I fell pregnant with Willow in October 2015. She was a surprise to us as we were told that it was not possible for us to fall pregnant naturally. Fast forward 41 weeks and I bought Willow into this world in July 2016. I had a pretty sh*tty pregnancy – in fact, I actually hated it.
At no point throughout those months did I have mental acknowledgement that my baby was a real baby. I saw her in scans, I felt her move, but to me, she was something so foreign. People would ask if I was excited to meet her, so I lied. I was excited for the pregnancy to be over. I ended up going over so I was induced, 15 hours of natural labor before an emergency caesarean. Still at no point did I feel anything for this human that I was about to give birth to. My husband would tell me how in love he was with our little girl but I didn’t get it.
How could you love something that you have never seen? I didn’t get.
She was lifted up to be shown to me and I was so off it, I didn’t even see her. She was there, but I wasn’t. They asked if I wanted to see her and I said yes but I still did not acknowledge her as mine. Greg held her next to me and I just looked at her, blankly as if she wasn’t mine. I was taken to recovery and they put her on my chest to do skin to skin.
Here, they would say. Feed her, try and get her to feed from you. I did, but I didn’t feel anything. I cried, but I cried because I was traumatised. I was in hospital for four days and I just functioned. I fed her, I changed her, I held her but I did it like it was routine. Did I love her? I’m going to be honest and say I don’t know. What is it supposed to feel like? I had heard that it’s a love that you have never felt before but where was mine? At times I would ask the midwife if I should be feeling something and she told me that it would come when I was ready.
Right, OK. So I’ll just wait then.
We got home and I continued to go through the motions. Feed, change her, hold her but when I stared at her, I felt empty. I would sit in the shower and cry. Ahhh, it’s the hormones, it will pass. But when? I would cry every night in that shower – every single night without fail. I put up a facade that I was so happy but I wasn’t. I was an empty shell that was now responsible for another human.
My husband went back to work after a week, so I was at home just going through the motions…again. I would listen to her cry and I couldn’t do anything to stop her. I had family and friends offer to help with the house but I didn’t want anyone near me. I let calls ring out, I didn’t reply to texts, I isolated myself from everyone. All along my baby needed me and I wasn’t there mentally for her. I had heard of post-natal depression but thought because I knew the signs I would be fine. I had all the signs, but to me they weren’t bad enough.