Tuesday, March 23, 2010



I remember it all very clearly. I was 27 years old and had just had my very first child. A son. He was beautiful. But I felt strange. Not me. Motherhood changed me, I thought. I am no longer the calm, worry free person I once was.

I had glimpses of that person but this new neurotic mother kept shoving her to the side (assertive bitch). For months.

Honestly, I didn't think much of it. Motherhood is supposed to change you. It's normal. I wasn't depressed. I wasn't have visions of horrid things. I was just different from before.

It didn't help that nothing went how it was supposed to. Breastfeeding was a nightmare (newsflash, that is actually how it usually goes, go figure). I took ages to heal from my C-section (not sleeping for 4 full days in the hospital probably didn't help but I am going out on a limb there). And to top everything off, Jack was not gaining weight as he was supposed to (he didn't read the "book". Isn't there, like a law or something).

Add all of that to whatever was going on with me and I was a diabolical mess. I probably had really high expectations. I had never really struggled with anything (you know besides social skills) therefore I would fall into motherhood with grace and ease (clearly I was delusional).

But I perserved, with copious amounts of love and support from Jay and family.

And somewhere in the three years between boys, I came back to me. The neurotic worrier had fled for higher ground (she hated the rotten eggs I kept throwing at her).

However, I fully expected to go wonky* again when our second son came along. I had the first time, why not the second time?

But I didn't. I birthed him the way nature intended and the nurse placed all 8 lbs 3 oz of him on my chest and I was me. Still me.

I didn't find myself swinging between the person I am and the one motherhood temporarily made me.

And that is where Jay gets down on his knees and praises the higher power with all that he is.

* I don't claim to have had Post Partum Depression, because if I did, it was the mildest form of it possible. I feel like a claim like that does a disservice to those who do have the unfortunate luck of experiencing it. My point is that I thought I was fine. Anyone who asked me how I was would have been told I was fine. Good actually. It really wasn't until Kamden was born and I looked back that I realized I wasn't fine. I have a theory that a scheduled C-section didn't allow my body and mind to prepare for the life changing experience of becoming a mother, however, it is, only a theory.


Kami said...

I love that picture.

I don't know about feeling differently after separate births, since I've only had one. But I don't think my c-section effected me that way...I'll let you know for sure if and when I have another :)

Lori: Teacher Turned Mommy said...

I can so relate to this post. I was shocked when I had my oldest to find out that I wouldn't just naturally fall into being a "great mom". I had to have a c-section which I thought would never happen. I struggled with nursing. He didn't gain wait... I questioned every decision I made. I wondered if I made the wrong decision to have kids. But, now I see that it is just that no one told my newborn son that I was used to things going the way I wanted them to... wait no one has told him that still. You aren't alone (o:

Angella said...

I think that the first is such a HUGE adjustment. With number 2, you roll with the punches.

I was far more at ease with Nathan than I was with Graham.

Cheryl said...

I think I had the baby blues with Cole...I often missed the pre baby me.. now, I feel like I';m much more in tune with myself as a mom and all the other roles I play...
confidence is huge in all this isnt it?

That picture is awesome!! great panning!!

R Royal Family said...

Thats what the books don't tell us, how LIFE altering it is. Don't discount how you were feeling, it doesn't have to be horrid to be awful.

LOVE LOVE LOVE the pic, I need a tutorial

nicole said...

I think the shock of first-time motherhood can happen to anyone, regardless of how the birth goes. I also would not say I had PPD, but pretty serious baby blues after having my first child. I did have a c-section with her, but it was after laboring 24 hours, and I really didn't have any strong feelings about how the birth would go. Nursing was definitely overwhelming and I stopped at six weeks and I think that was a good thing for us. It wasn't until kid #4 that I was fully committed to nursing for a year. Anyway, with each kid the transition has been easier. Sure I still have days where I am crying as much as the baby and what not, but I have so much more confidence and so much more perspective. :)

BeachMama said...

I can honestly say I know how you feel, only I didn't experience the C-section and it happened for me after the second child. So perhaps our bodies just react to each pregnancy so differently that we get out of whack sometimes?!

Elaine A. said...

There is so much you really DON'T know going into it and birthing that first child. I always say you HAVE to experience it yourself to know how crazy and miraculous and life changing it is.

I had many challenges with Ben's birth too and I can totally relate to this post my friend.

Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing this post, Kami. I had PPD, both times. But I don't think that "lessens" what you went through. Because for you, it was huge. It was real. It was a life-changing thing. For me, I had a tremendous amount of guilt when I got sick again after Tyler was born. For the first 2 or 3 days, I was good. SO good. I was feeling like, "YES! I haven't got PPD this time!" and then BAM, it hit me. Worse than the first time.
Being a worrier by nature, I found motherhood made me even MORE of a worrier. It was so hard when my babies didn't do what the books said they should! Gosh, if I had known then (before I had kids) what I know now, I would have been scared out of my mind. And I wouldn't have done it. So I guess it was a good thing that I didn't know, because I am so blessed to have my boys, despite having to go through a terrible illness, twice. I'd do it again in a heartbeat. But then, I'm different now. And I know you "get" that.

teeni said...

Kami - I have to think your theory deserves a lot of credit. After all, pregnancy involves a lot of hormones and timing is crucial. It wouldn't surprise me at all to hear in the future that some study is done that proves your theory is right and that C-sections may disrupt the natural order, making it more difficult for new moms. I'm not saying this out of disrespect for modern medicine, of course. I think C-sections are an important option for the safety of mom and baby. But that doesn't mean they don't have unsuspected effects.