After Leela was born, it was a confusing time for me; polarizing. On one end, I felt so blessed to have her. I felt grateful that she was healthy and beautiful. But other feelings would creep up. I’d sit there and yearn for the life I had before she was born. I missed having freedom and being able to do whatever the fuck I wanted to do. After Leela was born, I could no longer think of myself first. The harsh truth of it was I missed being selfish. I envied other people, childless people, for their seemingly carefree lives. I envied other mothers for their positivity and energy; they seemed like naturals compared to me.
Then there was an overwhelming guilt for feeling those things to begin with. I’d look at Leela and feel bad for her that she got me as her mom. I found myself compensating for the guilt by being obsessive over her health. I was fearful that I would somehow destroy her via my own ignorance. I began to fixate on things like Leela’s sleep patterns, her temperature, even her poops for the right color!
Chris was an incredible support. He did everything in those first weeks- helped me get out of bed, cooked all the meals, cleaned, changed almost all of Leela’s diapers. He was also the first one to tend to Leela when she cried. I always knew I loved him, but damn, after seeing him with Leela I knew. I felt terrible that he was Leela’s main caregiver. I wanted to step up and get my shit together for my family.
I knew I didn’t want to be the kind of mom that was cray cray, so I reached out for support. My mom came over almost everyday to help out. She really took care of me, so I could take care of Leela. I saw a social worker/counsellor who helped normalize my experience; she was all about forgiving yourself and focusing on now. My midwife friend was also great with talking me through my worries. My thoughts and feelings didn’t change overnight. It was a slow process and it took some time for me to feel normal again.
Now there are far more good days than shitty days. I have confidence in myself and I’m no longer haunted by my worries. I don’t think I’ll ever feel like my old self again, but it isn’t a bad thing. I don’t want my old life back. I love being Leela’s mom and I wouldn’t give it up for anything.