The first post of many, the question that sparked this whole blog, a question I asked myself every day for the first 8 weeks of my baby’s life; why aren’t moms honest? I mean, brutally—hold the sugar—honest?
I remember the first few weeks as new mom, feeling incredibly lied to every day. The advice I remember receiving was “sleep when the baby sleeps” and “it will get better.” But why did no one tell me how truly brutal life with a newborn was? The truth about the time between the sleeping when the baby sleeps and when it gets better. Did they not want to scare me? Did they tell me and I blocked it all out? Was I a bad mom?
So there I was, thinking back to how miserable and uncomfortable I was those last few days of pregnancy, how eager I was to meet my little boy, I couldn’t wait! But now I had done it. I had given birth to my very own new human! I had my brand new minature soulmate wrapped up like a perfect little burrito in my arms. I was a superhero. And… I was postpartum. I emerged from the dreaded third trimester into the trimester I didn’t even know existed—the fourth. A time I had no idea would be so incredibly difficult to navigate. I looked in the mirror at my swollen yet hallow face, eyes so sunken in they looked like they needed a lifeguard to rescue them from drowning in my skull, boobs so engorged they felt like they might actually explode off my chest, nipples cracked and bleeding through my milk-stained robe (hello new mom uniform!). I threw back a cocktail of ibuprofen and stool softeners that I washed down with my oversized hospital cup, while rocking an adult diaper with an icepack stuffed inside. I was panicked that I wouldn’t have time to shower (for the 3rd day in a row) before the baby woke again, before I needed to attempt to breastfeed or pump again, before the cycle of keeping a tiny human alive started all over again, and said to myself…
What. The. Actual. Fuck.
To me, it was insanity. The things no one shares. The exhaustion, the love, the tears. Dear Lord the tears. They just streamed down my face like a broken fire hydrant. I was prepared for love. I was prepared to be tired. But not this. This. Was. Survival. I know parents don’t walk around bragging about how rested they are with a newborn, but the level of exhaustion is unparalleled to anything I’ve ever experienced. I had a hard time not thinking that there was something wrong with me—that I must have been weaker than most. That I was a bad mom because as much as I was grateful for this gift, that even though I loved my baby, I was struggling. But of course I was struggling. I was figuring out my new role as a mom right after my body had worked harder than it ever had in its 31 years of life. My body was screaming at me to rest, but nope, not today. Not tomorrow either. Or next week, or the week after that. An hour or two here, 20-minute naps there, but each time I woke up from said naps I would panic. How long was I out? Where is the baby? Baby was either with Dad or sleeping beside us in Rock ‘n Play (the only thing he would sleep in those early days) of course, but that new mom panic is a jolt like no other.
The point of this blog is not to complain about the messy-beautiful journey that is motherhood, or to scare moms-to-be for that matter, it’s to start a conversation. An honest one. I can’t say I would have listened if someone told me about the rough reality of postpartum and new motherhood before I got thrown into the mom pool. And really, nothing can fully prepare you for what it’s going to be like until you’re in it. But I noticed when I was honest (I mean, really honest) about how things were going with other moms, during pregnancy and beyond, more and more started sharing stories of their own about how tough it all is. No one likes to feel alone when they’re going through some incredibly challenging life points, and I’ve never understood the phrase “it takes a village” more.
I’m new here in mom town, as I write this, my “newborn” is now 3 months new. I’m a different version of the mom I was 8 weeks ago. I’m finally able to sit down (comfortably) and put pen to paper (or finger tip to macbook). I’ve gotten some of that sleep I missed so much. I’ve cooked a meal, although not many or anything beyond the skill level of tacos. If you haven’t gathered, it hasn’t been easy, but it’s getting better every day. That is one piece of advice many parents told me in the beginning— it gets better. And guess what? They were right.
If I thought the first few weeks were hard, I can only imagine the challenges I will face for weeks, months and years to come. And those challenges are what I want to share, because something tells me I’m not alone in the challenges of motherhood. To all the moms out there, seasoned and new, I just want to hug ya because damn we’re good. But guess what? We’re better together.
4 thoughts on “The First Post, Why Aren’t Moms Honest?”
I think part of it is that so much of what happens is considered TMI. It’s generally frowned on to tell people that your nethers were so swollen after delivery that you couldn’t poop, got constipated, and when you finally did poop a week later (in the shower, because it hurt less standing up than sitting on the toilet), it hurt worse than when the baby was crowning. If you tell people a story like that, they’re gonna stare at you in open-mouthed horror and possibly never want to converse with you again. So that might have something to do with it.
I think maybe the sleep deprivation also makes a lot of moms forget just how bad things were, because they’re too fuzzy to end up with anything but fuzzy memories. Also, some moms have a better natural chemical delivery system and their body is pumping them full of feel-good hormones to help offset the pain and trauma.
Good luck, though – I do think this stuff needs to be talked about, and talked about honestly, but it’s not an easy thing to be open about. A lot of being honest about motherhood requires revealing a humiliating level of detail and being willing to discard a great deal of privacy, and not everyone is going to be able to bring themselves to that point.
LikeLiked by 1 person
I agree completely! It’s really scary telling the truth, but I think I would have been a lot more prepared if more people just admitted how they were really feeling. It’s super isolating thinking somehow you’re the only one who had these experiences, and really it’s such a blur.
Thanks for your comment!
LikeLiked by 1 person
Completely agree and couldn’t have said it any better. Nobody prepped me for exactly this but even if they had tried, I wouldn’t have been able to understand what “it’s really hard” really means. My babe is now 1 year old and I can confirm it gets better. New challenges come along the way, sleepless nights and periods come and go but nothing compares to the pain and adjustment (mental and physical) of the 4th trimester.
It’s so true! I don’t think I really ever could have understood just how hard it is until I was in it. But wow! It’s no joke! Thanks for sharing!