By Petra Weston
They say no two pregnancies are alike, and I experienced this firsthand. The birth of my first child, a daughter was full of stress, anxiety and complications.
I felt that the hopes, dreams and expectations I had of becoming a mother were shattered.
When I fell pregnant again in 2018, I had to try and put aside my fears of more negative experiences, and instead focus on bringing this new life into the world.
With my daughter’s birth, I did not get the initial skin to skin contact, nor was I able to hold her for quite some time afterward. This affected our bonding. I ended up not being able to breastfeed her.
I didn’t get to take her home because I needed to stay in the hospital. My husband became our daughter’s caregiver for the first weeks of her life.
I felt like I failed her and that I failed as a mother. The whole experience left me anxious, upset, and focused on all that I missed. It was very frustrating! What should have been one of the most beautiful experiences of my life ended up tainted.
On the other hand, my son’s birth was straightforward and stress-free.
I held him and enjoyed skin to skin straight away. We both experienced the bonding time we needed; I held him as much as I wanted and breastfed him without any issues. My son and I only stayed in the hospital for 48 hours before going home together.
My husband and I were so thrilled and we got to spend the first two weeks of his life together as a family, really enjoying our new addition.
Having a second child has been such a beautiful healing experience.
I have a wonderful son, and was able to experience the things I missed out on with the birth of my daughter. Most of all, I have really been able to take the time to relax and enjoy these moments.
I feel like I can really appreciate the difference between the two experiences. I don’t need to dwell on the ordeal I went through with my daughter’s birth.
Occasionally, I feel guilty that my daughter had such a rough start in life, but for me, it’s important to know that she doesn’t remember the first months of her life.
She is a strong, resilient little girl, and I am a better parent (and human) for what I have been through.
Whether you are expecting your first child or your fourth, it’s important to remember that no two pregnancies, birth stories, or children are alike. What I learned from each of my pregnancies is that every experience gives us unique insight.
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Petra Weston is a writer from Lower Hutt, New Zealand who focuses on family and mental health topics. Her work has been featured on Stuff.co.nz, HelloGiggles, and Unwritten. Follow her or visit her baking blog.
This article was originally published at Unwritten. Reprinted with permission from the author.