Pregnancy, childbirth, raising kids can be so terrifying. I’d love to say that I went in with nothing but optimism but when I got pregnant, as excited and hopeful as I was, I was also very scared… I was scared for this new little person that was going to join our lives because I was suddenly responsible for everything that happened. I was scared for myself, wondering if I would be too weak to endure labor and face all of the changes. I was scared for my husband, because childbirth is dangerous and I was scared that I could die and leave my husband on his own. I knew I had to be brave and only focus on the things I could control, so my coping mechanism became to read every book, every article, every resource, and become as close to an expert in what was about to happen to me as I could. Reason replaced fear. Statistics replaced anxiety. Real stories from women replaced my own wandering mind questioning what could happen.
I read a lot of scary stories about all of the things that could go wrong. I gravitated to the scary stuff because I needed to educate myself about what could happen because I knew I would have to be my own advocate in an imperfect system. I wish I had read the good stories too. So, this is not my scary story.
Instead, this post is about those wonderful moments of the best feeling in the entire world, when it was just me and my baby learning to bond.
This moment happened a few days after bringing my daughter home from the hospital. I was on the phone with my nurse for a postpartum depression screening. After answering all of the questions, my nurse not only told me that I didn’t have any signs of depression, but that I actually sound like most of her patients - happy. After reading countless scary stories about how horrible I could feel postpartum, it failed to occur to me that I could feel wonderful. I was so prepared for the worst case scenario, that I hadn’t even considered that I could feel good. I was stunned by my nurse’s comment. She gave me the words to describe what I was feeling: a job well done, a profound sense of completion. After the call, I remember looking around with fresh eyes. It was perfect. I was comfortably sitting on the couch in my cozy little apartment holding my sleeping daughter in my arms. I had a cup of tea and my favorite snacks around me. My husband was making us lunch, and my cats were snoozing nearby.
I spent so much time reading scary stories, but I wish I read about wonderful moments, too.