I did not sign up for this.
This thought went through my head as a screaming four-week-old newborn was lying in front of me.
I was completely out of my depth.
Surely this isn’t what motherhood was supposed to be like?
Looking back at those dark days, I cringe at the thought that I didn’t “like” our baby.
I cringe at the mere thought that I had wished I never got pregnant, that I missed my “old life”, that this baby changed our perfect little lives irrevocably.
As I am writing this, I feel shame and guilt for even uttering these words, but this is the reality that I faced those first six weeks of our son’s life.
His birth was not an easy one.
I was booked for a C-section the coming Monday, but that Sunday afternoon, my water broke. I froze.
This was not part of the plan.
We rushed to the hospital and within an hour he was already crowning and keen on entering this world.
After being discharged I had a sudden rise in blood pressure and was rushed back to the hospital only to be booked back in for another week.
I remember that first night one of the ward sisters asked if she could bring me my son.
It felt so strange hearing those words. My . . . son?
After six weeks of being back home it hit me—I never spoke a single word to “my son” in those first six weeks.
I just went through the motions of breastfeeding, changing diapers, burping.
I was holding my breath every time I changed a diaper as he cried wishing I was somewhere else.
I would sleep the days away, barely holding on to each day, sleep deprived, tired, anxious.
Both my husband and I were diagnosed with postpartum depression and anxiety disorder. We both struggled to bond with this foreign little human being in our home.
I would lie awake at night anxious, awaiting the next cry.
After six weeks, things gradually got easier. I felt better equipped and came to the realization that I only needed to be good enough for our baby.
I wasn’t a bad mother—I was the perfect mother for him, and that was all that mattered.
When he got upset, I started talking to him, instead of holding my breath.
I reassured him that everything would be OK and he suddenly stopped crying, almost relieved to hear my voice.
That was all he wanted.
I felt resentment for myself for having missed out on those first few weeks of his life. Looking back at photos I took of him, I realize I never took photos of myself; I hated myself for the person I had turned into.
He is now five months and the most loving, cheerful little boy and my heart swells with pride seeing how we made this precious little person.
I love our son, I love our new life, I love the change he brought into our lives.
Now there is no resentment, only contentment, for now I understand what my purpose in life is.
To be a mother to this sweet little boy.