Now that my sweet boy is 4 months old and I have found my groove, not to mention also have had time to process my emotions, thoughts, and experience… I am finally ready to vent my heart out in hopes it helps other mothers or soon to be mommies.
I strongly feel that the true nature of coming into parenthood for the first time is SIGNIFICANTLY miscommunicated by our culture.
I felt completely betrayed and lost as a new mother because while you’re pregnant everyone says, just be ready because in the beginning it’s “hard”. It’s so “hard”. Ok so like what does that mean?! I get the whole sleepless nights, dirty diapers, endless feedings, etc. I just didn’t realize truly how gut wrenching this would be.
No one told me really how “hard” it was going to be and these days on social media… all you see are pretty mamas with their gorgeous, perfectly loose waved hair and slightly glossed lips holding a peaceful baby to their breast in their size two high waisted skinny jeans. Give me a freaking break.
So labor for me went crazy fast and before I knew it Dillon was here. I took several classes at the hospital beforehand and I had decided breastfeeding was the best option for not only Dillon but myself because of all the health benefits.
Initially it seemed that breastfeeding was going to work for me. He latched great and ate until he fell asleep. We stayed in the hospital for two days but with very little sleep because he was born at 12:49 am and we had nurses in and out every few hours.
The first days home from the hospital were insanely miserable. How could the most beautiful and happiest moment of my life also be my lowest point too?
A few days after getting home and seeing his pediatrician for the first time, we soon realized he wasn’t eating enough. No one told me how LONG he needed to nurse. He would nurse and sleep so I assumed he was full.
He apparently wasn’t because he lost significant weight and was not growing out of his jaundice. I was told to nurse him for FORTY minutes every feeding. Which was close to impossible because he constantly fell asleep.
Oh and those days of waiting for my breast milk to arrive were horrible because in order for my body to produce the milk he had to nurse A LOT. He was crying every 30 minutes to an hour it’s like I could never satisfy him.
At one point I was shaking with anxiety because I felt that my boobs were empty and I couldn’t feed him because my milk was not coming out. I felt so helpless because he would cry endlessly and his days and nights were mixed up. I used to wake up from a dead sleep shaking and out of breath with anxiety. Looking back now I understand I didn’t experience postpartum depression but postpartum anxiety.
You don’t realize that child birth is a traumatic experience on your body in every way. It’s like a difficult surgery but instead of going home to recuperate you’re suddenly thrown onto this merry go round of madness.
You feel so busted and broken and you just want to rest and sleep but you can’t because this little person is relying solely on you for it’s every demanding need.
It didn’t take long for breastfeeding to head south for me. All of a sudden something just wasn’t right. Nursing was starting to become an excruciating experience where I cried every-time he latched. If he wasn’t eating I was lying on the couch wrapped in a blanket with my heating pad practically glued to my chest.
One night the pain was so severe I had burning sensations pounding from my chest down my arms into my back muscles. That’s when I knew something was really not right. My doctor put me on antibiotics and told me to come in. She was a little caught off guard when she saw my breast. I had clogged ducts and mastasis in both boobs.
To put it nicely my nipples were raw burning gapping holes. At this point I had been breastfeeding for one month exactly. And she just looked at me and said, “how set are you on breastfeeding?”
I immediately broke down because I knew I couldn’t do this anymore. Everyone said it would get better after a month but she told me what I was experiencing wasn’t normal. I felt like a bad mom, full of guilt because I couldn’t give my baby “the best thing” for him.
Why was the natural way of feeding babies for me the most unnatural experience. Breastfeeding was so difficult on me and every time Dillon started screaming to eat I would cringe knowing how much pain I was going to endure.
I know what you’re thinking, well why not pump? Pumping hurt almost more than nursing. Everytime I held that damn cup over me and held my hand on the power button my palms broke out in a cold sweat because I knew how bad it was going to feel.
I give 110% at everything I do and to try something with your whole heart and it still not work out is devastating. I had to let go of feeling like feeding him formula was the devil. Like I was harming him by not breastfeeding.
After a couple of formula feedings I was introduced truly to my baby and motherhood. Once breastfeeding was out of the equation I could relax and fully bond with my very happy and satisfied baby who suddenly never cried anymore.
But this is where social media comes in. Today the “in” thing to do is breastfeed. It’s all about women empowerment and natures way, healthy blah blah blah. But does anyone want to talk about the idea that maybe breast isn’t best? That maybe the in thing to do doesn’t work for everyone’s body or baby and that is perfectly ok? That nobody died from drinking formula.
You know my mind always wanders back to that breastfeeding class I went to where the lactation nurse claimed that breastfeeding doesn’t hurt it only hurts if you’re doing something wrong. Guess what that isn’t accurate, it hurts for some moms whether baby latched perfectly or not.
Instead of living in this fantasy Instagram world of perfect motherhood let’s start talking about c section scars, vagina stitches (because I had a million!) cracked nipples, sleepless nights, feeling like a bad mom, being exhausted, feeling like you aren’t doing anything right, crazy emotions, the list goes on.
I didn’t leave the house except for doctor appointments only during that first month of Dillon’s life. I felt like I couldn’t! I practically lived with my shirt off 24/7 trying to nurse around the clock.
Parenthood is a bumpy road and it’s time we really started addressing it with reality not with false images of peaceful babies and smiles. Because no one smiles all the freaking time.
It’s hard trying to find yourself as a mom as well. Going from being just a person to a parent is not something that just happens overnight. Adjusting to being last for everything. Last to eat, last to shower, last to bed. Not to mention the fact that your hormones are crazy unbalanced and you find yourself crying for no reason. Wanting your baby weight to disappear overnight and dreading the fact that you still have to wear maternity clothes.
Now if you are by chance still actually reading this let me also say how absolutely perfect my life feels now with my baby. As tired and broken as you may feel, the joy of a child is beyond words. My life feels complete now like something was missing before but I didn’t know what.
It’s brought my closer to my husband and has made me appreciate our life together so much more. I wouldn’t trade motherhood for anything even though it’s been one of the biggest challenges of my life.
It brings tears to my eyes now as I write this and he’s sleeping peacefully on my lap. He’s made me a stronger person, weight gain, stretch marks and all. I can’t put a price on him or the love I see in his little blue eyes everyday.
I hope this post didn’t scare anyone, haha but I just felt this needed to be said because no one mentions the dark days and the hard times. You only see what others want you to see through their social media accounts.
So here’s to all moms out there whether you’re breastfeeding, formula feeding, whatever… lets raise sweet, intelligent, kind little people together! 💗
Feel free to leave me a comment I would love to hear your thoughts.
Until next time,
Stay cute, stay sweet.