I’ve never been a baby person. Kids in general tend to get on my nerves, until around the age of 12; hence my degree in secondary education. In fact, when we first got married, we lived in a duplex next to two little girls. They were sweet in their own little girl way, I guess, but everyday they would wait at the fence for me to get home from work so we could “play.” And everyday, I would pretend to be on the phone so I could simply wave and say hello. I know, I’m a horrible person.
But back to babies. I’ve never had the aching arms syndrome that many women experience. Ladies around me swarm at new babies like flies to honey, but I happily keep a safe distance, thinking they are cute, sort-of. Mostly when I looked at a baby I saw a lot of work and no more “me time.” Go ahead and call me selfish; I know you’re thinking it.
Surprisingly, this didn’t change the fact that I wanted children. A family is something I’ve always wanted. Somehow I thought (or hoped) maybe my own wouldn’t annoy me as much. Jury is still out on that one.
But I saw the Facebook posts of new moms – “Love of my life” and “Now I know true love.” So needless to say I highly anticipated the arrival of our twins, dreaming of that first moment when I held them in my arms.
However, when our blessings did arrive, their presence did not exactly bring the heartfelt emotions I predicted. Having an unexpected labor process (preeclampsia, constant vomiting, a possible-but-thank-goodness-avoided blood transfusion, and “Oh, the epidural should work this time”) didn’t help the situation, but still. I was devastated. I wondered, “What’s wrong with me?” along with “Lies! Lies! It’s all lies!” I was flooded with emotions, just more of the terrified “O.M.G./Now-I’m-an-adult/I-must-get-my-you-know-what-together/We-can’t-give-them–back/What-are-we-gonna-do/O.M.G” type emotions.
Then there was check out process. Hilariously ridiculous in retrospect, but at the time, I’m surprised no one around me got hurt. Apparently vaginal birth means “Adios!” 48 hours later despite a complicated labor, high blood pressure and TWO CHILDREN. I continued to delay the leaving process hoping my persuasive antics would convince the doctor to let me stay longer. My shoes didn’t even fit my enflamed, unrecognizable feet! How was I supposed to go outside in the cold without shoes? Common sense, Doc! But alas, my tears did not sway anyone.
Home was hard. A dysfunctional pelvis and hip (80 extra pounds can do that to you) prevented me from walking without assistance in the beginning, so the babies were directly brought to me for feedings. When I wasn’t feeding, I tried to sleep and eat and ignore the guilt that gnawed at me that I wasn’t doing enough. I would hold “team meetings” each day, sometimes every few hours, to make sure all the “help” was on the same page. Thank the Lord for family and a husband who know me through and through and could laugh about this behind closed doors. Because let me tell you, I was taking it very seriously.
Navigating the nursing process combined with the sleep deprivation took its toll. People would say, “You must be so happy!” but I was too exhausted to even know how I felt. Don’t get me wrong; I was grateful, thankful for healthy babies, blessed to have them home. But I was in shock, scared, and unsure of my new role as Mom.
Yes, I did experience postpartum depression. After a med-free pregnancy the doctor was in fact paged with a big SOS two weeks after their birth. I thought, phew, this will get better. I will like them once I’m feeling normal again. It’s not me, it’s my condition.
Now yes sir, those meds got me back to a healthy place. But, I’m here to say that as much as I loved those kids with all of my heart, they were still the little leeches sucking the life out of me, figuratively and literally. Sore nipples, anyone? I was exhausted, and when I did have the energy to pay attention to them, I didn’t know what to do. They were just blobs. Yes, beautiful blobs, but blobs nonetheless, who cried, pooped, slept and pooped some more! Not being a baby-babble type of person, there was only so much “ladi dadi” I could do. I thrive on progress and achievement, so although I would read and sing to them, their lack of response hindered any desire for me to keep it up.
But then one day it just happened. We had just hit the three-month mark. As I finished nursing Miles, he looked up at me with those round, crystal-blue eyes, and he cooed. And then he SMILED! I couldn’t believe it. Not only was I in love, I genuinely liked him!
Soon after, Norah’s smiles came flooding in as well. I remember my husband saying, “Wow, these first few months have really flown by!” My death stare told him that on the contrary, these had been the longest three months of my life. But once the chatter and smiles began in that third month, time indeed started to fly, and it hasn’t stopped since.
Motherhood is different for all of us. There’s not one set way you’re supposed to be or feel, and don’t let social media or the people around you tell you otherwise. Sooner or later, in your own time, you’ll embrace your new role as mother and wear it proudly.
My advice? Give yourself three months! 😉