- Iwona Pinkowicz
Motherhood: Bonding & Love
Before you get to hold your baby for the very first time, you kind of have an idea of what to expect. You see this all over the internet and movies where happy teary new mums hold their newborn babies, proclaiming their instant love and connection.
After 45 hours of labour, when the midwife placed my son on my chest, I literally felt nothing other than I was extremely thirsty, and all I wanted to do was sleep. I was absolutely exhausted and spaced out after taking all the drugs possible. We had to stay in the hospital for 3 days because my son wasn't latching, and I've been told that we can not go home until the feeding was established, either bottle or breastfeeding.
The first two weeks of being at home are a bit of a blur. I don't remember much, to be fair, other than I was in a lot of pain. I had an episiotomy, and what I thought at the time, this was causing the pain. I couldn't sit down, I could only lay on my side, and breastfeeding in any position always ended in excruciating pain. After two weeks and many examinations, what turned out to be causing the pain was retained swab. I was in complete shock but also so relieved because the pain was gone once the swab was removed.
The weeks went on, and I still didn't think much of the fact that I didn't feel that instant love towards my baby. I was so absorbed in looking after him, ensuring all his needs were met. I was very attentive and did the best I could to make sure he was happy. But the love that everyone was talking about just wasn't there. I started to feel that there was something wrong with me. I envied all those mums who had what I was missing. Seeing things online was quite triggering too, so I unfollowed certain accounts to keep my sanity.
I never spoke about this with anyone in the very early stages because what could I have said? That I didn't love my baby? I didn't want people to think I'm a bad mum, so I kept quiet. Only after a few months, I've opened up to some of my friends and told them how I felt. Looking back, I wish I didn't compare myself to other mums so much. I wish I trusted the process a little bit more and take each day as it comes. In many ways, being a parent in today's world is a lot easier, but we are also exposed to so much information that it's hard to know what's real and what's not.
I still don't know why I found it difficult to bond with my son. Was it because of my traumatic labour? Or the never event that followed the birth? Or the Postnatal Depression I struggled with for 18 months? I honestly don't know but what I do know is that I'm totally in love and besotted with my son today. I would never have imagined I could love someone this much.
I almost didn't post this because I still feel embarrassed and so ashamed that I didn't love my baby from the moment we've met. It still breaks my heart that I could not love him from the beginning. When I see new mums instantly bonding with their little ones, I feel such sadness and guilt that it didn't happen for me. In a way, I think I was robbed of something I always thought was a given. I know it's not my fault, and I'm working on accepting the past for what it is; it's a long process, but I hope one day I'll be able to move on and cherish the love we have today.
With so much love,