Tuesday, February 8, 2011

It's not always perfect!

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!


  1. great post Emily. I think sometimes people's blog are only a reflection of what they WANT their lives to looks like through an open window. But in reality, we new moms face trials and hurdles that rock us to the core. I too, had a TON of guilt when I quit breastfeeding at 6 months. But as soon as I was dry, I felt SO MUCH BETTER. It made me be a better mommy because I was happy.

    Campbell has always been a great sleeper, slept through the night early etc yada yada. It's only been in the last few weeks, that she has manipulated us to come cuddle with her at night. Two nights ago, I let her cry it out (something I thought I would NEVER do), turned the monitor down to nothing, and just watched her. I was so surprised when she sat back down, and went straight to sleep after 15 minutes. Last night, she didn't wake up at all. I don't support crying it out at all, UNTIL they've slept through the night for a while. Then it seems to work. Plus, I know her cries, and this was just a pitiful "i want my mama to come rock me" cry, instead of a pure devastation cry. Wow I've probably said too much!!

  2. This is one of your best posts! I don't know a mom who doesn't feel that way, and it's refreshing to see honesty and vulnerability. Moms need each other's honesty, support, and encouragement. I am always praying for parents, because it is one of the hardest, but most important and valuable jobs in the world. You're a wonderful mother. And I always have to remind myself that people's lives are never as perfect as they seem on facebook and blogs-- they can be so deceiving!

  3. Emily, I know I don't know you that well, but this post made me want to call you on the phone! This is a great post!! I also find myself leaving so many things about mommyhood off of my blog. It's not that I am trying to make everyone think I have this perfect life - it's because I want our blog to be a happy place. You have inspired me to do an honest mommy post. I think you are doing a wonderful job!! If you ever need to talk, please don't hesitate. I'm no expert at this mommy thing, but I am traveling the same road.

    Also, I am with you on the crying thing. Noah doesn't come close to sleeping through the night. If you need any help convincing Joey that you are right, let me know and I will tell you what worked for Justin :)

  4. Emily - I am so impressed that you pumped and breastfed for the first three months! I apparently had very similar issues as you - something I never thought would happen to me. Why have I had a large chest my entire life? I always wanted to breastfeed! After Miller rejected me for a month and I only produced 1/5 of what he ate a day, I had to do 100% formula for my sanity and to make me a better mom. It was definitely the hardest few weeks of my life! You did a great job doing that for three months.

    This is a great blog post!

  5. Emily - I think this was your best post. It was 100% and you were being yourself. I personally enjoy reading about other moms' challenges as well as successes because it helps me relate and realize that I'm not the only one facing these things... Keep it up!