I have just shy of 7 weeks until little Piglet is due. This is enormously exciting and a bit scary. I’m not going to talk about labour in this post as it is something I will write about nearer the time but this one is more about those first few moments up to few weeks, after the gremlin was born.
I’d read all the stories and heard all the tales of that moment your baby is born. So many ladies expressing that awesome completely overwhelming sense of love for that little thing they had just delivered. It was instantaneous. That complete devotion and need to protect their child. The pain was forgotten and this was the reason they were put on this earth: to Mother a child.
Luckily I wasn’t under too many illusions about what to expect when the gremlin was born and I was very glad of this.
I did not feel any of the above.
I remember sitting in the birth pool and hubby handing me the gremlin I had just pushed out, after a 36 hour labour from the initial twinges and show, to her delivery. She cried immediately, as her little purple skin hit the cool air from the warm water. I gazed down at her and what did I feel?
- Holy shit – this is mine.
- She looks NOTHING like me; she has a touch of an oriental look about her and so much dark hair. I’m pale and ginger.
- She is kind of purple.
- I don’t know what to feel. I feel kind of nothing, even numb.
Of course aside I felt elated and even proud to have delivered her pretty naturally. I had a first degree tear that needed no stitches and she had a small breast feed that satisfied the midwife. I held her after delivering the placenta but still, I didn’t know what to feel. I looked down at her and kind of felt a bit disconnected.
We weren’t in hospital long and I remember taking her home and hubby plonking her down on the lounge floor in her car seat. He said he wasn’t fazed at all about the new addition to our family. I looked at her, sat in the car seat and just felt scared. Two were now three. What the heck did we do now? We actually tidied up the house after the rush and mess getting out during labour, and sat down to leftover tuna pasta bake.
This niggling feeling just wouldn’t pass. I went through all the motions. I managed to establish breast feeding. She had a couple of awful nights with sleep as my milk came in and she settled a little more as the time passed. People came and visited us. I held her as she slept but this horrible feeling kept coming back to me; people seem to love her more than I did. Why? What was wrong with me?
It wasn’t a nice feeling. I was coping, she was feeding and sleeping but I just knew the bond wasn’t fully formed. A 5 days old when she had the heel prick test that howl when the midwife clipped her foot, hardly touched me. 8 weeks later when she went for her first vaccinations I sobbed like a baby.
Two weeks of paternity leave passed and my Mum came to stay for a few days to help which was amazing but that odd feeling was still there. I knew I hadn’t fully settled to being a Mum and I wasn’t even sure I liked it!
I needed to be left alone with the gremlin, which to some, may sound even worse. Hubby was back at work and so was Mum. I slowly got into a routine. We went out a lot, saw friends and life became normal again. I knew in those days and weeks that I loved her. Something snapped. I needed some form of routine and time with her alone. I’m not sure if it was mild baby blues or just a completely normal response to having a baby. I was lucky that physically my recovery was fine but mentally it took some getting used it. Life was nothing as I knew it. This thing was dependent on me. I was a slave to a baby; a milk machine and that took some adapting. Of course I managed in the end.
I’m so hoping second time things will be different. I want more cuddle times, if possible, when Piglet is born. I want more skin on skin time. I’m going to be ready for these odd feelings but I hope they are less if I am a bit more relaxed second time around. I’m not going to stress about putting Piglet down all the time; I think I was too worried about being not disciplined enough with the gremlin. This time I want to bond earlier and have those cuddles.
I hope for any new Mums, who may have felt like me, this helps. It’s normal. The fairy tales do exist for some but not for us all. I didn’t “know” my gremlin and she didn’t me; not really. You need to get to know your baby and bond. If it’s not in an instant, it doesn’t matter.
Second time around I’m a bit more prepared for this and hoping it will a little different.