Babies Our Voices

My Friend Had a Baby and I Suffered PPD

New babies are such an exciting time for the new parents, and when they are your close friends, all you want to do is celebrate them and their new bundle of joy.  Sometimes it isn’t as easy at that though.

I delivered a beautiful healthy boy over a year ago.  He’s amazing, a bundle of energy, walking, saying words,  He is just the epitome of a perfect healthy toddler. But his birth and aspects of his first year didn’t go the way I wanted them to go, and I still struggle to get past it.

My water broke at 6:15 in the morning and we were told to go to the hospital, no laboring at home. Fail #1.

The baby wasn’t being picked up by the monitors well, and I was forced to lie in a bed for most of my labor.  Fail #2.

I pushed for three hours and the baby was not descending, so on medical advice, we ended up with a c-section.  Fail #3.

And then, for the biggest kick in the face, I wasn’t able to breastfeed my son. It had been my intention.  We took the class.  I excitedly ordered my Pump. Talked about how I would privatize my office when I returned to work. Purchased nursing bras and clothes.  And then nothing. There was nothing. Fail #4.

All of this made me miss so much of my son’s first few weeks.  I was distraught.  It didn’t rise to postpartum depression, but it didn’t feel good at all.  And it continued as we struggled. I met with one lactation consultant twice, she told me to give up.  The “best” lactation consultant in the County was not going to be available for weeks, by then any chance I would have had would be long gone.  I didn’t know if giving up was even the right thing to do.  Should I continue to try? Ultimately I stopped trying so I could pay more attention to my son and spend less time hooked up to the hospital-grade pump we rented and which I dragged around with me from room to room. You can’t hold your baby while you are pumping…

The hits kept on coming.  The only new mom group in my area was for breastfeeding.  I joined their Facebook group for the non-breastfeeding parenting advice, but I would never attend a meeting.  I could tell they were making friends with each other.  I was missing out.  Then I found out that we could not participate in the Pidyon Haben, a Jewish ceremony for first born sons, different than the well-known bris ceremony.  Apparently, you only have the ceremony if you are “born” and a cesarean section doesn’t qualify. I had not even wanted to participate in this ceremony, but being told that I couldn’t, and why…it was another knife cutting me open all over again.  Another hurdle to appreciating how wonderful my new baby boy truly was.

With every new baby I hear about, I cringe a little and then feel terrible that I cannot celebrate the joy of others the way they deserve.  Did they have a regular birth? Did they have no issues breastfeeding? Yes, then they were more successful than I was.

And now I am afraid of trying a vaginal birth and breastfeeding again when we eventually attempt for a second child.  Because what if it doesn’t work the second time as well?

I’d hate to write this and not provide some takeaway for a reader, and maybe even for myself.  The best I can muster is, you will be OK and your baby will be OK.  Half of everything you read on the internet is an exaggeration.  The first year is fleeting and you get to enjoy your baby for a lifetime. So go enjoy your baby, and go enjoy your friends’ babies.

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About the author

Rachel Kravitz-Boyle

Rachel Kravitz-Boyle

esquire/feminist/activist/philanthropist/mom/wife/yankees/rangers/I went as a podcast for Purim/suburban New Yorker (but that doesn't stop me from having opinions)

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