Monday, June 14, 2010

My first time I felt like a bad mom...

I know it is inevitable...every mom has that first moment that they feel like a bad mom. I have heard countless stories of moms who looked away for a second and their child fell off the couch. And what mom hasn't tried to sneak a shower only to hear the baby wake up halfway through your shampoo? There is nothing like trying to frantically shower while envisioning the life long damage you are doing to your child as he or she is forced to cry alone in the crib for 5 minutes. I will never forget the first time I felt like a bad mom. It is one of the most real, raw feelings I have ever had and I am actually curious if any other moms have had a similar experience.

My first "bad mom" experience happened after I had only been a mom for 2 hours. I had a really long, really horrible, really traumatic labor and delivery (that story is for another day). My son was born and taken straight to the NICU. I was sewn up from the c-section and had to go to the recovery room for two hours. At the hospital where I delivered they let healthy babies go to the recovery room with the mom after a c-section so they could bond and try to nurse. Those two hours in that recovery room were probably the loneliest two hours I can ever imagine. I was laying there wondering where my baby was, what was happening to him, and I just had this overwhelming feeling that he NEEDED me. I knew that he was hurt and in pain and I knew that I was the only one that could comfort him. After about 30 minutes a NICU nurse brought me a picture of him. It was the first time I saw him and though the picture is pretty gruesome and sad because of his birth injuries, it is one I will keep forever. I held that picture for the rest of my time in the recovery room and stared at it. I took a picture of it and texted it to my friends.

After I left the recovery room the nurse got permission from the NICU to wheel my entire bed into the NICU so I could see Fisher for the first time. I was SO excited, I couldn't wait to see him and comfort him. The nurse wheeled me into the NICU and there was a line of babies in their incubators against the wall. The nurse didn't know which one was Fisher and the NICU nurses were busy with other babies. So there was this awkward moment of trying to figure out which baby was mine. The nurse rolled me by the babies and we looked at them trying to determine which one was Fisher. This is when I felt like a bad mom for the first time. I was so afraid I would roll by him and not realize it was him! It doesn't make sense now but at that moment it hit me like a ton of bricks that I had been carrying this child for 9 months. My body had MADE him and I felt like I was a failure because I had no idea which baby was mine. I felt embarrassed and ashamed. I felt so bad that this little baby had been born, beat up, hurt, and now his mom didn't even know who he was. If I couldn't figure out which baby was mine then how in the world was I going to be able to take care of a baby????
When the NICU nurse finally pointed at the baby that was mine - I was a little worried that she had pointed at the wrong baby. And then what would I say - "that is not my baby!" Of course when I was wheeled over to the baby I realized it was the correct one (it was the only one that had been beat up during birth and also the only baby that wasn't below 5 lbs!). Fisher was crying a little when I was rolled up to him but I talked to him and gently rubbed his head and he calmed down. As he calmed down I did too and realized that maybe I could do this.


  1. Your story is the perfect example of just how hard we mums are on ourselves. You beat yourself up over not being able to pick out a baby that you had only seen in a polaroid and maybe a few seconds after birth. I don't think there would be any mother out there who would have fared any better in your situation.

    You are a great mum from what I've read. You and Fisher have been through more in 9 months than many mums with ten times your experience!

  2. Thanks! I know it doesn't make sense to pick out "your" baby out of a line up - but it was so weird that I felt guilty, like I should have known which one he was. :) Just my first experience with mother's guilt - even though it is often unwarranted.