By Dori Hackleman
January 9th, 2015 at 12:30pm, I held the most beautiful thing that I have ever seen in my
life in my arms, and I was equally in awe and terrified for what was about to happen in my life.
I had no idea exactly what was in store for me, but I knew that I wanted to be the best mom and person that I could be for this tiny human that I just brought into this world.
I come from a strong line of Honduran women, and I am full-blooded Mayan Indian so I feel like strength is just a thing that happens for me and I don’t have any other choice but to be strong. I had to be strong for my little girl, so when I started trying to breast feed her and she didn’t want to latch, it destroyed me. I thought that I was doing something wrong. Every time I went to feed her, I had to have the lactation nurse in there along with my husband and a nipple shield. Wednesday (my daughter) did not want to work for her milk so then we started trying to squeeze a small amount of formula in the shield so that she would try and work for the actual stuff.
Every time I thought about us going home, a huge wave of anxiety would hit me and I started to panic because I could not imagine how I was going to take care of Wednesday, clean the house, cook dinners for my husband and figure out how to sleep without someone being there for me to help guide me. Little did I know, I was starting to have the first symptoms of Postpartum Depression.
The day came that we had to head home and I was a nervous wreck. Breast feeding was still not going well at all and on top of not really sleeping while we were there and not knowing what the hell I was doing, the hospital was giving me formula to try and sway me to feed it to my child. I was dead set on breast feeding, so I hated that I felt like they weren’t really supporting my decision to do this and trying to give me an out. I took the formula home even though I didn’t want to, but I am thankful I did because, little did I know, I would need it.
My in-laws met us at our home to help us get settled in, and I remember thinking on the
way home that they were not going to stay the night or be there forever. Again, that wave of anxiety came over me. I wanted to ask them so badly if they would stay the night, almost beg them so that way I didn’t have to fight this war on my own or burden my husband with it. So the time came that they left and my house never felt so foreign to me. My whole life was turned upside down and I felt like an alien. I went from working at the same place for 13 years to being thrown into motherhood and, for the first time, I felt like I was going to fail at something.
I didn’t sleep much for the first three days. On day three, I looked down at Wednesday and saw she had a tint of yellow to her. I started to panic and broke down. I called the nurse’s office at the hospital, sobbing and talking about everything that was happening. All Wednesday needed was some formula and some time in the sun because she was weak. We had our first pediatrician appointment on day four. Dr. Dickerson opened that door and looked at what I could only assume was a zombie-mother holding a child. She asked me how things were going, and she asked me in a way that seemed genuinely concerned. I broke down in front of her and my husband and sobbed because I felt like I had failed. Dr. Dickerson was so sweet and comforted me, assuring me that all moms go through this and told me she went through the same struggles as well. She asked if I had thought about looking into Postpartum Depression. That thought had never occurred to me. When I was pregnant, I always thought that I would never suffer from PPD because I had such a great pregnancy and I was happy.
I didn’t sleep much for another week, feeding every two hours from start to start. That meant that I would nurse her for an hour, then pump, then have 20 minutes to either, eat, sleep or shower. This was around the clock until my milk finally came down. I did finally get the hang of everything, and I was able to exclusively breast feed my kiddo until she was 18-months-old.
One of the fondest memories I have of those dark times was when I was rocking her in our recliner and she was bawling her eyes out and I started crying because I had no idea what I was doing. I decided that I would start singing to her, and the first song that came to mind that I knew all the lyrics to was “Wonderwall” by Oasis. She has forever been my Wonderwall.