I loved Abie right from the start, there was no doubt about that. She was my tiny baby girl. She was such a precious gift to me, and nothing compared to her. I enjoyed feeding her, and dressing her, and holding her, and touching her, and kissing her. She was a joy in my life, and I was so thankful that she was mine to cherish.
But then why did I feel so horrible? My sorrow began the night we came home from the hospital. It started as just a mild distraction, but it quickly covered me like I was in a dream. It was almost like I was outside a foggy window, looking in at someone else's life.
I had expected to be a bit "unnerved" with the birth of my first child. The experience of childbirth, followed by the responsibility of a brand new baby, will frazzle even the most stable of souls (and I am not the most stable of souls). I mean, this is a huge life change, and one that involves tons of adjustment! Feeling this, I suspected that I was coming down with what is commonly known as the "Baby Blues". I imagined that after a very short while and a few shed tears, my "Abie Blues" would fade away, leaving me with hardly a bad memory.
But within a few days of my daughter's birth, I was a mess. Whenever Abie would cry, I would cry. Whenever Abie would sleep, I would cry. Whenever Abie would nurse, I would cry.
I couldn't force myself to eat. If I put a morsel of food into my mouth, I was literally unable to swallow it. The choking bump in my throat was so large, I thought for sure it was protruding out of my neck like a giant Adam's apple.
Trying to sleep sent me into a fit of hot and cold flashes. I would wake up freezing and shivering, and at the same time feel my whole body soaked in sweat. I tried to smile-- 'cause isn't that what new mommies are supposed to do?-- but it literally hurt my face to accomplish this small task.
I had troubling thoughts. Some of these were: "I have to do this for 18 more years?!"; "I will never sleep again!"; "Why the heck would anyone want to be mother?; and worst of all, "I will only feel better when I die....".
Nobody knew I hurt so damn bad! I was embarrassed to tell anyone --even my husband-- how agonized I really felt. I mean, I had no reason in the world to feel so low. But I did, and the heart inside my chest literally hurt.
I am not sure when I started to feel better. I do remember that I wasn't in this horrid state for too long. I remember the first week being one of complete despair, then the next couple weeks were a little less painful, and around a month later I was able to smile and say that I actually "liked" being a parent. I still felt a little "blue" and unnerved, but these negative feelings faded a bit more with each day.
I believe that by Abie's 2nd month of life, I was enjoying her to the fullest, and once again feeling like my old self. Actually, I was better than I my old self. I was a new mommy, a new person, a new self. And I loved it!
How did I find my way out of the Abie Blues?
I slept. Sleep? What's that? I never thought I would suffer so much from lack of sleep as I did those first weeks as a new mom. I was a walking zombie. One night I finally just lay down on our bed, shut the door to our room, and let my mother, God bless her, walk Abie around all night. Mom would wake me up to nurse, but then I would go back to sleep. I felt guilty for letting my mom stay up with my new baby, but there seemed to be no other way to save my sanity. That night, I got 6 or 7 hours of sleep (as opposed to the broken 2 or 3 or 4) and it did wonders!
I prayed. I begged God to give me strength for each day. After all, His mercies are new every morning :) I also found myself thanking God for Abie, and for the opportunity to be her mommy.
I accepted help. I learned that I was not as rough and tough as I had always imagined myself to be. I allowed other people to clean my house, or run errands, or do the laundry, or walk the baby. I even had to learn to ask for help at times....this was a rough lesson.
I left things undone. Yes, sometimes my dishes sat in the sink for a while longer so that I could tend to a needy baby.
I eventually told someone about my feelings. Once Adam knew what I was going through, he had an idea on how he could help me. And, confessing my pain got everything out in the open so I was no longer harboring it all inside.
I had to allow time to take its toll. It took some time to adjust. I couldn't expect everything to happen in one day.
As I write this, Abie is 4 1/2 years old, and she is still my cherished, precious baby. The only blue thing I see about her now are her big, blue eyes. Ok, cheesy I know, but I am allowed. I am her mommy :)