I started this blog when I was around 6 months pregnant because it occurred to me that I had the opportunity to document my first pregnancy, birth and foray into motherhood and all that those experiences would entail. I’ve always been a writer and am most comfortable relaying messages and conveying my feelings on paper. I am not a crier (I literally loathe the concept of crying and will do just about anything to avoid it) and tend to keep my true feelings close to my hip. So, putting down in words what my pregnancy/birth/motherhood experience was on “paper” felt the most natural.
But I was also adamant that I wanted to write an honest and real account of those experiences and equally include the good and the bad, because after a really difficult pregnancy I was finding that I couldn’t relate to any of the blog posts and pictures I was consuming on social media. Why wasn’t I reading about women who disliked being pregnant like I did? Why hadn’t I come across a lady who experienced 7 months of morning-sickness and carried an immense amount of guilt for taking Diactlin (or whatever that anti-nauseaa medication is called) to counter-act it? I didn’t see any photos from the perspective of a mom-to-be on bed rest. And yet, there I was. Feeling like I should be the happiest I’ve ever felt because my number one dream was coming true and I was despising every. single. minute. If only someone could have told me how full my heart was about to become…
What actually ended up happening as a by-product of starting this blog was that I ended up finding a community of like-minded women who were struggling just like me, hustling just like me and surviving just like me. Women who talked about the struggle of breastfeeding, the struggle of sleep training, the struggle of getting zero hours of sleep in a week, the struggle of 1 shower every 8 days, the struggle of high maintenance babies who need to be worn or on a boob all day long. These are my women and I’m so glad I started sharing so that I could find them. As they say, “Find your tribe. Love them hard”.
Whether you’re experiencing motherhood for the first time or the third time, I believe it can be an intensely alienating experience, which is ironic because most women on this earth are moms! Yes, I felt like I had officially joined the sisterhood of motherhood, but I also felt very, VERY alone in the beginning. Don’t get me wrong, I had my family and my girlfriends and even fellow new moms who wanted to be my friend, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that behind closed doors, in my home, wrapped up in bed was the safest place for my baby and me to spend those first crucial months together. Aside from visiting my mom, I don’t remember going out or even leaving my bedroom for months on end. I look back now and wish I had re-joined the world sooner, but I wouldn’t give up those days or those snuggles for anything. That was my new mommy intuition telling me to stay put and how can I question that even in retrospect?
The days did eventually get easier and my first year of motherhood too quickly came to a close – yet another thing no-one tells you about in the beginning – and all of a sudden, I faced what I didn’t know would be the biggest hurdle of my motherhood journey thus far. Going back to work.
Heading back to work was for me, the hardest, most gut-wrenching and heart breaking experience of my life. I spent the last two months of my maternity leave literally DREADING IT. I lost sleep, I cried, I begged my husband to let me stay home – something he badly wanted to give me but just didn’t make financial sense for our family. Everyone told me it would be easier than I thought… they were wrong. I didn’t need the adult conversations. I didn’t want to dress up every day. I couldn’t bear the idea of being separated from my baby ever or for anything… that was five months ago.
Surviving is the best word I can use to describe where we’re at today. I wake up every day and go through the routine that we’ve developed for ourselves. I go to work and then come home to my baby who I cook dinner for and nurse quickly before putting him to bed so we can wake up and do it all again the next day. Every single ounce of my remaining energy goes into those two hours and then I collapse into bed, scarf down whatever I can scrounge up to eat and fall asleep.
If I’m being 100% honest, my physical and mental health has suffered in the last five months. I haven’t worked out in God knows how long, I don’t eat well, I don’t get a lot of sleep, my anxiety is through the roof and I find myself feeling angry and sad more than I think is normal. I know this isn’t me. I know this isn’t normal. Even on my hardest day at home with Luca, it was still the best day of my life, because I was with him.
Those long term plans and dreams have fallen to the wayside for practical survival mechanisms and the time I used to take for me and my sanity has been replaced with eating and sleeping. So, it’s time for a change, y’all. My marriage has suffered, my relationship with my kid has suffered and my relationships with my family and friends have suffered as a result of me not feeling like ME. So, enough.
I’ve taken some time to regroup and re-prioritize and I know that I need to write again and share again and do something for ME. I’m a mom and a wife first. I’m a sister and a daughter and a friend and a cousin. I have a lot of titles, but the most important relationship in my life and the one I have to nurture the hardest right now is with me.
Even as I’m writing this, I’ve deleted and re-written everything 30 times because I’m terrified. Terrified that I’m alone in feeling this way, terrified that you might think I love myself more than my son (that is not and will never be the truth) and terrified to strip myself bare and share all of this. It’s the most honest I’ve been on this blog but I think to start over you have to clean the slate and that’s what this is to me. I’m baring it all, wiping the rest away and starting over.
I love this mom-community of mine and I hope that this resonates with at least one other person. That’s all it takes to not feel like you’re alone in this journey.