There are a few things about being a new mother that no one tells you out loud. Especially things like postpartum depression that should be frequently talked about. Soon after I gave birth to my baby, I never truly felt happy. I was in constant physical and emotional pain. While others were over the moon about the newest member of our family, I felt like I couldn’t share the same joy as them. And being the mother, this thought terrified me more than anything else. I couldn’t bring myself to say out loud even to my husband that I was scared of my baby. Our baby!
I was scared out of my wits thinking something would happen to him if I look away even for a second. I was scared for many reasons. Of the physical pain I was feeling. When he cried. When he was hungry. Every breath, every movement crippled me with fear. I always worried if that would be his last. I know how it sounds. That’s a terrible thing to cross a mother’s mind. But I couldn’t help it. I was constantly battling these thoughts inside my head. And it was wearing me out like worn-down sandpaper.
And the constant breastfeeding was driving me crazy. While some of the fellow moms got a 3-hour nap between nursing, my son rarely slept. He would be nursed, and 40 minutes or an hour later he would be hungry again. There were times I wished he would sleep more so that I can get some rest. I would watch the clock in anticipation wondering when he would wake up again; thinking how many minutes would I be able to nap. Sometimes I wished he wouldn’t want to be nursed, or if I could pretend not to hear him so that he would go back to sleep. And it would make me riddled with guilt.
I was adamant on breastfeeding my baby for at least a year. But the pain I felt made me dread the whole process of feeding my baby. Every time he would open his mouth to latch on to my nipple, I would gasp in pain. By the end of every nursing session, I would be completely worn out. I would be breastfeeding him with tears rolling down my eyes. I would pray that he would go back to sleep and not wake up for a couple of hours so that I can snooze off.
But the minute I lie down, I will be constantly checking upon him. Is he breathing? He doesn’t look like breathing? Why is he lying so still? Maybe I should wake him up. Barely getting enough shut-eye, the sleep deprivation gripped me. It was pure torture. I sometimes wonder if this is what motherhood would be like. Or is it just me?
Is this how it’s going to be from here on? How do other moms do it day in and day out? Am I the only one who is caught in this vicious circle of paralyzing fear?
I tried to come to terms with my love and fear of my baby. But fortunately, I was able to come out of this vicious cycle. It took us a few months. But light finally began to seep in the dark tunnel my mind had become. Breastfeeding stopped hurting anymore, and it became second nature to me.
The constant worry and fear weren’t completely gone, but it was no longer terrifying. There are times when the worry and fear would resurface in my mind, but it doesn’t affect my peace of mind and well-being anymore.
I knew being a new mommy was going to be tough, but I had no clue of what I was getting myself into. I’m glad the tough phase was just a fleeting moment when I look at the bigger picture. My son is my greatest joy. He is now the reason for the smile on my face and my happiness. And I am now aware there are more moms out there who had the same struggle as me. And if my story could at least reach a few of them, I want to let them know they are not alone, and it’s going to get better. A whole lot better.