What in the world do I mean by “forced motherhood”. This isn’t something I gave much thought to until more recently. It’s been nearly three years since my cesarean, and yet I find new ways to process that experience. I simply mean that motherhood doesn’t always come naturally to women who have undergone cesarean surgery. Some days we have to force ourselves to trudge onward.
I was able to force myself to mother my son when my mind kept telling me he wasn’t really mine. On a very animal level, I felt no connection.
The quote above (used with permission) from a real live mother friend of mine, and it’s quite a profound statement in my opinion. I’ve questioned my own disconnect from my daughter and still feel like I’m missing an important link to her somehow. On days like today, this really breaks my heart
I was told that I would crave my baby after she was born. I didn’t have that strong “mothering instinct” after my cesarean, and I felt like my baby girl was a foreigner. Huh. Wow, I feel like crying just for even writing this. Oh God, how horrible and tragic is that.
I had a quick and easy physical recovery from the cesarean . . . not the norm, I know. I still felt like I had done the MOST IMPORTANT THING EVER by having a child and caring for her. But it didn’t feel natural. I wasn’t viscerally connected to her when she came to exist outside of my body.
I was able to send her to the hospital nursery with only a bit of guilt (more because I felt like I was supposed to feel guilty not because it was too hard to be separated from her). She took well to breastfeeding, no problem. On the other hand, I didn’t have trouble letting her feed from a bottle either. I didn’t feel weird about leaving her with her dad or grandparents or trusted friends. Even now, nearly 3 years later, I can travel for a few days without my husband and my daughter and enjoy myself. Am I that cold stone bitch? Am I an animal who rejects her young? Maybe. I don’t think so. But many nights after my husband & I get home and get her from daycare we just can’t WAIT for her to go to bed. We only get to be with her for 2 or 3 hours a day during the week, and all I want to do sometimes is put her to bed. Am I that stone cold bitch? Am I that animal who has rejected her young? Yes, I feel incredibly selfish and I hate it. So then I have to ask . . . am I damaged and is my relationship with my daughter damaged from “cesarean disconnect”???
And how am I going to feel if I fail to VBAC in the future? How will I forgive myself if I fail at a hospital VBAC? Will I beat myself up and especially my husband for not going the HBAC route? If I choose a HBAC and have to transfer or have an emergency, will I be able to forgive myself for failing? I won’t have a hospital or medical care provider to blame . . . only myself. If I die or if my baby dies, will my husband forgive me and how will we/he move on???
Oh, today is a sad day, a low day in my motherhood journey.