Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Am I a mom?

Everyone says the first few days at home with a newborn are harrowing.  They don't come with an instruction manual (though, the hospital did give us an instruction booklet) and you have to figure out how to navigate life while at the same time managing the needs of a tiny creature that only cares about its own needs.  I think it's probably a bit harder when trying to navigate all of that while recovering from having your abs sliced open.  I'm slowly becoming accustomed to the idea of my body being a patchwork of surgical scars, and I don't even really care about the whole "My body looks weird now" factor of the whole pregnancy/c-section thing.  Yes, I'd like to go back to my own personal normal, I'd like to comfortably wear my own clothes again (I'm close!  My jeans button!) but for the most part, it's not really a huge focus like I thought it would be when I started this journey.  Mostly, I just want to feel like I'm doing the right things.

All of the stupid hormonal stuff I skipped during pregnancy may be hitting me full force right now.  I get weepy over stupid shit, and I find that I'm often annoyed with myself for not being able to hold my shit together over really stupid things.  I know, it's temporary.  It's a balance of hormones and whatever else.  But sometimes it makes everything else seem amplified.  The lack of sleep seems more intense.  I sit around the house in my pajamas until mid-afternoon because she's kind enough to sleep from 8:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. and I try to squeeze in a couple extra hours of sleep during that window just so I can keep my sanity, but then I get up, I feed and change her, I try to keep her awake in hopes that it'll help her learn she's supposed to sleep at night and by the time I realize it, it's mid afternoon and I'm still walking around in pjs and a robe, and I get angry at myself once again for not having my shit together.  I'm not the person who stays in pajamas all day.  Now I've become that person and I don't like it.

Then I feel like a terrible person for not wanting to just sit and stare at her all day, or snuggle up to her all afternoon while she naps.  My husband seems perfectly content to hold her all day long and marvel over how awesome she is, snuggling her and rubbing her tiny cheeks.  I don't want to hold her all the time.  I enjoy holding her, and snuggling with her for a bit of time here and there, but there's a large part of me that is reaching for a sense of normalcy and I'd be just as happy to leave her in the swing while I clean up the house or make dinner and feel like something normal is happening.  I feel like, by not wanting to just sit and stare at her, I'm not being a very good mom, and my husband is already doing so much better than I am.  

I feel like I missed out on something by doing this whole thing via c-section.  It definitely wasn't a choice, but it was what had to happen.  The problem is that you read all of this information about how quickly babies will bond with their mother once they're born, and usually mom is the first person (aside from a medical team) that your baby sees.  Normally it's into the world and then lying on mom's chest and apparently this is how that bond is built.  But that didn't happen for me.  I was strapped to a table, posed like Jesus, unable to move or even see her properly.  I couldn't touch her.  They brought her over and handed her to my husband and that was the first person she saw.  The first voice she recognized.  The first touch she knew.  She'd been in this world over an hour before I even got a good look at her, let alone got to hold her, and even when I did get to hold her, I was so exhausted and medicated that I couldn't process everything as properly as I'd have liked to.  Now I feel like I didn't bond with her, and that I am somehow less than my husband here.  She knows his voice.  She turns to look for him when she hears him talking somewhere out of her sight range.  She can go from screaming bloody murder while I hold her to silence as soon as I hand her off to him.  She spends every single night from 11:00 p.m. until 2:00 a.m. shrieking and crying for absolutely no apparent reason, and the only moments of silence that punctuate those hours of crying are when I hand her off to him.  I will pace the room, bouncing her, rocking her, trying to sooth her, fighting back tears because I don't know how to make her stop or why she's so upset at the same time every single night.  I just feel like she knows.  She knows I'm not enough and she's just waiting for him to step in and do the right things, because I am not going to be able to do it.  Like she knows him, she wants him, and she doesn't want me.  

I realize that a lot of this is probably in my head, that it's probably my emotions getting the better of me at the moment, but I think about it a lot, and it stings.  I'm trying really hard.  I just don't know if I'm succeeding at all, and I'm really afraid that I've missed my bonding window because of circumstances out of my control.


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