As women share their stories, awareness increases and the attitude towards post-partum depression is changing for the better. Mother of three, Bunmi Laditan shares her experience with post-partum depression, and here are three things we learned from her post.
1.It does not only happen to first time mothers – Bunmi had instant connection with her first two children and only experienced it after her third child.
2.You can be taking good care of your child and be going about your normal mummy duties even when you have not felt the connection to your child yet – Some people think that having post-partum depression means that you will not want to see or take care of your baby, while this can be true for some women, it is not always the case, so because a mother is going on with her normal activities doesn’t mean she doesn’t have post-partum depression.
3.It can take some time – While some mothers are able to get through it in few months, for others it could take years.
“Let’s talk about postpartum depression.
I had it bad with my third child who is my last baby and first son. We all know about the anxiety, OCD, chilling thoughts, rage that sneaks up on you like a flash fire and then is drowned by your own shame-filled tears and all that fun stuff but what no one can prepare you for is how it feels to hold a baby and not feel like he’s yours.
With my first two I felt that magical insta-connection. You know what I’m talking about. That mama-bear-I will-kill-a-mofo-who-touches-this-stroller-primal-let-me-drink-in-your-euphoric-scent-jacob-imprints-on-renesmee-you-are-in-my-bones-realness. But when I came home with my little cub while he was cute as a button, I knew something was missing.
SEE ALSO: “She’s In School From 8:15am-4pm Daily So Someone Please Explain To Me Why She Should Have 2-3 Hours Of Homework To Do Every Night?” – Bunmi Laditan Shares Her Honest Opinion On Homework For Children
He didn’t feel like mine. I felt like I was taking care of someone else’s child. My body felt distinctly postpartum and was leaking from too many places but as I’d change his diapers and gently push his sweet little arms through his yellow and white pajamas, I remember locking my bedroom door, half expecting his real mother to walk in and say, “excellent work, fräulein, I’ll take it from here.”
In those early days, I’d sit up in the dark of night nursing him, looking like the picture of maternal devotion, but there was something missing and one of my greatest fears was that someone would notice.
Once I was finally diagnosed and medicated, my mood began to stabilize, but that connection? God is my witness, it took three solid years.
In that time I loved my baby boy, took him to play centres, parks, we cuddled. I painted his hands and pushed them into soft clay for keepsakes and snapped a million photos, but there was a valley between us that I prayed he didn’t feel.
Then one day, or perhaps over several days, or maybe through each day of showing up, his real mother finally walked through the door and it was me. 100% me.
Now I can confidently yell at him to stop standing on the back of the couch because no, I am not going to the emergency room tonight because you think you’re spider man without feeling like I’m stealing someone else’s lines.
I wipe up his messy hands after he’s gotten into the poster paint saying, “What am I going to do with you,” a little annoyed, mostly delighted by his mischievousness the way mothers are knowing this moment is mine, all mine.
I am his mother and he is my child with no doubts, no angst, nothing between us except the hoodies I’ll wear 3- 4 days in a row.
So mother, if you’re going through this today, changing a baby’s diaper or giving a toddler a bath with the shaking fear in your heart that this little one will never feel like your own, please just wait. Keep showing up.
Keep rocking them to sleep searching their little faces for what you need. Keep wiping down that high chair and kissing their pillow soft cheeks. Every time you do you, the angels throw a handful of sand into the canyon between you. One day it will be full and you’ll walk across it to find you were always there somehow.
No, it’s not fair that you have to work at what’s supposed to come naturally, but in life the only thing that’s promised is work. Have faith, sweet mother. Your efforts will be rewarded. Speak gently to yourself. Breathe. Ask for help. Dawn will come, girlie. Just stay.