Someone anonymous and and very brave bared their soul for you guys. Send her virtual hugs and shit. She needs them.
Here it is:
My post-partum depression started when I was 2 cm dilated. To say that I had a traumatic birth experience would be to utter a great understatement. I will spare you the gory details of my “birth story”, but here are the finer points:
I was induced because of high blood pressure, turned out I had pre-eclampsia. My labour was 38 hours. 38. Thirty fucking eight. Started Thursday night, ended Saturday morning. The sun kept going down and coming up and I felt like “what the fuck is going on here, someone cut this god-damned baby out of me!!!!”.
I took an epidural, but it didn’t work. They cranked up my drugs to way past what they’d use for a C-section. No dice. They added extra painkillers to the epidural, painkillers so strong the nurses aren’t allowed to administer them, an anesthesiologist has to do it. Still no dice. The anesthesiologist was very sorry, but there was nothing more he could do.
My mood sank like a stone. I kept telling people I was feeling depressed. I told them it was a really bad thing for me to get depressed during the birth because I’m at very high risk of post-partum depression (for all sorts of super awesome reasons), and being depressed during the birth more or less turns that risk into a certainty.
I had this shit in my birth plan. My psychiatrist’s cell number and everything.
An o.b. told me the baby was fine, and I should just focus on the present and worry about post-partum when I was post-partum.
Easy for you to say, bitch! You’re not going to be there when I’m crying my fucking eyes out on the bathroom floor ruing the day I thought that hey, maybe I should give having a kid a shot!
A kind and helpful nurse came to have a talk with me. She said she was going to let me in on something no one else would tell me. “There’s no motherhood without pain. And you have to learn to distinguish between pain and sensation.”
Thanks psycho hell creature! A) How is it some big secret that having a baby hurts? I was sort of in on that secret already. B) I was definitely having sensation. The sensation of being torn in two by my insides! But thanks for that…
I pushed for two hours. I was totally emotionally depleted. I had nothing left to give to this labour. I begged them to help me get the baby out. But of course they couldn’t. When he finally came out, all I remember is noticing that his ears were hairy. I thought that was funny and cute. But then the feeling of him lying across my neck with his back to me while they delivered the placenta (ouch), massaged my uterus (double ouch) and stitched me up (my god how can it still hurt???). I kept squeezing my son out of pain, not realizing what I was doing.
After the birth, I was sick. I was very sick. On and off for a month. I had three surgeries and was in and out of the hospital four times. Five if you count that time we went to the emergency room but didn’t stay the night… I was discharged for the last time on Mother’s Day (thanks a fucking lot universe). I saw my son very, very little during his first month, and when I did see him, I was in pain.
My recovery from all the surgery took a few weeks, during which time I could not hold my son. I was happy to have a reason to let other people deal with him. I hated being around him. I hated his needs and his crying and his very presence in my life. I would look at planes flying overhead and think “PLEASE!!! TAKE ME THE FUCK WITH YOU!!!” I thought a lot about putting him up for adoption. My husband and I joked about selling him on the internet. E-baby, we called it.
Predictably, I got super fucking depressed. I was constantly overwhelmed by regret. I resented him for taking my attention and energy and health. It was hell. I was completely spent, mentally and physically, and badly needed to focus on myself. But there was this baby there always needing so fucking much.
The long and the short of it is that I’ve never really bonded with my son, not in any big-surge-of-love-you’re-the-best-thing-that-I’ve-ever-done-I-would-go-to-the-ends-of-the-earth-for-you type way. I like him more and resent him less. I want good things for him and for him to be taken care of and loved and have all that unicorns and rainbows and puppy dogs shit.
Now he’s in daycare (I love daycare). I’ve gone back to work (I’ve never worked so hard). I love having things that give me lots and lots of time away from him, particularly time where I know he is happy and taken care of, which is pretty much all the time.
And the thing is, I’m much happier when he’s not around. I wish that it weren’t true, but it is. I wouldn’t be happy if I didn’t think he were in a good place, but as long as he’s ok, I’m happiest when he’s ok with someone else.
Now the depression is back. I feel guilty all the time because I still haven’t bonded with my son. I keep waiting for it to happen, while watching my husband become a wonderful and loving father. I am so glad for my son that he has a father who loves and cares for him. I am so sad for him that he has a mother who doesn’t.
I know that if my own mother, who’s been dead for 15 years and whom I miss every fucking day, had felt about me the way I feel about him, I would be devastated. I want more than anything to feel like a normal mother, a mother who loves her child fiercely and unconditionally.
But I just don’t know how to become that mom. I am scared that I never will and that my son will grow up feeling unloved. I am so keenly aware of how much a mother’s love matters. I want to give it to my son. But I just don’t feel it. It really fucking sucks.
I want to find some nice way to end this post, something life affirming or hopeful or some shit like that. But I think the honest way is to just cut it off. It’s awkward, and that’s how I feel: awkward and cut off.
If you share this post, I will buy you a pony.
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