Breaking Rules

I don’t remember her delivery. My husband says she came out silent and blue until the doctors gave her oxygen and I guess I’m relieved I missed that but mostly I’m furious I broke the first rule: When a child is born the mother is to be happy and excited and, at the very least, present.

It’s 8:00 at night and the punctuated thought, one I’ve had many times before, comes to me in short staccatos of silence amid her inconsolable wails. She’s been crying nonstop for three weeks now. The books say she’s not supposed to but she’s doing it anyway because she, like me, is a rule breaker. She’s nearly two months old and already she’s defiant.

I bounce her in my arms, a feisty bundle of tiny features and wispy dark hair, but she screams right through my coos. We’re failing, she and I. We’re failing together.

I read all the books before she was born, visited every baby website and talked to every mother who could tolerate my incessant questions long enough to listen. Savor every minute, they all said. They grow up fast. Love her. Connect with her. Bond with her.

All those obligations unfulfilled. All those commandments destroyed.

This was the beginning of a long, turbulent ride – one I’ve documented regularly in the hopes of helping others in similar situations. Being honest is difficult when the truth is less than perfect but there’s freedom in transparency, which is why books like this are so important.

These are stories of heartbreak and hope. These are stories of truth.

Oh, what I would’ve given to have them three years ago when what I so desperately needed was the very thing they offered – permission to break the rules and embrace the rebellion.

Permission to not just be the mother I was, but to love her too.

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To order your copy of Mothering Through the Darkness: Women Open Up About the Postpartum Experience, please click here.


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