When I nursed Aurelia, it was an awful experience. Because of postpartum depression the first time around, I was terrified of suffocating the baby. I had awful intrusive thoughts, and breastfeeding was extremely isolating because I was afraid to nurse in public. I hated the covers so every time someone would be over our house or I was somewhere other than my home in a private setting, I would go upstairs or another room BY MYSELF to nurse and I would be anxious the whole entire time. When I pumped, I felt like I did not produce enough. The whole experience was just hell.
This time around I enjoy mothering a baby. I cherish my time with Sophie, and even look forward to nursing her. I am not sure if it is because PPD did not hit as hard or because I'm older, a little more experienced, and had already gone through the "I am a mom" identity shift, but this time around, I'm in love.
When Aurelia was a baby, I did not experience feelings of pure joy the way some women talked about. I felt pure sadness and hopelessness. With Sophie, I am present, I am in love, I am joyful. My heart is full and all is right with my world.
Sometimes I feel guilt because I had PPD and maybe I made Aurelia more cranky or crabby. I feel guilty I lost these precious moments with Aurelia that I now get to experience with Sophie. I will forever hold on to that small piece of guilt with Aurelia's baby-stage but there isn't much I can do about that now. Aurelia is a happy, healthy, humorous child that I cannot imagine life without.
With Sophie, I feel I got my second chance at getting to really experience that pure joy. This is not to say I don't have hard days like every other mother. I just feel blessed to have had the chance to finally understand what some mothers get to feel.
Today, I had photos taken of me and my girls- the precious gifts that help shape who I am today. I will forever cherish these photos. They make my heart and life fuller. They've brought their dad and I closer. They are my joy.