In my mind, meeting my son for the first time would be nothing short of a fantasy. There I would be, with a glistening glow providing me the undeniable shine of a new mother. My hair would be slightly out of place, my makeup would be minimal, only highlighting my natural looks. I would be tired, but the exhaustion would be nothing compared to the overwhelming love that would encompass me as I pushed out that tiny baby and he was placed into my arms. My husband and I would kiss, marveling at the miracle that we had created, and a sense of peace and bliss would be my new reality.
Anyone who has given birth knows that my fantasy was just that — a fantasy. The perfect birth I had concocted in my mind was quickly turned upside down as I was rushed down the hallway for an emergency C-section. Fear quickly took over, and the only glistening glow that existed on my face came from the tears rolling down my cheeks. It was a frightening experience, but I delivered a healthy baby boy. I longed to hold him. I longed to be enveloped in the emotional bond that would soon flood my heart.
Four hours later, the effects of being overmedicated during my C-section had worn off. My baby was finally handed to me. I anxiously awaited that emotional connection. Anticipating the magic that I was about to discover, I held him tightly, thankful that he was here, healthy. The moment had arrived. But those emotions never came. I loved him because he was mine, but I stared at him as though he was a stranger… and he was.
We spent six days in the hospital then packed up our new little person and went home. I was tired, hormonal, and recovering from surgery. Friends came and went, grandparents visited daily. Everyone said, “Isn’t this the best?” I smiled and nodded, unable to say how I really felt — embarrassed that I was not feeling what I and everyone else expected me to feel. I questioned myself: Was I a bad mother? Was something wrong? Could I be experiencing postpartum depression? All I had ever dreamed about was this special bond, and it was virtually absent from my experience thus far. I was secretly devastated.
As the days and weeks passed, my little man and I became better acquainted. We spent late nights studying each other’s faces. We rose together with the sun barely illuminating the sky. We rested together, our breaths turning into one simultaneous motion. I could feel something shifting. He was no longer the stranger handed to me in the hospital. It was a slow progression. My mind and my body had to heal. I had to move beyond the fear, the pain, the newness, the unknown, in order to be emotionally available for the bond I so much desired.
The connection that developed over those next few months and continues to develop with each passing day is something I will never be able to fully convey, but it’s a connection every mother eventually understands. It is a binding link between souls from deep within. It is inexplicably all consuming, and it was definitely worth the wait.
Journey to Parenting is brought to you by Stork Ready. Stork Ready is conveniently located 15 miles north of Boston at 325 Main Street in North Reading. Stork Ready offers a wide range of classes and support groups in a relaxed, home-like atmosphere, including childbirth education, breastfeeding, infant CPR, newborn essentials, mommy and baby groups, and lactation and postpartum adjustment support groups. Their experienced staff members are certified in many fields and work on labor and delivery and maternity units. Visit Stork Ready’s website to see all that they offer.
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