YOU'RE KILLING IT, & I can tell by the smile on your baby's face. There are new babies and new mommies everywhere on my timeline! I love to see it! But behind those beautiful newborn pictures, and instagram worthy selfies are TIRED MAMAS dealing with postpartum.
As I reflect over the last (almost) six months, the best way I can describe it is --- a roller coaster ride. I have had the highest of highs, the lowest of lows, and all the butterflies in between. Emotions change daily. One day I’m on top of the world thinking I could have ten more babies, and the next day I’m questioning every decision I’ve ever made.
For at least the first four months after delivering Krue, these were my daily thoughts:
I will ask for your advice if i want it, but I probably don’t!
Keep your unsolicited advice girl! People love throwing out their opinions and advice. Save it, I don’t need it. I don’t claim to be a motherhood expert, but I’m definitely an expert on Krue.
Dang, did my friends forget about me?
It’s really easy to feel alone after having a baby. Life is completely different, and then add Covid--- I felt like the only humans I would ever see were the employees at the Sonic drive-thru & the Target pickup crew.
Stop keeping tabs on my uterus!
People's favorite thing to say is “ Oh, you'll change your mind and have another one” or “You have to have just one more, who will he play with?”
Unless you plan to carry, raise, and FINANCE my next baby--you don’t get to have an opinion. & if I change my mind tomorrow or next year, that's my business.
But now as I’m nearing the six month mark here are some daily thoughts/affirmations that help make each day easier:
It’s easy to feel as though you’re not doing enough, but you are the best mom for Krue.
It definitely takes a village, but pick your village wisely. That village may look different from month to month & that is okay.
You had a baby in a pandemic- you can do anything.
I’ve spoken pretty openly about my postpartum experience, and I wanted to invite other moms to share their experience as well. Mamas deserve to know that what they’re feeling and going through, other moms have been there and can offer support-- only if requested of course.
Here are some questions I asked, and responses from 4 Mamas I really love and respect. I got chills reading some of their responses as our experiences were so closely related!
What was the most difficult part after giving birth?
I felt clueless, BABY wouldn't latch to breastfeed so that was difficult. I bought a nipple shield hoping that would help and it didn't. I began to pump but I just wasn't producing enough milk. I felt terrible that I wasn't able to feed her or feed her enough. I felt defeated when I had to completely go all formula.
The most difficult part after giving birth was feeling so alone. I know that I wasn’t but it felt that way. None of my mommy friends at the time had a NICU baby so they really did not understand my level of anxiety, fear, and guilt. Also, crying… A LOT! Lol I am a pretty upbeat person so it was unlike me to cry that much. Looking back I was extremely anxious and was grieving my life before becoming a mom. Which is normal.
The most difficult part after giving birth was ADJUSTMENT. There’s no book or guide on coming home with a newborn. In the hospital, you have the nurses to help but then you get home and it’s just you and him (or her).
I think the most difficult part for me has been having to take care of two under 2 by myself. Especially after healing from a C-section. I should have been taking it easy after having major surgery, but that didn't happen really.
Who was the most helpful to you? And in what way?
My father has been the most helpful to me honestly. He has a high emotional IQ. He had a way of speaking to his “little girl” and helping me know everything would be okay.
My mom for sure! She’s been by my side since day one.
My mother was the most helpful in obviously showing me how to be a new mom and helping around the house. My fiancé has been the most helpful in teaching me how to raise a boy into a man.
Uh, my mom and sister have been the most helpful. If I needed a break from my lively two year old, they would come and pick her up and keep her for the weekend. It was amazing to be able to sleep while the baby slept.
Did you ever have a time when you needed/ wanted help but didn’t want to ask for it?
There were plenty of times I needed or wanted help but didn’t ask for it because I didn’t want to bother other people.
I did. A lot of the time, but it was mostly help I wanted to receive from BABY's dad. He just never did enough so having to ask him made me angry because as a father it was stuff he should have been doing period.
Yes! All the time. I never really asked my mom or sister for a break, most of the time they would call and I'd be in full on tears, and before I could even say I needed a break, they would tell me to have my daughter ready within the hour. Thank goodness for moms and siblings who love your kids like their own.
YEP!! Still to this day I struggle with asking for help lol I have gotten a lot better now that BABY is 4, but I wish I would have had friends to come over so I could take shower in peace or a quick nap.
Have you ever experienced mom guilt? To what extent?
Mom Guilt - yes, I still experience mom guilt. I feel that we will experience that from years to come. I use the mantra “I am doing my best and releasing the rest” to help manage it. And Therapy !
Since I went into labor, BABY was born at 36 weeks. Came all on her own, so her being late term premature hurt me cause I couldn't figure out why I wasn't able to keep her in until she was healthy enough to come out. Then when she was born it was the breastfeeding. 3 yrs later, the mom guilt still lingers, I don't think it ever goes away.
In the beginning, I had a lot of mom guilt when I wanted to do things for myself. For example, going to target or getting my nails done. I would feel so guilty and just do one or the other in the beginning.
I have experienced mom guilt. I think I bring it on to myself. I feel like I don't produce enough milk for my son, but in reality, I am giving him what he needs and as much as he needs.
What did you need/ want the most help or support with after giving birth or in the first few months/ years of your baby’s life?
I needed and wanted more adult conversation and moments with adult friends. I should have taken more breaks with friends.
I just needed reassurance that I was doing the best I could as a new mom and that my baby would be okay.
What I needed help with the most was being able to have my house cleaned and food cooked while I recovered from my c-section. I technically wasn't supposed to pick up my own son as he was a 10lb baby. Someone was to hand him to me, but I was home by myself with him and my 2yr old the day after coming home from the hospital.
Support, positivity, and any advice. From potty training to you’re doing a great job to the importance of personal time.
Did you experience postpartum depression/anxiety? Would you explain?
I had bad postpartum anxiety. Especially with having a NICU baby. I wasn't sure what it was and it scared me. I would urge new moms to talk to someone and share their symptoms. I let mine get to the point of panic attacks. Mindfulness, meditation and therapy really helped me. I do all of those still and my daughter is 4.
Yes. Long story short, being a single mom in grad school was HARD.
Yes! But I experienced postpartum depression due to some issues within my relationship with my significant other. I felt as though he was ashamed that he had had another baby with me and then he refused to basically show pictures of him online. I cried EVERYDAY. I even cried while in the hospital, it wasn't happy tears it was more like WTF did I just do? Am I cut out for mom life of multiples? I literally felt like me no longer being on the earth would have been better for my babies. I was struggling.
I experienced prepartum and postpartum depression. I had a real rough pregnancy. I bled my entire pregnancy and they could never tell me why. So that put a lot of stress on me. And the relationship with my daughter’s dad was terrible. That also went into after I gave birth. I felt alone most of the time and I felt guilty for not being able to give my daughter a house hold with both parents.
Any advice you’d give to first time moms?
Do what you feel is right for your child. And everything you are doing is just enough.
First time moms be forgiving of yourself. You are doing it right. Don't think you have to be like everyone else. What you do is perfect for you and your family.
What I learned from it all, sticking around with my child’s father just so she could have both parents was more damaging than anything. You can be a mom being single and on your own.