Friday, March 8, 2013

Cornered the Market on Post Partum

Sometimes I think women who birth their children think they have cornered the market on motherhood.  Their hormones are the reason for everything.

Maybe I take it all too personally because I at one time I so badly wanted to be part of that club.  I do feel left out of birth conversations.  A coworkers sister wanted a home birth (which I also would have wanted) but all of my coworkers were saying what a horrible idea that was.  I didn't say anything about having wanted a home birth of my own.  If I had said something I feared they would essentially have told me I was "lucky" never to get pregnant then.

There is a lot about mental health and post partum symptoms.  Today there was a news report on a research study that indicated that OCD symtoms increased post partum.  The theory was the after birth hormones.

Well I never gave birth and I can tell you I'm certain I had some OCD tendencies after I got the call.  I called the hospital obsessively and the closer we got to going home the worse it got.  It was if I called whenever I woke up in the middle of the night somehow it would keep her from failing over night.  I had rituals while I was at the hospital.  My schedule was not habitual- it was obsessive- literally to the minute.  Although it was required for all parents to wash their hands entering and exiting the unit I would always use the surgical scrub that was not mandated for Baby Girl since she wasn't in an obsolete.  I know a few times on weekends they ran out and it made me feel anxious. I ate the exact same thing every day (yes some of it because of lack of refrigeration but also control).  I needed control.  I needed to ensure her safety.  I needed to keep my routine to get her home as fast as possible.  I felt like I was going crazy.

Once Baby Girl was home I had fewer tendencies I think in large part because I had regained some control of our lives.  I would still inspect the baby bottle tops before I gave them too her.  Again I think control.  I couldn't give her breast milk but I could ensure her bottle was spotless and sanitized.

Post Partum depression is all over the news as well.  I didn't hear about adoptive parent post partum prior to baby girls birth but I did at some point over the summer when I finally googled it.  We hear so much about post partum of the traditional sense but I began to wonder about adoptive parents.

For me I felt like I had waited for SO long for this baby.  She arrived.  It wasn't peaches and cream!  It sucked.  It was hard.  I hated breast feeding.  I cried.  I didn't sleep well.  Although I loved her instantly I didn't connect with her until a few weeks after we were home.  It was hard for me to fully love a baby that was not mine yet.  For a while it was like taking care of someone else's child.  Babysitting.  Waiting for her parents to show up.

I was embarrassed.

I dont think I had post partum but I definitely needed time to adjust mentally to my new role.  That I really was a Mom.  It was a while before I identified myself as Mom.  At the same time I responded to the name Mom and I referred to myself as her Mom.  I still 13 months later have a hard time with the term "Mom."  Sometimes I think its because of how often I am reminded that she isn't "of me" a feeling of inferiority- that she deserves better.  I was chosen- but was the "right" Mom chosen?  Dont get me wrong- try and get between me and my Baby Girl- you have another thing coming.

I just feel like biological mothers feel like they have the market cornered on the post partum brain.  Although I never gave birth I think my mind and hormones have played a few tricks on me.  I wish I had been better prepared for this.  Once I experienced it I found I wasn't alone but had I anticipated it maybe I would have had a better chance at dealing with it.

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