You know it’s true what they say, no matter how ready you think you are- you’ll never really be ready. Well, we had waited seven and a half years of marriage, and almost a decade together, to expand our family. I spent the good part of my twenties getting to know and falling in love with myself. With that came out a strong, bold, fierce, compassionate, fun-loving, INDEPENDENT woman. I have always wanted children, but the more time Kyle and I spent without them, the more I feared a child would take from me what I had worked so hard for. I had gotten so good at doing me and we had gotten so good at doing the two of us, what if three of us ruined everything?
If you’ve had children you know, especially as a first time mom, those first few weeks are something unexplainable. Your world halts and suddenly you are fully responsible for a new life. The sleep deprivation alone was enough to make me feel like a crazy person. I’ve suffered from anxiety and depression in the past so I was on high alert looking for the signs as a new mom, and they set in quickly. On the outside I looked like super mom, but on the inside, I was dying. I was sad, lonely, confused, overwhelmed, and anxious.
And then, this day happened. Our friend was having a birthday party over Memorial Day Weekend and that was going to be our first outing as a family. It was at the lake, which is one of our favorite places to spend the summer, and although I was exhausted, I was excited and hopeful to get a sense of normal life back. Oliver was only four weeks old, but at this point I thought I was getting the whole mommy thing down, I had my super supportive husband with me, and it was going to be just like old times. WRONG.
Reality hit me as soon as we got down to the dock and I realized- I have a baby. Needless to say I wasn’t actually able to enjoy myself, my anxiety was through the roof, and I was mad at myself for even thinking I could go back to living a “normal” life after having a baby. That night when we got home I ran to the bathroom and fell to my knees on the floor. I lost it. I’m talking ugly, howling, pain from the pit of your stomach, makeup all over my face crying. What did we do? And then add the guilt of having this perfect little miracle I created, and I’m crying over myself…
That night on that bathroom floor, with tears streaming down my face and my heart feeling like it was being ripped out of my chest, I made a choice. There’s a lot of things I said I wouldn’t do as a parent, or “that won’t be me”’s, and of course as time goes on I will succumb to many of them (I can already name a few). But losing myself after having a child is one I vowed to fight no matter how much it took from me. Not even selfishly for me, but so that I am the best I can be for my child, for my husband, for my friends and family, and for the women in my life who look to me for support because I’ve been there.
I’ve had a lot of people reach out with different reactions to how having a new baby hasn’t stopped me from living life. Most in support and admiration, hope for soon-to-be mothers and respect from moms who have already rode the wave of new baby life. And there’s also those with the side eyes and quiet comments, “How can she just take her baby everywhere?” “He should be on a routine.” And that’s ok too. I’ve learned to be very confident in my decisions. My way is not what’s best for everyone. If I’ve learned anything, it’s that everyone, every baby, is different, and you have to do what works best for you. For me and my family, that meant bringing Oliver into the hustle and bustle of our lives and rolling with the punches no matter how hard it may be.
But don’t be fooled by my social media posts full of a fun-loving summer and ear to ear smiles, this mommy is tired. Frankly, exhausted. I am exhausted ALL. OF. THE. TIME. It’s not because I have a “good” baby or things are “easier” for me. I made a conscious decision for myself and my family, and pushing through the sleepless nights, painful endless crying, and a routine that works one day and not the next, was the best thing I could have done for myself. That is where I found my happiness. That was how I lost the stigma in my mind of just being a mom now, and remembered that I am so much more than that.
My hopes in sharing this post is that it inspires new mommies, experienced mommies, moms-to be, and really every woman out there that becoming a mom is one of the most incredible, beautiful, exhausting, overwhelming, challenging, rewarding gifts you will ever be given. You are not alone and if you’re struggling there is a tribe of women out there, including myself, who have your back and are here to lift you back up. And trust me, my journey has only just begun.