‘I was uncomfortable holding my own baby. I didn’t know then the fog was just setting in.’: First time mom opens up about postpartum struggles

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“I want to go back and hug her.

I remember on the day of the newborn photoshoot, Ry asked if I wanted to take Finn at some point. I declined, uncomfortable holding my own baby. Being relieved when someone else had him because I wasn’t sure I was good enough to comfort him if he got upset. I was only too happy to pass him along so he didn’t feel quite so much ‘my’ responsibility. I had to leave the room when Ry was going to change him because my anxiety about him crying was too much.

I didn’t know then the fog was only just setting in. That it would be a couple of weeks before it lifted and in those weeks I would cry almost every day, feeling disconnected from this baby we had waited so long for. I was still pumping around the clock and struggling with the next steps of our feeding journey. I felt inadequate, like an ungrateful fraud. I was worried I’d never be happy again. Never enjoy my baby. Never truly love him like I felt I should.

I want to go back and tell her to believe people when they said it’ll get better. Tell her to put the pump down sooner and snuggle that little baby more. Gosh, I regret not snuggling him more. Tell her before she even realizes it, her love for this squishy little human will be endless. That he is in fact an incredibly happy and content little sausage. That Finn will want her, smile at her and be comforted by her because he knows she’s his mom. That she’ll sleep more and feel like her self, her new self, soon. To let go of all the expectations.

I honestly don’t remember much from those first weeks. I’ve been feeling a deep regret for not soaking it up more. Which made me realize I need to forgive this girl. Show her compassion and understanding. Accept that in those moments, she was truly doing the best she knew how to do. I cry typing this out. That’s how badly I need to embrace her and let the regret go.

Postpartum is hard. I just felt like I needed to type this all out in case anyone needs to hear it, too. Maybe you also need to embrace and be gentle with yourself. Motherhood is wonderful, overwhelming, beautiful and scary. We need to learn to be gentle with our becoming.”

New parents hold their newborn child during newborn photoshoot
Courtesy of Bronwyn Sherry

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Bronwyn Sherry of Johannesburg, South Africa. You can follow her journey on Instagram here and here. Submit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.

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