Friday, November 28, 2014

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If only I could go back in time, how I wish those moments after labor & delivery with Monkey were different

by Jane · 30 comments

new momAll of a sudden many people around me are about to have their babies.  I’ve heard so much about how excited Andrea is, and how Caroline can’t wait to meet her son right away, and on and on.

I’m so happy for all these expecting friends, but I can’t help but feel just a little sad for myself.  Why?

Because I feel like I missed out on that initial bond & feeling the excitement of meeting my son for the first time.

Don’t get me wrong – I was way ready to have Monkey & meet him & I thought that I had an accurate idea of what to expect of being a mom.  But when my water broke, I cried because I was scared.  Driving to the hospital I tried to keep myself calm & fight back my scared tears that seemed to really want to roll down my face.

My fear of what was about to happen & the big change in my life took precedence over my excitement.  And while I’m sure that’s quite normal, I feel really sad about it.

Sad that I didn’t treasure those initial moments with Monkey because I can never go back and retrieve them.  I wish that I was one of those new moms who were drunk on those first moments with my son.  Like experiencing such a high & a rush of a new love that I’ve never known.

If you remember, I was completely out of it just two hours after Monkey’s arrival into this world.  He spent his first night of life in the nursery & I spent my first hours of being a mom passed out in my hospital bed.  Not exactly the way to do it.  When I woke up that next morning I couldn’t wait for my son to be delivered to me, but I felt overwhelmed.

Overwhelmed at breastfeeding, overwhelmed at the nurses coming in, overwhelmed at my phone ringing, overwhelmed at visitors, overwhelmed that I was responsible for this human being, overwhelmed at changing his diaper, overwhelmed at listening to him crying, and the list goes on.

Obviously those overwhelming moments rose above having any feelings about being a mom.  I waited 9 months to meet my little guy, but I wasn’t exactly enjoying it.  It was all too scary for me.

Obviously I’m there now and I know that I should just be thankful that I’m finally experiencing what I should have felt in the beginning, but I do find my mind drifting to those first few days of Monkey’s life.  And it makes it hard when I’m around expectant moms & they ask me how amazing those first moments with Monkey were.

I kind of lie about it because I don’t want to scare an expectant mom.  I don’t want to take any of the excitement & anticipation away from them.

One of my friends is actually in labor at the hospital right now.  I’m so excited & thrilled for them beyond words, but I just can’t help but wonder why I wasn’t like this when my own son was born.  How I wish that I could go back in time & change my emotions, but I am really hopeful for the future because I think it’ll be so different the next time around.

And really, my little Monkey gets all the love he needs from me right now.  He’s my best friend & has made my life so complete in a way that I never knew could be.  Most importantly, he doesn’t remember his first few hours of life… all he knows is his life now & my abundant love for him that grows each day.  And that’s all that he needs.

You might also want to read:

  1. Pregnancy Labor and Delivery: Pictures, the hospital stories, the nurse, and everything you wanted to know!
  2. Flooded with memories of labor and delivery this early morning
  3. 40 things about what to expect after labor and delivery, childbirth, and coming home that no one told me
  4. 39 weeks pregnant: Aerosmith concert vs. labor and delivery
  5. 38 weeks pregnant: We finally packed the hospital bag for labor and delivery

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{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Val

We can’t make those first moments anything different than what they are, but regardless of how we feel the result of those moments is that we have amazing little people from now on who call us Mommy.

The first time I gave birth I felt incredible euphoria and empowerment and peace. The second time I couldn’t make my arms work, felt foggy and panicked, and wondered why I didn’t love #2 as much as #1. Obviously I DO love #2 as much as #1, but you can’t force feelings when you’ve just lost a bunch of blood and water, have crazy hormones, are exhausted, and there is a new person that you don’t know hanging on your boob.

Point? Don’t should on yourself. No need to feel guilt, though I do understand the feelings over loss over what you wanted to experience. You love your monkey to pieces. Rest in that.

2 Gina

Jane, Please remove the word ‘should’ from your vocabulary. Depression runs thick in my family and I have found that thinking or saying what ‘should’ have been/be is the quickest way to send yourself back to depression. Your experience is yours and its okay the way you experienced it. PS I love following your blog

3 Jenny

I had a similar experience with some of the other moms that commented. My daughter had to spend some time in NICU and so I only got to see her for a minute before they took her away. Not only did I not get to bond with her right after her birth, but everyone was visiting her in the NICU, leaving me alone. I hate to admit it, but I resented her at that moment – not only did she completely change my life, but she was taking attention away from me when I really needed it. Silly, I know. Things went differently with my son, thankfully, and he got to stay with me after his birth. I am happy to say that I was able to get over that resentment, but it was really tough to feel that connection with her at first.

4 Amanda

Wow, NMN, you must be writhing in your own negativity. Yucky.
Anyway, I feel what you’re feeling, Jane. I was due when you were but my daughter was born “late” on Aug. 04. I had a very, very, very hard time bonding with her but now we’re doing much better and it continues to get better. My Mom passed away in June after a long illness. I had post partum depression bad, oh so bad, it was black. My awesome husband helped care for little Biscuit while I repaired. I was even trying to breastfeed through all of it. It took me some time to bond with her but now I adore her. I don’t let myself feel huge amounts of guilt about it anymore.
Now Biscuit gets 80-90% my milk, the rest Neocate formula to give me a break. On top of that she’s been quite colicky. I had to cut out chocolate, caffeine, all dairy, cruciferous veggies, all tomato products, and onions and she has been awesome since I did that. If I slip up we pay for it dearly. Not easy. The colic made it very hard to bond.
You’re not alone in how you feel. I never thought my beginning to motherhood would be tarnished like this but I’m getting through it and I’m a tougher person because of it. I was so tired after delivery I didn’t want to do anything. But we got through it and you will, too. You’ll have a great relationship with your son for sure.

5 Jen @ After The Alter

What great honesty…thank you. I hope to be pregnant soon and although reading about how I COULD feel is scary..its good to know that it does happen and I wouldn’t be alone. I just spoke to my friend who just had a baby adn she expressed how hard it was…again it’s scary…but honesty is best right? (i guess for the most part)

6 Mary

Jane, I want you to know that I too appreciate your honesty. It helps me not feel so out of place and selfish. I am 38 weeks. I have yet to have that big mushy excited feeling that I’m going to have a baby. My husband and I planned the pregnancy, so I totally knew what I was getting into and looked forward to it. But now that I’m here I kinda feel like what’s the big deal. These are not feelings I can talk about to anyone, except my husband. Every woman I know wants me to be all gooey. I lie to them all the time. When someone says “Aren’t you excited?” they don’t actually want to hear the truth. I usually make some quip about being done with pregnancy and ready to pop my little girl out. Every woman can relate to that:) And if another woman I don’t know stops me in public to say “You’re glowing” or ” I loved being pregnant” I’m going to scream. I know there just trying to be nice. But I’m tired of puting on a fake smile and thanking them when I’m really just hoping she will leave me alone.
Anyway, I can’t relate to everyone talking about bonding with their baby because I haven’t felt anything like that yet. Hopefully, the moment I see our baby I will totally understand and be able to relate to all the stories of magically bonding between mom and child. But it really scares me that I won’t and it makes me feel better to know that not every woman forms the instant bond. I will always love my child, but I’m ok if it takes a little while to have the bonding feeling with her.
Sorry this was so long. But I wanted you to know that some of us need to know that there is nothing wrong with not feeling positive about everything all the time. Thanks

7 Julie

Jane,
Try not to compare yourself to others. It is easier said than done, but comparisons cause suffering…I truly believe that.

NMN,
Compassion and empathy are important traits for a mother to have. Actually, compassion/empathy are important human traits. Go cultivate them!

8 Mindykoob

I’m laughing at NMN. B/c as much as this person seems to not like this blog or you Jane, he/she continues to come back to post. so tht says something right there :o )

Jane, I was SO excited to FINALLY meet my guy when the time came. The pregnancy was a surprise which took me some time to get over, bu tmy excitement grew.

But my labor was SOOOOO traumatic and long that when he did in fact arrive, I felt much like yourself. Very overwhelmed (i had a section and couldn’t do anything at first), happy, sad, elated, fearful, etc. And i cried the first two weeks. It was nuts. Obviously I was suffering from the baby blues/PPD too, which didn’t make it easier, but i do understand. I told my husband that I wish i was THRILLED like other moms.

BUT now I am and we’re getting along beautifully and i couldn’t imagine feeling that way now as i’ve gotten past it.

Keep doing the wonderful job that you’re doing as a mommy and wife. These moments now will make up for those you feel you missed out on. :o )

9 Judy from Toronto, Ontario Canada

Hi Jane,

Just like everyone experiences their labour and delivery differently, I think the same can be said about how a new mom adjusts to life after having a baby. I think you’re journey to motherhood was the most courageous and rewarding one I’ve been privilaged to read about. I didn’t have half as much of the PPD you experienced, but went through feeling really sad, confused and overwhelmed to sheer joy and contentment now (3 mo. after). So don’t feel bad about missing out! Those hard times in the beginning made you a stronger and now happier mother to Monkey.

As for NMN, I feel sorry for you. Maybe you’re still struggling with motherhood and feel the need to hurt another person to feel better about yourself? Please keep your negativity to yourself.

10 Sarah @ BecomingSarah.com

NMN – Come on. A child is a huge life change. Whenever there is a big change in another aspect of someone’s life – moving, job change, death, illness, adoption, etc – it takes time for them to adjust and nobody calls that selfish. Parenthood is no different.

Look, Jane, I didn’t have PPD and I adored my first few hours with my baby and I have a stellar support system and was surrounded by enough children to know what to expect, but even I had moments of doubt in the beginning. It’s normal and I think that as long as you get to the point where you are now as soon as you could, you didn’t miss anything. Keep up the honesty!

11 jenn

Appreciate your honesty. I had an unexpected emergent c section and quickly realized all the ideas of how I wanted things to go were off. When they handed him to me in recovery I couldn’t even get my arms figure out how to hold him and I couldn’t even feel my nipples when he tried to feed. I was drugged and just wanted to sleep, but was supposed to take care of a baby!? And have people around?! The first 24 hours were a sleepless haze, and figuring out breastfeeding sucked (sorry for the pun). Only now at 3 months do we really have bf down. It’s ok to wish you had a different experience, but the best advice I had when I was pg is just be ready to throw ideals out the window and don’t get bummed out by everyone else’s stories about their “magic moments”. Ya just gotta take care of the babe :)

12 Chris

I’ve never been to your blog before, just came across it today accidentally, but I have to say I know exactly how you feel… and to be honest, I think sometimes there is a bit of creative re-telling when moms share their stories, especially if it’s 10 or 15 or 20 years down the road, so by the time we hear their version, it’s gotten all glossy and sweet and lovely, but in reality, it was probably weird and frightening and overwhelming for them too. As women, we do our fellow women a disservice when we’re not honest. In a weird way, developing PPD was one of the best things that happened to me because I ended up in a support group of women who were all brutally honest about their feelings, experiences, ups-and-downs. I don’t think I had ever experienced that on a big scale, and I realized how much, as women, we could support one another if we were open instead of competitive. Unfortunately, far too much of motherhood (and womanhood in general) has become some kind of competition, and when our experience doesn’t match up we feel like we’ve missed something, or failed.

Anyway, just wanted to say: loved your honesty. Keep it up. We all need more of it!

13 Tori M.

Jane, I have said this before and I’ll say it again, you are so not alone. I really do think that PPD does some major weird stuff to your brain when you’re not even paying attention. I didn’t feel that way either right away, and I kept mentally kicking myself because I felt like I *should* feel that way. Honestly, it wasn’t until after I was diagnosed with the PPD at 8 weeks post partum, got put on medication, and then let it work for a little bit before I really felt that overwhelming love for and connection to my son. The important thing here is that you’re being honest with yourself and your readers about your experience, and will know kind of what to expect the next time around and be ready for it. Big hugs!

14 cristylo

I cried when my water broke…and they weren’t tears of joy!! Going into an experience so new and unknown is terrifying…and I’ll admit that it clouded my first moments with my son too. I never had that ‘drunk with love’ moment. Not until weeks later at least. You can’t beat yourself up about it. You are where you are because of the path and journey that got you there…and trust me that he needs you more every day…and now you’re able to be there fully to give him everything!

15 Kelly

I don’t think you should hide how your first days went with Monkey. Too many women feel that there’s something wrong with them when they don’t immediately bond with their newborn. I wish more women were honest about their entrance into parenthood, including the not-so-wonderful stuff.

For instance, I never bonded with my daughter when I was pregnant and didn’t really feel like her mother until after the stress of carrying her and trying to breastfeed her passed. I loved her, I wanted the best for her, but I didn’t feel a deep connection to her, namely because I was so scared I’d lose her.

30 months later, she is my best girl, my main squeeze, and I am so lucky to have her in my life. That’s what really matters.

16 Anne

Oh boy I’m about to have a baby myself and I’m already on pins and needles, so I can’t believe how rude people can be. Anyway, ignore them. Please don’t blame yourself for the way you were feeling… When you remember those days, think of how, IN SPITE of your crazy hormones, you were still very there for your little guy, and that’s what makes you an AWESOME mom!! ‘Cause love is most shown when it doesn’t feel very good – that’s sacrificial love.

17 Jessica

Also wanted to share the site I made for Delilah yesterday if you are interested :)

18 Happy Mommy

Honestly, Jane, I felt so much of the way you did when Monkey was born! I was scared to death of my little guy; I don’t think I changed a diaper for the first two days of his life! I always made my husband. I didn’t want to be left alone with him because I had no idea what to do with him. I think I was just thinking about it too hard. My little man is 9.5 months old now, and I’m slowly figuring out that if I just stop analyzing everything and just be in the moment, things go better. I’m pretty sure if we ever had a second child, I would be the same way. Sure I would know how to change a diaper and not be scared of that, but I’d be nervous about having a two children to love equally.

It’s normal to feel the way you felt. And it’s usually more exciting when your friends are having their babies because you know how great having a child will be–once you get the hang of it! :o )

19 Jessica

I havent posted since having my baby september 18. I was induced on my EDD and i have to say waking up the morning before was so overwhelming. i cried for an hour straight all because i knew life would never be the same and i was so scared of being responsible for this life. my labor was awesome! as a first timer my labor was only 4.5 hours and my epidural was great :) i suffered mild ppd and HATED nursing. the process of nursing made me angry, resentful, frustrted and used. at least we were doing it right! i almost quit numerous times but with the help and support from a friend i pulled through and finally at 5 weeks things are looking up. i think peta said it perfectly “your experience is yours and yours only.” you are doing great, all you can do is move forward and know you are being a fantastic mother to little monkey :)

20 Megan R.

Jane – I totally get where you are coming from. I was diagnosed with PPD when my Peanut was about a month old. The PPD blinds you to the experience that you were “expecting” and that we both now have. I feel that it robbed me of enjoying the first month of my daughter’s life. I hate that, but I am so appreciative of where I am now and how much I love having her as my daughter. Life isn’t simple or easy, and we shouldn’t expect the birthing experience or new parenthood to be so! The important thing is learning from our experiences, growing from them, and moving forward. It is great that we have both been able to do that…and so QUICKLY after our little ones arrived. Some people don’t get help for a year…or ever…and just imagine what they “missed out on”. Thank you for your honesty and for continuing to share your journey.

21 Gilz

As a first-time mum its normal to be scared and overwhelmed. You should never wish that your experience could’ve been different. It was still amazing that you laboured a little person into this world…you cannot turn back time but you can enjoy ever second of your precious Monkey now…

…thats the wisdom you receive when you become a mum.

You can tell someone who is not a mum what is going to be like. There are no words for it all…

22 peta

Jane Well said NMN has been nothing but rude and lacks any kind of compassion I would not be suprised if she/he has not even gone though being pregnant and gone through Labor and then have to deal with the changes that a new addition to the family brings, because if they had then they sure would not be so rude..

I must admit that when they put my little girl on my chest I did not cry with joy I think I went into shock..my baby was finally out of me and the pain was gone but it took a little while for me to connect the dots that the baby on my chest was my baby and I was now responsible for the little life… it changes you in an instant and no one woman reacts the same…

Never feel like you missed out on anything because your experience is yours and yours only as will be your friends and you never know they may be feeling similar feelings but feel they can not express them for fear of people like NMN who clearly have no respect and understanding of what a change you are about to go through when you have your first baby.

Shame on you NMN its people like you that make mothers feel like they can not talk about there feelings. We need not to live in fear of what people might think.
Jane talking about her whole experience being pregnant, labour and post pregnancy has normalised so many things for so many people she should be given an award for her honesty in her blogs. Not many people would put them selves out there like Tarzan and Jane have.

PS. sorry for the long post but NMN has really gotten to me.
Also had another dream about you guys last night this time your names were Trish and Steven, Jane you didn’t want me in your house wanted me to leave, Tarzan on the other hand over ruled and let me stay and party with you guys as long as I promised not to give your identities… you were having a big party and did not want me to tell anyone there you were Jane and Tarzan. also Jane I have pics of my little girl on facebook feel free to check them out

23 sarah

this is exactly why i want to birth naturally with midwives in a birthing center or my own home. i want to experience holding and nursing my baby the minute it’s born, and i want myself or my SO to be the one to catch it.

24 Laura

The first days are overwhelming for most people, but it’s one of those things that people don’t talk about (like the not fun parts of breastfeeding, PPD etc). It does get better with your 2nd (or third, fourth, or sixth), but even with this one (he showed up 3 weeks early on 9/18) who was #6 for us, I wish I could have taken more time to enjoy my “alone time” with him before I had to share him with the rest of the kids…

NMN needs to shut his or her pie hole

25 MVP

I can understand looking back and wishing things were different. But please try to see beyond it. There’s not much in labor and delivery that’s in your control. It can be a terrifying experience. I spent months preparing myself (a planner) for the unpredictability of it all. I had to put aside my rigid tendencies and concentrate on being flexible with the whole experience. And nothing was predictable about my experience. I just had to accept that there are some things out of my control. If I were you, I’d focus on the beautiful baby you’ve got now and just take the experience you had with you when/if you have your next child.

26 Heather

My son was in NICU for 19 days, I only held him for a minute after birth. It really made it difficult to bond with him, they kept us from holding him at the beginning and later dictated everything from diaper changes to HOW and when he was to be fed…and I have the same regrets about his early days (except 19 days in our case). However, just like you, we’re so past that now. It is possible to be, well kinda miserable at the beginning and completely thrilled later on…like Shannon said, those post-partum hormones are insane. As for NMN…I have nothing nice to say, she’s obviously an idiot.

27 Jenny

Jane,
I have been following your site for a few months now. Now in my 32nd week, I have looked to your site as a source of honesty and humor about this whole pregnacy/childbirth process. It has been a treat having you a few months ahead of me in this process. My heart broke for you as you fought through PPD, and I cheered for you as I read about you facing it head on and finding your way to the other side. I really appreciate the honesty with which you share your experiences. I’m going to work really hard to remember your words and fight the fear and anxiety of child birth so I can enjoy the first moments with my little girl. I will however – not consider myself selfish or horrible if I too am overwhelmed at the changes going on in my body and my life. I’m sorry that your reward for such a great blog is negative feedback offered by those with dark thoughts and spirits. I guess all that can done is wish light and happiness to those so intent walk in darkness and negativity.
Sorry for the long blurb…I was just overwhelmed with the need to share some friendly feedback.

28 Jane

Oh NMN – Your rude comments never cease to amaze me. I feel bad that you are so negative. And oh how honored I am that you keep showing up on my blog to spread your hate. Have no fear though, you don’t get me down. Instead I laugh at you. Oh, and nothing is my fault in this… My son is the best “surprise” that I could have ever had & even though I dealt w/ PPD, it made me stronger & made the love for my son grow immensely.

And Shannon, thanks :)

29 Shannon

Now that is uncalled for. I don’t think she “wanted her old life” at all. Every first time new mom feels those things. And it IS different when you do the next time around, Jane. You have a better idea what to expect. Postpardum women are a homrmonal emotional mess and for anyone to try to cut you down with a short comment like that is mean. You are trying tolook for the IDEAL right after birth experience, and it rarely happens. Do not beat yourself up over it. You love your son and that is all that matters.

30 NMN

Yeah, well, kind of your own fault. Your selfishness over wanting your old life instead of a baby is your own fault.

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