‘How can I feel so much loss at a time I am the most grateful?’: Postpartum mom shares ‘paradoxical emotions’ after giving birth to second child

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“This isn’t my first postpartum, yet these past two weeks since Atticus arrived, I have never felt so many seemingly paradoxical emotions simultaneously; a duality of extremes.

I feel completely elated at our baby’s safe earth-side arrival and also utterly exhausted.

Nothing prepares you for how hard postpartum hits: bleeding, engorgement, surging hormones, brain fog, sore nipples, sleepless nights, intrusive thoughts, emptiness.

The emptiness of my baby no longer being in what felt like the safest place, closest to me, in the womb, away from the dramas of this wild, unpredictable world.

Emptiness met with the polarity of the most profound fullness witnessing my partner and son loving our baby so gently and so fiercely.

And with the colossal love for this new life comes grief our world has changed.

A sense of loss after 13 years of it just being my eldest son and me, a duo. It is not just us anymore. Our bond will alter, grow I am sure, but it won’t ever be like it was before.

And with the grief comes guilt. How can I feel so much loss at a time I am the most grateful?

I am grateful for all of this. Grateful for family, friends, support. Grateful I had a birth I had been dreaming of. Grateful we are all healthy.

The freedom I feel to dedicate my energy to this tiny human, to being the only inhabitant of my body once again is met with a strong fear.

What if I trip when I carry him? What if I fall asleep when he is feeding at night? What if I never get my career ‘back?’ What if this doesn’t feel how I thought it would? What if, what if, what if…

There are times I wonder how is it possible to feel so much bliss and so much ache all at once. I remind myself often this duality is part of being human, powerful and vulnerable, strong and afraid, joy and overwhelm. A beautiful mess.”

Postpartum mom holding her newborn baby on her chest, wearing a bra and underwear with a clothing rack in the back
Courtesy of Rachel Hobbs

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Rachel Anne Hobbs from Brighton, UK. You can follow her journey on InstagramSubmit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

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