When you’re pregnant, you think about the future and get excited about all the wonderful things that will come with having your baby. You’ll get to snuggle them. You’ll get to dress them in all kinds of adorable clothes. You’ll finally be able to have a beer again (if you drink). You’ll be able to see your feet. You’ll get to watch cartoons without judgement. However, there are some tough times ahead, too, and we don’t always think about them. In fact, there have been plenty of times in my postpartum life when I questioned motherhood entirely.
Of course, I didn’t have a typical or easy labor and delivery. I attempted a home birth with my son, but eventually decided to head to the hospital when it appeared he was, well, “stuck.” I tore pretty badly while giving birth, and when it was all said and done my son was rushed to the NICU with persistent pulmonary hypertension. Basically, all the wonderful, calming ideas I had about my first days of motherhood went out the window. Everything was heavy and intense and scary, leaving me to question why I even bothered to have a baby in the first place. Eventually, though, things settled down. My son got better and he came home with me, and after a long (long) time, I recovered from my birth injuries, though my birth trauma is still something I am dealing with.
Regardless, I’m happy to be a mom now, but if you’ve just started your own journey, fret not. Even if it seems totally impossible right now, it will probably get much better and much more rewarding. And if you need to feel some form of solidarity while you struggle, read about all the things that made me question having a baby in the first place.
When I Was Getting Stitched Up After My Birth Injuries
Giving birth is painful. Your brain kind of blocks out a lot of that pain and focuses on the awesome baby that you’re about to hold once it's all over, though. However, when you realize your perineum is suddenly being stitched up? Yeah, you realize what your body has just been through.
They gave me all the local anesthetic, plus morphine, to try and numb me and I could still feel it. Eventually, they put me under completely, and I was thankful for that.
When My Anxiety Told Me I Shouldn’t Be A Mother
I was the queen of intrusive thoughts for the first few months after I gave birth. It was incredibly hard dealing with my mental health, especially since my son was sick. I knew it was just my mind playing tricks on me, but that anxiety and depression sure had a strong hold on me and definitely had me wondering why I tried to have a baby in the first place.
When People Made Me Feel Guilty For Attempting A Home Birth
My home birth was something of a last minute decision. In a nutshell, I’d lost a previous baby in a hospital birth where I never got to hold her in life. Some trusted individuals told me I could try for a home birth once I was cleared of preterm labor danger. I went for it, and it didn’t work, and lots of people tried to give me flack for it, as though I caused my son to be born sick. I basically wanted to crawl into a hole and die and give my baby to someone else. Instead, I stuck it out.
When I Saw My Son In The NICU And Couldn’t Help Him
It was bad enough being guilted by others. Seeing my son struggling for his life was more than I could bear. Any confidence I had as a mom was shot for a long while as he recovered.
When The Sleep Deprivation Was Getting The Best Of Me
Sleep deprivation is a reality for all new parents. It seems to make everything difficult and it makes you want to ignore your baby and hide in a closet and snooze for days. Believe me, I’ve been there, so it's totally OK and normal to have these thoughts.
When I Could Swear I Was Hearing Things
In those early weeks, or even months, you’ll probably hear what they call “phantom cries.” Maybe it’s because of the aforementioned sleep deprivation, who knows. Either way, it makes you feel like you’re going batty and you’ll begin to wonder why you’re putting yourself through any of this.
When I Couldn’t Sit Comfortably (For Months)
So, I mentioned I had some pretty awful vaginal tearing from childbirth, yes? It was so bad that I literally could not sit comfortably for nearly a year after I brought my son into the world. It didn’t matter how soft the chair was or which position I attempted to sit in, all of it was pure torture. So, yes, this made me often feel like motherhood was so not worth it. Luckily, I’m OK now.
Every Time I Went To Use The Restroom
I’m mostly talking about the first postpartum month or so. Going to the bathroom was such a pain, on a number of levels. For one, it could be uncomfortable and occasionally painful thanks to all the stitches I’d received. It also just took forever between using the peri-bottle and changing pads and spraying Dermoplast all over the damn place. I really wanted to call it quits.
When I Couldn’t Breastfeed No Matter How Hard I Tried
When I Wondered If My Partner Would Really Be There For Me Through It All
My partner and I had some difficulties when our son was born. He was busy having to work while I would spend 24-48 hours in the NICU at a time. It often caused me to resent my husband, and we didn’t always see eye to eye on things, and it made me question why I became a mom in the first place.
When Sex Was Basically Impossible For Nearly A Year
You think sitting was bad with my birth injuries? Sex was impossible for months after giving birth. After a year, it was still fairly tender and things needed to move incredibly slowly. As someone who used to absolutely love sex, it really made this whole motherhood thing seem like kind of a raw deal.
Every Time I Thought About Running As Far Away As Possible
I thought about running away a lot in those first few months. I could picture the entire scenario in my head. I’d pack all I could up into an overnight bag, get in my car, and drive north and never look back. Maybe, perhaps eventually, I’d send a card or something to let my husband and son know I was OK, but I wouldn’t come back. Sometimes I indulged the idea and other times I felt guilty. In the end, I didn’t leave. Instead, I opted to take the occasional trip away when I can, and that’s good enough for me.