Monday, January 21, 2013

Better...

I've written this post countless times in my head.  I was selecting words for this post long before this blog every existed.  And yet, in 2 and a half years, you've never read it.

This post has received the most frequent use of my delete key.  I actually wanted to vlog it once, but talked myself out of it for silly reasons - I need to have my eyebrows waxed first.  I could use a haircut. I need to lose a little weight.  I don't want to cry on camera.  And so, this post has never been published.


I don't know if I can honestly say I suffered from postpartum depression, but I do know that I was miserable (in a way that didn't seem normal) in the weeks following my son's birth.



At first, I thought it was my own fear of failing at breast feeding.  But, as the weeks wore on, I realized it was more about my fear of failing as a mother.

I was terrified all of the time.
I felt hopeless.
I felt overwhelmingly sad.



When I'm at a grocery store or a restaurant and I see a mother with a newborn, I find myself looking at her and wondering - is she as miserable as I was at that time?

I knew I was supposed to be happy, overwhelmed, but happy.  Worried, but happy.  EXHAUSTED, but happy.



But, I wasn't happy. And maybe that's why I have never written this post.  I am ashamed to admit how sad I was in the first few weeks of my son's life.

I remember standing at the changing table and watching out the window as our neighbors had a barbeque.  I could hear music and laughter and could tell the day was just beautiful, but all I could feel was sadness.  I remember telling my husband, "I feel like we'll never have fun like that again."  Looking back, it is hard for me to recall joy in those first few weeks of motherhood.  I know it was there.  But, I just can't remember.

I began to doubt my decision to have children and resent my own ignorance at thinking I could handle the privilege of motherhood.  I felt so consumed by selfishness that I almost couldn't bear it.  How could anyone look at that beautiful little boy and not feel anything except for joy? How can you look at that child and feel so miserable?  You are an unfit, awful, neglectful, horrible mother.

I remember on our last night in the hospital, a nurse came by and asked what time we wanted to send The Incredible Hulk back to the nursery.  Instead of answering her, I burst into tears.  I realized that this was the last chance I would have to hand my baby off to someone else and I wanted to do it (we had some paperwork to fill out and a video to watch), but wanting to "get things done" made me feel horribly guilty.  The nurse said she'd give me a minute and left the room.  When she returned, she brought tissues and some fresh water and said nothing but this:

"It gets better."

And it did.  I don't remember the exact moment, but I do remember looking into my son's eyes at 3 months.  Seeing his sweet little smile and hearing those cute little coos and I realized how happy I was. It didn't happen overnight, but soon, I knew that nurse was right.  It did get better.




To anyone who ever stumbled upon this blog with the search terms "I'm a new mom and I'm sad" (that's true, someone found my blog that way) or to anyone who ever just wrote "new mom" in Google and hoped they would hear someone say these words - here they are.  It took me two and a half years to be able to say them and writing the posts that fill this blog have been all about the journey of motherhood and all of the joy, humor, and excitement that journey entails.

So, if you're just starting out on the journey of motherhood.  Here is what I have to offer:

It is hard.
It is exhausting.
It is scary as hell.
It is okay if you aren't filled with the joy of motherhood every single second of every single day.
And?

It gets better.


Photo Credit: Stephanie Rosser
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And, if it isn't getting better.  If you think you may be suffering from postpartum depression - help is out there.  Please tell someone how you are feeling.  You are not alone.  Here is a resource to connect you with the help you need.  Help is out there.  http://postpartumprogress.org/

24 comments:

  1. Holy crap this post made me bawl. I went through a very similar experience with my first, just over three years ago, and now I'm sitting here the night before my second will be born (we've got a c section tomorrow early afternoon) and I'm.Terrified. The first few months with my son were miserable, and I'm really hoping that the next few months with my daughter won't be as bad... But you're right. I just have to remember that it will get better. Thank you.

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  2. Beautiful writing as usual, Amanda!

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  3. Thank you for being so honest. I had a very similar experience after my son was born and have told very few people for fear of looking weak.

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  4. You are so brave and I am so proud to have you as a friend.

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  5. It does get better! I love the pics that show you and your precious baby boy. You are a great mother just for admitting your weakness....I truly believe that's when we find our Strength.

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  6. I had my first baby in Sept 2012 and I felt the exact same way. It does get better and I'm finally loving every minute of being a mother. Thank you for your honesty.

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  7. I came across your blog when i googled " new mom" , your blog made me teary eyed, i am a new mom too, my daughter was born on jan 16 th 2013, and i have been exhausted physically n emotionally, thanks for being so honest and saying it will get better.

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    1. I am so glad you found this blog. I promise. This blog, every single post, exists for you.

      You are not alone.

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    2. Thank you for sharing. I am a mother of 8 month old twins and my journey was hell. I had 3 miscarriages in the second trimester before delivering my healthy full term twins. I am crazy tired, depressedist days but the guilt of feeling like this is too much for me is overwhelming. I keep remi ding myself that WALKED IVER HOT COALS to have them so why am I not overcome with joy. Seeing your blog gives me hope that it will get better...

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  8. Also googled new mum (Australian spelling) blogs and stumbled across this beauty. I have experienced all these feelings and more with my newborn, born 2.2.2012. What is getting me through is the knowledge that it gets better, or perhaps the promise. And I believe more new mums should talk about this and acknowledge that it's tough, even down right miserable, but, as you say, it gets better.

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  9. This made me cry so hard. I have an 11 day old baby girl and I feel sad all the time. I dread having people over because I feel I have to pretend to be happy.

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    1. It's going to get better. How are things going now? You're almost 2 whole months into this motherhood thing. Feeling like an expert yet?

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  10. I googled "new mom" and was afraid to follow it up with "sad" or "depressed" but that's exactly what I'm feeling and it's also how I found your blog. Thank you so much for your honesty. I don't feel like there is anyone I could express this to--certainly not my husband because he would not understand. Thank you. You have no idea how much you've helped me.

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    1. I'm so glad you found me when you needed some words of encouragement. How are things going now?

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  11. OH MY GOODNESS. I am a new mom to a beautiful 7 week old baby girl. You have written some of my EXACT thoughts and feelings....which I have been much too guilty to say out loud. I feel so relieved to know that other new moms feel the same way. I am crying in relief.

    THANK YOU, THANK YOU. You're an angel.

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    1. You're an angel too. How are things going now? The difference between 7 weeks and 10 weeks can be astounding!

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  12. Thank you for posting this!!!! I just came across this blog - by googeling "new mom" :-)

    I feel exactly the same way, I am a mom of a 5 week old baby girl. She is awesome. But I am totally struggling with life, being at home all day at work, household our two dogs etc.
    After the weekend, I am scared when my husband goes back to work, because I am alone all day with her again. It gets lonely.....
    Looking forward going back to work but dreading having her at the daycare.
    Mixed feelings, but sadness is always there.
    Thanks so much for this post!!!!!!
    A

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    1. The day before daycare will be the hardest one and then it will get better and better every day. And then you'll slide into your "new normal" and after all of the adjustments have slipped into place, you'll wake up one morning and suddenly think, "I LOVE being a mom!!" Keep me updated!

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  13. I struggled with post-partum depression, and am still working through it. Matter of fact, nobody knows and this is the first time I've written it.

    It is definitely a process, but it's a process that can be overcome. Your post is so inspiring! It's pure honesty, courageous, and humble.

    You just gained a new loyal reader : )

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  14. I have a 1 week and 3 day old. I was searching google to see if I could find some kind of chat or blog to help describe how i'm feeling. I have never been an overly emotional person and have never been extemely hormonal but I find myself crying over EVERYTHING. I am SO in love with my newborn son and have fallen even deeper in love with my husband just watching him with the baby. And yet, I have this overwhelming feeling of doom hanging over my head. I am definitely scared of failing as a mother and wife. Its hard for me to get through having visitors to meet the baby without having to excuse myself to the bathroom to get another cry in and i'm just not sure why I'm crying half the time. Everything looks perfect from an outsider but I just feel so helpless. I almost feel guilty for feeling so happy. At the same time, I am also worried that I will never have a social life ever again and am destined to spend the rest of my life in my living room watching Friends re-runs while my son breastfeeds relentlessly. I am going to keep telling myself that it will get better and I keep waiting everyday for my hormones to go back to normal so I can stop crying all day long!

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  15. I can totally relate to this. I remember standing at my son's changing table, literally shaking and wondering how on Earth I was going to do this (motherhood), keeping track of all of his bodily functions and feedings on post-it notes stuck around the house, crying and being told it gets better. I was lucky to have a good support system in place those first few weeks.

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  16. OMG this is what i was looking for. really great to see this. am a new mom to a boy and feel exhausted all most all the day and feel like i have no time for myself. eagerly waiting for such a time you know... hope its not my fault to think like this. oh... hubby came got go...... see u

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