Exactly 2 years ago from right now, my alarm was going off. Husband and I were heading in for an induction. At 42 weeks pregnant, I was desperate to give birth. J was due Nov 19, and here I was having a December baby?! He wasn't born until Dec 4th, but the 3rd will always be my Labor Day. We had a totally awesome natural birth, and I immediately became Suction Cup Mama. The severe anxiety set in by day 2. Any signs of distress from the baby sent me into orbit. I thought I was just being a normal new mom, but looking back my responses were fraught with adoption baggage. Anything that wasn't just right, any struggle J had, the littlest things made me feel like my validity as a mom was being threatened. If he fussed and I didn't fix it, if his cord fell off too early or too late, if I complained an ounce about sleep deprivation, someone would come to take him away. If my first baby were better off elsewhere, maybe this one would be too? Maybe someone/something would intervene and he would disappear. J got a cumulative 2 ounces of formula on day 3 before my milk came in and I agonized about whether I could call myself an "exclusive nurser"; had I taken the easy way out that day? (I am so not a 'formula is the devil' breast feeder, it was only my own anxiety.) When J was 3 weeks old, I took a 15 minute walk with my mother. It was the ONLY time I was away from him until I went back to work at 10 weeks. We co-slept full time, so I literally held him all day and night. I physically could not bring myself to be away from him, which fed the Anxiety Beast even more. My husband and I were primed to watch for depression, or the blues, but that anxiety hit me out of left field. I won't even talk about what it was like to go back to work.
I remember one day when I was away from him and I had the thought I am his mother even when I'm away from him. It was a novel concept.
The anxiety is better and different; but not gone. I still catch myself feeling like my motherhood is less valid. I no longer cry every time I leave him, but I lay in bed and wonder: did J run enough today? did he laugh enough today? did he get enough protein? should I have played blocks instead of talking to my mom on the phone? does he feel loved? am I doing something wrong? ---- I KNOW that J is well cared for, happy, healthy, lighthearted, stress-free, and all those good things. But, I'm still trying to prove to someone that it's cool that he's with me.
Thankfully, he is a total mama's boy, so we spend lots of time cuddling, which is obviously the best feeling in the entire world :)