Like many women, I had a traumatic birth. By the time our baby arrived into this world I felt frazzled to say the least! Once I saw our baby though, it all melted into oblivion. Now as the months slip by it has become irrelevant in the greater scheme of things.
One thing I hadn’t bargained for when my son was born, was to be unable to breast feed. My midwife had warned me that, I may be at risk from being unable to, but I have to admit I had brushed this notion aside and was positive that myself and my baby would figure it out. I hadn’t even brought a single bottle, so strong was my belief.
In the hospital I felt thoroughly devastated. My efforts to get my son to latch on were unsuccessful. We tried and tried and then tried some more – but nothing. The pain was excruciating, not only could my son not latch on, but at that point I was producing nothing. I believe it must have been from the stressful birth. I felt thoroughly unhinged and believed that even before our son was out of the hospital I had already failed him as a mother. Unable to provide him with the very basic essentials on which he needed for his survival. I can still remember watching as my husband attempted to feed him sugar-water from a dropper ! With assistance from one of the nurses – how thoroughly dreadful for a new mom.
As the day went on, I did begin to produce a tiny amount of colostrum, which I carefully fed to my baby. The amount wasn’t significant enough to satisfy him, so I had to also begin to feed him formula. When I saw those tiny bottles I felt a whole range of emotions. Firstly OMG I can’t believe I am feeding our new baby formula, but also I felt an immense gratification. There is a means by which to feed our baby ! One that we would not have had hundreds of years a go. So there at that very moment, my relationship with formula began……….
Towards the end of my pregnancy I found myself wishing the days away my restless legs and lack of sleep had driven me to distraction, it’s time I thought to myself let’s get the show on the road!
What I hadn’t bargained for after the birth of my son was the overwhelming sense of separation anxiety I experienced. Suddenly my son was no longer protected and tucked away from harms reach inside my womb, but let out into the world – and so it begins I remember thinking to myself. For the first time in my life I actually had an understanding of what it must have truly felt like for my own mom.
When we returned home all I had wanted to do was nest, again the feeling was so overwhelming it surprised me. I had never imagined it would be like that. In hindsight I believe what I was feeling was truly instinctual,it seemed to come somewhere deep inside of me. I remember thinking to myself how wonderful , that millions upon millions of women from all walks of life and spanning all the historical eras may have experienced emotions just like these. I found great comfort in this thought and it made me feel very connected to other moms. Once I had figured this out, it seemed to create space for me and my baby to truly be in the moment and fully embrace these feelings. My son was born in the winter and so for three months we literally hunkered down and nested, going out very little and enjoying every moment, even the fretful ones!
I find it amazing that there is such an abundance if information out there on how to care for your child, but very little on the emotions that are associated with having a child. We as a society seemed to be obsessed with knowing everything down to the last detail. Very few people talk about using your instinct and following your heart, yet as human beings these instincts come from the very foundations on which we are created or built-whatever your view.
I truly hope that women are lucky enough to recognize the new emotions they feel after giving birth, and to fully embrace them so that they can enjoy every moment.