy now.
His birth is 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 you 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 and that is OK. We have to make peace with it.
If you are a new mother and you feel unhappy, angry, upset, frustrated, depressed please do 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.