FRANCE: Late Encounter With Life
I don’t know how your pregnancy went. I can tell you that mine was far from perfect, far from the dream I once had of what my life as a pregnant woman would be. I had it all planned, but nothing went according to plan. I was not sick but I was overly tired. And what made it all wrong was that something was missing in my marriage: there was a lack of communication and real love.
Many women say that the first meeting with their baby is the first ultrasound. Ultrasound technology has improved so much over the past decades. You can already see life inside you, before even feeling it. The second ultrasound was the worst for me, the one I went to, alone once again. When I was done, I stepped outside under the rain and cried. I was lost, not knowing whether I had made the right choice, keeping the baby. I was dealing with painful emotions on my own.
Pregnancy can be a fabulous experience. And it can be a terrific time too. It’s something we ought to remember, because if we don’t, it can cause much damage. We can quickly feel guilty for not feeling good. We can quickly feel that we are not good enough.
Society keeps telling us that we should only rejoice and be in the best mood, that carrying a baby in our womb is amazing, that many don’t have this chance, that the baby inside feels everything.
Morning sickness, depression, rising hormone levels, pelvic pain. We can all relate to this, at one stage or another. That does not make us bad mothers. It just reminds us that we are human beings, dealing with many thoughts and ideas, dealing with struggles which often show up again after many years of survival.
By the third ultrasound, my life was all upside down. I had already created a lake with all my tears. I had left my husband and the country I was living in. At the last ultrasound, I decided to ask whether it was a boy or a girl. I thought maybe this would help me to connect with my child, to reconnect.
But there was no miracle. I was still afraid of the life growing inside me. I lived through more downs than ups. I thought about giving my baby away when I was not thinking about taking my own life.
I could say that delivery changed it all, but it wouldn’t be true. I had a beautiful time. One of my best friends was with me. She cried with me, she suffered with me, she enjoyed this special time with me. I think I was on another planet.
Babies have the power to erase all things around them. You listen to their breath. You can watch them sleep for hours. And the world stops turning around. You feel safe for a while. I can say it was love at first sight. I loved this baby boy, as I started loving him the day I spotted the signs on the pregnancy test. But it felt quite unreal. Something was missing. I could not stop thinking about how this baby could love me back.
It lasted for two years. We were together and yet I could not put words on what we were living together. I was afraid of my baby boy. I was afraid of what I could miss with him. I was scared to hold him in my arms, to give him his bath. I could not stop thinking “it’s going to be easier when he’ll start walking, or talking”. I could not stop the flow of negative thinking “not good enough”. He was alive and I was almost dead.
It took me two years to realize that I was alive too.
One day I spotted both of us laughing, in front of the mirror in the living room. Life burst out of the room, out of our bodies, out of our hearts beating together again. I realized that we were both alive, that I was the best mum for him. By taking away everything that I believed in, life gave me a second chance, a chance I was willing to take care of.
How did it go for you? Did you suffer from depression after birth? Or did you enjoy the happiness of motherhood from the beginning?
This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Marie Kleber from France. Photo credit to the author.