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Mothers: A Plead for Empathy

I have been writing this post in my head long before Blair was born. It usually turns into a major rant inside my head (or out loud when I am discussing this topic with the husband) but I am going to rein myself in and remain calm.

Becoming a mother is the most beautiful, terrifying, exhausting and humbling experience I have ever gone through. While a lot of moms out there did have encouraging things to say to me, a very large amount also harped on the negative, dismissed concerns and overall made parenthood sound like the worst thing that could possibly happen to you. The thing is most of the time I am sure this is not how they were trying to come off. Unfortunately many people feel the need to “pop the bubble” you’re living in.

My pregnancy was not easy. The last ten weeks the right side of my body had completely given up. I had to use the walls in our apartment (Thank goodness we live in such a small place!) just to get to the bathroom or the couch. I once got stuck on the ground for over two hours waiting for Garren to get home because I could not put ANY weight on my leg. I couldn’t crawl, or stand up. It was actually pretty scary. Trying to sleep was a disaster because just turning over in bed would send searing pain down my leg and through my pelvic region. Plus my restless leg syndrome was at an all time high. I would spend 3-5 hours at night sitting on my yoga ball crying and trying to relieve the pain. I will admit I complained a little bit (ok a lot) about the lack of sleep I was getting and instantly got laughed at with such comments like, “You think you can’t sleep now, just wait until the baby comes! Then you will really never sleep again”, or “Enjoy the sleep you are getting now, there will be even less when baby comes”.

Here’s the thing, most women are well aware of the fact that babies are a 24/7 job. We don’t necessarily need you to tell us that. Also it confuses me how all women suddenly forget the pain and general uncomfortable state of pregnancy once they had their baby. I am six months (tomorrow!) postpartum and still have nightmares of those sleepless and painful nights. In fact I slept about 100 times better when my daughter was a newborn than I did pregnant. Cuddling a sweet baby whom you love more than life is always preferred over searing pain.

So next time one of you friends or relatives complains of sleepless pregnant nights tell them how sorry you are or better yet, tell them it will be worth it! Tell them all the pain will be worth that precious baby, instead of diminishing their pain and telling them they know nothing of sleepless nights.

(Ok maybe this is already turning into a rant. Oops)

The other thing that tended to bug the husband and I was whenever we would tell people what we had done the weekend before they would automatically respond with “Go out now while you can! No more date nights when baby comes”. I personally just don’t understand why we constantly tell people all of the things you wont be able to do once you become a parent. What about all the things you can do? Having a child brings such simple joy to your life. Garren and I can sit and watch Blair take in the world around her for hours at a time and never get bored of it. We have not let having a baby keep us from doing fun things. In fact we  love bringing her with us! It just adds more love to our memories. Tell mommies to be the things you love about being a parent! Yes all moms will have worries so answer their questions honestly, but don’t forget to tell them for every sleepless night comes countless smiles, for every dirty diaper comes the wonder of seeing your child sit up by him/herself for the first time!

Finally with parenting comes a lot of decisions to be made. Where will baby sleep, bottle or breast, cry it out or tear free ect. What works for you may not work for other families and that’s ok! Share your advice when asked, and rejoice with moms when they find something that works for them! A mom choosing to breastfeed is not in any way threatening your decision to bottle feed and just because a mom did the cry it out method of sleep training does not mean you are less of a mom because you didn’t.

I plead with all moms to support and love each other. Bring back love and optimism to motherhood and embrace diversity!

Out to lunch with family and my girl :)

Out to lunch with family and my girl :)

 

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Postpartum: The First 3 Weeks

Warning this post will most likely be brutally honest and a whole lot of information a lot of people wont want to read. I, however, wish I could have read more things like this while pregnant to prepare me for what postpartum would truly be like. Read at your own risk!

The first 2 days postpartum were spent in the hospital. These were the easiest days. Blair slept the majority of the time and I could ring a nurse to bring me pain pills or ice/heat packs. My emotions did take a turn for the crazy while in the hospital though. When they took Blair to the nursery to do her hearing test (Garren went with her) she was very upset and I could hear her crying. Next thing I know I am shaking uncontrollably and sobbing. I knew she was fine, I knew Garren was with her but I couldn’t help it.

The worst part about the hospital was them coming in constantly to jump up and down on my abdomen. Really they were just “massaging” it to make sure my uterus was shrinking down but it hurt almost as bad as contractions during labor. The cramps you experience while breastfeeding? Yeah those are no joke. I honestly felt like I WAS going into labor again each time I fed my baby. Talk about motivation to keep breastfeeding. Then that first weekend we brought her home Blair screamed non stop. It honestly sounded like some one was beating her, and I thought for sure some one in our apartment building would call CPS. We finally called the nurse and she told me it sounded like she was hungry and not getting enough. She told me I needed to supplement with formula. This was confirmed when the nurse came out to weigh her and we realized she had lost well over 10% of her birth weight. (10% is the “safe” limit of weight loss for newborns) Cue hysterical crying from mom once again. Mom guilt is the worst guilt I have ever felt. I felt like I had failed my baby already. We ended up feeding her 3 bottles before my milk came in enough to completely feed her.

Stitches. I had a 2nd degree tear which required some stitches. I was most afraid of this postpartum and they ended up being no big deal. Sneezing and coughing was a little precarious the first 2 weeks but they honestly never really bothered me. I had a little bit of back pain where I was given the epidural but it only lasted about 48 hours.

My sister in law Heather came when Blair was 5 days old, and my mother in law when she was 9 days old.  I am so grateful they did. I am really bad at asking people for help but there is no way I could have handled all the new changes alone. (Garren had to leave and go to school)  Basically I didn’t have to cook, clean, or even get my own water the entire time they were here. They let me take naps while they held my baby, and told me things were normal when I got paranoid about noises Blair was making or other random new mom worries.

My least favorite postpartum symptom is I constantly feel freezing yet I wake up soaking wet in sweat. It’s disgusting. I hate it so much. The first few times I went to my room to take a nap, while some one else held her in the living room, I would wake up shaking uncontrollably until I had Blair back in my arms or nursing. It was like this weird adrenaline rush to get to my baby as fast possible. I have been prone to depression in the past so I was really nervous about PPD but thankfully after the two weeks of baby blues I feel great. I am so grateful for my amazing husband, supportive family and our beautiful little girl. Being a mother is about 10 times harder and easier than I ever imagined. I am exhausted but it’s a happy exhausted. Going out in public overwhelms me and I  prefer to wear her in the moby wrap instead of have her in the car seat. She just feels safer securely attached to my chest.

Breastfeeding is a whole lot harder than my breastfeeding class lead me to believe. Which is unfortunate. We are three weeks in and I have finally weaned her off the nipple shield, but it’s definitely a steep learning curve. We will get it though :)

My postpartum body actually weighs less than I did pre pregnancy but don’t let that fool you… things have changed….

Note to new moms, Every one will tell you to sleep when the baby sleeps. For some reason I find this impossible during the day. I think of 500 other things I should do, but I will really only have this opportunity with my first baby so I am trying to force myself to nap. During her 3:00 am feeding I am always SURE I will nap the next day, so I try and remind myself of that exhaustion the following afternoon.

Really every one’s labor, birth and postpartum experience is going to different with similarities all new moms can empathize with. Don’t let the media, social networking, or braggy “friends” make you feel guilty for the choices you are making for your baby. We are all doing the best we can. Just remember baby’s don’t keep so snuggle and love them as much as possible while they will still let you.

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Hospital morning cuddles

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I love how he looks at her. I can already tell she will be a daddy’s girl.

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Aunt Heather and Blair!

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Our first outing outside of the house. Inside I am freaking out a little bit.

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Nana, Daddy, and Blair

Blair is 3 weeks old today! She celebrated with some hard napping:

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