I must be real here, because I could spoon-feed you the flowers and butterflies of motherhood, but it’s short-lived. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m three months into motherhood, and I am absolutely in love with my daughter Savannah, I can’t wait to see the woman she becomes. There are many memorable and rewarding moments with her we will cherish for the rest of our lives.
I’ll give a disclaimer because “nOt EveRY eXpeRieNcE iS ThE sAMe.” Yes, I’m well aware. Although this post is about what I’m experiencing, I’m sure there are some common themes everyone can relate to. Now, let’s get into what fucking sucks about being a new mom.
Imagine PMS on steroids, Mercury in Retrograde, your boss keeps annoying you, and everything makes you cry. Imagine feeling on top of the world, and then 10 minutes later, you have a panic attack. Imagine just crying because something that never bothered you before triggers you. Everything smells weird, you’re sick all the time, and you have no patience.
I was and still am an emotional mess. I was really mean to people while I was pregnant–I had a short temper and no filter. Savannah’s dad got the worst of the worst; and I felt so bad because I said some really mean things to him I’d apologize for later. Poor guy. I remember trying so hard not to belittle my customers and peers when they asked stupid questions at work. It was the most challenging task in the world to manage my emotions. I can say now it’s getting easier and I’m doing better, even though I still have my moments.
I’M FUCKING EXHAUSTED. I am so tired all the time. I miss pregnant sleep so much! I mean, I nap when she naps sometimes, but I usually need that time to go to the bathroom, shower, eat, try to work on my blog and plan my content schedule, etc. It’s hard. There are times when I could jump up early in the morning and shower, but I can barely move from being so tired and drained. Even when she’s not home with me, I still have a hard time sleeping because my body is so used to being on schedule with her. I remember the first few days of having her home; I’d cry with her because I was so tired. It’s better now, but Lord knows it’s still hard. I envy anyone who sleeps peacefully.
Watching my friends make plans or take trips together hurts. I feel like I’m on the outside of my life looking in. I keep telling myself that my life is not over and everything is still the same even with Savannah here. I have a lot of support–overwhelming support to the point that my heart hurts thinking about the superhero women who have to do it all on their own. If we’re going to the movies or have weekend plans, her grandparents make sure she’s spoiled and happy. But that doesn’t take away the shitty feeling of not being able to pack up and take a random trip in the middle of the week without telling someone.
DEPRESSION & ANXIETY
As soon as I found out I was pregnant, I feared postpartum depression and anxiety to the point I’d have a panic attack about it. I was depressed and suicidal during pregnancy, and I resented my body for being sick so much, I hated myself. I had no desire for maternity photoshoots, or sharing pregnancy milestones; I was indifferent up until my last month of pregnancy. After SJ was born, I spent my nights struggling to breastfeed and quiet her down. I felt like a bad mom if I asked someone to watch her while I slept. I cried at night when I should have been sleeping. I fed into my anxiety and sunk into an insanely deep depression. Every postpartum assessment they gave me yielded the same results, and then my GYN prescribed me an antidepressant. I was terrified. Me, the advocate for self-care and mental health….taking meds? Why was I ashamed? I needed them, and a good therapist, and I maxed out my maternity leave to bond with Savannah. It is a process, a hard one, but I am slowly making more progress in improving my mental health than I’ve ever made in my life! I had to be honest about the extent of help I needed to get better, and I’m glad I had great doctors and family to push me in the right direction.
FEELING LIKE YOURSELF
Becoming an individual again after sharing your body for nine months seems like it would be an easy feat–not even close. I still struggle with the separation from “Mom” to Chanel. When I look back, my “pre-baby” life was empty. I was immature in some aspects, selfish and cruel, your girl put the “ itch” in bitch. I hurt people’s feelings. I hurt myself; I detached from my emotions and stayed guarded. I was cycling through a mosh pit of my worst qualities, thinking I was okay. I was not okay. The shift in hormones made me self examine, get to the root of my dysfunction, and address my traumas. (We’ll talk about trauma and survival in another post.) I’ve reconciled so much, paid off emotional debts, and am learning how to forgive and heal so I can be better for Savannah. I refuse to let her grow in the type of environment where the remnants of dysfunction, doubt, and low self-esteem linger. I had to detox. I feel like myself but a better version of myself. I feel beautiful, sexier, smarter, braver. I made affirmations just for Savannah that I tell her every day so that those seeds of love and empowerment bloom.
Scars. Pains. Stretch marks. These are the ingredients chosen to create the perfect postpartum body, but the Professor accidentally added an extra ingredient to the concoction…..INSECURITY (cue explosion). I’m working on not looking at my body in disgust. The scar makes me strong. The stretch marks make me beautiful. The pain is weakness leaving the body. I push myself now when I work out; I desire to create a stronger, healthier version of myself. I need to be alive for Savannah. I can’t sulk and hate my FUPA forever. Especially not when there are gyms and SoulCycle. Even when I feel I’m cracking and breaking I keep going. If Beyoncé can do it after a c-section so can I!
CONNECTING WITH FRIENDS AND FAMILY
I gained a family after my baby girl was born: the type of family that calls to check up on you, send you what you need, see how you are. I was not used to this hospitality I’ve been blessed with. My family is great, don’t get me wrong, it’s just something about other people welcoming you in as their own without hesitation. It warms my heart. It also make me a better communicator with my family, reaching out to let them know we’re thinking about them.
I cry tears of happiness now as I write because my life has changed so much for the better and sometimes you can’t see it when you’re up close. It’s when you step back and look at the bigger picture and see how blessed you are. I can’t imagine my life without Savannah or her dad and his family. She is teaching us how to love, how to live, how to thrive. I would do it again and again because all of this brought out the best version of me.
If you liked this piece, be sure to check out Motherhood and it’s Intense Challenges