Mothering is hard. Whether you're doing it all alone or with your significant other, it’s freaking hard people. Emotionally physically mentally. It’s. Damn. Hard.
Social media can either do us good or completely break us down when it comes to being a new mom. It’s easy to comply with the “norm” and post only what appears to be happy and joyful posts of your fresh newborn. To show only the “good moments” of those incredibly tough first few days/weeks/months home from the hospital. To post only adorable pictures of your squishy newborn and how you “bounced back” just a couple weeks after. Look, we all love to see that but it’s not the truth.. well the whole truth that is. It’s bits and pieces of your whole beautiful journey into this motherhood thing, and that's okay, but I think as a "first time mom" veteran we need to know the ugly side to it all as well.
What we should know is that deep behind that beautifully captured picture is the 100th shit pants you’ve changed today, the barf down your boobs, or the fact that you haven't bathed or brushed your teeth or changed out of your robe and its now 5pm. It’s not the dark circles under your eyes from waking up every half hour throughout the night to nurse your cluster feeding baby, or the truth about how you lost all that baby weight by withering away in your sorrows, with no time to shit, drink a glass of water, or shove some teddy grahams down your throat. This motherhood gig is EXHAUSTING.
I think what’s most difficult is saying that it’s not easy. Expressing that you feel alone, that you resent your significant other for being able to go on with their day like nothing has changed #dadlife (I'm just kidding, Jay is amazing, but post partum blues are the real deal people and there were many times I resented him for going to work! GOING TO WORK! Who am I?) In a time when you are given such a blessing, but you feel less than blessed in the moment is when its the hardest to admit you need help. In todays world, the second you become vulnerable and open up sooo many people are quick to attack, make judgments or mean remarks like “you should be thankful for your blessings” “you wanted this” and so forth.
Well I'm here to tell you that you're not alone. You may think you are the only person hating this motherhood thing, that you're the only one who dreads bedtime because you know in fact you will not sleep, that waking up sounds even worse because you have to care and nurture this gentle baby all damn day with the little to no energy you have left, but know that you are not alone. You can get through this and this phase of life will soon pass.
Now I'm not saying this is the case for everyone. I'm sure somewhere in a long lost world there is a mother who never has any of these feelings and is truly thinking that motherhood is the most wonderful time of her life and it's everything she ever dreamed of but I can't help but think that there are more women than not that feel the way I do, or have felt this way at some point in there motherhood journey. Believe me, when I brought Oliver home, I wanted nothing more than to enjoy every waking moment with him, but I couldn't, I didn't and I just didn't feel myself.
I wanted to write about my post-partum struggles to hopefully help other mothers who are feeling this way. I think that as a brand new mom you have it the hardest. Your entire pregnancy everyone showers you with gifts, tells you how excited they are for you, and you are continually fed positive vibes which is how it should be, I mean no one is going to tell you it will be hard, you will be tired, but you can get through it. You put together the nursery, you go to your appointments and listen to the heartbeat, you buy little trinkets and adorable newborn clothing and all this awesome baby shit you've never even heard of before and you just get sooooo excited and anxious to hold your sweet bundle of joy and you want him/her to be in your arms so badly that once that babe is here you are blind-sided by the difficult not so glamorous moments that motherhood brings. Believe me when I say that childbirth is the most amazing thing that I have ever went through, but if I'm being honest, after birthing Oliver I never wanted to go through that again.
A quick recap of Oliver's birth. I worked eves (3-11pm) the weekend I went into labor. Saturday night I stayed an hour late to help with the unit. When I got home I made an egg bake and cheesy potatoes because it was Easter the next day. By this time it was around 130-2am when I was finally able to get some sleep. Two hours later I woke up to my water breaking in bed. We got ready and off to the hospital we went! I didn't have a difficult birth, I got an epidural that wore off towards the end so I was able to feel my contractions and push him out in 45 minutes. Those first moments were like nothing I've experienced before. It was a mix of adrenalin, euphoria, and utter amazement that I just did it and I was holding that beautiful baby boy I had been dreaming of for the past 9 months. That first night was a breeze haha he was in the newborn sleepy stage so he didn't want to wake up and Jay and I were both like "Did we just hit the jack pot? Our kid is already sleeping through the night?!" Well we were very wrong!
The next night all he did was cry.. I obviously didn't have much for a milk supply yet so he was probably hungry but boy was I distraught. My nipples hurt with even the slightest breeze hitting them. I cringed every time I new I had to nurse him and I'm pretty sure he could sense my frustration with every feed because things were not going well. I was over paranoid if that's even a thing that I wouldn't get my supply in so I was pumping every 3 hours as well as after he ate. This caused me to have an oversupply, along with extremely engorged veiny pornstar boobs that were uncomfortable if I didn't release the milk and even more uncomfortable if I did. It was a vicious cycle of trying to regulate my supply to his needs, but you can read about my breastfeeding journey in another post soon to come!
That first month, all I did was sit in my rocker and literally nurse Oliver. I felt like he was a piraña and I was just a tasty piece of meat. I went days without showering, sometimes I would brush my teeth right before Jay got home from work at nearly 5pm. I tore up and down during delivery, and didn't take enough baths to help heal/dissolve my stitches so my lady parts were beyond sore for wayyyy toooo long.
I felt like a slob who never got out of her robe and was so ashamed of my "postpartum body". All day I would watch the clock, counting down the hours, minutes until Jay walked through that door to relieve me of my new parenting duties. Oliver wasn't a terrible baby, but he did cry a lot and it was so emotionally draining I felt like my life was ruined forever. How could this sweet innocent little baby, who deserved every piece of my love and affection, be so monstrous and cause me to be so unhappy? I remember scrolling through instagram/facebook and seeing all these post on how happy and joyful these new moms were with their brand new babies, and how motherhood was such a blessing and being envious of all the beautifully captured photos of their new bundles but found myself feeling like such a failure. I would then feel worthless because I wasn't reading to him every minute of the day, or making cute crafts with him, or taking him out and about.. I could barely walk and I just remember feeling so defeated, as if I wasn't good enough.
I don't post a lot of these moments or "tough moments" in our life because I honestly don't really want to remember them. I don’t do this to portray a perfect life, or make you think I never have any struggles or problems arise because that is NOT the case, I just don't always broadcast it. I like to post happy pictures because for me, its a way to look back and remember those good moments, in the midst of the crazy and chaotic. The good always outweighs the bad. I encourage you to keep posting whatever makes you feel happy. You’re not a fake person or a perfect person because of it, you’re you and those Are the moments you want to remember. So whether you choose to post “real life” moments or the instaworthy moments that’s your choice and we should support you along the way. Just know that we are all fighting a different battle, living a different life and may have our own struggles that we’re going though no matter what you see on the gram.
During those first few weeks, probably even months after having Oliver, I didn't feel connected to him one bit, I felt like he was a foreign person in my house that I was forced to care for. I didn't want to feel like that. I felt even more awful for having those feelings. But that's what post partum blues did to me. It made me think irrationally, my self worth was zero, my body perception was so negative, and looking back now I really think I was depressed. I didn't want to admit that in the time because I wanted to seem like I had it all under control, that I could do this and that I loved every minute of it. I should of spoke up, I should of expressed my feelings more because I think that would of helped me cope with those feelings so much quicker.
After a while, as time passed I started enjoying each moment more and more. I was in a different mind set that this would just be a phase, and it was. As he grew older, things got easier, but new challenges arose and together we overcame them. Our bond grew and our nursing journey was stronger than ever, and I'm so proud to say we made it 2 years with him being in control of his wean. I obviously love him more than words can say and I'm so thankful for gods blessings, but I want you to know that it wasn't easy at first.
If this is you and you're having some of these same symptoms, I promise you that you can do it, you can get through this "phase of life" as I call it, and soon those tough and never ending days will become nothing more than a memory. You may look back and laugh at these dreaded days, and remember how sweet your newborn babe was and then think to yourself how much you miss that newborn phase, miss no sleep, no eating, no bathing, but you do.
So give yourself a break. We’re freaking human and we’re women for that matter. Women who have wayyyy toooo many feelings and hormones and thoughts that consume us. Post partum blues are very real, and they can happen to any body. You shouldn't feel ashamed, you shouldn't feel alone, you shouldn't feel defeated because you CAN overcome it, and you will. The most important thing to do is know when to get help, something I wish I would of done. Next week I will share part 2 of my post partum journey, how to cope with it and ways that I was able to overcome it, and not let it overrule my life after having Attikus. I was so much happier, truly a completely different person/mother my second time around and I want to share that with you to hopefully help you overcome those feelings and empower you to also share your feelings! Stay tuned, I hope you'll join me next week!