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  • As my daughter finally came out, there was a rush of adrenaline and relief, but also an overwhelming sense of… shame. Who was I to have these people in here watching me have this baby I had no idea how to take care of beyond diapers and feeding?

    My mom - not my husband - had been the one helping me in labor. My mother shouldn't have even been in the room. I made it explicitly clear to my husband she had no place in there, and he understood why.

    If anything else prior to having my daughter didn't clinch the deal already, now I knew I was getting a divorce at the end of all of this. Being alone was almost a comforting thought now after the way I'd been treated over the past few months and finally in this hospital. The terror of actually being alone in the world was nothing compared with the reality of being effectively alone, even in a hospital while giving birth.

    Except now I wasn't alone. I was lucky enough to have my daughter in a hospital where they had large rooms where you could have your baby in the same room for your stay at the hospital.
    I sent her back to the nursery.

    My precious daughter just born, and I sent her back to the nursery so someone else, anyone else, could take care of her because they had to be more prepared and more qualified than me. Everything in me felt so entirely inadequate and unready to take on the enormous responsibility of caring for this baby that I hardly had any attachment to yet.

    When you leave the hospital, they push you in a wheelchair out to your car while you hold your baby. And I hated every second of it. I felt their eyes on me and this infant, and the shame rose up again in hot waves.

    Fuck them for even looking at me. Who were they to look? I just wanted to be left alone. That two minutes felt like an hour. No one could judge me more harshly than myself, and I felt that judgment reflected in the face of each person I saw. The more love artlessly directed at me, the more my walls reciprocated by rising up in anger.

    Looking back on it, I'm angry with the nurses for not saying anything about how clear a case this was going to be for postpartum depression. At the same time, I can’t blame them.

    Who wants to be the one to say, “Sweetie, the way you just interacted with your baby isn’t normal?”
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