Brave New World

I never wanted to be a mother.

I went through my teenage years and then most of my twenties under the impression that motherhood just wasn’t for me. I had a lifestyle that really wasn’t conducive to having children and it wasn’t something I really had planned on changing. But a few months after I married my husband- I started asking what if? “What if I do want to be a mother?” My husband, the easy going, go with the flow guy that he is simply replied “well then, lets have a baby.”

For me, wanting to be a mother is something that happened very quickly and shook me to my core. It didn’t take long to get pregnant and my pregnancy wasn’t the best. Not great, but also not the worst, so I really shouldn’t complain. On September 16th, after two days of labor, I became a mother.

I wasn’t prepared for the emotions that would flood my body in the weeks and months to come. My daughter was born via C-section and I spent months secretly feeling like I had failed my body and my daughter. I felt that because I didn’t give birth the “normal” way that this made me less of a mother. The first time that I held my daughter I felt a deep wave of regret rush over my body, I felt like I didn’t try hard enough for her. I thought about how on earth would I be able to be a good mother when I couldn’t even do the beginning right.

My daughter was born via C-section and I spent months secretly feeling like I had failed my body and my daughter. I felt that because I didn’t give birth the “normal” way that this made me less of a mother.

I finally broke down and opened up to my husband, something was off- I was losing myself and not in that cute and endearing way. I was drowning in motherhood, I was drowning in emotions that I had never experienced, and I could not get a grip on any of it. I wasn’t sleeping, I wasn’t enjoying anything, and I was feeling miserably alone. My husband recommended reaching out to a therapist/my PCP. He explained that while he supported me and cared for me – there was no way he could ever relate or understand what I was going through. I made an appointment with my PCP and as she walked into the room and sat down, I lost it. I just started crying and didn’t stop for 35 minutes. I wasn’t even saying anything, months of emotions were just pouring out of my body at an accelerated rate.

She explained to me how important and crucial it was for me to have shown up there to take the first steps. She asked me to not feel shame, and to shout my emotions from the mountain tops so that other first time moms would have the courage to speak up.

Then, my doctor, said the best thing I’ve ever heard and I will never ever forget the words that came out of her mouth next. She was angry, she was fired up, she then explained how it makes her so upset when new mothers come into her office ashamed and scared to talk about their emotions because society leads us to believe that during this chapter in our lives we should be nothing but happy and beaming. She explained to me how important and crucial it was for me to have shown up there to take the first steps. She asked me to not feel shame, and to shout my emotions from the mountain tops so that other first time moms would have the courage to speak up.

I was diagnosed with Post Partum Depression and Post Partum Anxiety. I started therapy the following week. My medication took some time to figure out but a combination of medication and therapy helped me. I’m lucky, sometimes it’s not that easy and I recognize that. Now, almost eight months after having given birth to my beautiful baby, Eloise, I am able to enjoy every ounce of her. I wake up in the morning excited to see her and I go to bed every night sad because I miss her. It hasn’t always been like that. I take the extra time in my days to really soak all of her in. I understand now that sometimes things happen and there really is no “normal” or “correct” way to becoming a mother, or even to navigate motherhood. Just follow the lead of your instincts and it seems that everything will work itself out.

Now, almost eight months after having given birth to my beautiful baby, Eloise, I am able to enjoy every ounce of her. I wake up in the morning excited to see her and I go to bed every night sad because I miss her. It hasn’t always been like that.

*If you feel like you’re suffering from any sort of post partum issues please see your doctor and remember, there is no reason to feel shame. Your body is wrecked from nine months of growing a human you deserve to feel however you want to.

Ashley Miller is a stay at home mom to Eloise and her tiny gang of “Oreos”–two cats and one dog. She’s a loud laugher, master of bed head, and an amateur gardener. 

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