Being a Mom Is Not Easy, But Talking to My Doctor Made It Better
There are so many tips, tricks and words of wisdom about motherhood that people will try to impart on you. There’s one thing I wish everyone would have told me prior to that I had no idea about: you might feel miserable in the first month. It might not be “the best time of your life.” You might feel like you hate it.
I cried. I cried a lot for the first month. Along with the crying came the guilt. I felt guilty I wasn’t getting this mom game like I thought I was going to. I felt guilty my husband was coming home to a total mess of a human being every day. The guilt wasn’t helping the crying and vice versa.
I’m pretty in tune with my mental health and I knew something wasn’t right (I have a history of anxiety and depression). I wasn’t eating. I was crying all the time. I was having some pretty terrible thoughts about myself and my lack of mom-skills. I was surviving (barely), but I wasn’t thriving.
Breastfeeding was wearing me out. My babe was born three weeks early via c-section and wasn’t strong enough to get a great latch. She wasn’t really getting what she needed from me and therefore, my body stopped producing as much milk. The lactation consultant encouraged me to pump and I was getting close to nothing when I pumped for 30-45 minutes. It was a vicious cycle. I pumped. Hubs fed the babe. Two hours later, we would do it all over again. I felt like a failure because I couldn’t feed my baby. Everything I had read made breastfeeding seem so natural and like it was just going to come easily. It didn’t.
Luckily, my doctor could see I was struggling. One genuine piece of advice for you: be honest with your medical practitioners. If you’re having a hard time, say something. Don’t act like you’ve got everything under control if you don’t. It is so normal to think this whole momming this is hard. It is. Your doctor will help you determine if your struggle is just you getting the hang of not sleeping at all while trying not to break this tiny human you’re now responsible for, or something more. On top of talking to my OB-GYN, I spoke to one of the most wonderful humans I know, who just happens to be a licensed mental health counselor and a mom. Just talking to her made me feel like the weight of the world had been lifted off my shoulders.
Post-partum depression is real. It happens. It happens more often than people are willing to say and it can be life-threatening. No one wants to admit their tiny little miracle is making them feel miserable. That does not mean you’re a bad mom. It means you’re human and you’re going through one of the biggest life changes that anyone can go through. Talk to someone.
For me, the first step was to feed my kid with some good ol’ formula. After this, we were both happier. She started gaining weight and I started feeling better. Fed is best, y’all. Less stressed momma and baby gaining weight equal happy household.
Our little bundle of joy is almost 5 months now and she is, literally, a bundle of joy. I soak up every moment I get to spend with her and I love her more than anything. I’m finally starting to feel like I’m acing my mom game and every day with her is a new adventure. It does get better, people. It does get better. Just remember, nobody gets it perfect. We’re all just learning.
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Photo by Chelsea Whetsel Photography