Truths About Early Motherhood

I never understood why this subject is so easily looked past and sugar coated.  I can remember when I was pregnant with my first child.  I had this fantasy about what having a baby would be like and how I would feel as a “Mommy.”  I thought I was very prepared seeing I had 3 older sisters who had already had children, read all the books, and took the childbirth classes.  I guess I can understand that people don’t want to ruin your time of being blissfully enthusiastic.  Who the heck would want to have a child after hearing about all the difficult challenges.  Well, for me it would have been nice to know about some of those difficult challenges that would soon come my way.  It may or may not have changed things for me but may for someone else.
I had the classic longer drawn out labor.  I chose to do it naturally but with a little help from IV drugs.  By the time my baby boy was born I was exhausted, out of it, and just relieved it was all over.  I saw my baby boy and he was beautiful.  It was unbelievable that my husband and I could actually make a  human being.
We went home 2 days later and that mommy high was still there.  But from day one my little man would not sleep in his bassinet or flat for that matter.  Within days he started projectile vomitting.  He was uncomfortable and fussy.   I was waking up several times a night to feed him, sometimes having to hold him, and try different ways to get him to stay asleep.  I can remember getting him to sleep during the day tightly swaddled, putting him in the bouncy seat, and tiptoeing away hoping he would sleep longer than 15-30 minutes by himself.  To make it worse everyone around me, or least in seemed that way, seemed to know how to feed him and get him to sleep longer and better than me.  Guess what?  They couldn’t! But still I felt incompetent at times.
 I can remember telling him to just “SHUT UP” and go to sleep.  I was overwhelmed. Later we found out he had reflux.  Of course not every baby has reflux where it needs to be medically treated.  But many moms still do experience the same feelings of being overwhelmed, tired, frustrated, and sometimes a sense of failure. 
My point is becoming a mother, especially the first time around, isn’t so easy.  It’s not this blissful fairytale it’s made out to be at first.  For many reasons.

1) All babies are different
You could have one with a bad case of reflux like mine, a baby who is just colicky with no specific reason, and you could have a typical baby. Either way is still an adjustment and life change.
2) Your hormones are changing once again
You will loose hair and your skin may change for the good or bad.  You may have hot flashed or night sweats as your body tries to get back to pre-pregnancy status.  You just very well might be cranky to put it nicely. 
3)Your emotions are all over the place
You may have the baby blues and be very emotional at times.  (Of course if you feel worse, really depressed, or very anxious talk with your doctor.  You could have post partum depression.  Which is normal for some women so don’t be ashamed.)  I can remember feeling a sense of loss after each of my births.  It sounds funny but it can happen. I had post partum anxiety with my third and medication did help me. 
4)Your breasts will get engorged
Which is by no means lovely or comfortable.
To help relieve them you can try cabbage leaves over each breast.  It has worked wonders for some.  Wearing a tight fitting sports bra will also help. DON’T do these things if you are trying to breastfeed.  Lastly, your husband will look at them with amazement while you want to hit him on top of the head with a fry pan.
5)If your breastfeeding know it’s not easy at first
Maybe for a select few but for many what is suppose to be so natural is SO NOT.  It can be hard, time consuming, and frustrating process.  But it WILL get a lot easier.  Getting help from a lacation consultant can help wonders.  Again it’s a learning process.  But still for some it just might not work out.  And believe it or not you will feel sad and disappointed.  I tried for 4 1/2 weeks and it just didn’t work.  It was the best decision to stop for me and my family.  It was a relief but also a feeling of unaccomplishment.  (Again, we are way to hard on ourselves.)   DO NOT feel bad if you don’t breastfeed.  You child will turn out just fine.  There is no difference between my 2 who weren’t and my child I did breastfeed for a short time. 
6) Your stomach will slowly shrink down
Possibly to where it was pre-pregnancy but even the fittest mother with still have a little flab.  So through everything you still may feel fat or flabby. It can take up to 9 months to get back to where you were pre-pregnancy.  (Even if you didn’t gain alot of weight.) I still couldn’t fit into my regualar jeans comfortable for about 9 months.  And I was 2 lbs away from my start weight 2 weeks after giving birth.
7) You will have vaginal or incision pain. 
And you do bleed heavily after delivery.  It takes about 4 weeks to subside.  And to make it worse your husband most likely wants to jump on the band wagon and have sex ASAP, having no clue what you have and are currently experiencing. Which leads me to  #8.
8) You may slightly or strongly dislike your husband or significant other
Even if they actually help you the best they can they still have no clue what your going through.  And quite frankly many just don’t get it and are selfish.  Again if they do help you which is wonderful, you still do most of the work and usually are the one most sleep deprived.  Which can also add to your crankiness at times.  Women have this instinct to be perfect and feel they should now it all or they have failed.  Men tend to be more laid back especially when it comes to babies.  They just aren’t programmed like we are.
9) You will get a million opinions and ideas from others
This can be good if you ask for it and also bad.  Usually people are just trying to help.  But what they forget what it’s like to be a mom for the first time and sometimes overstep.  This can only make you feel worse and more incompetent.  Even if you ask for suggestions, realize what works for one mother/baby may bot work for everyone.  It’s all about trial and error.
10)  Last but certainly not least, you will try to be SUPER MOM.
We are programmed to feel as though we have to everything and do it right.  If we don’t we fail.  But what I have learned as a mother of three, it’s just not the case.  We are not perfect, we will not have all the answers, and through being able to everything in one day out the window.  That whole control thing, well forget it.  There will be days we you have done everything and still your baby is crying.  It is hard and you feel like your a terrible mother but your not.  Babies cry and can cry alot.  I swear the first 4-6 weeks were a honeymoon faze for my boys.  Then all of a sudden all hell broke loose and the crying more began.  Crying does tend to peak arounf 6 weeks. 

Having a baby brings about many changes in you physically, mentally, and your lifestyle.  And as much as it can bring you and your partner closer, it can also create a little bit of tension.  But the most important thing to remember is that is does get better and easier.  It really does.  I can’t promise you won’t be faced with new and different challenges along the way. Believe me you will.  All you can do is take care of yourself and do the best you know how.  Know you will not have all the answers and that’s okay.  Really it is!

Motherhood is the most challenging but also the most rewarding job you will ever have.   

Comments

  1. Jessica says:

    My son is 4 1/2 months old and I can relate to absolutely everything you just said! Seriously. My husband was beyond helpful and always there for me, but just didn't get it. And I mean in the way of how I was feeling. Like once I popped that baby out I was supposed to feel pure bliss has parts of my have been stiched up! Talk about making your hair fall out! haha! Love your blog and will continue to follow! Stopping by from SITS!

    Reply
  2. Life with Kaishon says:

    Wow. I think you are so dead on with this post. How refreshingly honest. Hope you have a happy New Year with your sweet family!

    Reply

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