This may be way too philosophical & way too long but I'll make it my creative outlet for the day to reply =)
I think our culture is such an active, "doing" culture that it is a shock when we slow down from the usual busy pace. We are also fiercely independent in this country. So becoming a mom can be like moving into a different country emotionally, and your feelings are shared among your sister new moms.
Here are thoughts from my journey- beginning with resentment and ending in happy anticipation of more babies.
Someone once told me that there is a huge difference between "loving your child" and "loving motherhood". I realized then that I disliked motherhood- it was too repetitive, too much responsibility, and "un-stimulating". But I knew that in order to be very good at something, you generally have to love doing it. I decided I would do whatever it took to LOVE motherhood, not just love my children. So I sought out every positive resource, attitude, point of view, and person I could to help me learn to love it. When you set your mind to something and fill your mind with it, eventually it becomes a part of you and influences you more than other ways of thinking that make the repetitive acts of motherhood seem like a chore.
Nursing- is DRAINING. Sometimes, you don't feel it so much physically as you do emotionally or mentally. It can seem like your baby is just draining your life away. So you need to conscioulsy FILL your emotional, mental, and physical "tanks"... it can be the smallest thing, like going for a walk and NOTICING the breeze, or using a facial mask next time your baby takes a nap, or putting on a cd you love.
I have learned to love repetitive routines or "rhythms" and allow the daily, weekly, monthly, & annual events of the seasons to be my anchors and roots- my framework for enjoying life and making sense of it. I moved to the country and have come to see that within each season all of life (plants, animals) ebbs and flows in cycles, providing a continuity and rhythm, almost calendar-like sign of the times, as things sprout, bud, blossom, bear fruit (or young)... Books like "Full Moon Feast", "The Quotidian Mysteries", and "Seven Times the Sun" have all enriched my life and help me extract so much meaning from the ordinary repetitive tasks involved in being a human, a woman, and a mother. Finding meaning and purpose in a seemingly chore-driven day transform your attitude. And, in your case, as you recover, you are struggling to find meaning as you are limited in your physical capabilities. But this won't last long.
When I was young and had only myself to worry about, I never focused on everything around me- just straight ahead to where I was going and what I was trying to accomplish in my life. I was completely disconnected from the true nature of life in my yuppie existence, and it was only when I slowed down to my second baby's pace of life that it was almost like a rebirth. I began to view the future not as my playground, but as a landscape I was shaping for my children and theirs. I immersed myself in their world, and realized that what some people pay hundreds of dollars for on "Meditation Retreats" I get for free every day- an opporunity to step outside of my own relentless thoughts and be "in" the present moment. To re-live a world of first-times with their wonder and appreciation.
I realized that by funneling all my power and energy into my home and family, I could create a dynamic force that would overflow and spill out on the world around us- by giving my all and nurturing my children and carefully, daily placing the imprint on them of all the beautiful, positive, and conscientious ways of living, they can have far more impact on the world than I could on my own with just my efforts. And places where true mothers reside- women who embrace lives and nurture people- have an incredible attracting force to them. People go there and are nourished, and leave with greater potential to impact the world by realizing their life's purpose. The trend today seems to be to funnel all of your energy outside of your home, but then your own family follows suit and everyone is seeking fulfillment outside of the home- and you are left with a vacuum for a home. Home becomes a place where everyone pursues individual leisure and then heads back out to do their own thing, because it's not "exciting". I want to create a home that draws people, builds people, nourishes people... that re-asserts that people, not things, are what really matters, and that helps build the missing community and CONNECTEDNESS that we are losing as a society. People are so fragmented... We need REAl mothers to connect us and provide FAMILY.
Practically speaking, you should get 3-4 hours a day to yourself with a new baby's sleeping time. It helps to follow a rhythm (like play, eat, sleep) for your baby, and as he or she gets older the "play" time will last longer. When you're physically recovered, pop your baby in the sling and stay on your feet doing whatever you need to do to make your home an inviting, peaceful place for you and your boyfriend, and spend plenty of time outside... Don't feel like you have to hold your baby while baby is sleeping. Better a non-resentful mother with a baby in a crib than a bitter attached one! I had less of a "tolerance" for being a baby holder with my first one, and with my second one I am much more at peace with providing more consistent touch. Do what you can do without becoming resentful. But on the other hand, don't let your baby make you "stuck".
I have found that with a sling, there is very little I can't accomplish. When I had my first baby I would sit around and mope because if I set him down to take out the garbage he would fuss, and if I held him it was to hard to lift it into the outside container. Things like that would build up and I would feel more and more frustrated. Now I look at these things to do as opportunities to reinvent the way I do my chores and think outside the box to how I can incorporate my baby in all I do. Can you believe my 1 yr old son can't walk yet, but he will completely empty our front loading washer and if he drops so much as a sock, he will pick it up and put it in the basket? You and your child are a team.
I always read things that TEACH me something while I'm nursing- whether it be teaching me a new attitude, teaching me to make my own yogurt, my own garden, etc.- becoming more self-sufficient and less reliant on commodities and establishments is another way to have some stimulation and give you purpose and fulfillment. It makes you feel alive, more intuitive and primal, and more connected to your child, and helps you think outside of the box when you are the kind of mother that doesn't need to rush to the dr. for every little problem because you have your own natural first aid kit (each of my children have been to a dr. for sickness only 1 time in their combined 4 years of life, and neither needed a prescription or over the counter medicines to recover), and it makes you feel like housework is artwork when you are cleaning your sink with your own homemade peppermint oil infused soft scrub. Talk to your baby along as you do everything, "narrating", and contemplate every first... the first time your baby feels a fly brush against his or her arm, the sound of the washer machine, the way a door squeaks on its hinges. Your baby is trying to establish a rhythm & understand life (We begin each morning in our house by lighting a candle and saying "For this new morning with its light, for rest and shelter of the night, for health and food, for love and friends, for everything God's goodness sends, we thank Thee"- and you'd be amazed how soon your baby will respond to sweet little routines with a smile and expectation).
Your old life is gone now that you're a mother- maybe you can mourn it a bit- but your new exciting life is ready to begin- I pray you will embrace it and find fulfillment you never dreamed existed!
Practical note- make sure you are getting plenty of Essential Fatty Acids to boost your hormonal health. Post-baby is a great time to take fish oil capsules.