Motherhood: a birth story pt 2 - postpartum struggles
Updated: May 18, 2021
This is a post I feel like I've been anticipating since the few weeks after I had Finn. This one is about the fourth trimester or the first few months after you give birth. I don't plan on making my blog a "mommy blog" (theres nothing wrong with those) but I feel like this is just as important especially because you hear all about labor and birth and how wonderful things are after you have your baby. But, you might not always hear how not so wonderful things can be too. I'm not adding all this into a post to scare new or soon to be mamas.I also wouldn't want anyone to assume I'm ungrateful for all that I have because I'm SO so grateful for my little guy and so aware of that big privilege. I just wanted to share my experience wholeheartedly.
The first few months were filled with so many emotions. So many high highs and low lows. Having a baby tests your marriage as well as other relationships to the max. You have to develop and form boundaries with those who haven't always had such boundaries and you'll get push back. You lose friends. Best friends who have been there for years. Its hard to go through the hardest time in your life and feel that those you were hoping would be there for you.. simply weren't. They say you lose friends when you get married then you lose more when you have a baby. But for me, I lost some when I got married, I lost most when I got pregnant and then they all seemed to jump off the face of the earth when I had my baby. haha how convenient right? But, with all that to say, I'm so fortunate for the ladies who were there for me through thick and thin. Who offered me advice, a warm meal, to grab groceries, to clean my house, who I knew were just a call, text, DM or FaceTime away. If you’re reading this, you know you mean the world to me.
I remember the hardest thing for me in the beginning was when Finn was away from me (even when I was still in the room) or being passed from person to person. it felt like my heart broke more and more and that it was just shattering me from the inside out. One second he's safe and cozy in your belly and the next he's not and being grabbed or taken from you and it made it feel like my heart had been ripped out of my chest. and thats a feeling I can't even put into words. its just such an out of body experience (no pun intended). I remember when my friend Brittany was trying to explain that this may happen to me because it had happened to her. I was scared it would happen to me and man did it. if mamas want to hold their babies, let them :)
I felt in some moments that there are so many people and doctors and nurses who check in on you when you're pregnant but as soon as you have your baby, all of that stops. After you have your baby thats when you need all the support in the world because it can feel so lonely. and SO hard.
If you followed me on instagram, it may have seemed that I was handling it very well and that I was back into my prebaby clothes and working and was such a "good mom". Well, I wasn't handling it well. I haven't talked about this part before but after I had Finn within a month I was back into my prebaby clothes and at my prebaby weight. I never had stretch marks or any proof that I even had a baby. which this sounds so snarky or like im bragging as I type this but i promise I’m not. I think the first month or so was just so traumatic to me that I try so hard to think back at what it felt like when I was pregnant or what it felt like when Finn kicked and I can't. I can't remember it for the life of me. and I look in the mirror and have nothing to look at to prove that I was once pregnant and thats just so weird to me. like my mind blocks it all out and I so desperately wish it wouldn't. thats something I majorly struggled with because i was often asked (especially early on) if I miss feeling Finn kick in my belly and I felt like the worst mom saying I don't even remember what that felt like.
Another struggle I had is that moms often generalize and compare their story to yours. or their baby to yours. my breastfeeding journey was the hardest again, most traumatizing thing. I struggled so hard. Finn never latched so I pumped. I cried and dreaded pumping and I was in so much pain constantly (I’ll save you the details). it put me in such a bad place mentally. I remember one day I was struggling so hard and was having such a bad day so I took Finn out of the house and went to starbucks. I was getting him out of the car and putting him into my baby wearing carrier and a woman came up and said how cute he is and asked what his name is and so on. then she said something along the lines of "he's breastfed right? theres really no other way to do it. formula is awful for babies" And right after she said that I just nearly blacked out and wanted to cry. To just give up because I was trying so damn hard and then to be told that. I was judged numerous times by numerous people for starting to supplement with formula and I felt that I was lesser than and that my baby was also lesser than for being on formula. I was made to feel like I was failing him and that is a major flaw among other moms and society. I just kept repeating in my head "fed is best" to somewhat reassure myself that I wasn't a failure of a mom. But, I can tell you.. my one biggest regret is not starting him on formula sooner than when he was 3 months old. It would've made it so much easier on the both of us if I had and just didn't care as much about what everyone else thought.
Something else that other moms generalized on was how long healing would take. If I wasn't up and walking around pain free in a week there was something wrong with me I had thought because of what I was told by others. But thats just not true either. Everyone heals at their own pace. Everyones body is different. Everyones birth is different. No two are the same so they shouldn't be treated as such.
Although, I was in severe pain for about 4 months post baby. I had to go back to the doctors office several times. Time and time again they told me nothing was wrong and that it was normal but it started to not feel so normal. After all those months in pain I went back once again and they realized there was an issue and I had to get a procedure done to finally get me to heal fully. If you feel like something is up and not right, be adamant and persistent with doctors. I learned throughout this whole process that that's the only way you'll get the help you need.
Sometimes I so desperately wish to go back and just start him on formula from the start so maybe the first three months could've gone smoother. Because after that point, it was like seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. I was able to get back into the swing of things, I was able to feel a sense of normalcy again, I was happier, Finn was happier and just a lot of things were different from that point on. but, the thing with motherhood that ive noticed are there are already so many things I think "hmm maybe I should've done that differently" and I know there will be millions of those times throughout my life as a mom. Things will rarely go as planned and thats ok!
Deciding to have a baby to make our family feel complete was by far the best decision my husband and I have ever made together. We didn't know if I'd be able to get pregnant without complications so we're so beyond blessed and thankful for our little guy and all the memories we've made with him so far. All I wish now is that time would slooooow down!
I hope if you're a new mama and reading this that you don't feel so alone if you're experiencing any of these things. You're doing amazing. You're strong. You're beautiful. And to your baby, you're perfect and you're his/her whole world. If you've related to any of this, leave a comment! I'd love to send you some encouragement and love!
Thanks for following along :)
P.S.- I told you my last blog post would be my longest... I lied.