I watched as Chris finished the diapering, and felt like a beached whale. I was failing at things that, according to popular belief, were supposed to be the most natural in a woman's life. I had never been uncomfortable around babies, and they always responded positively to me. In fact, it sometimes surprised people when their babies opened their arms to me so quickly. Everybody always said that I would make a great mom one day.
I tried to rationalize that I was physically impaired and should give myself a break, but I didn't have any desire to power through and care for this baby. I got hit with a wave of self-defeat and self-loathing and had an urge to smash my head against the wall repeatedly. Chris told me to get off my feet and back into bed. Once there, my crying recommenced, and I started strongly believing that I couldn't be a mother. I was already proving to be incompetent, and we hadn't been home a day! What had I done? Why didn't I want to be near my baby?
I had little time to contemplate such thoughts, because it was time for Rowan to eat again (or snack, I should say). Without the help of a nurse or a lactation specialist, I was in trouble once more. I accepted Chris's help as he guided the baby's mouth onto my nipple; this time I didn't become annoyed or impatient with him or myself. I sat there almost catatonically, staring out into space. Rowan's nursing made me feel drugged and temporarily comforted me. But the moment she was finished and taken from me, I started to sob once more. I sat up with my huge legs stretched out in front of me and, slowly rocking back and forth with my face up toward the ceiling, my arms limp at my sides, I sobbed. I couldn't stop. What was I going to do? Was I ever going to stop feeling like this? Misery enveloped me.