Edited by: Gloria Miles
Shared with permission of the mother, though anonymously. Names changed*
I didn't have the best pregnancy. I think pregnancy is supposed to look better than it did on me. I had hyperemesis and if anyone knows that is, it's morning sickness on crack. I lost weight all the way until seven months pregnant. I couldn't even keep down water. I was admitted into the hospital to rehydrate and nourish my body several times throughout the pregnancy. It was almost a miracle when it finally stopped. When it did, I gained twenty pounds that first month. I gained twenty-five overall.
I remember the doctor weighed me and said, "I know we said we wanted you to gain weight, but we didn't exactly mean to gain twenty in just one month. That's a lot."
I was 41 weeks pregnant when they said I needed to be induced, so I went into the hospital. I wanted it completely natural, but I guess it wasn't meant to be. I managed the labor pain well until my water broke. I asked for an epidural, but they said the baby's head was visible.
When the water burst, the urge to push came quickly and violently. A few pushes later and Marianna, cord wrapped around her neck, came out limp and not breathing.
I know I sound crazy, but when they pulled her out, cut the cord, and put her over to the warmer, I felt like I died. I think I died. I remember seeing my baby being worked on. I remember seeing the top of the heads of the doctor, my mom, the nurses...everyone. It was a crazy out of body experience.
They eventually got her breathing and I felt normal again. They handed me the bundle and I remember looking down wondering who she was. I didn't feel like she was my baby, I didn't feel that instant bond with my baby like I think you're supposed to. It made me so sad. Now she's older and I love her more than anything, but immediately...I didn't feel that connection. I don't know why, but I know I didn't. It took time to love my daughter like a mom is supposed to. There was a disconnect. I wish I knew why.
Note from the editor:
There are many other mothers who have shared having an out of body experience during their labor and birth, whether it was a "traumatizing" event or not. I encourage you to speak out about it. Every birth story matters and counts.
Also, the immediate bonding and "love at first sight" feeling happens to many women. And, on the other end of this spectrum, there is no bonding or "love" feeling that occurs for many other women. It is not a shameful secret. It may indicate a problem with possible postpartum depression, but sometimes love grows slowly. Keep your friends and family in the loop. Let others know how you are feeling and doing. Never be afraid to ask for help whether it's doing small chores or needing to talk to a professional.
Gloria Miles is a Navy veteran and mother of 3, soon-to-be 4. She wears many hats as a doula, Certified Aromatherapist, and student. She is currently working towards obtaining a Bachelor's in Healthcare Management, with an end goal of becoming a Certified Nurse-Midwife. When she is not blogging or hanging out with her family, she enjoys reading, knitting, hiking, and mud runs.