My gosh, Halle J is over 3 months old now. It’s true what they say, babies don’t keep. Motherhood is a wild wild ride. I truly don’t know how else to word it. I have written this several times over the past 3 months and here is some parts of each version I felt compelled to share about my postpartum experience. Sending love to all the fellow mamas out there, this job ain’t rays of sunshine every day!
The first 6 weeks man. I hardly remember but at the same time it also seems so vivid. All I know, I struggled damn hard. Ugh I’ve written this like 12 times and I keep erasing it. It’s so hard, I was greatful but damn was I was humbled. I don’t want to sound ungrateful or anything by any means, I know how blessed we are to have our girl earthside. But honestly, sleeping was bad, feeding was bad, breastfeeding was awful, PPA was OUT OF CONTROL and recovery was hard even with a fairly uncomplicated natural delivery! Each day felt like a full on battle and when I made it to the end I didn’t even feel successful because I knew I had a full night and the same day coming. You can only imagine how that causes PPA to spiral. I had read 100 blog posts about postpartum and how to prepare for the physical aspect, but the mental and emotional aspect rocked me to my core. It was lots of uncertain days questioning myself and then somewhere between weeks 6-9 things just started to make a bit more sense, sleeping longer stretches started to come to us and we made the decision to switch to formula in hopes to salvage my mental health a little bit. The day I made the decision to start weaning Hal and feed her formula it felt like the fog lifted and I had my first glimmer of hope in many weeks. Breastfeeding was so hard for us, it seemed like we would get it and then 2 days later, pardon my language, it would go to shit. On top of that, because it was so bad I NEVER got comfortable feeding outside of the house or around other people. Therefore it was extremely isolating because I always went to my room alone and always raced home from errands so I wasn’t caught away from home in case she had to eat. Cue crippling anxiety about leaving the house! I took breastfeeding classes, I saw the LC after Hal was born you name it. No amount of preparation could have prepared me for what breastfeeding was actually like. Once I made the switch to formula Hal started getting nice full feeds and so then slowly longer stretches of sleep started coming. I started listening to her cues better and then all of a sudden she was sleeping 8 hour stretches and my exhaustion fog also started to dissapait a tiny bit! Slowly it just felt like things weren’t the end of the world and that I could actually handle everything. The “colic” seemed to start fading and instead of listening to her cry for hours we got some smiles and she had some interest in playing. You get a couple days like that after weeks of pleading and praying and it feels like the world finally heard your pleas!
One of the biggest red flags for me and PPA, was the fact that we would calm her or get her to bed and I would DREAD her next wake up, leading to no sleep, not eating, not drinking.and no personal care for myself, I would just lay awake and shake. As they say, you cannot pour from an empty cup and I was empty. I just want to share my experience because reaching out for help was the best thing I did, but it was hard. I don’t know why asking for help is so hard, maybe because you know they can’t just come in and fix it in one day, it takes time and work and that feels impossible on top of impossible days. And it wasn’t over one day things started making sense but over days and weeks…. When she woke up she smiled instead of screaming and I could read her cues (most of the time!) It just started to feel like I was getting it. We started playing and I could start having a second to figure out how to be myself with a baby and find my new way in this thing called motherhood. I guess the whole purpose of writing this out, one to get off my chest but second, to let anyone else know they are not alone. Your world gets rocked and the hormone changes that follow it are the most intense thing I probably have ever been through. Find your support system and lean hard, find other moms if you can that know what you are going through. Even just hearing someone say oh yes I’ve been there and you can see they made it through gives you hope! Use resources available, for my fellow AB moms the public health nurses are full on Angels, use the 811 number for questions, not the terrifying dr. Google and if your doctor is not helpful, seek out other opinions (I had too!). FINALLY, do not scroll social media and think you are the only one “not together” becuase it’s bullshit. I felt like like such a bad wife, mom, sister etc when scrolling. I unfollowed so many accounts that made me feel less than. It’s a highlight reel, remember that!
I was recently talking to some friends and I shared a video from when Halle was one week old and another at 4 weeks. I told them watching them makes me kind of sad because I was kind of hating everything at the time that I didn’t really get to enjoy her as a newborn, it passed and i feel like I missed it. Once I got some help it’s crazy how much my mind set changed. I can never change the time passed, but I thank myself that even though I was struggling I tried to document it because I told myself one day it will be better and you’ll want to remember this. I feel like I made it to that point. No one truly knows what a person is going through internally, I was living proof. I’m healthy, happy and learning and Hal girl is thriving and that’s the most important. Better days are coming, you are strong and you can do anything 💓 don’t forget that. I hope by sharing what I worked my way through, others know they are not alone and help is always available and it really will help ❤️ sending love to everyone!