Tonight I spent four hours obsessively reading another blog about someone's struggle into parenthood. Although our struggles are different, she was so inspiring (a word I can't say I ever use to describe another person) that I actually cried reading some of her posts. As I scrolled through the many pages (June 2013-present day) I couldn't help but think how selfish I was. Amongst selfishness, I felt two other emotions:
Heartache. For an undisclosed amount of time, Hubs and I tried to conceive a child with two chemical pregnancies (what I believe is the cruelest thing the human body is capable of) before successfully conceiving our daughter. In that time we were trying, each month came with disappointment. I invested a ridiculous amount of money in ovulation tests, thermometers, pregnancy tests and any other gimic I could find online on how to conceive a child, and often found myself crying each month over my failure. Yes, I felt like a failure. I knew how badly Hubs wanted a baby (as did I) and I was incapable of doing the one thing I was biologically put on this planet to do. In April 2014 we learned that I, indeed, was not a failure. The news of her arrival into our family came at a hard time for us. Hubs had just lost his grandfather who he loved dearly. It was because of this that I truly believed this child was a gift from God. God may have taken a loved one from our life, but he was blessing us with another.
Guilt (y'know, my new bestie). I felt so guilty because amidst my own selfishness and depression, it never once occurred to me how lucky I was. I blatantly disregarded the most common saying, Count Your Blessings. Apparently, I had forgotten the pain I felt myself when each month I read a negative pregnancy test. I never once stopped to think about all the women who have lost a child, couldn't conceive children, had given up children...sooo guilty.
On Christmas night my water broke, once again affirming this baby was a gift from God, but I knew right away that something was wrong. I didn't feel excited, scared, nervous, happy....all I could think about was how am I going to get off this toilet and find my husband? I had been so happy and excited throughout my entire pregnancy, but it was like when my water broke, all of my emotions left my body. By the time I got to triage at the hospital I just wanted it to be over with. When P was born, I didn't hold her. She laid on my stomach for a few seconds before she was whisked away again, and I did not hold her for probably another 45 minutes and I didn't. even. care. When we were in the hospital I held her and fed her a couple times, but I was really okay with other people holding her and Hubs changed a lot of her dirty diapers. At night, she went to the nursery. I worried about her while she was away from me and if she was breathing okay and eating enough and if she was being held if she was crying, but I didn't care enough to ask someone to bring her back to me so I could personally supervise her wellbeing.
So here I am, overwhelmed with heartache and guilt, ungrateful for the gift I was given knowing there are others out there who yearn for a child more than anything else.
Post-partum depression is a daily struggle. Although now medicated and finally reaching out for support from others going through the same thing, I am in no way cured. I sometimes wonder when the day will come where I can finally say I'm not sad anymore, but another part of me knows that day is a ways down the road. Every day I spend with my daughter I am getting to know her. And when she looks at me and coos and smiles...I melt. I really do. When she's really happy and cooing up a storm I question if I even have depression, or if it's just something I've made up in my head because I am just that happy to be staring at her while she explores the world around her. I really do love this smelly, wiggly, crying, puking, clingy little person.
If you are one of those women who instantly is overcome with this abundance of love the second you lay your eyes on your child, lucky you. But I don't believe in love at first sight and my maternal instinct certainly didn't either. But just as my baby is getting to know me and love me, I too am still learning who she is and little by little falling in love....