The Truth about Post-Birth

I was hurting. My mind, my body. The inside of my cells felt like they were shrivelling up. 

I was dirty. Skin cells clumping together, oily hair and dried blood. 

The idea of what my life would look like now, after giving birth, shattered. Little pieces of me falling to my hospital bed side. Hot, light and lonely, even with my mother next to me. This baby is depending on me and I have no fucking idea what I am supposed to do. I have been awake for almost three days now, I have been in pain, pain that made my body burn and my legs lift and twinge. I was crawling out of my skin. I just want to sleep and I don’t want to hear it cry. Leave me alone. 

baby

This is not what I was expecting to feel. Emotionally distraught and confused are not emotions that are spoken post birthing experience. I was supposed to be happy and ‘in love.’ But I wasn’t. 

Day 1. How am I supposed to love a creature that has made me feel this way? This little face staring at me, sticking his tongue out, licking his lips. Already needing me. Not even giving me a second to breathe. To grasp the event that just took place or the new world that lay flat, wide and hard in front of me.

boob

I stopped feeling. I couldn’t fathom the life that lay ahead of me. I couldn’t let the emotions flood out of me or I would never make it. I could only allow small, controlled feelings simmer slowly off the lips, “He’s so cute.”

My partner, excited to upload our first Facebook photo of our new baby! I was not. What do I say? “Hi guys, I feel like shit. Here is my weird looking baby.” 

On day 2, post birth, I finally picked up my phone because of the numerous text messages lighting up the room, yelling at me, “MEAGAN, come back to the real world!”

phone

I couldn’t even swipe right to go into the chat, instead reading them off the notifications screen, Have you popped? Is he here? I can’t wait to meet him : ). I love you! Where are you?

I throw the phone to the end of the bed and continue breastfeeding. 

Why do I feel so betrayed? Like somebody tricked me into having a baby. Like it wasn’t my decision, and I didn’t answer my boyfriend, “Yes, I really want to have this child,” who asked, “Are you really sure, like really really 100% sure?” 

“YES I am sure.”

The first time I held my son I felt high. High with mixed emotions (and a bit of the epidural). High that I created a human being! I grew a person! 

dear bear letter 9

But then I lost it. Where did the overwhelming rainbow feeling go? I lay in bed with my 2 day old son who keeps licking his lips at me. He doesn’t love me. He doesn’t know who I am. He just wants milk. 

Here, have your damn milk. My nipples sting.

Day 3 post birth, my mom tells me to take a shower. She said I would feel better, “you’ll feel refreshed! I’ll watch the baby, don’t worry.” I respond, “He might need more milk!” 

“Go, get in the shower.”

I enter the bathroom and can’t even face looking in the mirror, or worse, looking down at my stomach. Who fucking knows what’s happened down there.

I stepped into the shower, accidentally glanced down and winced. I put my elbow and fingers into the water, it felt so new. Almost as if I had never been in a shower before. 

shower

I slowly let my head fall back into the waterfall. The hot water hitting my shoulder blades and back muscles, releasing every stress hormone and idea about birth, about life, about my body, about feeling trapped, about my nipples hurting, about my hands swelling, about my confusion about love.

Love is not supposed to hurt. My body starts shaking and I can’t stand any longer. The catheter bag making a weird noise as the drops of water fell onto the plastic. I start crying and crying and crying. 

But my crying was saving me. I was letting go. 

You wouldn’t have ever thought in that deeply dark moment that over the next few months I would grow to love my son so much I feel as though I have another heart. A new found love for him, and for people in general. Who would’ve known that you have to fall in love with your own child?

But in that moment, I was letting go of my former self. I am not Meagan anymore. The water washing all of the good and bad times of my former life. I am now Meagan and I am a mum. 

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73 thoughts on “The Truth about Post-Birth

  1. Your words resonated with me so much. This is how I felt in the first days after birth. Shell shocked, on the edge, anxious and over the scale emotional. More women need to be honest about those first few days and weeks. I had no idea what was to come. #stayclassymama

  2. LOVE THIS. What an honest post about the fact that not everyone feels wonderful and in love after giving birth. My most overwhelming feeling after having a baby was relief – thank f*** that’s over. I had no appreciation for the fact that it was just beginning of the craziest journey of my life. #stayclassymama

  3. Wow – what a great post! I had a rough go with my first baby as well, but not until I got home and realized she wasn’t a sleeper and she wasn’t happy unless she was nursing. It’s great to read that others have those emotional/hormonal overwhelms as well. Those feeling still happen to me (my kids are 5 and 8 now!) and sometimes I good cry really does help me move past whatever pent-up emotions are driving me crazy. Thanks for sharing.
    #StayClassyMama

  4. This is a really well written post. It is so honest. You capture the feelings of many and actually, I think that many new mums reading this would feel relieved that it ‘isn’t just them’. ‘Love shouldn’t hurt’ – powerful stuff. Alison x #StayClassyMama

  5. This is such an important post, we have got to start thinking about afterbirth and the support that’s essential, after all it IS a recovery (: #stayclassymama

  6. This is incredibly powerful and moving. It is terribly hard and almost frightening to lose yourself in those first few days, I wasn’t exactly the same but similar. I had an awful moment where I realised I didn’t recognise my own body. I literally could not compute that I was looking at my own skin. It freaked me out so bad I went on a massive health kick and thankfully managed to find myself again, but it was very upsetting for a long time. Love you for sharing this xx #stayclassymama

  7. This is so beautiful! Such an honest post. It can be so hard, no one can prepare you for it! There is nothing like a good cry to let it all out, to start letting go. Good for you mama!
    #StayClassyMama

  8. I love this, it made me really emotional! Nobody really tells you about that part, the part where you feel like death and resentful to the tiny baby who made you feel like your insides are falling out. The bond isn’t always instant and that’s okay, it’s important that more women share that. Thank you. #stayclassymama

  9. I think if you put that comment up on fb you still would have got hundreds of likes. I like the honesty of this. People* are so weird about birth. Everyone does it, the kids grow up and people still bang on about it like it was some major achievement for them…meh. *Actually I mean women – men don’t do it. #StayClassyMama

  10. Oh honey. What a heart wrenching read. That’s EXACTLY how I felt after the birth of my first. How the hell was i supposed to keep him alive and why couldn’t i just have a break after such a traumatic event!!! It’s like the worst time to have a baby….right after giving birth! I’d spent a week in hospital trying to be induced, not sleeping and then went head on into an 18 hour labour. I was out of my mind by the time he arrived…in no fit state to look after anything. it was terrifying and awful. But, yeah then you slowly adjust and you can never imagine a world without them again. #StayClassyMama ps I love your cardie in the bio pic! Xxxx

  11. Fantastic honest post! I do not remember the first days/weeks/months!
    I do remember not crying when my boy arrived, just thinking ‘what next?’. It took a long time to refer to him as my son, he was just referred to as baby, infact that’s why I call him monster.
    It’s such a mind fuck having a baby, emotionally, psychologically, physically! Argh! #stayclassymama

  12. This is brilliantly written. So much more powerful to me because you are usually so flippant and funny. Everytime someone admits that parenting is not easy, it gets easier for all of us. #Stayclassymama

  13. Yes! I can definitely relate to this. I was warned about the ‘baby blues’ but I wasn’t warned that every single part of my body and mind would feel completely broken. Thank you for sharing this. #stayclassymama

  14. What a fantastic and honest post I’m sure a lot of women will relate to. When I had my second baby, we went home the very same day. That night when he was crying to bed fed, I was exhausted and just willed him to stop. I just couldn’t believe I’d had another baby just 18 months after having my first. It all felt too full on. What had we done? Thankfully those thoughts passed after a few decent nights’ sleep and he’s the most adorable smily baby that we all adore. You don’t believe your heart can expand that much, especially after the shock of meeting them and wondering who the hell they are. Thanks for your lovely post #stayclassymama

  15. This was such an emotive post and one that many will resonate with including myself! Nothing prepares you for the way you will feel after that initial elation of getting through childbirth and creating another person, the relationship is not instantaneous and needs to blossom and develop like any other. The love you have for your child is like no other but that does not mean it comes easily as your post so beautifully demonstrates. This is the best post I have read about this subject, thank you for sharing xxxxxx

  16. Wow. Beautifully honest. It’s so close to how I felt post-birth. It’s something you just don’t expect. My daughter was an ivf baby so I the thought of people knowing how I felt was terrifying. The love comes though, and I think it’s more intense for the gradual build.

  17. LOVE! I remember sitting on my bed and crying, saying I wanted to go back to the hospital where it was quiet. And I could prete3nd I was in another world. Sometimes it takes us a while to take it all in. ANd that’s OK. #stayclassymama

  18. Love this line “Hi guys, I feel like shit. Here is my weird looking baby.” its sooo true! Everyone is all over the shop wanting you to be all thrilled and happy and taking photos and its actually like ‘woah this is not what I expected, what is happening…?’. I just wanted everyone to go away and stop being so enthusiastic lol. Lovely photo of you and Bear #stayclassymama

  19. Beautiful post! We must all felt like that at some point! But in the end you made it. I remember the early days: I was both happy and scared. When my mum had to go back to France , Grumpy Boyfriend dropped her at the station and I remember shitting myself! I was going to be on my own with my little baba! But it was ok. My body is still not the same but I am not worried about it anymore. I am just used to it in the end x Off to share! such a great post

  20. My sister, who had her first child one year before I had mine, gave me the best advice I could have gotten: Don’t be surprised if you don’t love your baby right away. It was a gift, I tell you. Because I wasn’t one of those over the moon, #blessed moms right after birth. It was such a physical and emotional experience and it did take a while. Thanks for your honesty. #globalblogging

  21. Great post! I think there is too much “Hollywood” put into our heads and we imagine this perfect scene in which your baby absolutely adores you, which is not usually how it pans out. I had an awful birth which resulted in a blood transfusion and I found it both physically and emotionally draining to try to build a bond with my baby straight away. #globalblogging

  22. The first week or 2 I just focused on keeping the baby alive. It took a while, but now she is the best thing in my life ever and I don’t know what I do without her. #globalblogging

  23. Beautiful. It can be such a hard time that so few people talk about. I remembering feeling like I’d been in a train crash for days. So glad to hear that you were able to get through it all. #GlobalBlogging

  24. I think it’s often overlooked just how traumatic giving birth is and the fact there is really not any mental or physical recovery time. It’s just a case of ‘You had a baby, get over it, get out of hospital quick sharp you’re taking a up a space, go home and face the sea of people waiting for you and die in the overwhelmingness of it all.’
    After my eldest was born I remember being in the hospital room with my husband, my mother and nan. They were all crowding round the baby whilst I was trying to get to her dressed and all of a sudden the room caved in and I felt so overwhelmed and hot and couldn’t breathe, in hindsight I recognise I was having a panic attack (I’ve never had one before) and it was terrifying. I just had to get out of the hospital in the fresh air and I couldn’t get out quick enough. I wont even get started on the second birth and the damage she caused my vagina! 🙂

  25. The post birth shower is amazing!! I had a C-section with the twins so the shower was all a bit of a painful mess but wow did I feel better afterwards. I love the photo of you and baby skin-to-skin, beautiful! #globalblogging

  26. Beautiful post, it is very Oliver’s helming at the start, sometimes you need to have a cry to help you get rid of that build up of emotion #globalblogging

  27. EXACTLY. There really should be a counselor or something there to talk you through your new reality. It’s insane I don’t blame you for having a panic attack! Don’t scare me about the second one noooo! Lol : )

  28. Your comment worked I had to approve first thank you for reading! I too felt shocked that they were going to leave me ALONE with this random baby lol ; )

  29. I don’t think anyone could prepare you for how you feel after birth because every woman’s experience is different. I remember the first shower, looking at my deflated stomach and feeling like I was in somebody else’s body #globalblogging

  30. That was a very honest and open write up of your experience after birth. It’s great that there are people like you that are willing to share it as it helps people to understand that it’s not just all peaches and roses! #Globalblogging

  31. It’s so hard trying to keep a part of your old self and the new mum in you. This post resonated with me and I completely get how you felt. I had an episiotomy so couldn’t have a hot bubble bath or just a bath for more than 5 minutes before affecting the stitches. Just that simplicity affected me so much. Thanks for sharing!
    #globalblogging

  32. Great written post!! And it threw me back 11 years!!! OMG, how I remember this feelings!
    At day 2 I break down and cried all day long!
    Well, now this baby boy is almost 11 years old and the sunshine of my life!
    #Globalblogging

  33. Oh the emotional ups and downs of those very early days. I had a tough time with my first child, compared to whom, my second child was a breeze. I know people always say that but I just didn’t think that would happen to me. Your story is beautiful even with all that is going on and it is only in hindsight that we reflect on everything that goes on and all the smells, sights, sounds, and memories associated with it. Sometimes everything sucks (literally too) and other times everything just seems butterflies and cakes. #stayclassymama

  34. Wow, this was really raw and honest. I felt traumatised for a long time – for no specific reason really – after the birth of my first child. I found the birth of the second one healing in a weird kind of way – like I was able to forgive myself for the first one.

    #GlobalBlogging

  35. Aw thank you for this lovely comment, I have faith the next one will be easier (I think it’s good that I’m even considering another one)!

  36. what a lovely and honest post about post birth feelings and thoughts. This is exactly how I felt after the birth to my little boy #globalblogging

  37. What a fantastic, honest and emotion-filled post! Emotions after having a baby go a little wild and it’s hard to know what hit you! Great post #globalbloggingc

  38. Thanks so much for sharing such an honest and raw post. Nothing quite prepares you for how you feel after birth. Such an overwhelming mixture of pain, confusion and exhaustion. You’re right though, somewhere along the line you fall head over heals in love with your child and you would do it all again in a heartbeat. #globalblogging

  39. Very brave of you to share and also very important for other new mums know thats they are not alone to experience these feelings. It feels so wrong to feel like this but so common. Of course in some cases continuing these feelings can be a precursor to PND, hopefully it appears this wasn’t the case for you. Those moments just after birth hold a massive transition and it can be so difficult. Thank you for sharing this.

  40. Such an honest post. The first day after I had my baby, I imagined all my family visiting us in hospital, having cuddles and lots of photos. I then had a 3 day labour, emergency c-section and was trying to get to grips with breastfeeding. In the end I declined all visitors to the hospital – even my mum, who I think was quite upset about that, and which I do regret now – but at that time, I could barely move, I had no suitable clothes as I was in hospital a lot longer than expected, and was basically sitting with my boobs out. As soon as I got home, had a shower and washed my hair, I felt normal again and ready to welcome everyone to meet the baby. It’s a time in your life that is so strange, you can’t explain it until you’ve been through it #GlobalBlogging

  41. I like this post and the raw honesty of it. Everyone experiences the whole birth/motherhood thing differently. I was jubilant at my sons’ births (not during, after) because I was not one of those glowing pregnant mothers-to-be. I honestly disliked being pregnant, all three times. For me the birth was the end and beginning and I was so anxious for the beginning to start that there was no room for anything but sheer relief.
    #GlobalBlogging

  42. Oh Meagan, I had no idea you had such a rough time after Bear was born. I loved reading your account and even though I was lucky enough to have nice births and pos birth I can still relate with a lot of what you describe. You are certainly a mum but I think it is also important that you don’t lose sight of Meagan the woman. xxx #GlobalBlogging

  43. Wow, I could literally copy and paste this as my own birth story with my first. Why is this not spoken about more? Why is this a taboo subject? This is so so important. Post birth especially first time can be so difficult, physically and mentally. We are asked if we need pain killers and scars and bleeding are checked but that’s it. I was a complete mess and then stuck in hospital for 2 weeks as my daughter was 5 weeks early. It took me a long time to recover, which even now, 4 years later makes me feel so much guilt, like I wasn’t doing a good enough job for my baby.
    I’m so glad you wrote this, some things need to change.
    What I will say, is my second time was soooooooooo much different, much more like it is in the movies 🙂 Which helped me find some closure.
    #stayclassymama

  44. A beautiful post which brought back many painful memories as if they were only yesterday yet 13 years have past since my youngest was born. Birth is an extraordinary and wonderful thing and takes your body and your mind on a plethora of emotional journeys. Cheers to all us mums. #globalblogging

  45. I have had three babies and birth is always a huge relief for me as I detest pregnancy (yes detest!). I kind of feel on top of the world, knackered but still on top of the world! But this is such a beautiful and honest post and this feeling of betrayal often hits me a few days in, when I’m struggling to breastfeed on very little sleep. #globalblogging

  46. That’s good to hear I really do hope the second one is better and more “movie like” lol, thanks for commenting!

  47. What a stunningly beautiful, refreshingly honest and well written post. The second time is easier, but there is nothing to compare to the bewilderment of giving birth the first time x

  48. What a truly beautiful and honest post! It’s so true that you have to fall in love with your child. I was so glad to read that you did eventually fall in love Meagan. Thank you so much for sharing. xxx
    #fortheloveofBLOG

  49. Wow I feel honoured that you would share your personal story with all of us ‘strangers’ and know that you are not alone, the first days, weeks are all about survival and getting to terms with your new reality. Thank you for sharing! #fortheloveofBlogs

  50. Brilliant post. Such raw emotion in there from you. It’s such a HUGE undertaking growing and giving birth to a child then having look after it and keep it alive. Its pretty crazy. Thanks for linking to #fortheloveofBlog

  51. Aaah, this is one of the best things I’ve ever read!!!! I’ve actually just written a similar post, but it was a commissioned post, and they asked me to keep it more ‘light hearted,’ but the original looked a lot like this. This is the absolute truth, the totally, devastating, I can’t take this back now, truth. I felt exactly the same. I remember just sitting on the toilet, thinking ‘what did I do, what did I do, what did I do?’ Over and over. I also sent a blanket message to everyone who had text me, saying ‘I’ve had the most perfect little boy, and I’m totally in love.’ It was a total f***ing lie. I felt like my life had ended. And I hated that I did that because society expected me to be happy. That’s one of the reasons I started my blog-I needed a place to be honest about how I really felt. That’s why I love pieces like this-this is something I think needs to be made way more socially acceptable than it is, and you’re honesty is amazing. I read a post recently where someone said ‘I felt like I was sold a fairytale, and delivered a monster.’ That summed up those early days for me. Xx
    #bigpinklink

  52. I love this post- so honest and really saying what I think we have all felt at one stage or another..it’s the resentment of having to give ourselves over to another being when we have always been able to do whatever we wanted the way we wanted to before. Thanks so much for sharing this on #coolmumclub another fab post. xoxo

  53. Well in a way maybe it is good you read it! I would say have no expectations! On a very positive note, I am so in love with my son now I can barely stand it! (Cheesy but true haha)❤️

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