No it’s not a giveaway, a food post, and outfit post-it’s just me! Meesh! And this post has been a long time coming.
It’s no secret, I am a new mom. I feel just a new as I did when I was wheeled out of the hospital clinging tightly to my little guy-praying that I wouldn’t be the first person in the history of mothers to drop my baby on his head while I waited for my husband to pull up to the driveway. Five and a half months of sleepless night, doubt, smiles, giggles, tears, diapers, arguments, silent-treatments, therapy….oh wait, is this list unfamiliar to you? Cause it was to me. If you followed along my Instagram you’ve had sneak peeks of my journey from preggo to now. From finding cute clothes for my growing belly, going to birthing classes, reading books, walking, talking to my belly, THE WORKS. I was prepping for my baby’s arrival like no other-after suffering through miscarriages and PCOS I was going to savor every moment and every blessing my pregnancy brought into my life.
Yet as much as I read, as much I would ask publicly on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for advice and got the same tired old responses ” get sleep now!” -what I wish someone had told me was’ this is the last time you can get out of the house…whenever you want. No questions asked. So do it!” What I wished someone had done was sat me down, look me in the eye and say, ” This is going to be the hardest thing you will do, in your life. Nothing else will compare. Nothing. But you will be okay. And what you feel in those few weeks will be ok.” What should have been told to me is” You’re going to exhausted beyond all reason, and on top of that, you feel alone. When you really need someone to come over, two, three weeks after baby…everyone will have moved on. But you’re not alone. We’ve all been there.”
Instead, I was told that when my son was born, confetti would fly out of my hoo-ha and I would be blessed with sprinkles of mommy knowledge and everything, everything will go to plan. “Have a birth plan!” they all said. First lesson of motherhood: no amount of planning prepares you for the unpredictable.
Let’s start with the facts:
- After months of planning a natural birth, there was much intervention during my labor which lead to me having a C-Section after laboring for over 24 hours-
What is intervention? Let’s see..I agreed to an epidural at 6 cm, it slowed down my birthing process, they placed the epidural in wrong which caused me to basically get high as a kite, and ultimately- they had to break my water for me. Baby did not progress after 8cm and they kept insisting I wasn’t following some sort of labor curve they felt i need to abide by..
- Breastfeeding: just writing out those words makes my fingers shake and my eyes sting…I hoped that even though I had been ripped away from my chances at having a natural birth I would be able to bond with my son by giving him the very best of me. Again-no one warns you how difficult this can be, how the mental barriers that were already traumatizing me from having a horrific birth exprience were now bearing down on my ability to breastfeed my son. He would cry and cry and I would insist that he breastfeed. I would pump and nothing would come out, I would put him on my boobs for an hour, two hours at a time and both mom and baby were miserable. It was one Saturday afternoon when I spent 4 hours switching my son from boob to boob that I said ENOUGH. He was crying, hungry, I was crying- and I felt like NO ONE understood. This part hurt the most-this part was the one that would be the final blow to my fragile mental state at the time and lead me to where I am today. A close friend of mine was the ultimate breastfeeding advocate, and I remember feeling so weak and like such a loser for not being able to do this-when this woman is a warrior, pumped exclusively for her preemie son-that I couldn’t bring myself to outright tell her “this was enough for me.” It felt selfish. It felt wrong. It felt like this was the last thing I was holding on to regain what I felt I had lost when they wheeled me into that operating room, when they refused to bring me my son so I can have skin to skin and instead brought him completely wrapped up as I stared along helplessly from the operating table, looking over at him and longing to feel him against my chest. And that too, was something I couldn’t do.
My ah-ha moment came at about week 6, when I was texting with another new mommy and asked her if she was still crying, still feeling overwhelmed and she was like, “no, not really?”. We had shared tears and frustrations our first few weeks together, so as she progressed, I realized I wasn’t where I needed to be. My mind was in a different place: I had failed my son, and in my mind, he didn’t need me. I was replaced by a bottle of formula and it was something that could be handled by anyone with two hands and a comfortable chest. Of course-these thoughts would happen in waves and I was always able to acknowledge that I am his mom and no one could stand in my place…but when those waves come crashing through-it’s like a typhoon of disastrous thoughts and crippling anxiety. I didn’t want to answer the “OMG, how are you? Aren’t you like so totally happy and in heaven with your new baby?” because my response would have been ” yes…sometimes…it’s not him it’s me…I don’t know?” and then cue the tears. So I avoided going out, I’d stress about going to see friends or going to events or even having people over. I didn’t want anyone to think I was a horrible mother, or witness the moments of doubt when I wondered, wait, is he still hungry? Did I mess this up? He knows I’m not doing a good job…
So I got help. I did the first step and talked to my ob/gyn, who prescribed an anti-depressant. It was at first odd that they could so freely prescribe this without knowing my history fully, and now at 5 months I’ve been switched to different medications, I’ve felt even more disconnected, and I’m not sure when I will be able to stop but I did it for him. For my boy.
Abe. My beautiful Abe. His smile..I could cry out of happiness when he smiles. He really is a miracle, my miracle, and that makes this process-of realizing I am suffering from severe post-partum depression and anxiety all the more difficult. Because he is healthy! And happy! No colic, no extended stays in the hospital, no sleep issues. I fear that because of what I am going through ( and my husband’s extended time with him in the evenings because the anti-depressant I am on gives me insomnia but then knocks me out) I will lose whatever bond I formed with him those first 8 weeks. I am fortunate enough to work for a company that values my health amongst everything, and when I had to go back to work at 8 weeks post-partum, they did everything possible to make it a smooth transition. And now, as I encounter yet another hill to climb, they are willing to help, despite my insistence that I am okay, despite my refusal to admit that I am going through something I cannot control, nor can I predict will see a resolution in the near future. This isn’t me…I plow through obstacles! I go down swinging. Yet now, I feel like I’m being handcuffed and told, no, not now, you can’t shine…you need to get better.
It’s a fucking rollercoaster, that’s for sure.
But among this crazy ride, there are so many shades of light. Family, friends, my husband, my colleagues. It’s been a huge step back for me to admit there is a weakness in me now I do not recognize, and I fight every day to hide or overcome. I want to go out and have fun but then what does that say about me as a mom? I want to be HealthyFatChick and do my marathons, do Vixen Workout, and lose the weight but I also sometimes feel like I just need a day to breathe, and do things at my pace.
This blog is many things. It’s a journey to good health. It’s a place to feel body positive. It’s where I will share stories from my pregnancy and stories from now. I will share my favorite outfits, looks, and all that.
But it will also be where I will be real about what so many women are silent about-and it’s a valid fear. It’s saddens me to see how people react still to me when I share what I’m going through. I wish I could just scream: Believe it or not, I HAVE NO CONTROL OVER THIS. I want to be NORMAL. Happy 24/7. And not have even more wasted moments of doubt, fear, and anxiety. For not only my sake, but for the sake of my baby, and my husband.
I will get there. I have to. ❤
Until next time!