I have sat down to write this post so many times, but could not find the words. When I first found out I was pregnant I was over the moon. I had wanted a baby my entire life. I worked with babies teaching swim lessons and helping to run a day camp while in high school and college. I babysat for several different families and always loved the children I cared for as if they were my own. Long story short, I could not wait to be a mama. It was literally all I have ever wanted.
In college I met the man of my dreams. Stephen and I fell in love fast, got married young, and started our life together. I had several career goals, but my over arching goal was always to be a mom. You know the story already about how we met our financial goals, and about how we got pregnant. Everything was falling into place. The day I went into labor I could not believe that this dream I had dreamt since I was 18 was finally coming true. I was going to have my baby, I was going to be a mom.
The first two weeks after delivery were a whirlwind. I remember texting my sister my first night home with Ella saying I had no idea what I was doing, and how completely overwhelmed I was. She, of course, understood, and told me that every new mom feels that way. I knew I could do this, I would just take everything a feeding at a time and with the help of Stephen and my family we would figure everything out. After the first two weeks, I started to feel like myself again. Walking was easier, breast feeding was easier, Ella was sleeping well and gaining weight and seemed happy and I felt more confident everyday. Weeks 2 through 6 of Ella’s life passed in a happy blur.
At the 6 weeks mark, right when everything was supposed to be getting easier and easier, I felt like a dark cloud descended on me. I felt as if I was walking through a fog that I just could not shake. The weather was cold which made getting out of the house really hard. Ella decided she hated the car so even a quick trip to Target turned into a scream fest that left me either in tears or completely shaken for the rest of the day. Even though Ella was sleeping well, I was not. I was up every 30-60 minutes checking on her, or just laying in bed unable to fall asleep. I was exhausted, sad, weepy, and just barely making it through my days. The only easy part about this time was actually loving Ella. I never felt as if I did not WANT to take care of her during this time, but the actual act of caring for her was becoming harder and harder.
This dark cloud feeling lasted roughly 3 weeks. Three long weeks where I had no idea what was wrong with me. I had wanted to care for a child of my own my entire life, and now that I was finally doing it I felt like I was failing. Why was this so hard? I found myself having selfish thoughts, wishing for my old life, wanting to go to a yoga class or go for a run at a moments notice rather than having to plan my day around it. I also did not realize how sad I truly was until I was on the other side of this dark time.
About half way through our trip to Florida I started to feel this cloud lift. I was able to have some time alone with Stephen on this trip since we had so many “baby sitters” with us. I was able to go for a run every morning, since Stephen did not need to go to work and could watch after Ella in the mornings. When I felt overwhelmed there were other hands and arms that were more than willing to take over my duties for a little while. I cannot overstate how much this trip helped me snap out of my slump. Everyday I felt stronger, everyday I felt more like myself, and everyday I was more and more thankful that I was a mama.
We still have bad days here and there. Just two days ago I had a major mama melt down in my kitchen related to breast feeding. Being a mom is all at once the hardest thing I have ever done and the most amazing. It scares me how much I love my daughter, but I realize that I also need to carve out time for myself. Going for a run does not mean I am a bad mom. She will not forget who I am if I need to leave her for a little while, and I am not a failure if I decide to supplement with formula.
In my opinion, anyone who goes through pregnancy, childbirth, post pardum, and attempts breast feeding is a freaking rock star. I am now three months into this journey, and am starting to feel like I can roll with the punches a little easier. I want to start blogging regularly again, I want to ramp up my fitness, and I want to make sure I am still me, while being a mom.