As I sit here at my computer three months postpartum I am amazed at all of the changes that have taken place in my life. Changes of course in Aubrey but also huge changes in myself too.
I spent middle school and high school babysitting and doing childcare and absolutely loving it. I then went on to work in childcare during and post-college for about five years and I knew for certain I wanted my own children.
I assumed motherhood would come easy and I would be prepared for most major curve balls having had the extra childcare experience. Turns out I was wrong! Now having gone through pregnancy, labor, and then life with a newborn, that nothing can truly prepare you for your own child. It’s not the same as babysitting or working in daycare. It’s a new and different hurdle all on it’s own.
One day you are a family of two the next moment you’re a family of three. No amount of baby classes or nesting can prepare you for what that all means. Suddenly having another human to care for is pretty nerve wracking…no matter how much experience you might have.
After going through a fast, furious, and slightly traumatic birth experience, I was suddenly thrust in to motherhood. All of the sudden I didn’t recognize myself. Looking in the mirror I was soft, jiggly, and bloated; my body now a different shape than it once was. I barely had time to go to the bathroom or eat in between nursing sessions with a baby constantly attached to my chest day and night. Days and nights blurred together and feelings of joy and sadness ebbed and flowed like an unsettled ocean wave. One moment I was crying for joy at this new little lady that filled my heart and the next moment I was mourning the loss of my old self.
Mourning the Old Self
I spent a lot of time thinking back to my old life. As a fussy baby demanded 100% of my attention 100% of the time, I had feelings of great sadness. I missed having quiet time talking with Daniel. I missed sitting down to a meal and enjoying the taste of the food and not having to choke it down quickly in between feedings. I missed reading and writing blog posts and sharing my interests with the inter-web world. I cried for the girl who loved to exercise and had 30-60 minutes 5 or 6 days a week to complete a workout. I cried for spontaneity, hours to myself before bed, and watching a movie cuddled on the couch with Daniel. In the latest hours of the night I even day dreamed about checking in to a hotel to sleep in peace.
I felt so guilty for feeling this way at first. But really, I think more moms should be honest and supportive as we all learn our new life as a mother. It takes time to find your new self. It’s okay to get frustrated or sad or angry when things are hard. Too often people judge women who talk about the realities of being a new mom without covering the experience in picture-perfect adjectives and perfect photos of everyone smiling and showered. Sometimes things are hard and I think saying how you’re truly feeling is the first step in finding yourself again…even if it means saying that you’d rather be sleeping at a hotel alone!
I love being Aubrey’s mom! I wouldn’t trade her for the world and I wouldn’t trade those first three months for anything either. They taught me a lot about myself. This week Aubrey turned three months and I feel like I’m finding myself again. We’re sleeping better, eating a little bit longer, and I feel like I am in the swing of things. I feel confident and happy and love being a mama of Aubrey.
You’re Not Alone!
Any new mamas out there feeling sad or frustrated or wanting to check themselves in a hotel? You’re not alone! I’m hear to listen or chat with you any time you’d like and there’s no judgement over here. Let’s be loving and supportive mamas so that we can be the best moms we can be for our babies. Also, when people keep telling you that “things will get better” and “things will get easier”? They were right! I never believed them in those first few weeks…but now I can say with confidence that it truly does get better. Did I find my old self exactly? No, but I think I love this new self even better!