When You Aren’t Loving Every Minute of Early Motherhood

group of new mothers with their babies in an early motherhood group

I took a deep breath and walked into the room full of strangers. I was desperate to connect with them, to ask my burning questions, to find support. I was a new mom and I felt like I was drowning. Drowning in tears (both my baby’s and my own.) Drowning in uncertainty. Drowning in an intense feeling of being overwhelmed. Drowning in sleep deprivation. I needed to find other moms that I could share this struggle with because I felt completely alone.

 

When I was pregnant with my son, I spent hours dreaming about what life with a newborn would be like.

Sure, I knew I would probably be a little tired. Maybe the adjustment would take some time, but I barely gave those things a second thought. Instead, I envisioned staring into my son’s eyes with him smiling and cooing at me. I would be able to interpret every cry and soothe any hurt. Breastfeeding would be easy-peasy because it was what nature intended. Life would be grand. I would be so happy spending all day at home with him, that I probably wouldn’t go back to work. It is almost comical how blissfully naïve I was.

 

At eight weeks postpartum, those dreams I had of spending hours with my son snuggled sweetly on my chest were long gone.

Breastfeeding had turned into a train wreck. He had a tongue-tie and latch issues, and I had major supply issues. We had already visited a GI specialist twice. My supply tanked, and we had to increase his formula intake. The mama guilt hit me full-force.

Getting him to nap was also a nightmare, and when he wasn’t asleep, he seemed tired and fussy ALL.THE.TIME. I was spending every ounce of energy I had just trying to figure out ways to keep him from crying, instead of soaking up this precious time with him. I was so tired, I would break down when my husband left for work because I didn’t know how I would survive another day. I felt incredibly guilty for wanting time away from my baby.

 

During these early weeks, a well-meaning friend asked if I was loving every minute of being a mom.

That question haunted me because truth be told, I was not even close to loving every minute. I felt like I was barely surviving, but I couldn’t tell her that. It seemed as though I should be, and to admit to anything less felt like I was not grateful for this gift that I had been given.

 

I knew I needed to connect with mommas in the same stage of motherhood as me, and that is why I jumped out of my comfort zone and into a local Mother/Baby group.

As I walked into this group of strangers, I had such high hopes. I desperately longed to find my mom “soul-mates.” These women would understand me, wouldn’t judge me, and we could commiserate together about hard motherhood was. I finally wouldn’t feel so alone!

 

Instead, what I found the first day was a group of women with babies that seemed to be straight out of a Johnson&Johnson commercial.

The kind of baby that, in my pregnancy bliss, I fully expected to have. Their babies hardly ever cried and were easily soothed. The other moms seemed to breastfeed effortlessly, while I hid in the corner, mixing up formula and feeling like a failure. As other moms talked about how hard it would be to go back to work, I was secretly counting down the days so I could finally get a break. I felt like a complete outsider amongst this group, but I continued to go because I still had hope that one of “my people” would show up.

 

During one of these meetings, I couldn’t get my son to stop crying.

When the group leader came over to offer support, I broke down in tears. I told her about how much I had been struggling the past couple months, and how being a mom was so much harder than I ever thought it would be. She gave me a big hug, and then shared something with me that I did not expect to hear from this woman who seemed to have it all together. She
admitted to me that when her son was in the newborn phase, she told her dad that had she known being a mom was going to be so hard, she might not have had kids. She understood my struggle because she had lived my struggle. I was her, fifteen years earlier.

 

Her honesty and empathy in those few minutes was the life preserver I desperately needed.

I felt like a huge weight had been lifted. When you are a struggling new mom, it so hard to admit to anyone else that the dreams you had while pregnant have been crushed by the challenging reality you find yourself in. You desperately want to paint the picture that life with a new baby is just perfect — that you are, as they say, loving every minute of it. After all, isn’t that how you are supposed to feel? I will be forever grateful to that mom who was so open and honest with me.

 

It is perfectly okay to not love every minute of early motherhood.

New mommas – if you feel in over your head right now, let me throw you a lifeline. It is perfectly okay to not love every minute of early motherhood. Let me repeat that. IT IS PERFECTLY OKAY TO NOT LOVE EVERY MINUTE OF EARLY MOTHERHOOD. It is okay to admit when you feel overwhelmed. It is okay to reach out for help. It is okay to get a babysitter if you need time away from your screaming child. That doesn’t mean you are a bad mother, and that doesn’t mean you love your baby any less. If breastfeeding doesn’t work out, you are not a failure. If you choose formula, you are still an awesome mom.

 

Early motherhood is freaking hard!

Throw a fussy or colicky baby into the mix, and some days it feels dang near impossible to get through. Even if you have an “easy” baby, it is still damn hard. You will make it. You will survive these early months of motherhood. And as crazy as it sounds when you are right in the thick of it, you might even decide to do it all over again someday!

 

Recommended next:

How Babies are Just Like Cake

I Have No Idea

Mommy Groups Heaven or Hell?

 

Topics:Motherhood
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8 Comments

  • I was this person, or even worse. I also hated pregnancy! HA! (We are now considering #2!) Now, I make time to be real with other new moms in my life. I give them the lifeline we all desperately need. Sometimes, I think they think I’m crazy. They must be loving it, but others are beyond grateful. It doesn’t take much to comfort a new mom. I refuse to sugarcoat motherhood because more women need to hear the truth. I love my son with all my heart, but being a mom is hard every day. I will never apologize for owning that reality and telling other moms the same. My advice is to find a person you can tell all the bad stuff to. I was lucky. I had three people that I could tell about the darkest days. Your person doesn’t have to be a mom either. One of the people who listened to me the most was single. She’s never been there but she is just that awesome. BE THE LIFELINE FOR OTHER WOMEN. We all need it.

  • Tears in my eyes while reading. I’m one of those mums with an easy baby (doesn’t cry too much, BF is going fine and generally she’s a relaxed baby), bit still the lack of sleep and even just freedom is tough at times. I wish mothers (and everyone around her) would give eachother more of a break, we’re all just trying to do our best and making it work!

  • I love this article and feel free to drop the “early” part. When my first child was about 6 weeks old I woke my spouse in the middle of the night because, I was the only one waking up with him since I had the boobs, and told him take the baby or one of us is gonna die. Those were the best 3 hours of sleep I’ve ever had. The next night he was moved out of our room into his crib and an emergency pumped midnight bottle was kept in the fridge for nights I just couldn’t take it. Life got better. We had another, he was/is an amazing sleeper and I am now expecting number 3. I was having the dream experience after those first few months with my first baby. Well now my oldest is now 3, yes I will have a newborn, a 1 year old, and a 3 year old in 4 short months. Yes I’m crazy, yes I know how they’re made, yes to every other stupid comment out there. Guess what else…I hate the 3 year old stage! My oldest is again make me question why I started the motherhood journey in the first place and that’s ok because I still love his stubborn, annoying, same personality as his mother little threenager butt. It’s just a stage and it’s ok that I don’t love it as long as I continue to love and care for my children (which sometimes means leaving them with a babysitter so I don’t go crazy) and everyone makes it out healthy and alive. Sorry I wrote a book but I just had to let everyone know there are other hard stages besides newborn. They too shall pass and it’s ok not to love them!

  • I will take a toddler tantrum over newborn insane hormones/sleep deprivation anyday. Being a mom is hard work. Being a mom to a newborn is crazy hard work. It gets so much better! Great message!

  • I remember when my daughter was a couple months old. I had her in the carrier and sat down on a bench. This older lady took one look at my exhausted distressed face and instead of saying something annoying like “enjoy every minute”, she said “it gets better. I know, or I would never have had more than one”. That was my lifeline.

  • SO. MUCH. This.
    My gosh, I am going through this right now. (My little bird is one month old) and while searching for support in a sea of very judgey fb mom groups, decided to start my own honest mom blog when he was one week old called HSP MAMA (since I am a super hyper sensitive person).

    Since then, I have found some incredible support, (one of them suggestive your blog!) but blogging I shall continue! The world needs (ha, not sure if it really does) more supportive places for Mom’s to find solace that they ARE NOT ALONE in these feelings.

    Thanks for your honesty!
    -Jenipher

  • Absolutely needed this message!!!!! Thank you. My daughter is 7 months now and I felt like this. My daughter is still alive and well and I feel no shame in saying “It is perfectly okay to not love every minute of early motherhood.”

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