Posted in Blog, Caring for your baby, Emotional wellness, Featured, Just for you, Life as a mom, Love and marriage, Rebecca, Recovering from childbirth

I have a baby…now what?

As young girls, what do we always dream about?

1.) our wedding

2.) having a baby

Funny thing is that these 2 things are so similar. Well, here’s what I mean. We dream and dream about the wedding day. We spend zillions of hours planning every detail. Some of us (not me) spend upwards of $20,000 on the special day. We hire wedding planners, consult experts on finding the right dress, and of course run everything by our best friends. All we can think about is “that day”. The day comes and it’s glorious, everything we wanted it to be. And then the day goes. The excitement dies down and eventually, the honeymoon is over. We go back to work at our boring jobs and life is back to normal…..except wait!!! We are married now. We have a man living in our house with strange smells, weird habits and very strong opinions. Now what?

All the preparation went into the wedding and now that it’s over, it’s just us. What do we do now? No one prepared us for what life would be like day in and day out. Sure, we have our parents examples or what they may or may not have taught us. We have the media, but I’m seriously praying that none of you follow THAT example of what marriage should be. Or maybe we read a few books about how to have a successful marriage.

If you were completely honest, I would bet you weren’t prepared for what came. I wasn’t. My husband and I even did premarital counseling. It was just still so foreign to me for a long time. How was I supposed to be a wife? What do good wives do? I had some ideas and I really tried…(and failed a lot). I did succeed too. What it boils down to is trial and error. If you are open (and not committed to just being right all the time), you can ask yourself this. What worked? What didn’t? And what’s next? My husband and I have very good dialogue about this now. It’s taken 6 years to get here and it’s hard work. As we go, we are defintely figuring things out. 

 

In such a similar way, having a baby works the same way. Childbirth classes and experts prepare us for the “big day”, the birth of our child. We read countless books about relaxing techniques, pain remedies, what to buy, where to have the baby, and on and on. Of course, we can picture ourselves as Mothers, but it’s almost always positive emotions. Giddiness, joy, excitement, laughter. We see ourselves bringing baby home, watching them sleep, cuddling with kisses. We hear people say you don’t get  much sleep and we brush it off with something casual like, “oh well, I’ve read lots of great books on how to get my baby to sleep through the night at 4 weeks. I’ll be fine.” We think we’ll have the perfect baby. Our husbands will magically know what to do and always be there for us. We will all fall instantly in love. Life will be good and it will be easy. (just like we thought about getting married)

And then the baby is here. Now what? We got through labor. Maybe we had the perfect birth, but honestly, who ever does? We start realizing we have all these weird emotions going on (ok and lots of hormones too). We’re processing the birth. We’re figuring out breastfeeding. And who is this little person I’m holding? They feel familiar and we know what just happened. Slowly it makes sense to us. Thank goodness they sleep a lot because we need the rest too. I remember being so overwhelmed by the stress and disappointment of my crazy birth that I couldn’t sleep but only cry. I didn’t  rest for a long time.

We’re sent home with this perfect little person. I was wondering why the hospital entrusted me to take my son home. They just let me walk right out with him. Didn’t they need to examine whether or not I knew what I was doing? I know that’s funny to admit, but I did think it. It’s a natural thing, being a parent…right? That’s total crap. Do any of us really know what we’re doing? Ok, that was harsh. A lot of us do know what we’re doing.

 

Do you understand what I’m saying here? Why doesn’t anyone talk about motherhood? It’s singlehandedly the hardest thing I’ve ever been involved with. And it’s hard every day. Some things get easier. Other things get more difficult. Where’s the support? Where’s the authenticity of older mothers to teach the younger ones?

So maybe if someone had told me the first 6 weeks would be hell, I would have laughed or ignored them. Maybe. Or maybe if they had actually openly shared their heart about what I was about to take on and go through, I would have listened. You bet I would have listened. Anytime ANYONE shares something while being 100% transparent, I listen.

I feel like we’re letting new mothers down. I sure felt let down. I still do. I absolutely have to figure this out because it’s just not right. It’s not right that there is a dark cloud surrounding what’s it actually like to be a mother. It’s not right that we feel so lost in those early days, that we all feel alone….that we question every decision a thousand times….that we feel guilty. What on earth is going on?

I don’t exactly know what to do. We have to keep talking about this.

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  1. This is a great post. 🙂

  2. I learned before having my first and even more after having him that the best support is family. You are right, motherhood is the biggest challenge of your life and you can read every book, take every class, watch every movie, but lessons from other Mothers that can openly teach you the reality of this amazing adventure is the best lesson. I needed to hear the good, the bad and the ugly of what I was about to get myself into. I learned a lot on my sisters, aunts, cousins and my own mother. While learning on my own and taking advice and hearing their experiences has really made motherhood such a blessed experience for me. It’s these intimate times in your life when you need your family to surround and support you. And on a sidenote… I read about 10 books before I had Cylus and you’re right on, Rebecca, real and honest stories from other mom’s is the best way to get a peek inside this unknown world. I wouldn’t trade a sleepless night or a poopy diaper for anything! I love it all!

  3. Can you explain what you mean by “there is a dark cloud surrounding what it’s actually like to be a mother”? I guess I just don’t understand that.

    Thanks

  4. Christy,
    That is so wonderful that you had such a great support system. Mothers, sisters, aunts, cousins are great resources. Unfortunately for me, that was not a support system for me. Not only do I not have sisters, I don’t know any extended family really. We’ve never lived close to any family growing up so I just don’t have those relationships. My husband as well doesn’t have family close by. My sister-in-law came to help for a week when my son was born but that was about it. I’m always happy to hear that people can get help from family. Part of the reason I started this website comes from my experience as a Mom and the lack of a support network.

    Lonnie,
    Maybe I should have explained it in more detail. I’ve been thinking about this topic for a while and sometimes have problems articulating my thoughts. It seems to me that the focus of motherhood is almost solely on raising the child. What about the Mothers? We are going through the biggest transition of our lives. I feel like many topics are just not talked about when it comes to what it’s like to be a Mom, in the trenches of everyday life. Now if you have a great support network like Christy mentioned, then this may not apply to you.

    I’m talking about the identity crisis we go through to find ourselves again. And I’m talking about the dark side of what it’s like to be a Mom. How alone we can feel, the struggles of giving all we have to our family and then coming up with more to give, how to take care of ourselves, etc.

    Or how about how to deal with the pressure of everyone expecting our newborns to fit into this little box? Such as sleeping through the night by a certain age, etc. Or that Moms themselves should somehow all be perfect and that looks like x,y, and z. Then if we don’t fit into that box, we feel guilt, shame, or somehow unfit to be a Mother. This is all ridiculous and so sad to me. I felt this myself and have seen many Moms struggle with it as well.

    Does any of that help you see what I’m referring to in the post?

  5. Great post! Some times I will have the same feelings with you. I am afraid that I will be a mother always and all my focus is my family and my kids. Then what about myself? Like you, it is a paradox and I can’t figure out a perfect way to solve it.

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