Becoming a mom doesn’t always look like how we think it should and there’s so much preparation that goes into how you’ll care for your baby. But what about the moms? Who supports them through having a baby for the first time?
In this blog post, you’ll find
- My story through infertility to get our daughter
- How I found myself lost in a sea of swirling thoughts about actually becoming a mom
- A slight rant about how there isn’t any support for moms who are having a baby for the first time
- Some ways to know if extra support is right for you
The journey to Charley
As I started getting closer to having a baby, with my growing belly and a nursery that was almost finished, I started having these feelings that made me really uncomfortable. Anxious feelings, ones telling me I didn’t deserve this and I was going to be a terrible mom. Feelings that I would somehow mess her up.
We had gone through infertility to get this girl and on the outside, I was radiating excitement, positivity, and joy. The inside looked quite a bit different.
I had a coach at the time but these thoughts were too scary, too personal, too messed up. Sharing these feelings with her was absolutely out of the question. She’d think I was crazy and that I really shouldn’t be a mom.
So I shoved them down, didn’t look at them. Refused to even acknowledge that I was feeling an uncomfortable type of way.
And then she was here and we were home from the hospital.
Having a baby for the first time, of course, changes you.
I went upstairs to take a shower. I left Charley downstairs with Paul and my mother-in-law. We were finally home: I wasn’t on Punk’d. I had “beaten” infertility and made it through pregnancy and childbirth. Now, here we were. Finally, a family of three.
As I got in the shower, I remember just feeling exhausted. We had been in the hospital for a week between a baby that wasn’t ready and C-section recovery. It felt so good to be home, to finally have our baby home. I don’t remember feeling upset or sad or anything but then something hit me.
And I cried. And cried and cried and cried. I don’t know how long I stayed in that shower, letting the water wash all over me. Letting my body release all the fear and anxiety. I had no idea there was so much I was holding in.
Looking back, it’s so weird to me how that happened. I was upstairs, literally having a meltdown in the shower, and my husband and mother-in-law were making dinner. They had no idea what I’d just gone through. That I’d just totally lost my shit upstairs in the shower.
And at the time, I didn’t really understand that my body was trying to release all of those feelings I was so desperately holding onto. Over the next weeks and months, those feelings reared their ugly head. It came out in the form of resentment and bitterness with all these people who were trying to help me.
I was so lost in those weeks. I felt like I didn’t know my place anymore. Having a baby for the first time had totally changed me and I had no one to support me through it.
I had identified with infertility for so long. It was the struggle that kept me going. The schedule of shots and appointments and no news and then some news and then bad news. Two-week waits and medicines and doctors. That was the life I knew.
Now I had a newborn here. Starting at me with her oddly wise eyes, like she was looking directly into my soul. Knowing what I was thinking and how resentful and terrible I was and loving me anyway. Meeting her needs became my priority but it was all about her. Her schedule and what worked for her.
Everything I thought I knew about myself abandoned ship and I was stranded at sea with emotions I didn’t know how to process and a baby I was fumbling through taking care of. It was insane.
I don’t know if there was one thing that made me start realizing that my entire life had changed and that was okay. It was okay that I had scary thoughts throughout my pregnancy and the first months of Charley’s life. I had no idea who I was now and that was okay too. That my only purpose was to keep this tiny human alive.
No one told me that it was totally normal to feel like your life has totally turned upside down and it’s okay to feel resentful or angry or anxious.
But really, where is the support for new moms who are having a baby for the first time?
Becoming a mom is not easy. And yes, we all know those stupid cliches about how it changes your life or it’s the best thing ever but holy shit, can we talk about how freaking hard it is?!
Where is the reality check that it takes time and healing and patience with YOURSELF. Yes, things are about the baby but WHAT ABOUT THE MOMS? Where are the guides and plans and preparations for moms?
How did I feel like I was drowning and never once did I feel like the reality of how motherhood changes you was explained to me?
Becoming a mom after infertility is like being thrown in a tub of ice water. You are so focused on the hurdles to hold your baby in your arms. Your life becomes less about being a mom and more-so about what it takes to get you there. And then you are there and those emotions you carried with you have nowhere to go. But they don’t have a place anymore because you’re a totally different you now.
Recognizing you might need some help
It’s okay to need help. Healing from becoming a mom while being a mom is exactly as hard as it sounds. You are not alone in your feelings and there are so many resources to help you. Here are some ways to recognize that reaching out could be beneficial for you.
- Feeling resentful of everything: your husbands, family, and friends, or even your baby
- Muscle tightness in your body, an aching back or neck, sore muscles. These things are usually a good indication that you are storing stress in your body.
- Trouble sleeping. Waking up at night with anxious thoughts and a mind that won’t stop running.
- You can’t focus (and it’s not just lack of sleep). The first couple of months of baby’s life will be filled with sleepless nights. If you are able to get your baby on a good sleep schedule and you still have trouble focusing on tasks right in front of you, you might need to get some help processing what you’re going through.
- You feel like something is missing. When you come to a place where you feel like you “should have it all by now” or that “something is wrong with you” because you aren’t totally in love with motherhood, that’s okay!
I just want to stress again that you are not a bad mom or person for feeling any of these ways. It’s okay and totally normal to feel lost in motherhood. It’s a big, life-changing thing that no one really talks about.
Support is always available
If you are feeling like you’re lost at sea, I also have resources available to help you. I support women in finding themselves in motherhood after infertility. Together, we process your really tough emotions. You learn tools to help you navigate motherhood after infertility. I truly believe my process helps women stand in their power and purpose and use motherhood to fuel their journeys. It’s amazing stuff and you can check out my programs here.