Let’s take a break from fitness and talk mom stuff, shall we?
I feel like I want to start by saying that my journey into motherhood was not all puppies and rainbows. The struggle was real. And that is totally okay. Because now I think I pretty much rock mommyhood. We put so much pressure on ourselves for all of this to come naturally when often times, it just doesn’t. It is a big learning curve.
The other day I was making a pie real quick while Violet was having dinner. Piper was having none of being stuck in her high chair so I had her on one hip while the other hand was cutting the pastry dough. I was covered with flour, the kitchen was a mess, and Casey was just pulling into the driveway from work while I said a quick, thank you, Jesus, he is home! I sort of had an out of body moment where I was like, whoa. I am a mother. I am a mother and I can do so much more than I ever thought was possible. I somehow have twenty hands instead of two. I can load more into these two arms than a fucking pack mule. I can wipe up the counter, make a bottle, keep the baby from choking, make chicken nuggets (yes, I know, it happens), update our grocery list and unload the dishwasher simultaneously all to a distant chorus of mommymommymommymommommymamamoooooooom. You know that Family Guy episode? That is my life. And every so often I can step out of myself and kind of be amazed by what I can accomplish if given about 2.75 minutes.
But back to before all that. Giving birth. The aftermath. Whoever decided that you should go through the most painful and emotionally traumatic experience of your life while simultaneously exhausted because you have been up for the past 24 hours in labor, and STARVING because no one told you to eat something before going to the hospital because once you’re admitted you’re not allowed to fucking eat!? So there I was at peak emotional vulnerability when a big ass long needle I needed (well, I wanted) to be injected into my spine. Shit got real. Oh my God I was actually going to have a baby and I was so not ready for it.
The next hour or so was a blur but, spoiler alert, a baby came out. And it really was just a baby. Not my baby. It could have been anyone’s baby, to be honest. She was kinda gross and wrinkly and it was awkward. I certainly did not have an instinct to hold her and kiss her and breastfeed her. I was like, um, okay, what now? Slowly, in the hospital I kind of got used to her. She made a little newborn sneeze and I had to admit, it was pretty cute. I definitely loved her in an I-am-responsible-for-this-life kind of way. But I wasn’t in love with her. And I wasn’t sure how that made me feel. I think that for some people it takes time to fall in love. That is totally normal and okay. By month two I was head over heels and already contemplating when I could have another squishy nugget.
Everyone has different reactions and I think there is so much pressure on women and mothers in general to be a certain way, follow a certain path. I think we only talk about (or maybe we only remember) the good parts. Not the hobbling to the hospital shower the next day only to leave it looking like a murder scene. Not the middle of the night on night one, oh my God can I please just get some sleep, pleeeeeeease, but I can’t send my newborn off the the nursery because that would make me a bad parent. And my tits are about to fall off but God forbid I give her formula lest she have an IQ of 40 and never graduate high school, let alone college. Ahhh, the mommy guilt. And so it begins…
Then on week two, at home, thinking wow I haven’t even had a hint of baby blues, when BOOM, I hit a wall and I literally cannot function and I certainly cannot take care of this baby. I can’t even fathom picking her up. She needs to go back, we made a mistake, I cannot do this, I do not want to do this. In a way, I was fortunate because of my history of depression I was quick to call my OB and get on some meds. After a few days I was better. I could handle it.
Now Violet is almost 3 and my best buddy and my whole heart and we are pretty much inseparable. Even though I didn’t fall in love with her right when she came out and even though I fed her formula and even though I had several mental breakdowns in the early days.
So, we all need to give ourselves a break. You do what you gotta do to get everyone through that first year in one piece. And I swear it will be okay.
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