As soon as the midwife held up my son after an uncomplicated, relatively short (8 hour) labour, I knew something was very, very wrong.
I had expected a girl; in fact I was convinced it was a girl for a number of reasons. My mother in law who I have become quite close to as she never had a daughter has terminal Cancer, having lost her husband to the same illness only 18 months ago. The last 2 years of all of our lives have been extremely turbulent with everything positive such as our wedding and arrival of W always being tarnished by something terrible. She’d said to me that she would love a granddaughter and joked that we would name it after her and my mum in a double barrel form; Susan-Lynda…never going to happen.
Due to the circumstances around her physical health, I became convinced that I could provide her with this baby girl that would bring her such joy. I listened to all the old wives tales about signs of baby being a girl like having bad skin but no morning sickness and I honestly just couldn’t imagine being a mother to a little boy.
So, when the midwife presented W and my husband was glowing with pride and love, I immediately felt a sense of failure and darkness that my mother in law would die without the granddaughter she so desperately wanted.
We’d got a girls name set in stone but boys names hadn’t even been shortlisted. He was simply ‘the baby’ and I felt nothing towards him whatsoever; no love, no emotion, no recognition, nothing.
I struggled to understand his needs and found myself resentful towards him for not fulfilling the expectation I’d had.
We decided on a name around 1 week after W was born but when I looked at him, I couldn’t identify him by his name or as my baby or as a tiny human being I needed to look after. After 4 weeks, nothing had changed and I wished beyond anything that I’d never gotten pregnant and I was living the same life as before. I simply didn’t want him.
It’s taken me the best part of 6 months, 9 weeks of those in hospitals, to finally look at him and instinctively recognise him as W, yet I still struggle to believe that I am a mum and he is mine. When will that feeling fade? I don’t know if it will; however what I do wonder is, is it really that unnatural to feel complete bewilderment that this little person is mine? That my body produced him and his tiny hands and feet and eyes? I don’t think it is – sometimes there are events in life that you can’t believe ever really happened but it doesn’t make me a bad mum; it just means that I’m so in awe of W that I cannot fathom how on earth I managed it!
So, if you feel a little like this; don’t feel alone. Speak to professionals and be brutally honest – the first step of feeling stronger is admitting that you need help.