It’s so funny to think about what I was doing, and what I was feeling just one year ago. Packing hospital bags, preparing the nursery, cleaning every nook and cranny in the house. All the pregnancy pains and emotions surrounding our family that was going to become one person larger, and the sadness of leaving my old life behind.
It’s a year later and I’m feeling like I’m about to burst with emotion. I’m just a mixed bag right now. I’m still so upset with how the labor and delivery went and how I spent those first 6 weeks or so after Max was born, but I’m also just so damn happy with this little person I’m watching grow up.
I feel like I was robbed of a lot of bonding time with him. I don’t really have any memory of what he was like as a newborn, except from what I see in photos and videos. I didn’t hold him a lot because I was afraid of him (yep, I was afraid of my baby), I didn’t take any photos in the first few weeks(thankfully my mom did) because I couldn’t even bring myself to pick up my camera, unheard of I tell you.
This has been the hardest year of my life, hands down. None of this came easy. Not that I was expecting to jump right into parenting and know exactly what I was doing, but I didn’t expect it to be as hard as it was. A lot of parents say it Oh, it was love at first sight for us! It wasn’t at all. We were strangers to each other. Over time I fell head over heals in love with this guy, but it definitely took a lot of getting to know each other.
Part of me feels like I failed him (please know, that I know, I didn’t fail him). I wasn’t able to be there for him when he really needed me, all of me. Yeah, I was physically there and I was feeding him and changing his diapers but I wasn’t in the right state of mind. I felt like I couldn’t take care of him. I felt like something was going to happen if I was left alone with him. Of course nothing did happen, but that feeling is one I hope I never ever feel again.
When I think about all of the hurdles he’s jumped in his one year here, I can’t help but think about how if my labor went as I had hoped it would and he was brought into this world in a less traumatic way, he wouldn’t have had torticollis or plagiocephaly, and he never would have had to go to physical therapy or wear a corrective helmet. And I also can’t help but think that in his first few months of life when he would scream and cry for hours and hours it was because he was in pain. His head and neck were sooooo messed up, and I had no idea. There’s a little mommy guilt for ya. I wish I knew. Every parent wishes they knew what was wrong with their child. Neither of us had it easy. No parent has it easy.
I was so fogged by crippling depression and anxiety, I couldn’t function on my own. I felt like I couldn’t be by myself. I had this feeling of impending doom. I remember one night Rob had a meeting he had to go to and my mom was working so she couldn’t come be with me. I was absolutely hysterical when Rob left. Sobbing, and telling him I was afraid. He left, I cried some more. I called my mom, she talked me down. And then my friend Jenny called, who is a nurse practitioner and has two boys of her own. I don’t remember what she said but I just remember that she called just to check on me and she listened and was there.
If I could rewind and get a redo on the first few months of Max’s life I just might. I know everything happens for a reason and all that jazz, but damn sometimes I wish we had a different start.
Right now, what Max and I have, is the stuff I dreamed of. He’s my sidekick, my pal, my most favorite thing in the whole world. I seriously could not have imagined a better life than I have now. And I know it wouldn’t be this way had I not gone through what I did.