My Initial Feelings on Motherhood

Posted by Lindsey Costard on Wednesday, November 28, 2012.

I wrote an enormous blog about my birth story and there was some kind of glitch and I lost all the information! Gah, it took me forever to write.
Basically what you need to know is that what we wanted from our birth plan was NOT what happened.
  • I was planning a home birth but I developed high blood pressure in the last 10 days of pregnancy and had to be induced (meaning they insert this gel into my cervix to soften it and start my body into labour)
  • The hospital experience was invasive and uncomfortable. I laboured for about 36 hours.
  • I wanted no pain intervention but ended up having to have an epidural to reduce my blood pressure.
  • I had to get an IV and Oxytocin to speed up my contractions
  • In the end, I stalled at 7 cm and had to have an emergency C-section, which was the scariest experience of my life and can't understand how anyone would opt for a Cesarian!
Stella is 3 weeks old now. They are not kidding when they tell you your life will change after you have a baby. My entire existence right now is devoted to keeping her alive, whether that's considered to be by choice or otherwise. She wants to eat every 2 1/2 hours or so, usually for about an hour at a time and I have the boobies, so.....

My initial frustration came from the fact that both Ro and I were exhausted on an unearthly level. We stayed in hospital for 2 sleepless nights before Stella was actually born. After she was born we had, like, no idea how to take care of her. Since I'd had a C-Section my milk wasn't in and she is a hungry baby. A bad combination, which resulted in us staying awake LITERALLY all night long the first 2 nights after she was born. Plus we were in the hospital, sharing a room with another new mom, and the stress of keeping them awake was very overwhelming.

We just didn't know what to do. We felt helpless. Breastfeeding was excruciating. It's so painful. If you're not sure what it feels like, try having your partner or a friend suck on your nipples for 12 hours a day until they are raw and blistered. I couldn't do it anymore. But she was hungry, so what are you supposed to do??

She lost 12% body weight in those first 2 days, and the 'healthy' norm is 6-10%. The solution to help her get her weight back up was to supplement her with a little tube and formula that we gave to her at the breast along with breastfeeding. For the last 3 weeks everytime she eats we have to get the syringe and little tube out and try over and over to get her to latch onto my breast with the tube in her mouth. We have to keep on waking her up, bug her to keep eating, burp her continuously (because formula makes her super gassy) and generally just deal with this huge pain-in-the-ass tube while we pump her full of formula.

The good news is she's back at her birth weight again so today we will talk about the new plan of action (because now we can't just take the tube away, we have to do it slowly).

I'm going to be brutally honest and say that especially in the first two weeks I was having feelings of regret. The biggest reason I never wanted to have children was because I wasn't ready to commit my life to them. I didn't want to be forced into being the one who ends up taking care of the baby and even though I have the most involved husband anyone could ask for, there's a certain amount of care-taking that can ONLY be done by me.

I think this has been one of the biggest challenges for me - getting over my own preconceptions and expectations of myself. I always associated my own version of feminism to reject stereotypes and social expectations of women.

The scariest thing for me is that I don't feel like a natural mother so maybe it's just a fear of failure that I have. I'm afraid of creating a similar relationship with my daughter that I have with my own mother. I don't want to feel resentful. Ro and I made a choice to get pregnant. I want to be able to communicate openly with my baby, as a family.

It's amazing how much starting my own family has made me consider the dynamics of the family I come from. I thought I had worked through all my issues but clearly, I have not!

One thing I know for sure is that I want to be a good mother and make the right choices. What I also know is that I would NOT do this for anyone else in the world, and that's how I know that I love her completely. We keep going. We wake up every couple hours all night long, push through our exhaustion, try to make her smile.

The smile that eventually comes makes EVERYTHING worth it. It's hard to explain. The brief, fleeting eye contact... the turning of her head when we speak because she recognizes our voice.... the intimacy we share as she nurses on what my body has made just for her. Those are the things we live for. I realize that the amount of interaction will only increase and it will be less about simply supplying her endless demand. She will return the love soon with smiles, laughs, hugs... I'm eagerly awaiting those moments but am smart enough to appreciate that these moments will soon be past me. And so I try to keep things in perspective.

8 Responses to My Initial Feelings on Motherhood

  1. Meredith

    I love this..."the intimacy we share as she nurses on what my body has made just for her.".

    Congratulations! You both look beautiful. And believe me, it does get easier. The first few weeks were the hardest for me.

  2. Anonymous

    Love the picture of you and Stella! You seem such a good mummy.

    Diana

  3. Laura

    I might be a bit emotional this week, but this post is really beautiful Lindsey. Also, amazing picture of you two. I miss you friend, and will see you as soon as I get home!

    Laura

  4. Corinne

    One of the big myths is you are supposed to LOVE motherhood, and frankly some of it just SUCKS. Kudos to you for being able to recognize that it is not all ponies and rainbows and that is OK. Honestly, for me the 1st 3 months were the worst. You had this being taking EVERYTHING and there seemed to be no giving back (and my baby was beaucoup easy). For me that all changed as soon as mine could smile, gurgle, etc. Then it became more enjoyable and less of a chore. You are doing GREAT and really, it only gets better!

  5. Plugadão

    own Que bebê mais lindo! Boa sorte na sua nova vida depois de regressar ao Canadá, hoje e sempre te desejo todo amor que houver nessa vida ;)

  6. Anonymous

    I freaking LOVE how honest you are in your posts. I feel like tons of mothers probably have moments of regret or being annoyed or whatever else and they just never admit it and I find it refreshing that you actually admit it. That is one of my fears of being a mother.. It's a huge commitment forever and ever and ever! I'm happy you're continuing to blog while in Canada. I used to follow your Brazil blog :)

    Jessica

  7. Lindsey

    Jessica, thanks so so much for this awesome comment!! I'm really glad you found me again... the baby is a huge commitment. It's also not a cliche to say it's a huge joy... It is. But don't worry, you're not alone in feeling afraid. i wish more people had talked about it before I had Stella.

    Thanks again :)

  8. Lindsey

    Fiquei muito feliz em saber voce me achou de novo :)
    Muito obrigada amigo!!

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