Because every woman has her own journey.
For some odd and very random reason, I always thought I would be a completely unhappy pregnant woman. I thought my feet would be swollen, my back would hurt, I’d be vomiting daily, and my mood swings would run wild. Surprisingly, my pregnancy was straight out of a fairytale. Blood pressures were always fine, urine samples perfect, very mild nausea, and I attended all my classes at the Prenatal Yoga Center in my Upper West Side neighborhood of NYC. Towards the end, all was dandy until I went past my due date, and my blood pressure was beginning to escalate more drastically than normal. At 41 weeks, and 2cm dilated, my doctor induced labor. As first-time parents, my partner and I were nervous about what to expect, for this was the only time things weren’t sailing as smoothly as they had been the first 9 months. 17 hours into my induction, our baby boy’s heart rate dropped significantly, and I was rushed to the operating room for an emergency c-section. A cesarian was the last thing I expected. All the exercises, yoga, and intercourse prior to delivery were to prevent this surgery from happening. All for nothing. When the doctor’s handed me our baby boy, I was surprised at how uninterested I was in him.
The next few weeks were almost unimaginable. My c-section incision wasn’t healing properly, breastfeeding was simply a disaster, and my love for Teddy wasn’t growing. I found myself more attached to my partner than our new baby and was crying about six times a day. Google became my best friend, and I tried hard to convince myself that this feeling is justified and 100% normal. I mean-- a human suddenly came out of my body; gave me stretch marks I never had, a huge surgical scar, and zero sleep. I had a right to be upset, I was going through too much. Of course, the internet led me to believe that during the first six weeks post-delivery, hormones are completely out of whack, and things will revert to normal soon. That’s it! Don’t overthink it.
My mom came to town for the month from my Central NY hometown of Manilus and was sure to bring over a box of goodies from good ‘ol Mrs. Kelder’s Cakes. I pretty much used my mom as a shield from the new ventures of motherhood. I purchased a box of formula, and completely shut down – in my room, under the covers. Thanks mom!
I started to rethink my decision to start a family- why did I do this? Is it because at 34, you must really buckle down and have a child before the opportunity slips between your fingers? Or is it because all my coworkers were swooning over each other’s baby pics and endlessly talking about Uppababy and Bugaboo strollers in the office bistro where I felt left out—always. Or was I fearful that without a child, my competitive career in marketing would lead me down a bitter path? I don’t know. But I do know that my urge to conceive came strong and fast.
By this point, my mom was concerned. But did I want to hear it? No. Mom, please just leave me alone. Times are different. Nevertheless, my reaction towards my baby was the same, did I truly love him? Eh. I was growing more and more insecure by the day. Loved my partner, my mom, and not the baby. Until one day a deep feeling inside wanted me to go back to the old me. This wasn’t me. Mom or not.
The feeling of being trapped and disliking your child wasn’t acceptable for me any longer. After working with a psychiatrist, therapist, acupuncturist, and endless hours of mentally hard work, I can thankfully and proudly say that I am genuinely happy, absolutely adore my son, and kicking ass in this game of motherhood. It took 23 months postpartum to get here, but at least I’m here.
Lisa, Manhattan, New York