I am known, by the people around me, for being very honest and open about my personal experiences. For some reason I have always been this way, so much so that I often wonder if I over share. I know very well that with putting yourself out there, comes judgement. It’s inevitable. As people, we love to look at others lives, from a distance, for our own amusement. I mean our entire culture is based around that idea; YouTube, T.V., celebrities, Social Media in general; we’re watching people put themselves out there every day for all sorts of reasons, and we love it.
Even with the fear of judgement, rejection, and ridicule that comes with writing such and sharing such personal thoughts, for me it is worth it. It is a brave thing to open up and share from your own heart, but it is so important. As much negativity and, just all around chaos comes from the internet, it is also an incredible resource like there has never been before. I honestly don’t know how woman survived pregnancy, postpartum, and parenting back in the day when there were no resources, and all of the gory, messy, real, raw details were swept under the rug. That would have destroyed me. I am so thankful that at the tap of a button, I can search a subject and find that someone else has not only gone through it, but had the guts to share about it.
I remember about 2 weeks after giving birth, being in absolute shock at what my body had just gone through. The mental agony I’d put myself through over being 3 days over due, the 29 hour labor, the back to back contractions that just about took the breath out of me, the hour and a half marathon of pushing, the burning caused by the tearing and stitches, the heaviness and pain every time I stood to my feet, the cracking nipples, the night sweats, the nightmares, the feeling of not having a clue what I’m doing, the baby blues, the resentment towards my husband, the crying right along with my baby, the loneliness, the pure exhaustion like one cannot imagine…. unless you’ve had a baby if course.
Sound familiar? That’s because we all go through it in some way or another. Of course everyone’s experience is unique, but no ones is easy. At the time though, I didn’t know that. I feel like the woman around me were as honest as they felt comfortable with being, and I totally respect that. But thank God for the internet. If I had relied solely on the momma’s who claimed having babies was the best time of their lives, or the ones who only talk about how magical bringing life into the world is, I would have felt like an epic failure.
I needed to hear that someone else out there was feeling down right miserable, in what was supposed to be the happiest time of our lives. And I needed to know that it is not only okay, but normal. It’s something not enough mothers talk about. I don’t know about you, but I know a lot of momma’s who make it look easy. You know, the ones who show up at a bridal shower, full face of makeup, with their one week old. We all know you’re still using a peri bottle to pee Susan, go home. I didn’t go to the grocery store for 3 weeks, let alone an event that I had to shower and put on a dress for. I don’t think these momma’s do it on purpose. What we don’t see is the 3 hours of sleep she got the night before, or the trying on 15 outfits to find a top that fits over her newly engorged milk jugs. But seeing someone who appears put together, sets us up for unrealistic expectations.
My journey into motherhood was difficult because I had too many expectations. I can’t tell you exactly what to expect from labor and caring for a newborn, because your experience is going to be different from mine. But the one thing I can tell you is not to put expectations on your body, or your baby. I was so upset about going 3 days over due, because in my mind I was supposed to have my baby nearly 2 weeks early with a 4 hour labor like my best friend. I was expecting that my newborn would sleep 2-3 hour long stretches at night, instead his stretches were more like 20-40 minuets. I watched all the momma’s preceding me, fill their Instagram feeds with sweet moments snuggling their baby, and I couldn’t wait for it to be my turn. I thought those Instagram moments summed up what it was like to be a new mom, so when my son literally projectile pooped all over himself, me, and my bedroom while my husband wasn’t home to help, I nearly broke down. This is not what i’d signed up for.
Of course I still had my “Instagram moments”. I’ve said this before but I always like to clarify, I absolutely adored my baby. He brought so much joy and love to my heart it could have exploded. But I will not sugar coat how incredibly challenging those first 6 weeks are. It’s a difficult season and if I can make it just a tiny bit easier by being real and honest about my experience, then that’s what I will do. I am so thankful for every blogger, every YouTuber, every Instagramer who shares their own personal, and -not so pretty- stories about motherhood. Because of them, I realized that I wasn’t doing it wrong, it was supposed to be hard. I don’t care how pretty your Instagram feed is, you’ve still been puked on, peed on, or pooped on by your child at some point. I don’t think it’s everyone’s calling to share these details, I still love seeing all of the momma’s best versions of themselves and their children. But I especially appreciate the ones who share the rest of it.
If you’re a new momma, know that it is going to be the most difficult thing you’ve ever done. But in the end you get a reward greater than anything else in life, your precious baby. Remember it’s a season, it’s not forever. Your only job right now is to take care of your baby, and your body. If you’re doing those two things, you’re doing it right.