This too Shall Pass…

Hey pretty mama,

Congratulations on your beautiful baby! This new life you’ve brought into the world is a miraculous gift from God and this is just such an exciting time for you and your hubby!

Props to you for getting out of the house at two weeks postpartum! You look incredible and you look like you have it all together! Wow!

This new part of your life comes with a whirlwind of emotions. There is just so much joy that comes with having a baby…but there’s also this deep and dark sadness that is difficult to talk about or admit. I get it. I’ve been there.

You spend so much time now memorizing every detail of that beautiful tiny human’s face. Then, you look in the mirror at your own face and your body…now this foreign vessel you no longer recognize. Where you should be seeing joy that other’s see in you, you see bags under your eyes from these new sleepless nights and hours spent crying. Then you see the rest of your body, this body that people are saying “you don’t even look like you had a baby!”, this body that you should be incredibly proud of because it carried and protected and gave you your child, but instead you experience shame because you now have stretch marks that cover the entirety of your abdomen and you have this belly pouch that requires tight jeans or spanks to hide. You’re even embarrassed now to be intimate with your husband because your body no longer looks as it did before. I understand these feelings and thoughts too well.

You used to be able to wake up at whatever time you wanted to. You knew exactly how long it would take you to get ready, you were always on time, and you could just come and go as you please. Now you have this little one who is 100% reliant on you. You now run on this little ones’ schedule. If they want to eat five minutes before walking out the door, guess what? Plan on being about a half-hour late. You now have to plan your schedule accordingly as to how often you want to assemble and disassemble a stroller just to make your day a little bit easier. Did you remember to pack an extra shirt in the diaper bag? Because there’s a good chance you may end up with pee, spit-up, or breastmilk…you name it, it’ll be on the shirt you’re currently wearing.

After a busy day of working and running errands, there’s still the part of needing to cook meals and keep the house in order that needs to happen too. All while wearing the most comfy and baggy clothes you have around the house because it’s easier and more convenient when the baby wants to eat but this just adds to those feelings of embarrassment when your husband gets home and sees how you look.

Your husband reassures you that you’re beautiful and that he loves you…he is the most amazing person in the world and yet you feel like you need to fight like hell to feel connected to him again. Your family and friends can’t wait to meet the baby and you used to be a huge extrovert that always wanted to be surrounded by people, now you’re just wishing no-one would talk to you because their compliments and love just fill you with sadness since you don’t feel confident in yourself. 

Let’s not forget the physical pain you feel either. The sore, chaffed, and bleeding nipples from learning to breastfeed. The bleeding that just seems like it’s never going to end. The exhaustion from trying to catch up on sleep that’s just never going to happen. The stickiness and gross feeling of being covered in breastmilk…

Then let’s tie all of these dark feelings and thoughts up with a bow of the feeling of failure…It’s only been a couple of weeks and yet you already feel like a failure as a mom. You feel like a failure because mastitis and thrush caused you to not be able to nurse your baby on the breast for a few days so she had to have a bottle of your breastmilk. You feel like a failure because the floors haven’t been swept in days, you haven’t been in the mood to cook dinner, and for the thousandth time now, your husband has come home to you still in your PJ’s with a Haaka hooked up to one breast and your baby on the other thanks to a cluster feeding schedule.
All of these feelings you feel are normal and completely okay.

You are having to embrace this new life at light speed.
You see, Postpartum Depression is a very real and serious thing. These dark and sad feelings and thoughts you’re having, you’re not alone in them though. I know this, because I wasn’t alone with mine. After realizing that my depression was starting to have an effect on our marriage, I opened up to my husband about what I was feeling. He encouraged me to reach out to someone who understood what I was going through while he continued and still continues to be the amazing husband he is by supporting, loving, and providing me with many words of affirmation each and every day. I then contacted a dear friend of mine and after hearing her story, that’s when I realized I wasn’t alone. That’s when I realized I would get through this.
I won’t lie, I’m still not through it yet. There are days that are really hard. But now, those days are becoming fewer.
And these dark days will become fewer for you too. You have to keep fighting to get through this. You will start adjusting to this new normal. And don’t worry mama, I get it. I know that all of the darkness you feel doesn’t even compare to the joy you do have for this new life. That soon when this darkness begins to pass and you’ll find humor in the days you get covered in pee, spit-up, and breastmilk. You’ll still cry but you’ll be crying happy tears because your baby is cooing in her sleep and it’s just the sweetest sound. You’ll go to a store and try on a new dress for the first time since being pregnant and you’ll be so happy and feel so confident in it that you just can’t wait to go home and show your husband. And then one night, you’ll be listening to music and a song will come on that just makes you feel good and so you’ll dance around in your nursing bra and PJ pants…and that’ll be the moment you fall in love with your new body. You will begin to admire those mommy stripes that you so valiantly earned and you’ll say “thank you” to that belly pouch that carried your beautiful baby for 9 months.

It’s okay mama. Though it may be hard to hear and accept this right now, please know my words are true. You are beautiful. You are strong. You are an incredible mom. You’ve got this! The sun eventually comes out after every storm…And this new normal will begin the best chapter of your life.

With love,
A mom friend.

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