I want to be honest and upfront about something so many don’t talk about- postpartum depression and delayed bonding with a new baby. There’s such a stigma around this topic, especially with mamas like myself who have previously lost a child. “Cherish every moment” “Don’t take it for granted” “It goes by so quickly” “The newborn phase doesn’t last forever”.
We have to stop this narrative. We can cherish the existence of our infant, recognize how fleeting this time of our life is, and still be exhausted, frustrated, sometimes even indifferent. We can know it doesn’t last forever, and still struggle with now. These are normal postpartum feelings, we need to start acknowledging the guilt that these conflicting mindsets create, ESPECIALLY in bereaved mothers who’ve just welcomed a baby after loss.
Growing a being inside our body for an extended period of time is a feet in itself, but then we are thrown into the exhausting monotony of round the clock feedings, next to no sleep, ear piercing cries, and if you have other children, the need to be just as present for them.
Motherhood is hard, adjusting to a new normal is hard. The obligation, responsibility, physical changes, emotional sensitivity, anxieties, societal guilt. We are fielding so many expectations, inflicted on us by others, and ourselves. When we feel like our experience is not measuring up, in creeps guilt, sadness, even resentment. It can make the act of bonding with our new baby take longer, and so many don’t talk about it. I am.
It took me longer this time. I loved her, but Vallie was two months old before I felt an inherent attachment, before I truly bonded with her outside of obligation to genetics.
If you’re struggling with postpartum anxiety, depression, or indifference, please don’t feel ashamed. It does not make you a bad mother. It means you are a human being. Talk to your dr, find ways that work to manage your feelings. Ask for help from those around you. Give yourself grace, and understand that others feel this way too. Remind yourself that are doing the best you can do at this moment, and know that eventually it won’t be so hard.