From the time the deathly nausea started during my 1st pregnancy until....I don't even know how long...I was just sort of stunned; I had a hard time processing that something I had looked forward to for SO LONG and had wanted SO BADLY was turning out to involve so much suffering! Once the pregnancy finally ended, it took MONTHS for my body to recover from the 2 1/2 hours of trying to get a stuck baby to come out. My mother-in-law had told me, while I was pregnant, to let her know what she could do to help once the baby was born because she'd be happy to do whatever I needed, but she wouldn't know what that was unless I asked her. I was SO EMBARRASSED, about a week after Ian was born, when I had to call and ask her if she could come wash the dishes because we didn't have a dishwasher, Husband was working long hours, and I couldn't stand up long enough to wash them myself =(. I was very grateful for her help, but I could not believe that I couldn't wash my own dishes! Right about the time I was practically delirious from lack of sleep, and the post-partum hormones were in full swing, we moved hours away from all of our friends and family (ie. all our help and support).
Looking back on it now, I can see that circumstances combined into a no-fail recipe for post-partum depression, but I couldn't figure it out at the time. I felt like I had failed the first quiz of motherhood when I didn't INSTANTLY bond with my baby. I had NO IDEA what an impact lack of sleep could have on a body (seems like I read years later that waking someone up every two hours all night long was a form of t0rture/mind c0ntrol); millions of people had had new babies that hadn't slept, and all of those people had survived somehow, right? Nursing "wasn't supposed to hurt" if I was doing it correctly, and it was AGONY for months (FAIL!), so I couldn't do that right either! I was surrounded by mothers with babies, and all of THOSE MOTHERS could function somehow; what was wrong with me (FAIL!)? I loved my baby SO MUCH and spent my days feeding, changing, burping, rocking, snuggling him and he was STILL SCREAMING (FAIL, FAIL, FAIL!); what was I doing wrong? I had babysat, been a nanny, worked with children, and NONE of the children I had come into contact with had been like my child. I eventually got to know some of the other mothers and asked about their experiences, and there was only one other mother whose baby also spent most of her day screaming; it was nice to know I wasn't the ONLY one. It was such a hard time, and I was so discouraged. Ian didn't end up being the only person who cried a lot at our house (although I didn't cry nearly as loudly as he did...).
The older Ian got, the more I just couldn't shake the feeling that he didn't seem to like me very much. How could he not like his mother when he wasn't even a teenager yet? EVERY! SINGLE! THING! was a battle with him. If I said "blue" he would say "green". It didn't matter what it was; if I told him to do something, he WAS NOT going to do it! CONSTANT opposition; I didn't know how badly that could wear a person down either. I had to prepare him for EVERY! SINGLE! TRANSITION! in his day (there are MANY, MANY transitions each day!), or he would have a HUGE fit. (If I never see another parenting book or behavior/incentive/sticker chart again IN MY ENTIRE LIFE, it will be TOO SOON! As you were.)
I was so grateful that I was able to enjoy my 2nd pregnancy more than my first! That pregnancy ended up being the only one, out of FIVE, that was anything like what I'd been expecting/hoping for.