I burst out laughing the moment she was born, because it did hurt, but it wasn’t terrifying. The pain didn’t offend me. I knew that this is my broken body’s portion of suffering for now; I knew I would heal.
I slept without her for the first two weeks, as part of our plan to mitigate my depression and I missed her like crazy. I held her all day long and wouldn’t give her up when my mom asked if I needed a break. I had that famous desire to stare at her for hours.
I shed some grief-stricken tears over my first month with her big sister, two years earlier. It was nothing like this. I was frightened and overwhelmed. I handed her off as soon as she’d nursed. These first few weeks, I worried about that beautiful toddler, as she slept alone in her room. Does she know how intensely I love her?
I’ve come to understand what other moms talk about—how it seems all they do is change diapers and fold laundry. It feels like that, and I have to resist stress and anxiety during the moments when I should be “getting something done.” I have this potentially unhealthy feeling of victory and euphoria when I manage a day’s tasks without falling apart. And when I don’t manage, the guilt still hounds me. But this is why I’m in therapy.