Early January of 1998, I took a home pregnancy test and discovered I was expecting. I was living with my fianc?, who is now my husband, and we were both unemployed and about to be evicted from our apartment. I was devastated to say the least.
I started prenatal care at a free clinic, for we also had no insurance. On the day of my first appointment, my pregnancy was confirmed, and so was our eviction. We had no money, no jobs, and no place to live. Thankfully, our parents let us move back home until we were married.
On Sept. 16, 1998, after 13 hours of labor and one-and-a-half hours of pushing, my baby girl Nicole was born. I wasn’t a loving, nurturing mother from the start. I felt incredibly guilty that I had no feelings toward my new bundle of joy.
My thoughts concentrated on the misery this 2-week-old, screeching infant was causing me. Why does she have to eat every two hours? Why can’t she tell me what she wants a little more quietly? Does she do anything else but wet her diaper and cry?
Of course, I thought these were typical sleep-deprived, recuperating ponderings of a first-time-mother. When my daughter was 1 month old, my thoughts started to become more disturbing. And I didn’t always keep these “thoughts” to myself. If I was thinking I wanted to pack Nicole up in a box and leave her on some stranger’s doorstep, I would not hesitate to say so to anyone who would listen.
I was unusually angry at anything and everything. I had severe insomnia and was hallucinating at night; seeing awful, horrific creatures coming after me in the dark. I was having panic attacks that would last for hours. I was experiencing memory loss and also a loss of touch with reality. These behaviors were completely out of character for me.
The next ordeal was the scariest of them all. I started to be rough with Nicole to the point of physical abuse. I was neglectful and would let her cry for hours on end as I sat in an emotional darkness. I didn’t want to feed, hold or even take care of her at all. I didn’t care how, I just wanted her to disappear. On Nov. 12, 1998, my world shattered. I suffered from a mental breakdown and was hospitalized for four days.