I saw a picture on Facebook time hop this morning. It was of my youngest, the baby who triggered the postpartum psychosis.
For so long I thought God was crazy for sending Graysen along. I knew God saw the full picture but this time I did not want to come along willingly.
Back to the point, I saw this picture, it was of me kissing him and he had the biggest smile, the one that makes smile wrinkles even on a 7 month old. I could almost hear his baby giggle as I looked at the picture of me kissing him over and over.
I sat a moment and looked at this picture and realized I didn’t ruin him. My biggest fear going through postpartum psychosis was that I would cause long term emotional damage. I can see in his photos he had fully attached to me even though I had not to him at that point. He loved me. I really didn’t feel love for him though I knew I had my mother instinct of love and protection. I knew if anything happened to him it would wreck me but I really wasn’t convinced I loved him. I don’t think I knew how when I hadn’t yet bonded with him.
This is a taboo subject that is not spoken about enough. I tortured myself with so much shame for years. As I admitted it to my therapist I felt like I should hide behind a rock and whisper it to her. She was amazing, is amazing, and she created a safe place for me to work through those thoughts and emotions.
I remember the first time I actually felt love for him. The moment I pushed him out and caught him myself, pulling him out of the tub and onto my chest. Laying the white fluffy towel around him as I sighed with relief. He was perfect. Absolutely perfect. The birth was beautiful and I couldn’t ask to end on a better note.
Then just days later my eyes became a black pit and I hated him. I did. I blamed him for my postpartum psychosis and my perfect little boy became a symbol of my struggle. Truth is he wasn’t the cause of my demons. The birth was just the trigger that lead to it.
I struggled to love him well into his second year of life. He was two!! Two guys, two!.. I was in the bathroom getting ready the first time I really loved him. It just spilled out of my mouth before I even recognized what I was feeling. It made me pause and really feel it. I couldn’t believe that I had actually fallen in love with my little boy in a way only a mother could.
Want to know a secret? If you struggle with the same thing you are not alone. You are not the first person to and you surely won’t be the last. It doesn’t make you a bad mother and you shouldn’t feel guilt or shame. It’s part of that ugly side of motherhood that nobody speaks about. I’m grateful I can give it a voice now and create that safe place for others to be able to communicate it. First step to healing is vocalizing it. All of it. Especially the thoughts that create so much shame. The thoughts that torment us. The thoughts that keep you up at night.
He is my wild goof ball now that always keeps us laughing and only God knew I’d need that light and addition in our family for my medical journey that would hit just weeks after this experience. Like two weeks to be exact. He gives me tall he hugs now and is so empathetic to my pain for a young child. He is the perfect caboose for this family that only God could know we would need. He was not the trigger for my my darkest days but for some of my brightest and lead to my life passion. Thank you Jesus for seeing the bigger picture.
Mama you are strong. You are brave and you will get through this.