Can you imagine going through 9 months of anticipating the arrival of your baby, the months of shopping for clothes and imagining what they are going to look like,decorating the room with personal touches, daily going through different names in your head, imagining how content you’re going to feel when the new addition arrives, like a real family, the family you have always wanted….and then labour begins – hours of pain, agony, tears maybe even complications…and finally that moment arrives where the midwife hands you the baby, your baby, the moment you have maybe even dreamed of since you were a little girl….and you hold your new baby and you wait….and you wait some more…waiting for that rush of love…. that explosion of joy and emotional connection, the fairy tale ending….but you feel nothing. Infact, you feel more than nothing, you feel the emptiness of nothing. That massive deep dark void and you think- What is wrong with me?
And everyone is rushing around telling you how beautiful your baby is and how well you have done and you are listening-but its not going in. Its like the words are hitting the sides and bouncing off. Its like suddenly you become this hollow shell and the world is moving so quickly around you and all you can do is sit in the deep, dark, emptiness of your hollow shell and go completely into yourself.
And the baby is crying and you are looking at this stranger relying on you so it survives and feels love but you feel hopeless.
And then people start to question your behaviour, question why you seem so detached and they ask do you not love your baby?? and you’re scared to answer, so you lie! you lie incase you are told you are a bad mother, incase someone deems you as unfit and sections you and decides to take the baby away…but then you question would it be so bad if the baby was taken away? maybe then someone could love it the way it deserves to be loved….and the loudest thought in your head is screaming WHY DON’T I LOVE MY BABY! over and over and over.
And then everything else is consumed by the grief you feel inside you. The grief of losing yourself, of losing your sanity of losing your love for your baby and you get mad and lash out…the house becomes a mess and your love life is down the pan, you stop taking pride in your appearance and getting up in the morning is becoming harder.
You find yourself crying alot and fearing the next time you have to interact with your baby. Aniexty takes a hold and you struggle to eat, feeling sick everytime you do. Your stomach is constantley upset and you start to feel physically poorly every day.
And friends want to come round and see you! texting upbeat messages asking how you are doing? hows the baby? bet you are so happy! and you reply:
“We are Fine! Yes, He/she is perfect, so inlove”
and your mind is shouting;
and you are crying inside screaming
And it gets to breaking point when you are around family or people who know you well and they suddenly stop and ask, What’s wrong, is everything Ok, you don’t seem yourself anymore?
And you can’t hold it in any longer! You start shaking and your lip starts to quiver, and it suddenly comes pouring out and you are consumed with shame and guilt,feeling dirty and more than anything like a terrible mother.
And opening up feels like this weight is being released, and all the shame is tumbling away and every bit of hurt for that moment is…Okay.
And then you are told,
Its okay. You are normal. You’re not a bad mother.
You are NOT a bad mother!!
So you seek help & the doctor puts a label on it and suddenly there is a name to this thing and it makes sense….and you are told how to cope,how to deal with the little things…and day by day it gets better, slowly bits of you start to come back and you catch yourself laughing and think- Wow, that wasn’t even forced! and then suddenley you stop analysing every feeling, every reaction,every emotion and then one day you are just you again…but this time a mother…who loves their child very deeply and its not forced. Its real. Real love. You weren’t crazy, just unwell and thats okay. Again everything is Okay.
PND can feel like this.
It consumes you with Guilt and shame, it turns you into a hollow shell. I felt like this way for about, truthfully, 3 years.
It was a process to feel normal again.
I can honestly say how much I LOVE my son now, we have a very close relationship and i still feel guilty at times for not feeling that rush of love for him straight away.
But you are not a bad mum for feeling this way.
The transition of being a girl to then a Mum is massive and not to be taken lightly. Sometimes the hormones and brain chemicals can cause all sorts of confusion and can cause this adverse feeling/reaction/disconnect towards your baby. Putting those two factors together can be a cocktail that creates PND ( Post Natal Depression) and the shame of not being open about how you’re feeling can be disastrous.
Always seek help for low mood after a baby, always! you don’t need to suffer as long as i did! Its okay not to be okay! Never feel ashamed for not feeling that rush of love, it doesn’t make you a bad mum!
But more than anything it is important to note that whatever you maybe going through, how ever you maybe feeling, YOU WILL GET BETTER!!
You don’t have to suffer alone.
Don’t hold it in.
ITS OKAY NOT TO BE OKAY.
YOU ARE NOT A BAD MUM.