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Contributing writer and mother of two, Erin Thompson Berriel offers a vulnerable and transparent share on her anti-climactic start to motherhood.

When I became pregnant with my first child, I received a lot of well-meaning reassurance about what the first moments of motherhood would be like. People said things like, “Yes, it is painful but you forget all about the pain as soon as you see the baby’s face,” and, “When you see your baby you will fall in love and it will all be worth it.” On TV and in movies it was often a similar message. Painful in the moment, but everyone bounces into the car and smiles all the way home when it is all said and done. My mother and sister had easy deliveries. Both had all their children naturally without pain medication. “Your body knows what to do,” they said, “Two pushes. That’s all it ever took.” “If it were that terrible, no one would ever have more than one.” I heard all of this, but in the back of my mind I felt the lack of nuance in these statements indicated there had to be more to the story. I wondered what would really happen to my body and how I would really feel when the baby arrived. Throughout the pregnancy, I felt ambivalent about the baby – I did not view him as a person and, as such, had neither positive nor negative feelings about him as an individual. I told myself, though, that when the moment came it would be just like they said it would and pictured myself there – sweaty and triumphant – holding my baby with tears of joy streaming down my face.

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