While I am away from my blog, I am honored to showcase a group of talented writers who have stepped forward with their unique voices in support. Every guest writer who is featured here is one that I strongly suggest you follow. Today, I am please to share with you this guest post from Patti at Jazzy Mama. I would greatly appreciate it if you would stop by her blog and leave some comment love.
What would you think of a mother who was disappointed by her newborn babe?
I faced that disappointment.
My son Julian was born on July 13, 2010 after just 1.5 hours of hard labour.
By hard labour I mean that the contractions did not stop for 90 solid minutes. The midwife was present with me in my bedroom asking to check my cervix for the entire time and I was simply unable to let her or anyone else touch me. Finally there was a break and I felt like was I breathing for the first time after 90 minutes of drowning. The midwife announced that I was dilated to 9cm. On the next contraction I jumped onto the bed and the baby’s head emerged. I flipped from my hands and knees onto my back just in time for the midwife to catch the baby and lay him on my chest.
He cried. I cried. Then I nearly passed out as I experienced pain far worse than labour.
I didn’t know anything about my baby at that point, but I knew something was happening that had not happened after my previous 3 births. My midwife knew exactly what was going on: my fourth baby was 25% bigger than my previous babies and his rapid arrival had created a massive tear in my perineum and vaginal wall.
For an hour after the birth my midwife sewed me back together. I sobbed and shrieked and swore. I had to give the baby to Partner-Guy because I was absolutely beside myself and totally unable to cope. The baby cried. And cried and cried and cried. It was awful.
Finally the midwife was finished and I willed myself to get it together. I was exhausted and weak and scared. I wanted to hold my baby but I felt such a distance from him. I vaguely remembered discovering his sex before the midwife had gotten out her needles and thread. Once in my arms he began rubbing his little hands on his mouth–an obvious sign for readiness to nurse–so I put him to my breast and tried to ignore the pain between my legs.
I don’t remember feeling any joy or pride or excitement in that moment.
I was profoundly disappointed.
By his size.
By his sex.
By the post-birth experience.
I thought I knew what my 4th birth would be like because I was not a novice birther. This was to be my second babe born at home, my 4th born naturally. I had had a minor tear after each previous birth. I was prepared for that. I was not prepared for a 10lb baby that would arrive with such force and speed that the midwife would not have time to support the emerging head. I was not prepared for needing to spend a week in bed. I was not prepared for not being able to sit down for 3 weeks.
And I was disappointed that my baby was so big because I love tiny newborns! Julian was too big for the newborn size cloth diaper covers I had purchased. He was so big that he went straight into size 6-month onesies. Many friends and relatives gave us gifts of clothing–all were too small. Everything. When I put him in the sling for the first time, it was like he was already 3 months old. And when I nursed him in a seated position, his legs had to tuck behind my ribs. I had birthed a behemoth and I didn’t like it.
But the biggest disappointment was his sex. I. Did. Not. Want. A. Boy.
I had three daughters. I thought I was a pretty good mother to daughters. I thought I knew what kind of a family culture I wanted to create with my daughters. I really counted on having only daughters. We had spent the entire pregnancy referring to the baby as a girl. We had named her ‘Skye’.
She didn’t exist.
She was Julian. He was here and she wasn’t.
I began to mourn. I knew I was being ridiculous. Here I was with a perfect, healthy baby. I was going to recover from the birth and my baby was going to grow and thrive at my breast and I felt I was entitled to be disappointed because my baby wasn’t a girl? Was I the most selfish, immature mother on the planet?
And so I began to make myself be his mother. There was no lag time in making this happen. By the time he was at my breast for the first time I knew I was disappointed and I knew that I would love this babe with every breathe for the rest of my life. I began to sing:
Hello little boy.
You’re my little boy.
You’re Julian James Renfrew.
Hello little boy.
You’re a sweet little boy.
Do you know how much I love you?
I let him need me. I gave myself over to his needs. I fell head over heels in love with him. I learned that I am able to overcome disappointment and love what is. I breathed him in and I promised him more love than I even knew I was capable of. I surrendered to who he is and was and will be. I accepted that he is not an accident but a fabulous gift, given to me to teach me about myself and to help me to grow closer to my full potential.
And here he is at one year old.
I’m so glad I learned to love this boy!
Update: Please visit Patti’s follow up post: Gender: I Did Not Want to Have a Son
Photo Credit: my friend, Julie
Patti @ Jazzy Mama writes about unschooling, authentic parenting and her quest to achieve her full potential. She chooses to live Freedom and Joy every day, she loves with Patience and Kindness, she works for Beauty and Order and she seeks to find Harmony and Peace with all. She lives in Toronto, Canada with her Partner-Guy and 4 children (ages 7 yrs, 5.5yrs, 3.5yrs and 1yr.) You can also find Patti on Facebook.