I am not sure if every new mom feels this way, or that after suffering from years of infertility, I romanticized the idea of pregnancy and motherhood so much, that when things got bumpy, I was wholly unprepared. I felt this way when saddled with hyperemesis. I am feeling this way now as I am finding my way as a new mom.
When D first came home from the hospital, he was a happy, sleepy boy ( as I suspect most newborns are). We were home for exactly 5 days until all hell broke loose. It was a Friday ( which we still refer to as "that Friday" as we shudder in remembrance) We had been at MIL's house. We got home, D woke up in his car seat. It was 7:00. He started crying , nope scratch that, he started SCREAMING, and he did not stop until 2:30 Saturday morning. We tried everything. EVERYTHING. This type of screaming went on for the next several days. Even though my baby was a mere week old, I knew these were screams of pain. In that moment I also knew that I had completely underestimated just how hard motherhood really is. He would cry and I would cry. To see my boy in pain brought me the worst pain I have ever known. By Tuesday, we were off to the pediatrician. We added Mylicon, reflux meds, and made a switch to soy. These changes seem to be helping a bit, but now D is constipated, so I fear another switch may be in the future. I long so very much to just make things right and comfortable for him. I suspect this is the first of many times that I will wish that I could take on his pain for him.
I am no stranger to having "extra" hormones running through my body. I have shot up with so much "stuff" over the years that I thought I would be able to better handle the post-partum hormonal phase. Truth be told, as I battled some depression during my pregnancy ( due to being so sick) I was a little nervous about PPD, but again, I completely underestimated the range of emotions I would feel. After about three days, I started to get a bit weepy, but what I did not expect was the gripping anxiety I would feel. Now, I am a worrier by nature, I am anal, I am a planner and admittedly I get uptight when things do not go according to plan. However, I have never been an anxious person, and oh my, I became riddled with it. I think I went over a week and a half with out ever really sleeping. I could not eat, I could not sit still, being in the house and hearing D cry made me anxious, leaving for a little while made me even more so. There were points when I truly felt as if a 100 pound weight was sitting on my chest; I simply could not breathe. I am still terribly anxious, but it is not nearly as severe as it had been. To say I felt like I had been blind-sided is a huge understatement.
This next thought may seem awful, but did not expect to have fleeting moments of missing my old life. Infertility, and the pain associated with it aside, R and I have led a pretty charmed life. We are pretty financially stable, we are both teachers used to having our summers off where we would vacation, float around the pool and have cocktails pool-side when we felt like it. There were many lazy summer afternoon naps in the shade, dinners out, and if I had the urge to treat myself to a pedicure, well... I just went and got one. Now, don't get me wrong. I would not trade motherhood for anything in the world. NEVER. I just did not expect to even momentarily feel like I was missing out. Come to find out, in many conversations with friends, pretty much everyone has had those moments of "what the hell did we do to our life?" It just seems that no one ever talks about it. Well, I am talking about it and it makes me feel guilty as hell, but it is the truth.
My final underestimation is love. And using the word love in itself is an underestimation. We all love our children- that I was prepared for. But what I feel for D when I peer over him as he peacefully sleeps in his crib, or when he looks up at my face while I am feeding him, or I pick him up and he turns his head to the sound of my voice- love is just a fraction of what I feel. When I see my husband rock , sing, and read to our boy, what I feel towards my husband and our new family- love does not even begin to cut it. I did not expect to feel such powerful, all encompassing emotions. My two men- one big and one very small truly mean everything to me.