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

 l love this post that Jess sent me. Just because parts of parenthood are tough doesn't mean you can't move on from it.– Amy

shit that sucks as a new mother

 

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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29 Comments

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Thank you for this post! I have been feeling very emotional and alone and at the same time helpless. You have helped me see that I am not the only one to go through this. I love my boy, but I just want to feel like me again.

  • While I cannot relate to the c section…i think you wrote the story of my liiiife. I thought I didn’t want an epidural…i was practically begging for it the second I walked in the door. After having contractions non stop for 4 days and zero sleep…i think I needed it. thought delivery would be smooth- it wasnt. I pushed for 3.5 hours, doc had to use the vacuum to assist. I also felt like i could have tried harder and still feel pangs of guilt about that. I thought breastfeeding would be easy peasy – no. Everything you said about breastfeeding and the baby blues was spot on. I wish i would have read this a few weeks ago when i was torturing myself over wanting to quit brestfeeding (i did). I’m so glad that I read this tonight, thank you!

  • Thank you for this post. You have me in tears! I relate to each of your points so much, it’s like I wrote this.

  • Thank you for this. Thank you. I am currently in the "baby blues" stage. And I feel a little less alone, a little less crazy.

  • Reading this made me think of just how I felt, the breastfeeding I felt like a failure.. I’m getting over that day by day. I can definitely relate to the baby blues!! My son will be 3months in a few days & I feel like I’m finally ok with myself, I have good days & bad days, but reading this made me feel better that I’m not the only Mom going through these feelings. I get frustrated & feel like maybe just maybe I can be doing something better for him, but at the end of the day even when he’s screaming crying..(he’s extremely colicky) I just look at him & I’m in total aww bc I created this beautiful baby with such a fun & loving personality. Thanks for this blog bc today I really needed to read this.. I’m smiling right now at the fact that there are ppl out there who only talk about the oohs & awws of motherhood, but reality is that there are some crazy days & nights I know that right especially for me. We just gotta come to terms that we’ve made the best decisions & we need to go with our gut. I’ll never be perfect & I don’t want to be anymore.. I just want to have my son look at me with his big blue eyes that shows me that he loves me regardless of not breastfeeding & my body not being petfect. This was a great article!! Thanks ,?

  • PREACH, mama! This is amazing… I can relate to all of these situations.. my baby is also 9 months old and though he was formula fed from day 1, he is in the 98th percentile, happy, silly, and HEALTHY. We’re all doing the best we can.. thank you for sharing this!

  • Thank you for this honest post. On the topic of C-sections I think it is unfortunate that so many women feel guilt over them. Perhaps it is from the trend towards natural childbirth and alternative birthing methods. We are fortunate that so many babies can now live that would otherwise die without C-sections. And doctors do NOT wish to perform them more than natural deliveries- maybe 20 years ago but certainly not now. I have several large fibroids and my doc said I may have to have a C-section. I have resolved not to let anyone make me feel guilty about it because I want to to just be thankful for my first baby at age 36.

    • I am a Csection baby and have problems with moms wanting or needing a csection, but doctors ARE wantign to perform csections more than they used to. The rate of csections has gone up and they are not always needed. I am against the idea of doctors pushing inductions and csections onto moms when it is not always needed. Yes being induced is sometimes needed as are c sections, but right now they are used more than needed. Its also not benefiting anyone. The United States death rate of babies and moms at birth has gone up in the past 20 years, along with medical interventions. Thats not a coincidence. No mom should blindly trust their doctor. Again there is nothing wrong with having a csection. If my mom hadnt had one I would be dead right now and she probably wouldnt of made it either. But when doctors are telling moms that their baby is too big for them to deliver, or that they are 2 days overdue so need to be induced that is when the line should be drawn, because those are unnecessary reasons to induce/csection.

  • Thank you for sharing.

    Everyone’s experience is different, but I can definitely relate to feeling like a failure from day one – now my post-partum depression is now being treated (WITH DRUGS!) and I suddenly feel like a human being again.

    My daughter is thriving and gorgeous and now I can appreciate her, instead of feeling trapped. Thank you for sharing, and letting people know that it’s ok to struggle. There is help, if you ask for it.

  • You know what’s crazy? My baby was born from a vaginal delivery and I breastfed him until he was 2 years old and a half – and I felt exatctly the same things. I always think I shouldn’t have asked for an epidural, I always felt the baby blues were a shitty thing to happen when a woman is more fragile than ever and I still have my baby bump (okay, and fat too…) to remind me of being pregnant.
    I think the problem is this: mothers are all the same. We fear failure because, if we do, we will be failing our own flesh and blood. That is a damn hard weight to carry on our shoulders. And that’s why that, regardless how things turned out, we share that shitty feeling that we’re about to screw up this motherhood thing.
    There will come a moment when we have the confidence to assume that we will make mistakes. That we will not do what the books, the doctors and the sancti-mommys think that is best. We will mess up, when we ground our kid and realize afterwards that it was unfair. When we go eat a greasy hamburguer with chips. When we look at our kids plate and cannot see any veggies because we cannot endure another moment of fight because "mommmyyyyy!!!! I don’t want to eat my peas!!!!".
    So, let’s just be happy because we are mothers. And because sometimes, we suck at it but, in truth, most of the time, we rock at mootherhood. 🙂

  • Perfect description of the whole breastfeeding issue. I tortured myself for about 6 weeks before giving in and that was when my baby blues turned the corner. Thanks for sharing

  • Thanks so much for this! I breastfed my daughter for only about a month and only at night. I chose to formula feed her, so when her brother came along, I was determined to breastfeed him. I told myself at least six months. I hated every second of it. I hated that others couldn’t help me feed him, that I was just a milk machine…that’s how I felt. On top of that, he had an underdeveloped stomach, so he never kept anything down. He was losing weight because of puking and I was starting to get a little depressed because of all of it so I finally decided to give him some formula. I felt awful that I had abandoned my goal. We ended up giving him the formula, and at direction of the doctor, thickening it, and he has blossomed! It took me a long time to realize I wasn’t a failure and this was the best thing for him.

  • This is beautiful… I can’t relate to the c-section but everything else (especially breastfeeding and baby blues) are spot on! I wish there would give such classes before you had a baby to equip you for whats to come. Good luck dear 🙂

  • I’m so happy that you shared this! I am a new first time Mommy and have felt the very same on more than one occasion! Thanks for this, I really enjoyed it!

  • While I was one of the lucky ones and look back at my delivery and smile (despite the pain and the stitches after having a 10lbs 5.5oz baby and afterwards, oh my) because my midwife did everything within her power to make sure this first time Mum did okay, I can relate to the other two. My partner did his very best to keep his cool and explain to me logically that I was in no fit state to breastfeed and the reason she was probably crying so often was because she wasn’t getting enough milk, but it still broke my heart for months and months afterwards (despite being adamant I wouldn’t BF when I first got pregnant, she was a very unexpected surprise and I was anything but educated) and only now, now she’s 15 months, in the past month or so am I getting back to feeling like my body is my own. I don’t want to cry every time I catch a glimpse of my stretch marks (covering most of my body!) and no longer shy away from my partner when he looks at me when I’m changing, I’m not at the point where I smile when I look at them, but I know I’ll get there, eventually 🙂

  • yes, we all have our different experinces, I tell everyone all the gory details of my 56hr "natural" ?? labor, breastfeeding, having a seziure and dropping my baby at 3wks, and when they turn 2 you look back and realize you’ve been on robot mode to get through, while the terrible 2’s start! Yes, that moment they put your baby on your chest the first time makes you forget everything, for a moment.. then you could turn, spew in your own hair while you are being "stitched up" But im sure people dont tell you the details, incase you might be scared to have one…!!! lol

  • Thank you so much for sharing. I’m going into labor knowing that I have to have a c-section and worry that it will make me less of a mother. My sister suffered from "baby blues" and because no one talks about how awful it is, she felt alone and like a terrible mother. I also think its great that you choose to bottle feed because that is what worked best for you. Thank you for being honest and sharing!

  • thank you for this. There are such high expectations we give ourselves as mothers. It is ok to admit you need help or you aren’t ok. I did not have post partum, but I was severely depressed while I was pregnant with my first. It is an awful experience. As long as your kid is loved, happy, and healthy, what difference does the other stuff make?

  • You put words to the feelings I have about my c-section. I remind myself that my daughter’s head was stuck in my pelvis, that 100 years ago one or both of us would have died and what an amazing thing it is that we’re both here and healthy and happy. Yet, I still feel guilt. It is really great to think of the scar as a really awesome and unique "tattoo" representing her birth. I love that. Thank you!!

  • Reading this felt like I was reading my own experience. C-section-nursing-feeling like I failed her….thank you. I’m not alone! And I’m getting better at realizing every day that she’s happy and healthy and that means I didn’t fail.

  • Yes, yes, YESS! I feel like I can relate to all of those things on some level (c-section/breastfeeding/post-partum)! Thank you for this post! I’m just now feeling OK with everything and my baby is 10.5 months. It’s all such a learning process and as long as you love the shit out of your baby, then it’ll all be alright! They’ll all grow up the same.

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