The first months were all about surviving.
I remember being about two weeks in and seeing social media posts by my friends about their Friday night. They had gone out to a couple of great bars and had a great night, based on the pictures. My breath caught as the overwhelming feeling of regret washed over me. Why wasn’t I invited? Oh right. I had a baby. I was two weeks out from a brutal cesarean section and still on the percoset. I was getting jerked awake two or three times a night by these pitiful cries from a tiny little blob that was all mouth. My husband and I would grit our teeth and wait as long as we could to start our routine – him getting up to change Little Buddy’s diaper, while I tried to snooze through the cries until little buddy was deposited next to me to receive the next feeding.
The next months were about coping.
Those first couple of weeks feel like they were years ago. I slap a smile on my face and grit my teeth whenever someone says, “Gosh, has it already been X months? I can’t believe the time has gone so quickly”. The words quickly pour out of my mouth, “I can’t believe it’s ONLY been X months.”
I remember being three months in, when I told my mom that I felt detached from Little Buddy. That while I didn’t want anything to happen to him, I just didn’t feel anything for him. My mom looked at me curiously, trying to hide her concern. I told her that I was so excited to get to work and be away from him. That when I got to work, I didn’t think about Little Buddy. The first day of day care was easy…and I felt an incredible amount of relief. I remember getting to work and sitting down with a steaming cup of coffee in my hands while I perused work email. The silence felt decadent and I ruminated about how easy it was to finish a task since there were no interrupting cries for food, comfort or sleep. I finally felt like I was doing something productive; something that really drew on my actual skills. But then, come five o’clock and the terror and anxiety about facing the next two hours alone with Little Buddy slowly crept in.
The anxiety and fatigue only strengthened over the weeks. I was too exhausted to pick up my baby in the evening and the thought of going home and being alone with him was so exhausting that I didn’t want to leave work, yet I didn’t want to stay. I remember the first time I thought about killing myself postpartum. I was standing in the kitchen thinking about how I regretted having a child and how unlike any other mistake that I made, this one was one that I couldn’t take back. I thought about how I felt no joy in anything; every day was the same grind with no end in sight. I stood in the kitchen and picked up one of the knives from the block and lightly ran it across my wrist. I thought to myself – I don’t want to die, but I know I can’t do this anymore. Sighing, I set down the knife and went to lay down. I wasn’t good at anything – motherhood, work…even trying to end my life.
Time passed and I was able to get the help that I needed, but I can’t stay silent about my struggle. This is my journey. Welcome to my motherhood.