Shit that Sucks as a New Mom – and How I Made it Through

 

There are plenty of people on the Internet who will tell you becoming a mother is life-changing. That it is a love and connection unlike anything else you will ever experience. And they’re right. But with those highs, you sometimes have to cope with some tough lows, and not enough people like to talk about those parts. So without further ado, here is some of the hardest shit I’ve dealt with as a mom and how I’ve maybe not conquered, but got myself through.

1/ I didn’t have the delivery I’d anticipated.

I had a hard time also coming to terms with having a c-section. Even though it was something I willingly chose- after 20 hours in the hospital, 10 of those hours very active and painful labor, despite an epidural- I’ve had a hard time. I felt an overwhelming sense of guilt. Like I should have tried harder, suffered more to have my baby. I have to stop and remind myself my mommy intuition was already at work. I truly believe with the difficulties I had with my labor not progressing, a c-section was likely either way, and I didn’t want it to be in an emergency situation with either of us in distress. Nine months later, I still feel those pangs of guilt. 

Still.

I still want to cry and mourn for the experience I didn’t get. But then I feel my tiny scar from the c-section or catch a glimpse of it in the shower or while changing, and I realize how lucky I am. I have something even better than any tattoo. I have a physical reminder of the moment my daughter came into this world. I get to carry that with me forever and I could not be prouder.

 

2/ I didn’t breastfeed because of the “Baby Blues.”

I still have a lot of guilt about not breastfeeding. People would say “Well, some people just can’t do it.” I could have done it. I had no problem with my milk supply. But I was crumbling under the weight of some serious “baby blues.” That is a terrible fucking name for what that is by the way. “Baby blues” makes it sound cute and harmless, like pregnancy brain.

It is not cute.

It is soul-crushing, overwhelming anxiety and hopelessness. It is uncontrollable sobbing and a constant sense of panic. Every time my daughter would cry, alarms went off in my head screaming “OH MY GOD YOU FAILURE!” and I felt as if I couldn’t breathe. Those first few weeks when I should have been enjoying life as a new mother, I lived in fear of the next time she cried. What if I couldn’t fix it? Why didn’t I miraculously know what to do like other moms seemed to? Was there something wrong with me? That’s what the “baby blues” are like. Gut wrenching anxiety that feels like there is no end in sight and the roof collapsing in on top of you at the same time.

I would bawl when I would feed her. After 40 weeks of my body belonging to someone else, I just wanted it back. I don’t care if that’s a little selfish. I’m done with the idea that I have to be a martyr to be a good mother. I just couldn’t handle the thought of being a human milk vending machine for the foreseeable future. Finally, after a few days of my husband telling me I was not a bad mom if I switched to formula, I gave in. I think I only breast fed her for a whopping 7 days. The moment I switched her to formula and she didn’t seem to even notice a difference,  I sobbed with relief. Once I (mostly) freed myself of that guilt, things eventually got better a little at a time, to the point that I felt like I could relax and finally take a real breath.

 

3/ I had the baby, but the baby weight stayed.

So my body isn’t perfect. You won’t see me parading around in a bikini, but I’m okay with that. My body wasn’t perfect before kids. And I’m not about to go kill myself at the gym for the approval of others now. But now I look down at my fading stretch marks that I once looked at in horror as they grew with my swelling belly, and I am thankful for them. They are a reminder that I was my daughter’s first home. They are a reminder that I did my first job as her mother. I nurtured her and protected her from the world for a long 40 weeks and 2 days. Growing her inside me made my body soft in all the places she now loves to nuzzle into when she needs comforted. And my daughter will grow up knowing that even though my skin is marked and my stomach is not flat, this does not make me ugly. And that no matter what shape my body is in, it is worthy of love and respect, as is hers. I hope to instill a confidence in her that I did not have, but had to learn. And I am still learning.

Because c-section or not, breast fed or not, this kid is going to be picking her nose and eating things off the ground just like the next kid before I know it, and I should do my best to just enjoy the ride.

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Shit that Sucks as a New Mom – and How I Made it Through

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31 Comments

  • Beautifully written – thank you for making me feel less alone. It’s so much healthier to acknowledge the parts of new motherhood that suck, instead of feeling like you have to pretend everything is rosy because that’s what’s expected by people. Thanks a million times over for this post!

  • Haha so true! I mean I didn’t breastfeed, because at the beginning I wasn’t able to, which made me fall into a postpartum depression. However I ended up, feeding Jacob Hipp organic formula, which my husband found <a href="https://myorganicformula.com/collections/hipp-organic-formula">on the web</a> – it’s basically free from everything and ver natural. I definitely felt better, when I knew that Jacob got something really natural to eat as a substitute for the lack of breast milk.

  • [email protected] says:

    Crying through this whole thing. Such a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing.

  • [email protected] says:

    I think we had the EXACT same experiences. I was in labor for 24 hours and NEVER dilated at all, they had to force me to get to a 4. And the epidurals didn’t work so I felt every single thing. Then I got home and realized I was absolutely clueless and not only that but I was alone which magnified things by about 10. I cried at least six-ten times a day, I considered running away, to be completely honest I considered ending my own life because I just knew that I was not the best thing for this baby. Things got better slowly…especially after I quit breastfeeding, then a little more when I realized he was doing well and growing. I think I finally realized how much he really does acknowledge that I’m his momma when he looks at me expectantly waiting for me to look at him and then he smiles the most wonderful heart-melting smile you’ve ever seen. And it makes my heart feel like it will explode with happiness.

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