I gave birth to my daughter three weeks ago, but she doesn’t feel like my daughter.
I don’t feel like a mum, I feel like some person who loves this baby so much.
Like an overly zealous babysitter.
Like I’m looking after her until her real mum turns up.
People say, “the moment a child is born, the mother is also” to which I say, “lol ok”
I was not reborn as a mother, but I’m also not who I was before.
I am in-between selves right now.
People ask “how does it feel to be a mum?” I tell them it’s “great” but my voice sounds strange and unfamiliar, just like everything else about myself.
I stare in the mirror at my naked, broken body; every mark and stitch a commemoration for the private war it fought. I stare at my engorged breasts in all their veiny, leaky glory. My skin, loose and unevenly distributed. My eyes, searching for someone who’s not there. “Be a fucking mum” I whisper. “Be a fucking mum right fucking now.”
I want to be that mum. The mum who’s frantic, and nurturing, and revels in being a mum. The mum who tells me it’s “hard work but so worth it.” The mum who has a routine and says stuff like “having kids is the most meaningful thing I’ve ever done.”
I want it to mean something now. I want it to wash away the guilt and shame. I scour the Internet because I hate myself, and the advice is always the same. “Have you reached out to friends?” Yes. “Do you have other mum friends you could talk to?” Yes, and I do. I have a psychiatrist, and I’m taking my meds too. I’m doing all the things. Still not mother material.
They tell you it’s “normal” to feel this way, and it “just takes time,” but nothing feels normal and every minute is a year. And crying in the shower now means something different than before. And my darkest thoughts bleed alongside my genitals and heart. And I’m trying, little one.
I gave birth to my daughter three weeks ago, and I can’t wait to be her mum.