My first days, even weeks, of being a new mom are a blur to me. And not a good blur. Not like you are on a roller coaster, and love roller coasters. Like you are on a roller coaster and are freakin scared to death of roller coasters and what the hell have I done and can someone please make this stop! Yes, that pretty much sums it up those early days for me. A healthy dose of fear mixed in with an equal amount of regret.
It wasn’t like “they” sold it to me (whoever they are). It wasn’t rainbows and butterflies and the best thing ever. It was pain, and exhaustion and raging hormones. I didn’t instantly bond with the creature I had expelled. I mean, yes I would have laid down my life for her at any time, that primal protective instinct was in tact. But that “oh wow you are mine and you are perfect and this is awesome” thing, yeah not so much. Being a first time mom was freaking hard. And I’m not talking about the parenting stuff. The feeding, diapering, blah blah blah stuff – yes it’s work but that’s not the hard part.
First, there’s the loneliness. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so utterly alone as I did when I was at home with my newborn. I felt completely isolated from the rest of the world. I missed my job. I was resentful of the fact that my husband went to work every bloody day. I was stuck in the house with this baby all day long. I tried to get out as much as I could but I had quite a few stitches so my movement was limited. I also had a screamer so going out with her was often more stressful than it was worth. It was as lonely as hell.
And man did I miss my old life. I missed the freedom. I missed putting on nice clothes, and doing my hair and leaving the house. I missed feeling like me. All I felt like was a mom. I completely lost my identity. And people don’t help with that. People, who are not your children, start calling you mom. How’s mom doing today? Oh are you giving mom a hard time? Sigh.
And then there’s the guilt. Mom guilt is huge. We are good at dishing it out (at least my mother is) and man can we pile it on ourselves. I felt guilty about all of the things. Guilty that I missed my old life. Guilty that being a mom didn’t feel like enough. Guilty that I didn’t immediately look at my daughter and feel the strike of cupid’s arrow. So much guilt. What the hell was wrong with me?
The truth is there was nothing wrong with me. Not one single thing. I know that now. But I didn’t know it then. Because we don’t talk about this enough! We are starting to get better at talking about full on PPD (not great but better) but before I became a mother, and when I was a new mom, nobody I knew talked about that place that wasn’t quite PPD but still pretty damn dark at times. And that sucks. Moms we need to talk about this! We really do. I’m in a Facebook group, it’s not a parenting group but there are parents in it. Some experienced and some brand spanking new. And when one of those moms has the courage to post about how hard this is, that she wasn’t prepared for all the feelings, I am so grateful for her that there are other moms ready to say “Oh I know exactly how it feels. It is the hardest thing ever. You feel like you are losing you mind. This is normal.” I so wish someone had been there for me to say those words.
So I am here, right now, to say them to you. I mean I don’t know how your experience will be. For some mothers maybe all this stuff does come naturally and maybe they don’t deal with all of the anxiety, fear, regret, etc. Or maybe they are just hiding it. But just know, that if you do feel all the things. You are not alone. You are not doing it wrong. You are not the first mother to feel that way. You will fall hopelessly in love with your baby. You will gain confidence as a mother. It will get better. I promise.