Written by Laura-Paige Henry (14/12/2017)
I'm a first time mum and everyone told me during the pregnancy that as soon as you've pushed your baby out and you see them and hold them for the first time that it's the most amazing feeling and you fall in love with your baby and everything is butterflies and rainbows. Well for me that never happened. I was exhausted after not sleeping for over 24 hours, I was physically and mentally drained by the time I'd pushed my baby out and the gas I had been using as a pain relief had completely messed with my head. So when it came time for me to hold my son for the first time I was so tired I just wanted to sleep and was more than happy for his Dad to take care of him. To me I'd waited 9 months to meet my boy so I could wait a few more minutes while I found my strength.
Everything went really well and really smoothly while we were at the birth centre, lots of support from the staff, plenty of opportunity to rest, baby was latching and feeding amazing, sleeping really well, barely cried, he was a dream. We left the birth centre a couple of days later and came home to settle into family life. My days were pretty straightforward and he slept and feed well but the nights were a killer and I was exhausted and not sleeping, he would cry and I'd feel like a failure for not being able to settle him, when he cried I cried, when he slept I tried to sleep, when he needed feeding I cried because I was so tired and my body was sore. My body had taken a massive hit and I found recovery really long and painful. I ended up with postnatal depression and anxiety but I hid it from my midwife so she had no idea during our visits, I hid it from my partner and family and friends and even myself to be completely honest. My mum was the one who noticed and started me on the track for getting help.
Anyway I still hadn't fallen in love with my son the way everyone talks about. I was getting through each day by just going through the motions; feeding, changing, settling, sleeping etc. I wasn't feeling anything at all I was completely numb,I felt like I had no bond with my son, that I was just there in his life looking after him while his Dad was at work.
Fast forward to week 10 and I still haven't had that moment of falling in love with my son, some days I still feel like I'm just a babysitter I guess but each day I watch my son learn something new, I see the way he looks at me, the conversations him and I have, I watch him grow and change and I've realised that not everyone has that moment of instant love for their child, life is just so crazy and overwhelming, we're thrown into this new life with our child and instead of enjoying every little moment we go into survival mode where we just want to survive and keep our baby alive and well. I've realised that the bond and the love grows over time and it's OK if it's not an instant thing that happens straight away. I love the bond and connection my son and I are constantly making each day and I love how every time I look at him I fall a little bit more in love, so instead of experiencing that moment once I get to experience it every day in little segments.
My son is 10 weeks old, he's happy and healthy and loved by both his parents. It just took me a little longer than I was made to believe and that is OK.
Kahurangi has just turned 4 months old, he’s happy and healthy and both his Dad and I are so in love with him. Some days are still a challenge for me but we make the most of each day and try to stay positive during the hard times. He’s the best little guy in the whole world and I am so blessed to be his Mum!