Postpartum Pondering

Motherhood breaks you open. Tears you into various directions. Giving birth to my son was the happiest, most ecstatic moment of my life. He’s my absolute world. Perhaps that’s why I’m feeling so down. Because nothing else seems to compare? I don’t feel myself. I feel broken. Both my body and my mind. I feel fragile like a porcelain doll that’s fallen off the shelf and the pieces are lying on the floor. I feel strange. I’m blissful yet sad.

The postpartum period for the past 5 weeks has increasingly become more difficult. Dave is working 90% of the time and the house has gotten lonely. All 3 of us have been exhausted and it has taken a toll on the entirety of the house.

One thing that needs to be remembered is so much joy comes with having a child. It’s an indescribable joy that cannot compare with anything else. With hormones flying off the wall and expectations of the postpartum period, it’s easy for sadness to stick like flypaper. And there’s no shame in this. There’s a natural high that slowly loses its potency after birth. It’s not because we aren’t anticipating other milestones with our child.. but because women are expected to resume regular scheduling almost immediately after giving birth. There is a pressure to jump back into the old routine and the old body as soon as possible. A pressure to feel complete and happy.

For many, it’s just not that simple.

At least not for me. It’s been overwhelming to have your body be so captive to a little human. I am the sole provider for my son. He relies on me more than anything or anyone else. My body nourishes him, my scent entices him, my hands clean, comfort, and change him, my eyes hold bags from our 5am feedings, my warmth from my body soothes him. Others can soothe him as well, but not like mama can. There is a loneliness it entails.

It’s not easy. Nor is it easy to admit that this period has been tough. Mentally, emotionally, and physically. I feel a sense of shame, guilt, and failure although I know I shouldn’t. But talking about it and letting it out has helped free me from it.

Your body adjusts to the constant lack of sleep, lack of showers, the diaper changes, milk, more milk, snuggle me, fussiness, hold me, don’t let me go, more milk, too much milk, spit up, more diaper changing, more milk, baths, more fussiness, too hot, too cold, skin-to-skin, I’m scared please hold me, I’m tired please hold me, just hold me, more milk. It’s an on-going, endless cycle to fulfill his needs. Your body adjusts to it all yet your mental and emotional state take time to catch up.

But I’m going to revel in the neediness of my baby. Because slowly, he’ll stop needing me as much. Slowly, he will unlatch from my breast. Slowly, he will unlatch from my arms. Slowly, my back will no longer be able to support his weight. Until then, I want to give all of me to him. I want him to know happiness more than he knows sadness. I want to ensure his life is full of positivity and love. I want him to know that even though this point right now is rough, scary, and new, I am here with him. In this moment. And every moment hereafter.

Motherhood is hard. It changes and transforms you. It’s okay to feel sadness or be depressed after giving birth. It’s nothing to feel guilty or ashamed about. It’s normal and you will get through it. You have made it to this point and you are strong. Please know, you are not alone.

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