I’m lucky–like really, really lucky. I have good pregnancies, I have a good postpartum experience (for the most part) and I have great kids. But really, having a “good postpartum experience” isn’t the same thing as being “ok.” Everyone’s experiences are different and mine have been different for each of my children.
For Santi, it hit me on the day he was born, disappeared, and then came back full force on day 4 of his life. Santiago and I had a plan. The second they were to take Santi out of our room for a checkup and shower, he was going to follow his little crib and not take his eyes off of him until he was back in our room (you know, to make sure they didn’t switch him). Well, I gave birth after visiting hours, so after enduring 11 hours of labor and giving birth, everyone had to go home and Santiago was going to follow Santi out of the delivery room and into the nursery. It hit me–I was going to be left alone. Everyone cared about Santi and no one cared about me. How absolutely shitty is that? Santiago came back into the room to get a camera and my exact words to him were “Why are you leaving me? You don’t even know him.” Shocked and confused, he literally just left and I swore I was going to make the baby sleep in the nursery because I needed rest. Obviously, the second they brought him back to my room for “skin to skin” my feelings were gone and I felt as though I would never let him leave me again. Fast forward to my first full day at home. My apartment was full of people coming to visit him and suddenly, out of nowhere, I got a gigantic urge to cry. I went running to the bathroom. Like the good husband that he is, Santiago followed me.
S: What’s wrong?
A: (sobbing) When Santi was born, I thought he was ugly.
A: I’m such a piece of crap. I thought my son was ugly. Someone asked for a photo and I sent it and then said to myself “I don’t want to send it, he’s ugly.”
S: He’s not ugly, he’s beautiful.
A: WHY WOULD YOU SAY THAT TO ME?
This went on and on until finally we determined that it wasn’t that I thought he was ugly, it’s that his appearance was not what I had envisioned in my mind. And truly, I don’t think Santi is ugly–I think he’s gorgeous. But, this unexplained feeling I had riddled me with guilt for a very long time. It was coupled with the fact that while I knew I loved him, I felt like I didn’t know him and it took me a few days to bond with him and get the feeling of “holy crap, this is what true love is.”
When Joaquin was born, I was acutely aware that he did not look like Santi (whom I now knew was the perfect human being with perfect bone structure) and that his ears were big. I understood that me thinking that didn’t make me a bad mom and I loved him instantly. Because I knew what having a child was and what that love/bond was, my adoration for him came the second I laid my eyes on him. There was no warming up period, it just existed. But just like clockwork, on day 4 of his life, my emotions took over my body and I was crying incessantly at night every single day.
S: Why are you crying?
A: We literally have two children, Santiago.
S: Ok? That doesn’t answer my question…
A: For the rest of our lives, we have two children and Joaquin makes noises I don’t recognize and now I can’t spend time alone with Santi and it’s never going to be us 3 ever again.
S: Yeah but it’s going to be awesome, Joaquin is awesome!
(Joaquin is crying hysterically in the background)
A: See? See how annoying he can be? What are we going to do? I’m overwhelmed.
Again, this went on and on until I was completely sobbing. This entire conversation happened while I was in the shower and it ended with Santiago having to get in (completely clothed) to hug me. I really needed that hug and it was a turning point for me. Yes, I could feel sad and yes, I could feel overwhelmed, but I didn’t have to feel that way alone. This time around I was breastfeeding (something I didn’t want to do but I couldn’t slow down my milk production) and the jump from 1 to 2 was really big for me. I did not anticipate the change to be so drastic and so, I was sad.
Antonio’s birth has brought me my own type of Baby Blues. The circumstances in the world around his birth (I hate this Pandemic), coupled with the fact that I have to other babies at home (who can’t go to school so they’re literally always around), I’m still at my parents house and I’m once again in charge of another human being for the rest of my life has been tough. Though, tough, tough. The other day, Antonio was crying of hunger. He had been eating every 2-2.5 hours, Santi was having a melt down because he hated lunch and I hadn’t seen Joaquin in approximately 5 hours. I yelled at Santi like the devil took over my body. All while holding Antonio in my arms. I completely lost it. I shoved the baby in Santiago’s arms and went upstairs to cry. I cried like a baby for 45 minutes without stopping. I was crying because I felt overwhelmed, guilty, mad, sad, and because crying was giving me a sense of relief.
Motherhood is so damn hard. This pandemic is so damn hard. Hormones after a baby are so damn hard. Nothing about what I’m living is easy but I have to get through it because my kids depend on me. I depend on me. I am a happy person and not being in my right mindset, making jokes, baking, etc… throws me for a loop. It’s not who I want to me but I feel like I don’t know who I am. I’m constantly evolving (because I’m constantly having children) and it’s hard to keep up.
All I know is, the baby blues are real and I’m fortunate enough that mine don’t last long but damn do I hate them.