[Editor’s Note: Today’s post is from Kimberly from the blog All Work & No Play Makes Mommy Go Something Something. Without further ado, here’s her first post for Postpartum Progress. -Katherine]
When the furnace kicked on, the curtains began to flutter, casting shadows that danced across the room. I watched as his chest deeply and rhythmically rose and fell with every breath. His pudgy toes peeked from under the covers and the way his soother barely hung to one side of his mouth were sure indications of sweet toddler dreams. I felt at such peace watching him sleep.
I always do.
I stood there quietly for a while longer in the doorway, amazed at how this powerful fleeting moment could still sweep me off my feet. In two short years, this little soul has made my heart swell with so much love. When I catch myself in these loving moments, I give thanks because this love didn’t come as easily as I had thought it would.
In fact, two years ago, I never dreamed it possible.
In the minutes that followed after the uneventful birth of my son, I knew that something wasn’t right. I had expected that my heart would have exploded when love, happiness, excitement, fulfillment and relief had all collided into each other after seeing my son for the first time. When that didn’t happen, I felt an immense sadness that wore deeply into my soul.
I felt nothing for him.
The guilt that followed swallowed me whole. I tried desperately to do everything that I thought a loving mother would do. I robotically moved through every motion, every gesture, just to make it appear that I loved him.
So that he would think that I loved him.
As the days turned into weeks, my soul fell apart. I was plagued with intense rage, uncontrollable thoughts that came at me so quickly I could barely process, panic attacks, derealization, and agoraphobia. I had stopped eating and would go more than 24 hours without any sleep.
I was terrified that I was losing my mind, but despite all of that, I was more concerned about not loving my son.
I watched as my family and friends effortlessly melted into a pile of mushy love for him and it pained me so. I felt like a horrible mother for not loving him the way everyone else did.
At six weeks postpartum, on our way to pick up our son after an overnight visit, I cried the entire drive. Not because I missed him, but because I didn’t want to get him. I turned to my husband and asked him one simple question:
“Do you love him?”
When he answered yes, I knew then that I needed help. That following Tuesday, I told my OB that I wasn’t okay. It was the single most hardest and terrifying part in this journey… and the best decision I’ve ever made.
I was diagnosed with postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety with agoraphobia.
I don’t remember the exact moment when I fell in love with my son. I can tell you that when this love crept its way in, I fell head over heels for him. Two years later, as I resist the urge to give him one last kiss as he sleeps sweetly, I can’t imagine my life without him. He’s my world.
If you are having a rough time with bonding just know that in any relationship, love takes time. It doesn’t make you a bad mother or person. That love is there even if you don’t feel it. Be patient. It will come. And when it does, it will blow you away.
I love you Kim. I am so glad you are here sharing your story. You have already helped so many women (myself included)…and this is the perfect avenue for you to help even more.
rock on with your bad ass self
::typed while stuffing my face with Canadian smarties::
Kim, I am so proud of you! You are such an amazing friend and you have helped me so much! It is awesome to see you getting to share your voice here with so many others. Lots of love to you Momma!
Kim— This is the best thing I have ever read of yours. It is so powerfully moving and must have taken so much courage to write. I did not go through PPD myself but your writing makes me feel and understand every word. I know you will help many mothers with what you are putting out there of yourself.
Beautiful, Kim. Thank you so much for sharing this piece of your soul.
yes. it blows me away daily. sometimes these things…they take time.
Beautiful post. I remember that feeling all to well.
Beautiful! You put into words so gracefully what can be so difficult to say. Looking forward to more of your posts!
How exciting to see your beautiful face over here! This is a powerful post. Honest as usual. It's so important for other mommas to know that while these feelings may not be normal, they aren't alone in feeling them. Getting the help you needed was a great start to your healing process.
Welcome to the "team", Kim. I look forward to reading more and so much appreciate your authenticity and insight. I am sure that this journey has been hard work for you and, yes, that beautiful sleeping baby is so lucky to have you…
I think this will be a great resource for new moms. Great job with your first post here, Kimberly!
yes. Love takes time.
perfectly done, sweet Kim.
What a very important post, thanks for sharing.
What a perfect first piece.
I, too, had the lack of love for a while. But like you said, it'll come.
I'm so happy to see you here! There can never be enough voices speaking out about PPD, in my opinion. I had an experience a little different from yours with my first son–I didn't start to feel strange until he was around a month or so old–but I know exactly what you mean when you say that you went through the motions to keep up appearances.
Glad to have more company at PP, and way to start off with an awesome post!
I think this will be a great resource for new moms. Great job with your first post here, Kimberly!
Thanks for sharing. Everyone experiences PPD, etc. a little differently so the more voices the better since the common thread is unspeakable anguish – and women need to know how good it can be after it's been so bad. Thank you.
Wow, very powerful stuff, Kim. You are going to help so many women with your writing here!! I remember writing in my blog how much I loved being a mother right after giving birth to my kids and just praying that the mere action of typing those words would make me FEEL it, BELIEVE it. Because what mother doesn't love her kids??
Thank you for sharing this. Totally LOVE your writing because you are so relatable!
Hi Kim, thinking of you!!!! Like your post Kim!!!
Kim you are so strong and brave to write about something like this. Im sure a lot of mothers out there have felt this way, and I'm glad that you're giving them a voice. Love does take time and Im glad you found it with your special little guy! Beautifully written.
Wow. I really commend you on your down right honesty in this story. "I didn't want to get him." That made me laugh, because you know that somewhere along the way all mothers come to that point, if not at 6 weeks postpartum, maybe at 10 years old. I feel like that and mine just turned 32!
Great first post, Kim. I love how you just put it out there. Looking forward to reading more.
Oh how I miss our regular comments back and forth in bloggy-land (this is Laura… formerly "Never Be the Same"). Your honesty and beautiful writing have long been a lifeline for me. I'm so glad to see you are writing here!
What a breath of fresh air your story is! Denial reigns in most of our lives and we know denial feeds fear.
Mary Jo Codey also a woman of courage and humor spoke out at a medical PPD conference about her experience with PPD and the intrusive thoughts that often are a part of the illness After hearing her candid story her son then 16 years old asked her "Bye the way, which one of us ( 2 sons in the now happy stable family)
did you think of putting in the microwave oven?"
As I remember there were tears in our laughter.
And when she left the stage we were all on our feet clapping.
Thank you- it's a scary admission to make- I hope I can find the courage to Share my story one day.
I realize this post is more than three years old, but it filled me with hope. My daughter is 6-weeks old and I feel nothing toward her. I especially related to the part where you didn’t want to go get your son – I have felt the same way. I hope I get to this point with my daughter, and this post gave me hope that I will.
Thank you so much for this article. I felt nothing for my son for about three weeks postpartum. After a rough birth and because he wouldn’t breastfeed, I was too weak and depressed to do anything but go through the motions. I kissed him without love and cuddled him without joy. I’m starting to enjoy him more and more now at 8 weeks. I’ve been feeling guilty and worried that I may have ruined our relationship forever. I’ve been overcompensating by doing nothing but carry him all day. Your post made me feel better. I made me realize that babies are more resilient than we think, and that I can hope to have a good relationship with him after all. Thank you.
This is exactly how i feel. I never had this with my first born. But after having my second, I’m at a point where she is nearly four months old and i still don’t like her. I was diagnosed with post natal depression at 5 weeks. I even felt it before then and knew it wasn’t ‘normal’. I just run through the motions with her. You feel awful and you think awful thoughts. Like i wish i never had her, life was better before, etc. I hope i don’t have to wait too much longer for the love feeling to arrive. Because I’m really struggling. Having a toddler at the same time just makes it worse i think. But I don’t know. Thanks for the post. I know I’m not alone, but no one ever says these things out loud!
This is the way I have been feeling since May 105th when my post partum anxiety kicked in. I was so I’m love with my little bundle of joy until postpartum anxiety kicked in. I was already on anxiety medicine that stopped working that I had been on for 4 years that I had to wean off from during pregnancy, but went back on at 36 weeks pregnant. I went to my psych 3 times. The first time was in May and he prescribed me a medicine called viibryd, it worked for 2 weeks until my first period came on, then it totally stopped working, I felt on edge, jittery, derealiztion (as If I were in a dream) , couldn’t be alone while my husband at work, just wanted to give my baby away. I couldn’t get another appt with my psych until mid June an he put me on another med, cymbalta 60mg and 30mg and valium, only worked when it wanted to. I had a break down and wanted to go to the hospital to get help, but my next appt was only 4 days from then. He put me back on klonopin and lexapro, the same meds he took me off that always worked for me until postpartum anxiety kicked in. Hoping my hormones have calmed down by now since it’s been almost 4 months, I’m hoping the klonopin and lexapro will work again since my hormones have calmed down.
I meant May 10 of this year.