When you have a baby everyone gets excited about the new arrival (understandably) but seem to forget that there is another individual who is undergoing a life changing event.
When I was pregnant with Baby B I couldn’t really identify myself as a mother. Even though I felt all of her little kicks (and headbutts to the bladder) it was so surreal that it almost didn’t seem that it was really happening to me. I was in no way prepared for the rush of feelings I would experience when she was born and how she would change me as a person from the second I looked into the eyes of my newborn baby.
We were unfortunate in that she was born with an unforeseen cleft palate and so had some initial challenges with feeding. It was incredibly challenging emotionally when this was discovered and along came the mum guilt, was it something I did? Could I have done anything differently? Will she suffer because of this? What does this mean for any children she may decide to have in her future? It took me probably a good 72 hours to snap out of it and pull myself together to realise that no, I could not have done anything differently and that it was just something we would have to deal with as we go.
My husband was incredibly supportive during this time and gave me both the help and space that I needed to process the information. I couldn’t help but push him away slightly though as I internalised everything and questioned myself as to whether this was something that I caused. Other family members were all concerned about Baby B and what this meant for her, asking questions which in reality did not help with the emotions I was experiencing and in fact made everything seem worse. The only person who broached the subject of ‘me’ was my own mother, and that wasn’t immediately as she explained she wanted to give me my own time to process without offending me at all. That being said, even though she was 200 miles away she was there for me every second of the day when my husband couldn’t necessarily be and I appreciated it more than I could ever tell her.
These moments in the first 72 hours though really became insignificant once I accepted them and that this is what it could mean to be a mother.
I was going to be challenged.
I was going to be forgotten.
I was going to be emotional.
I was going to feel guilty.
But most of all? I was going to love unconditionally.