“My whole life, I dreamed of becoming a mother. It was the only consistent dream of mine throughout the years. I grew up surrounded by children, which also encouraged this dream. I am the eldest of 13+ grandchildren, and I have a brother who is 10 years younger. I was always in the presence of babies and children. Once I was of working age, I began babysitting, which progressed to me working in daycares and summer camps, which then lead to me becoming a Pediatric Occupational Therapist. Kids were my life, and I could not wait to have a child of my own.
I assumed motherhood would come naturally to me, especially working in pediatrics and with kiddos with disabilities. I thought I had a good sense of realistic expectations. I was more than ready, and getting pregnant came easily for my husband and me. I also had no doubts about my husband’s ability to be a fantastic father. I thought it would all be a breeze.
I always heard other mothers talk about how they fell in love instantly with their children. ‘It was love at first sight!’ ‘It was the best day of our lives!’ I genuinely thought I would feel the exact same way, I was so excited. Spoiler alert, it was not the best day of my life.
At my 36-week ultrasound appointment, we discovered my daughter was breech. This was devastating news to me. I had planned on an all-natural birth and this would mean I would need a C-section. All of a sudden, I felt myself getting mad and angry with my unborn daughter. Why wouldn’t she flip? Why was she being so stubborn? Was this a glimpse into my future with a sassy daughter? Obviously, I knew it was ridiculous to feel upset with your unborn child, but I could not help myself. I did everything in my power to flip her. I did all of the tricks outside of an ECV (my OB scared me out of it). She never flipped.
The way I coped with the idea of having a C-section, for me, was to take back a little bit of control with the situation. I requested my arms not be strapped down, I wanted immediate skin to skin, and I wanted to be with her as soon as she was out. I went into labor on my own, dilated to 10 cm within 2 hours, and had an emergency C- section. The C-section went smoothly, but I was on the verge of a panic attack the entire time. My anxiety was at an all-time high. I couldn’t breathe and kept asking about my oxygen levels. The bright white surgery room was spinning, and all I found myself caring about was keeping my sh*t together.
They pulled her out, and I was unfazed. They asked if I wanted her, and I said no. They took her over to get cleaned up and checked out. They brought her back to me and asked if I wanted her again, and again I said no. I was shocked at my own response, but I was so overwhelmed I just couldn’t bear the thought.
Once we were back in the recovery room, things settled down and became more normal. I settled into breastfeeding and it seemed like we were going through the motions just fine. I was very anxious to get home and to begin to feel normal again. C-section recovery is not for the faint of heart. I could barely move and barely take care of my daughter for the first 3 days outside of breastfeeding. It was all very hazy, even though I refused pain medication. After 3 days we were finally sent home.
The joke was on me, thinking getting home would make me feel more at peace. Once I was home, I was able to reflect more on my feelings of becoming a mother, and they were not this pretty fairy tale I had envisioned. Once I sat back to think I discovered…
‘I did not immediately fall in love with my daughter.’
‘Her birth was not the best day of my life.’
‘I did not have an overwhelming sense of unconditional love for her.’
‘I could 100% imagine life without her.’
What was wrong with me? Was I the worst mother to ever live? How could I possibly feel this way?
The lack of sleep and unpredictability did not help my situation, especially with my type-A personality. My thoughts began to spiral. I shared them with my husband, but I was really embarrassed to express my feelings outside of him. I had my 1-week appointment with my OB and my aunt came with me to help me. I remember on the car ride there she said, ‘Can you believe you can love something so much?’ I had to genuinely say no. I did not feel this way. I had love for her, but I was not drowning in love for her. I was more so resenting her. Again, I felt like the worst person ever.
I have a very specific memory of taking my dog outside to go to the bathroom and these bad thoughts began to run through my mind. Not only did I NOT have an overwhelming sense of love for my daughter right away, but I felt this sort of impending doom of being a mother. As I stood there I thought to myself…
‘You will never truly get a break again.’
‘You have lost your freedom forever.’
‘There is no end to this life event, being her mother is forever.’
‘You will never feel normal again.’
These feelings added to how bad of a mother I must have been. Who resents their sweet angelic baby? Who doesn’t love their baby? Who wishes for their freedom back?
As time went on, and as I was able to get more sleep in, my feelings slowly changed. I began expressing my feelings little by little to other mothers I knew. At my nail appointment, my nail tech told me not to worry, and she didn’t love her child either until her child was about 1 year old. I felt immediate relief.
Although my unconditional love did grow, it did not grow as quickly as I had hoped. I loved her more and more every day, but my resentment for my loss of freedom stayed. I did LOVE my child, I just didn’t have this obsession with her I saw other mothers portraying. Somewhere between the ages of 12-18 months, my love grew exponentially. Her personality evolved and I was able to bond and interact with her. This was what I needed to grow the relationship and find that overwhelming motherly love everyone always talked about.
My daughter is now 2.5 and I can confidently say she is the love of my life. I am absolutely obsessed with her and love her unconditionally. My path was uniquely my own, and I am not a bad mother for taking a road less taken.
My path to motherhood did not look like other mothers on social media, but I know there are other mothers who did suffer through the same experiences as me. If I would have known this path was a possibility before I gave birth, maybe I would not have been as hard on myself. Knowing someone else feels the same way, gives you a sense of comfort and assurance. I hope by sharing my story, I am able to help expecting mothers, as well as current mothers not feel alone. The transition to motherhood is a bumpy ride, and no one can prepare you for it.
I am not a bad mother for my postpartum feelings. My love took time, and that is okay.
All of our experiences look and feel different. It is still special because it is ours.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Lauren Osaer, OTRL, from Grosse Pointe Woods, MI. You can follow their journey on Instagram and TikTok. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
Read more honest motherhood journeys here:
‘You’re in early labor. You’d be crawling on the ground reaching for drugs otherwise.’: Mom encourages women to ‘find their voice’ during childbirth after ‘begging’ husband not to let hospital send her home
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