I keep wondering if I have done a good job of communicating my purpose behind starting this blog so I wanted to dig in and really share what lit me up for this.
The most difficult transition I have ever made in my life was the transition from non-parent to first-time mom. This was the hardest period in my life to date. I had never felt more lost, unsure, or like a failure in all my life. I was one of those people who set a goal and achieved it without too much hubbub. I was used to being successful and was wildly unprepared for what laid ahead. Let me start by saying that I love my daughter more than anything in the world and I am so grateful for this challenging experience. I really believe that life is happening for me and that I had to go through this, to understand it and be able to speak to it.
My purpose for sharing this…? I am here to be a light to anyone making taking this leap. I believe that what you love makes you who you are and if you give those things up, even for a good cause, like say, motherhood is sacrificing yourself in a way that doesn’t help anyone. We need to honor who we are in this important time and feed ourselves (literally, because we forget all the time).
I am here to give you the grace you will not likely give yourself. I am here to give you tips for keeping the most important parts of yourself alive while you dedicate your every waking moment to another human being. The most important two things I can say are: never compare yourself or your baby to anyone else and the best advice is the stuff that works for you.
Here’s my story:
Almost 6 years ago when I had my daughter, I had all these ideas of what life with a baby should be like with her beautiful face in my life. Before I got pregnant, my girlfriends and I would joke about me being the DD and how after the baby was born we would schedule our next girls trip and leave dad with the baby after just a couple months! It was all fun and games, cupcakes and rainbows…
Then I actually got pregnant, 9 days in… turns out I am not a failure at that; at least not this time. I’m not going to go all doom & gloom but for sure there were no cupcakes and rainbows for me… my first pregnancy was filled with debilitating nausea which required medication to manage, excessive weight gain, food aversions that left no choices but bread and pasta, and constant heartburn from everything including water and existence. While my friends initially understood I wasn’t feeling well, the novelty of the pregnancy wore off before the first trimester ended and I stopped getting invited to things because my default answer to just about everything was no.
Once the baby came, all those terrible side effects were gone but on came the pressures of breastfeeding and the terrible weight of body image issues! (Pun intended.) I worked for a weight loss company at the time and preached all day about how you can control your weight if you cared enough. I was very out of shape from not working out for 10 months. But whenever I would work out and get my eating in line the baby would start pooping all weird and stop gaining weight. (For anyone who has never had a baby, poop is a significant indicator of how well they are doing at life as an infant… seriously. You study color, texture, frequency… it’s like a real study only grosser)
Once I called the Pediatrician, they said it was because I wasn’t eating enough and I was working out too much. My milk was “low-fat” and baby needed the fat to process her food… I didn’t know humans could make low-fat milk!!! So I went back to low-intensity workouts and eating more calories… which did NOTHING for my body or my self-esteem. I remember calling a friend and crying because I felt like I didn’t know the person who I had become. I didn’t know (and I hated) this body, I hadn’t done anything I actually enjoyed in months, I had very little adult interaction, and everything in my life revolved around this other little human who I loved so much it hurt, but I couldn’t pull myself out of this.
I was working so hard at breastfeeding. I attended weekly support groups, pumping and feeding, and pumping and pumping and more damn pumping. I had a hospital grade pump and I still had to supplement with formula which was heartbreaking after putting in so much work at breastfeeding but the baby wasn’t gaining weight and that was more important.
Looking back I think there are external factors that I let get into my head. There is enormous pressure put on new and soon-to-be moms with regard to breastfeeding in particular but also regarding how you are supposed to feel and what you should be doing with your baby. Sure they tell you to give yourself grace but the truth is there is so much judgment out there from other people when they see someone with a newborn “not doing what they would do”. This goes bone-deep for me when the person passing judgment doesn’t have kids of their own.
I eventually I came out of it but it took me a good 2.5 years to feel even remotely close to my old self again. Now I think I ended up just accepting a new normal that I wasn’t entirely happy with but that I could live with.
With my second pregnancy, I struggled with getting pregnant, had a miscarriage in Hawaii of all places. I decided that what didn’t work last time would most certainly not work this time and it was time to let that all go. When I was finally pregnant with my son my mindset had changed. I was more positive and ready to take on the pregnancy and work hard to keep my weight in line throughout the pregnancy. I had a COMPLETELY different pregnancy experience with the second baby. The debilitating nausea ended after 16 weeks and I felt so good and somewhat normal. I had energy and while I didn’t work out consistently, I walked everywhere every chance I got. In fact that that is what eventually sent me into labor.
After having my son, I realize that how I felt after having my daughter might be normal, in that many people experience it, but it’s not healthy. The second time around I learned the importance of staying true to who I was before I had my kids.
I want my daughter to grow up with a role model who didn’t mold into whatever was pressing on her at that point in her life. I want for my kids to be ok when mommy needs some time with her girls or a date with daddy; things I did very little of with my first. This time, I just went with the flow and now 9 months post partum I have lost all the baby weight, I have found my calling and taken action on building a dream by launching this site.
You are my WHY!
Please share this with anyone who you think needs some support in this incredibly difficult and beautiful transition. I would love to make a difference for her!
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