Transition into parenthood
Bobby and I were not at all prepared for parenthood. Logistically we were, but the mental, physical and emotional load was not exactly what we imagined. The first few months we were trying to figure out how we wanted to parent and now that we are a year into we are more comfortable in our roles and are starting to find things a little easier (just a little!).
Overwhelmed and Underprepared
Becoming a mom is a brand new role that a women steps into (even moms of multiples!)
I was underprepared for how I would feel in the thick of becoming a mom. About three weeks into our son's life I had a breakdown. I could not handle the constant nursing, sleepless nights, and continuous holding of my son. I reached out for help and while there was an underlying issue creating these common but not normal behaviors, the people who helped me validated what I was feeling and offered support and explanations for understanding.
What I mean by that is, when talking to my lactation counselor, The Nurturing Way, Katherine Koncelik, she explained that babies are born too early and should still be in utero for 12 months, not 9. If you notice in nature, most babies are born capable of walking within the first few hours of life. Meanwhile, human babies definitely are not capable of walking no less hold their heads up on their own. They can do this around 3 months tho! Knowing this changed my perspective (sorry, explaining the science behind anything helps me understand so much) and allowed me to have more grace for both of us.
While I was already baby-wearing, it was recommended to wear him almost all the dang time. While it was a little inconvenient it was a tremendous help in our early days. Also having his ties diagnosed gave us so much relief that there was a reason for his behaviors and not that I was a bad or incapable mom. There were a lot of intrusive thoughts during this time, particularly within the Baby Blues window (and I say that because it's only supposed to last the first few weeks).
My friend from the The Postpartum Resource Center of NY encouraged me to take it easy, lean on whatever help I could get, explained more about motherhood transitions, and texted me daily to check-in. After our son's oral tie revision I started to feel better and more comfortable in my role as mom. I don't think that I could pinpoint when the postpartum rage, anxiety, and OCD started.
Hormones effing suck. The ebb and flow of them took a huge toll on me. I learned a few things to help me through my struggles with it. First, I had the most rage around the time of my menstrual cycle - think PMS on steroids and bath salts. Second, I shifted my expectations and learned to be flexible. Third, therapy and self-care. Fourth, CBD - tried natural instead of pharma (absolutely love the current brand I'm using - it contains ashwagandha: powerful adaptogens that work to restore and maintain your ideal state of balance while strengthening your defenses against physical, mental, and emotional stress).
I wrote this little bit when my son was 3 weeks old, probably at my lowest point.
"Declan is almost 3 weeks old and I'm still hating motherhood. All of my disappointments and the tough parts of the day have created so much discouragement that everything that I wanted for him I want to give up on. The sleepless nights, sore nipples, endless feedings, his crying, my crying, not showering, trying to stay hydrated and fed, and isolation is extremely frustrating and exhausting. Maybe if I just changed a few things it would get easier. But I don't want to give up things like breastfeeding because it's not what I was expecting. I want to stick with my decisions because I couldn't in labor and delivery and I don't want to take any more of my decisions away from me.
I don't want to hear "it'll get easier", or "it'll be worth it, you'll see". I know this already and having others tell you when you're struggling does not help. It hurts. It makes you feel ashamed for feeling so shitty for them to have to say it. I want to feel validated, I want to know: what made YOU feel like giving up. I want to know that I'm not alone in hating some days. I want to hear that sometimes when he won’t stop crying and I've already fed, changed, given the pacifier, and tried everything else I could think of, I just have to walk away for a minute and breathe, maybe even have a quick cry too before trying again and that it’s OKAY to do that."
More recently while trying to wean I had a flood of emotion hit me. While my husband and I were being intimate one evening, with the rush of climax and the baby just starting to cry on the monitor, I completely broke down. Like just sobbing uncontrollably. My poor husband, wtf just written all over him! In that moment I hated being a mom and the person I've become. Meanwhile, at the same time, I am questioning myself how could I feel that way.
In our podcast episode about this, I confess that I don't love this role. My amazing and understanding husband replied with "no one said you had to". I stand by what I said next, I don't think people say that enough. I love my son and who he is becoming and am beyond blessed that he is mine, but motherhood blows (for me anyway). Please know, that your feelings are valid. You can like and dislike something at the same time and it's OKAY. I hope that you do not find what I say offensive, but honest and raw.
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