I love babies. My decision to choose pediatrics and become a mother in residency was underpinned by this simple fact. As a baby doctor, I imagined my transition into motherhood would be elegant. I pictured myself breastfeeding, sleep training, and swaddling like a pro, using everything I’d learned to become a perfect mom.

Two days after my daughter, Iris, was born, I awoke to sunlight streaming through the bedroom window. I sat up, eager to check on my baby, and I felt like I’d been clobbered by an 18-wheeler. My head was throbbing and my ears were ringing. My eyes refused to focus, the outline of my daughter’s face fuzzy and unclear. Naturally, at this moment, the baby started to wail, demanding to be fed.

Within an hour, I was urgently readmitted to the hospital for postpartum preeclampsia. I received 3 days of intravenous (IV) magnesium and blood pressure management....

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