Hate is a strong word, yet so many of us use it so liberally. In reality, it's just a lazy way to describe something a person dislikes deeply. I mean, the English language is full of synonyms for hate: despise, detest, loathe — all beautiful words with similar connotations. Hate, however, is perfectly fine to use when describing the first few months postpartum. And the people you'll hate in the first month postpartum probably asked for it in one way or another. Maybe it was a rude comment that put them on top of your you-know-what list, or maybe it was their simple existence that made you want to lock them out of the house and change the keys. Either way, hate won and love lost during that first overwhelming month post-birth.
The thing is, it's really difficult to control your emotions when hormones are raging inside your body. You can try to be rational all you want, but much of that struggle is futile. The hormones usually wins and the hate builds. I hated much of the beginning of new motherhood, to be honest. I hated how I felt, I hated how other people treated me and my baby, and I hated how much was automatically and unrealistically expected of me. I hated all of the rules, all the restrictions, and feeling totally incompetent as a first-time mom.
But the people? Well, the people were the worst. So many people annoy you so quickly and endlessly when you're postpartum. Why do they do these things? Why can't people realize you have just been through something draining and terrifying? I mean, labor and delivery alone can scar a person for life, so add a newborn to that mix and life can feel pretty uneasy. So when people start giving unsolicited advice or asking you a ridiculous amount of questions, you can't help but develop feelings of hate.
After the haze of the delivery wore off, my love for my husband was tested. I watched him walk around, totally intact, while I was leaking and in pain. He was living a normal existence, and I was trying to put back the pieces of my pre-birth life. I hated him. I hated the fact that he could peacefully sleep on his stomach; something I could only dream of when my breasts were swollen and engorged and in constant pain. He could even poop without any concern, while I was afraid to be ripped open once again. I hated him for being able to just leave, for hours, while I as stuck at home with a tiny human attached to my body.
Postpartum baby blues suck, you guys. I was so sad and I hated myself on so many levels. I hated looking at my mangled body in the mirror. I hated feeling broken and sad inside. I hated not being able to sleep or move or poop without pain. I was angry with myself for not being able to breastfeed on demand, and for having negative feelings towards my new baby. I hated myself for not feeling all the things I was "supposed" to feel.
Random Lady At Target
Approximately two weeks postpartum, I went to Target to pick up some more diapers. I decided to peruse the infant clothing aisles while I was there, enjoying my freedom for the first time in weeks. As I'm gushing over the most adorable baby girl outfits, I noticed a woman looking at me. I looked back at her and smiled politely. Instead of simply smiling back, she took my act of basic social decency as an invitation to start a conversation. Is that the worst thing in the world? No, but it turned into the worst thing in the world when she asked me when I was due. "Three weeks ago," I said, not at all amused. "Oh, I'm sorry," she replied, then quickly turned red and walked away.
I hate you, random lady at Target. Thanks for making me hate my postpartum body even more. Next time, don't ask a woman when she's due. Ever.
The Random Pharmacist At The Drive-Thru Pharmacy
"I'm sorry, we weren't able to fill your prescription," said the pharmacist after I tired to pick up my very necessary pain medication. Excuse me? I just pushed a human being out of my vagina, so you definitely will fill my script or I will hurt someone.
I love my OB, you guys. She was amazing pre-, during, and post-delivery. But, this woman, this evil, evil woman, decided she was going to do an internal exam immediately postpartum. What was she thinking? I should have posted a "Do Not Enter" sign on my vagina, because I didn't want anyone or anything coming near it for months. So yeah, I hated her for torturing me after I had just delivered a nine pound newborn.
Well-Meaning Family Members
Everyone and their grandmother has unsolicited advice for the new mother. My aunt thought I should swaddle the baby tighter, my cousin told me not to give up on breastfeeding (even though my nipples were bleeding, my daughter had jaundice, and I had under supply) and my grandmother told me to "sleep when the baby sleeps," as if that is even possible.
I know my family wants what is best for me and the baby, but give a new mom a break, man. Let me be.
The New Mom Who Makes It All Look Effortless
Be honest, we all know that mom. The mom who blissfully labored for an hour, delivered in 20 minutes, and whose baby took to the breast immediately. You know that mom who had absolutely no issues, her body recovered five minutes after she gave birth, she was up and running eight miles within two weeks, and she just looked fabulous babywearing her infant. I hate that mom. Well, I hated that mom. She's cool now.
Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.