Five years ago, I sat in the hospital nursery, staring at my beautiful newborn son. It was less than 24 hours since I gave birth. In the past 10 months, I had a new husband, new job, new family, and now I had a brand new baby too. And I remember feeling ecstatic but exhausted; feeling like laughing and crying at the same time; feeling excited about motherhood but also feeling melancholic because I had to let go of many parts of the old, pre-mama me. I felt proud of myself, for pushing out a 7.2lb human out of my very own vagina but at the same time, questioning if I had the actual balls to raise a child. The list goes on.
I remember asking the nurse to teach me how to hold him. And as she placed my son in my arms, I remember feeling overwhelmed, my heart pumping like crazy as I tried to hold back tears. I had pictured this moment in my head a million times, but here I was, right smack in the middle of it, and the only thought running through my head was – F*ck. I’m not good enough for this.
I asked the nurse to teach me how to help my baby latch on for breastfeeding. And after a few tries, I started feeling like a huge failure. I shifted my chair and faced the wall, afraid that the nurses, that the other parents in the room have judged me. And I sat silently crying and telling my son to please please please just drink my goddamn milk, and as if he understood my whispered pleas, he started feeding and after a couple of minutes, stopped, and gave me this big, beautiful smile. And amidst a flood of tears and noisy sniffling, I snorted out a laugh.
And I knew then, this baby, this tiny, helpless, noisy, semi-belligerent human being, had unfathomable power over me. And in that highly emotional, confused state, I was certain of one thing: I loved this baby more than anything or anyone else in the world.
On the day, the nurses showed me how to bathe my baby, I cowered behind my husband. The feeling of being incapable to be given such a monumental task of taking care of another human being was overwhelmingly real. My hands were sweaty, trembling and I was an emotional and mental mess that when they asked me to comb his hair, I cried. I f*ck*ng cried. I knew everyone thought those were tears of joy, but really, tears for fears would have been a far more accurate description.
When we got out of the hospital, I was a happy spectator rather than a doting participant. I was tremendously relieved when my mother or my sister or my husband or anyone else for that matter would take my son.
Before my Mama Hat, I wore my Events and Marketing Hat with far more courage and bravado. Rubbed shoulders with famous personalities and even met the president of the country without breaking a sweat and batting an eyelash. Yet, there I was, a quivering mess of disoriented mama jelly, scared sh*tless of my very own tiny human.
Don’t get me wrong. Again, I knew I loved my son. I just wasn’t so sure about myself. Would I ever be the perfect mother I was in my imaginations? Would I be enough?
Post partum depression is real. Nobody just talks about it because everybody just expects you to wear your Mama hat as if it was as easy as that, wearing a hat. Or putting on a tshirt. Motherhood, or parenthood, is like any other adventure: preparation is the key to success.
Today, I sit in my messy kitchen, watching my beautiful, gregarious, smart-mouth five year old wreak havoc in the living room. And if only I could turn back time, I will give myself a hug and tell my weepy new mama self, “It’s going to be okay”.
To all the new Mama’s out there, stay-at-home or working, millenials or not-so-millenials, you are not alone. And yes, it’s going to be okay. You are going to be okay and your adorable screaming baby will turn out just fine. 😉