I was talking to a friend tonight about the blogs that we read. I told her that there were a few blogs that I stopped reading because they always left me feeling inadequate as a mother. I love to read blogs from other moms with children who are in the same age group as Andrew. I like to see what others are doing, get ideas about products that others are using, and let's face it...to compare. Everyone tells mothers not to do this, but we all do. However, some blogs always seem so perfect. The mother is always put together with make up on. The baby does everything perfectly--meets every milestone right on time, sleeps every night, never gets sick, etc. The pictures always show an immaculate house and the parents are going on countless date nights, giving time to charities, throwing elaborate parties...you get the point. As I read these blogs, I think--how is she doing that? Then, I look at my blog and realize that I choose those same types of pictures and stories to post on my blog. I avoid blogging about situations where I am struggling because I don't want to be viewed as a "bad mom." Maybe if moms were really honest about things, it would help us to all see that it is hard to be a new mom. I think many of us never speak the truth because we don't want to be viewed as complainers. I know that I try to stay positive because I am just so thankful to have a healthy baby. He is a joy in my life and makes me so incredibly happy. Like many moms, I prayed for Andrew and consider him to be one of the greatest blessings in my life. I know many friends who are also praying for that blessing and have been doing so for years, so I don't want to be insensitive to them and complain about being tired. They would give anything to have a baby to make them tired. Even with all of that being said, motherhood is hard. We hide it from others, but does that really help others or just make them feel inadequate? So, here is my honest post!
1. I am exhausted all of the time. There have been nights where I have literally ran into the wall as I walk from my bedroom to the nursery. Since birth, Andrew has slept through the night only once. He gets up SEVERAL times a night. Sometimes, I try to remember what it feels like to be rested, and I cannot.
2. Parenthood strengthens your marriage and puts new strains on it at the same time. You realize that you and your spouse may agree on some things, but have totally different opinions on others. For example, I do not like for Andrew to cry (hence the whole "he has never slept through the night thing"--because I have spoiled him rotten) but Joey wants to let him cry it out. We both feel strongly about our positions. So, as a new parent you have to decide which way to go. With most things in marriage, compromise works. Sometimes with parenting, compromise is not so easy because decisions are often more black and white:
Working mom/Stay at home mom
Cry it Out/No tears
Yes, I realize that you can do combinations of the above (ex: work part time) but most of the time combinations are not an option. You naively think they are when you are pregnant--I'll just breastfeed during the day and let him give the baby a bottle at night--and then realize that it doesn't work that way---Oh, wait-my my milk supply dramatically decreases if I don't nurse during the night.
3. I always feel like others are doing a better job that I am. I have not blogged anything about breastfeeding because it has honestly been too painful for me to even talk about. Even as I type this, I feel a lump forming in my throat and my eyes are getting watery. I wanted so badly for Andrew to be exclusively fed breastmilk (along with food, of course) for the first year. I was successful for the first three months, but not without a price--my sanity. It was the hardest thing that I have ever done. No one tells you that. For me, I felt trapped in my own house, held hostage by the clock (Is it time to pump?) and unable to ever truly take a break. My supply was low, and he was hungry. I didn't want to supplement, and I didn't want him to be hungry. I was pumping several times throughout the night to try to increase my supply. While I loved Andrew desperately, I was miserable. I wanted to quit everyday, and I would tell myself to just keep going. How selfish would that be to quit breastfeeding to make my life easier when I knew that it was the best for him? That was the question that always came to my mind. I talked to several people, prayed about it, discussed it with my pediatrician, and finally decided to quit. It was freedom...and also tremendous guilt. I cried for days. I joined online support groups for mothers who felt guilty about quitting breastfeeding. I still have enormous guilt about it, but I also wanted to enjoy the first year of motherhood with Andrew. I wanted to be able to go out and do things with him and not always be watching the clock to see if I needed to pump. I am going to try again with my next baby, but I am not going to put the pressure on myself the next time. I am going to do the best that I can and not beat myself up about it.
4. I feel fat and like my body will never be the same again. My hips are so wide now. I don't even get on the scale because it is too depressing. Most days, I can barely breathe in my pants.
Alright new mothers--feel better? You are not alone! The funny thing is that a tiny little human being has done all of this to me, yet I love him more than anything in the entire world. When I think of how much I love Andrew, my heart literally aches. Struggling as a new mom does not mean that you do not love your child or that you are not doing a good job--It just means you are human!