The Postpartum Life

You did it! After nine months of swollen ankles, ridiculous food aversions and cravings, uncomfortable waddling,  sleeping with a man-sized pillow that your husband was strangely jealous of, comparing your growing stomach to fruits and vegetables, and trying to believe friends when they complimented you on your beautiful glow, you delivered a precious, healthy baby.  Just as the books had predicted, the journey to grow your family had been just that.

A journey.

There were ups.  There were downs.  There was laughter.  Anticipation.  There were tears of joy.  Tears of sadness.  And tears without really any particular reason (because pregnancy hormones have absolutely no mercy).

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But after it’s all said and done – no matter how difficult that journey was – you would do it all over again.  Nothing can prepare you for the love you feel when meeting your precious, squishy baby for the first time.  It was ALL worth it!

What I quickly realized, however, was that the birth of a child doesn’t necessarily mean the end of your pregnancy journey.  There is that one final chapter.  The conclusion, so to speak…  Because there is a postpartum journey as well, and it’s almost just as fun.

And by fun, I mean that it too includes all the ups.  And downs.  And laughter.  And tears.

Except this time around, you don’t get to wear cute T-shirts with whimsical sayings.  Like “Retired watermelon smuggler.” Or “I grew my tribe, and I’m still recovering.”  Or “It took me nine months to grow this belly, and I like icecream too much to lose it any faster than that.  So don’t judge me.”

 

Yeahhhh, that last one is kind of wordy.  Maybe I’ll save it for the postpartum greeting card line.

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But seriously, there are weeks of physical recovery and adjusting to changes in your body.  And then once you finally start to feel like yourself again, the hormones go crazy and your hair starts to fall out.  Postpartum hair loss is pretty much a kick-me-when-I’m-down situation and adds insult to injury.  But on the flip side, it does take your mind off of the fact that none of your clothes fit quite right.


 

Speaking of hormones…

Let me take a break from my usual tongue-in cheek humor for one moment and talk about post-partum depression.  It is absolutely no joke at all, and it affects so many new moms.  I – in a sense – woke up from it after three months and couldn’t believe that I had missed all that precious time with my newborn.  I had such disconnect from her in the beginning and there was such a cloud of darkness and defeat over me.

I thank God that I had so much love and support surrounding me when I was traveling that difficult road!  I didn’t even have a severe case of it, but it was enough to make my journey to recovery really hard.



Okay, enough serious talk…  I just had to throw that out there, because postpartum depression is such a cruel reality for many women.  But now let’s talk about something less difficult…

Like constipation.

HA!  Oh man, post-partum constipation is no joke either, especially if you’ve had a C-section.  Seriously, if you’re going to have a planned surgery, still take the Lamaze class, because you’ll need the focused breathing to survive your first poop.  I had a friend buy me stool softener as a gift before I went into the hospital; and I had laughed, thinking it was a gag gift.  After my C-section, her present was the best mommy gift in my house.

“Dear friend, thank you for the stool softener.  I think it may have saved my life.”

Before Brady was born, I hadn’t realized that the postpartum stage is just as much an experience as pregnancy can be; but I was more prepared for it this time.  There is so much going on during the recovery, never mind the fact that you aren’t getting any sleep.  It can be so easy to feel overwhelmed.  And alone.  (Even ugly, inadequate, unqualified, and just plain exhausted).

And as women, we so often overlook this part of the journey.  There aren’t tshirts, and cards, and post-partum parties.  We don’t even really talk about it much.

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And in reality, that’s all we really need.  Someone to talk it over with.  Support.  Encouragement.  Assurance that everything we’re experiencing is normal and that it really will get better one day.  It will get easier.

One day, we’ll actually sleep through the night.  And not have leaky breasts.  And we’ll maybe even go to the store without looking like the extra from a zombie movie.

Maybe we need to stop trying to be brave ALL the time, so that others coming after us can see that it is hard.  But that they too can get through it if we all stick together.  God created us women to be oh-so-strong.  But we’re definitely stronger together.

And – like pregnancy – the postpartum experience can be tough at times.  But it helps knowing that – also like pregnancy – it’s worth it.  And there will be a light at the end of the tunnel.  🙂

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What’s your best postpartum advice – or encouragement – for a new mom or mom-to-be?

 

 

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Q and A!

I probably should have divided this into several posts, as this is a bit of a long one.  But I decided to post it at all once this time.  🙂  So you can read it in pieces or just read the sections that interest you.  Thank you for the great questions, Everyone!!!  You all rock!


 

What do you miss most now that you’re on a special diet as a breastfeeding mom? –   Yes, I had to give up dairy, eggs, soy, and nuts while breastfeeding; because Kaitlyn is intolerant to them.  (I’ve been off those foods for a month now, and she is doing SO much better).

Hmmm, what do I miss most?  Honestly, cheese.  Ha, ha.  The first thing I’m ordering after I’m done breastfeeding is a large cheese pizza with a side of cheese sticks!!

Is adding a second baby just as tough on a marriage as adding the first child was? – Yes and no…  Like I’ve said before, I’m super proud of how well Nate and I worked together when Brady arrived.  Yes, we had a few months where the most romantic thing we did every day was a peck on the lips before bed.  (We were exhausted beyond belief and so busy taking care of our new baby boy).  But we really did try to focus on our marriage, and we came through stronger and more in love!

So this time around, we’ve been more aware of how things will be for awhile.  That has made the busy time even more bearable.  (We’re very much aware of the fact that this is only for a season).  ALSO, it has encouraged us to do even better than last time; so we try to make sure we communicate… and make time for intimacy, even if we’re tired.  Taking the time to snuggle or hug before bed is huge.

So I’d say this time has been even smoother than last time, even if we have our days same as anyone would.  🙂

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(I just found this gem of a picture from Brady’s first campfire.  This is definitely how we feel as parents some days.  Ha, ha)!!

You’re supermom for giving up so many foods while breastfeeding.  How do you do it?  Awwww, thank you, Missy!  Honestly, I don’t think I’m supermom at all.  I think we all do what we need to do if we feel it’s best for our kids.  I’m a huge proponent of supporting and encouraging moms, because we are all super!!

Is it really harder to lose the baby weight the second time around? – Actually, I’ve already reached my pre-pregnancy weight!  (That’s only my first goal, since I had put on about 20 extra pounds before having Kaitlyn.  So now I’m trying to reach my weight from before having Brady).  But I really do feel great!  To keep up my breastmilk, I have to consume a lot of calories each day and make sure that the weight loss is slow, and – so far – it’s going perfectly.   But every week, I feel stronger and healthier!

That being said, my body didn’t bounce back as quickly this time around.  I still can’t fit into my jeans (other than maternity); because I’m carrying weight in my hips, butt, and belly.  Last time around, I was wearing my favorite jeans by this point.  But mentally, I’m still very positive and confident.  And physically, I’m feeling stronger and healthier every week!

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How is Brady adjusting to life with a sibling?  – This has a two part answer, to be honest.  The adjustment has definitely come with its challenges…  The first couple of weeks went quite smoothly, but the last few weeks have been tougher.  Because he’s unable to express his feelings verbally, he has acted out in anger quite a bit.  It’s very apparent that it hurts his feelings that mommy can’t cuddle or play with him the way she used to, and he’s just too little to understand it completely.  We also are stuck home a lot more now.  So he screams at me a lot or punches things (including himself).  If I respond with a calm smile and try to keep things light, he just gets angrier.  In his little head, he thinks that a negative response from me – or even getting into trouble – is better than not getting attention at all.

I’ve had to do a lot of research to learn how to calmly deal with his episodes, because I don’t want to ignore it.  But at the same time, normal time-outs don’t always work.  He’s really crying out for attention and security, so acting appropriately has been vital.

The biggest thing I’ve done to help lessen these outbursts has been to spend quality time with him whenever Kaitlyn is napping or lying peacefully.  (The dishes or cleaning can wait.  If I have the chance, we’ll snuggle, dance, sing, or read).  Also, if Nate is home, I’ll let him watch Kaitlyn; so that Brady and I can go for a walk, play in the yard, read books, or do a craft.  I’ve really tried to make sure we spend the time together that he needs, and I’ve honestly seen an improvement in his overall attitude!

That being said, despite his occasional anger and insecurities, Brady loves his baby sister!  I have never before seen my mischievous, loud, and energetic boy so gentle.  (Honestly, I’m shocked by it).  He touches her belly lightly with his fingertips and smiles at her with such love and devotion.  It is absolutely the SWEETEST thing.  She’s the first thing he wants to see when he wakes up in the morning; and if he can’t immediately see her, he has to seek her out.

“Where’s baby Kaitwin?” he’ll ask.  “She’s qwute.”  (a.k.a. cute)

So while the adjustment hasn’t been easy, it has been worth it.  The love he has for her has already shown that they will be close and that their friendship will be strong.  And soon enough, having a baby sister will be a new normal for him!

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What does a normal day at your house look like right now? –   This was my most requested question!  🙂  Stay tuned for my day-in-the-life post!  🙂

How has your breastfeeding journey been compared to your last one?  – So Kaitlyn latched perfectly for the first two weeks, and then she struggled with it a bit.  (I’m wondering if she might have a lip tie like Brady did, so I need to get that checked).  And obviously, Kaitlyn has the same intolerances that Brady did, so I’m on the same restricted diet.

Honestly though, the toughest thing for me has been Brady… even though I’m breastfeeding Kaitlyn.  Like I mentioned above, he’s struggling a bit with the fact that I don’t have as much time for him anymore.  So when Kaitlyn cluster-feeds and wants to eat every hour and a half, he really struggles with that.  (Also he gets into absolutely everything when I’m trying to give Kaitlyn her milk.  So it doesn’t make for a calm, intimate experience with my baby when I’m worried about what he might be playing with).

As a result, I’ve been pumping and feeding her bottles, and my plan is to eventually cut out some of the breastmilk bottles and supplement with formula (if we can find one that doesn’t bother her).  That way, I’m not pumping as much and only breastfeeding at night.  Hopefully that will still be a healthy option for Kaitlyn but a less stressful one for Brady.

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In your opinion, is it more of a life change to go from no kids to 1 or from 1 kid to 2? – I received several questions similar to this too!    The quick response is that – for me – it has been tougher going from 1 to 2.  That being said, I don’t want to undermine just how big of an adjustment it is to add 1.  🙂

When Brady arrived, Nate and I were terrified of the most basic of things, including changing diapers.  Every single thing was new and a tad bit overwhelming.  And honestly, I was terrified of leaving the house and experiencing all the firsts; because I had never done them with an adorable, squishy baby before.  That being said, I did absolutely love the newborn stage.  A friend had reminded me to enjoy every stage, and I truly did.

Yes, it was an adjustment!  Yes, I was exhausted beyond belief; and I sometimes mourned my sleep, freedom, and sense of self.  But I also absolutely adored my little boy SO much that I could hardly put it into words, and I’d literally cry when I looked into his beautiful face.  (Remember this post?  I wrote it in the midst of my exhaustion back when Brady was a newborn…).

So yes, adding one was a lot, because it was an adjustment becoming a mom for the first time.

This time around, I’m not sweating the same things I did before.  Honestly, after chasing after a toddler all the time, a sleepy newborn feels quite easy.  Ha, ha.  That being said, going from 1 to 2 has been tougher in that there is absolutely no down time… at all.  (I so very rarely even get to use the bathroom alone).

When one is sleeping, the other needs me.  And usually, they both need me at the same time.  😉  And I’ve missed having the time to snuggle with my newborn whenever I’d like, because – this time – I’m taking care of a two year old.  When I just had Brady, I could enjoy the excuse to slow down and stay home more, but – these days – staying home can be torturous.  Brady hates it and gets so bored (which means tantrums and a destroyed home).  But at the same time, I’m not ready to bring a toddler and a newborn out much.

And on the rare occasion that they both are napping at the same time, I have so much laundry, meal prep, or tidying to do, I can’t imagine sitting down for a moment of rest.  (Also, I had to deal with postpartum blues this time around, which I didn’t last time.  That, of course, didn’t help anything).

So I guess this time is just busier and crazier.  As always, worth it!!  But definitely harder.  I do know that life will continue to get easier though, so I’m trying to embrace this time… and to keep my chin up!!  🙂

What’s the best part about being the mom to two? –  Seeing them interact!  Just this morning, Brady was leaning in closely, letting Kaitlyn look into his eyes.  And she sent him a sweet little giggle, and my heart just melted!

I know I’ve been really stressed lately, you guys, and sharing honest feelings with some struggles that I’ve faced.  But things really are starting to get easier, as we get a bit of a schedule going.  And I am just in love with my two little ones.  God is continuously giving me strength, patience, and wisdom in how to best love both of them; and I know that I will just continue to learn.  🙂

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Q & A!

Hey Guys!!

Some of you might remember that I did a Q & A vlog when Brady was a newborn, and I answered some of your questions about life as a new mom.   I thought it might be fun to do another one, since now I’m new to being the mom of two!  🙂

If I get enough questions, I’ll do another vlog.  And if I only get one or two, then I’ll probably answer them in blog format.  Either is totally great!

I just thought I’d give you all the option of asking any questions you might have.  You can ask about anything, right down to what my favorite food is right now.  LOL!  Anything goes!!

You can post the question below OR you can email it to me at:  nicole_leb@hotmail.com.  (If emailing, just include the header “Just Live It Q & A.”  Or something like that, so I’ll know what it’s for).

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!!

Love, Nicole

Supermom Strong

Seeing the positive and sunny side of things has never been difficult for me… until now.  Oh those blasted postpartum hormones…  Kick me when I’m down, why don’t you?

The crying…  Waking up and feeling completely overwhelmed…  The guilt…

It’s all too often commonplace for new moms recovering from a pregnancy, and it hits at the worst possible time.  You’re not feeling 100% yet.  You’re recovering physically.  You’re taking care of a brand new life (and getting very little sleep because of it).  And now there’s a cloud of depression hanging over your head, trying to block out the sunlight.

I’ve had to give myself a lot of pep talks lately.  Like yesterday for example…  I woke up and was filled with a sense of dread.  I immediately thought, “I don’t know if I can have victory over today.”  I already felt like I was drowning and failing.

Overcoming feelings like that is foreign to me.  I don’t think that way.  I’m very rarely negative, depressed, or defeated.  But then again, this is only the second time that I’ve lived the postpartum life.  And honestly, the first couple of months after baby arrives can throw even the most positive of moms for a loop.

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Trust me, I’m proof of that.

Yesterday, after waking up and feeling such anxiety, I had to take a deep breath and remind myself that we had nowhere to be…  No one coming over.  I literally just had to make sure my kids were loved, fed, and clothed.  The house might be chaos, the meals might be from the freezer section, and there was a very good chance that I wouldn’t be showered.  BUT my family would be okay.

Somehow realizing that made me feel a little better.  But really, it’s hard to be rational when those hormones are throwing darts of doubt into your mind.

In addition to those pep talks to myself, I’ve had to apologize to Nate a lot as of late.  I’m not as patient.  I snap sometimes.  I cry a lot, because I feel overwhelmed.  I just don’t feel like myself, because – some days – I’ve poured so much into my babies that I don’t feel as though there’s anything left to give.  There’s never time to recharge, so I’m running on empty.

And I’m fairly certain that Nate was starting to think that his wife had been replaced with an emotional, irrational alien from another planet.  So having an open conversation about my feelings (and how sorry I was for acting the way I had) was nothing short of a relief for him.

Granted, a lot of this heaviness stems from just how difficult this past week was.  Kaitlyn had to be rushed to the ER last Sunday, because she was struggling to breathe.  Long story short, after a terrifying night, it turns out that she has bad acid reflux like her brother did.  We’re still not entirely sure what’s causing it or what the best game plan is to help ease her suffering, so we’re trying a few things.

It’s hearing her scream from pain and discomfort that kills me.  I would do anything to help her feel better, but I don’t know what needs to be done.  So I usually end up biting my lip to keep from bursting into tears… again.  And I cradle her and walk around the house, gently singing to her and hoping that she’ll find relief soon.

And then Brady pretends to cry or get hurt, because he is aching for attention too.  He just wants his mommy, but mommy is tending to a baby girl who just vomited again.  Or who is screaming at the top of her lungs.  And realizing that I can’t hold him in that moment breaks my heart even more.

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It’s been a rough week.  A really rough week.  And those postpartum emotions are just making it harder for me to be strong, and confident, and level headed.

So want to know how I’ve fought through all of this?

I’ve admitted that I’m human.

I’ve admitted to people I’m close to (and, okay, now to all of you in the hopes that I might help someone else) that I’m struggling.  I’ve had open and honest conversations with my husband about how I’m feeling, rather than hoping he might be able to guess what’s going on in my overworked brain.  I’ve taken deep breaths and realized that I need to cut myself some slack.  I had a baby only three and a half weeks ago, and I’m still healing.  We’re in survival mode, so it’s okay if Brady watches more TV these days.  (It’s a great time to cuddle).  It’s okay that our meals aren’t gourmet.  It’s okay that my house is trashed most days.  And it’s certainly okay that I’m not always feeling presentable (because always being showered as a new mom is overrated).

It’s even okay sometimes if I snap a bit and have to go back and apologize.  I hate that I do it.  I especially hate when I’m not as patient with Brady, because he’s so little and doesn’t understand.

But it’s okay.  It’s all going to be okay.

Little by little, things will get easier.  Life will find a comfortable routine.  I’ll feel better physically and mentally.  We will feel normal again.

So deep breaths.  Deep breaths and prayer are my best friends right now.  Deep breaths, prayer, and staring into the precious faces of my toddler and baby girl.   They remind me that this is all worth it and that each day can be beautiful amidst the chaos.  (That and dairy-free, coconut icecream.  The coconut icecream helps too).

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One day at a time.  That’s all a new mom can focus on and conquer!  But even amidst the hard moments like this, it doesn’t mean failure.  Quite the opposite.  When you’re going through a rough patch and still doing your best (even if your best is less than usual and sprinkled with mistakes), you’re still supermom.

Moms aren’t perfect after all. They’re just loving enough to keep fighting, even when anyone else (probably anyone in their right mind) would lift the white flag of surrender.  We are incredible warriors even when the battle seems to be too much!  Because even with so much pulling us down, we not only rise up; but we also rise up carrying our families on our shoulders.

Our love is that strong.  And a love that strong can carry a woman through anything.  It just takes time.

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Have you ever struggled with postpartum depression or blues?  If so, what did you do to help get out of it?  

When Being Mommy Hurts

There’s no easy way to explain the fierce love that a woman experiences when she becomes a mom.  I was trying to explain it to Nate the other day, and he kind of just looked at me with a slightly confused (or maybe concerned) look on his face.  It just doesn’t make sense when you’re trying to explain it.  But to a mom, it’s reality.  And quite frankly, to every mom reading this, I needn’t go on.  They know what I’m talking about already.

They just get it.

I guess if I were absolutely required to express these emotions and feelings with the help of words, I would say this:  when I became a mom, it was as though a small, treasured piece of me left my body.  And that piece of my heart began to beat on its own, protected only by a beautiful, tiny person that it now lived in.

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This happened the moment I set eyes on my baby boy.  Suddenly, my own self came second.  My whole world (my whole need to protect, and nurture, and care) began to revolve around someone else.  But it didn’t feel like self-sacrifice.

Because that little someone else was a piece of me.

When Brady was in my womb, I constantly prayed over him, worrying about every little thing that could go wrong, and dreamed about the day that he was born.  Then, and only then, would I stop worrying; because then I would physically be able to hold my perfect baby boy in my arms.  Then I could physically protect him with my super-human, mommy strength  and always know that he was okay.  Because I would make sure that he was okay.

But once he was born, I quickly realized that my womb had been a safer place than this world we call home could ever be.  At least then I could carry him in perfect warmth and protection.  At least there, no hurtful words or angry bullies or harmful environments could touch him.  He was safe inside his mommy, soothed to sleep by the sound of my voice and rocking of my movements.

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But suddenly, he was living in this often hurtful, cruel world.  Suddenly, that small piece of me was detached and wasn’t always with me.  Suddenly, I was forced to sometimes leave that piece of my heart with someone else and to trust that he was being cared for the way that I would care for him.

It’s terrifying.  Absolutely terrifying.

My little guy is only two, but there have already been moments that have made me want to whisk him away to a safe place where nothing hurtful can ever touch him.  Kids have already been mean…  He has already faced challenges that made me want to swoop in and solve a problem that he needs to solve himself.  He has learned that sometimes life hurts.

But he is still so sweet and innocent.  Still such a baby.

As he grows, I will have to learn to slowly let go.  To trust that I raised him to be confident, even when the bullies taunt.  To know that God will continue to guide him, even when he isn’t snuggled in my arms for a Bible story.  I will have to be strong enough to let him take flight on his own, knowing that I taught him right from wrong.

As a mom, I look back on my own life with a new sense of respect for everything my parents faced, from letting me cry when my first job overwhelmed me to letting me travel thousands of miles away from home for college.  They knew that fire makes gold burn only brighter.  They knew that those hard moments were only molding me into a stronger, bolder, more confident woman.  They knew that quitting wasn’t an option, and so they guided me and stood with me.  But they didn’t hide me.

They held my hand and let me step out, so that I could learn to shine.

I’ve already come to realize that being mommy is going to hurt sometimes.  Because that little someone who holds a piece of me will hurt sometimes.  And every fiber of my being will scream out to protect and shelter.  But sometimes I’ll have to let go of my baby’s hand, even if it may result in cuts and bruises.  Sometimes I’ll have to trust him to someone else’s care, so that he can learn independence.  I’ll have to watch him attempt challenges that test his endurance, patience, and will.  And sometimes, I’ll have to watch him take a leap, even if he may fall.

Because he may also be ready to fly.

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He’s only two, but I already know just how hard it will be for me to ever see my little guy struggle or hurt.  But at the same time, I also know that the hard moments only strengthen us and prepare us to be strong.  To be confident.  To be leaders.

Sometimes, it’s the tough moments that propel us to greatness and to a more meaningful life than we could have imagined.

One thing I know for sure is this…  As fiercely as I love my baby boy, there is One who loves him even more.  And so I can only raise him the best I can and then trust him into the arms of the Savior who can – and will – always be with him.

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Breathe (Part 1)

 

So I hit a really rough patch a few weeks ago, and it left this mama feeling like a failure.  I really did feel like a honest-to-goodness failure.  I hadn’t slept well in four nights, I saw how messy my house was, there was a crying little boy grabbing at my legs, dinner was burning on the stove for the second night in a row, and I realized that I hadn’t finished correcting piano theory for lessons the next day.  I had a worship service to plan out for church, so much laundry piling up that I wasn’t sure what was clean, cats who were tripping up my feet since they hadn’t been fed, and an upcoming piano recital to organize.

I was balancing so much that I was dropping absolutely everything.

In that moment, I wanted to run away from it all.  I want to run somewhere quiet, and safe, and still…just so that I could maybe cry for a minute and let all those emotions escape before the lump in my throat made it impossible to breathe.  Then I wanted to eat cake.  Lots and lots of cake.

Instead, I swallowed it all and put on a brave smile.  Because that’s what moms do, right?  They manage their household with patience and grace.  They always have time, and answers, and encouragement.  They always have enough to give…

But every new struggle, emotional need, and responsibility caught up with me until the cracks in my mom-shield were too great to ignore.  I knew – truly knew – that I was at the end of my rope when I took out my camera one afternoon to snap a pic for my blog…and I couldn’t smile.  I couldn’t lie to the camera and pretend that I was happy and feeling joyful, when all I really wanted to do was cry.  And scream.  And flail my arms to pull myself up out of the water that was drowning me.

After days of this, I finally decided that enough was enough.   And instead of burying how overwhelmed I was, I faced the pain, anxiety, and loneliness head on.

So many of us have been told that – as women – we are strong and unbreakable.  We can do anything.  We are the glue that binds our families, and shame on us if we can’t keep a smile on our face.  Shame on us if we can’t keep everything together.  “The joy of the Lord is our strength” so – for goodness sake – act joyful!

Yes, God made us strong!  He created us with a selfless love that goes beyond this world’s comprehension.  And He does provide joy, even amidst the worst of circumstances.  But let’s not forget that He also created us human.  We were created with emotions and our own set of needs.  We have the ability to fall and get back up again.   But we were also created to cry sometimes.  To rest. To be still.  And to need fulfillment of our own.

We can’t juggle it all.  At least not all the time.  (…to be continued tomorrow!)  🙂

 

Stronger Together

One of my biggest pet peeves when I was pregnant for Brady was the amount of “ooh, you’re in for it now” comments we received from couples who were already parents.  The most common included: “just wait, you’ll never sleep again,” or “say ‘goodbye’ to having a life,” or “I hope you appreciated having hair, because you’re about to go bald from all the stress.”

I never really did know how to reply…

Hmmmm, thank you“?

Now granted, there is a grain of truth to be found in those comments.  I definitely have never been so exhausted in my entire life.  Just the other day, I was taking pictures of myself for this blog and realized that my eyes looked as tired as I felt.  Holy puffy eyes, Batman!  It looked like I had gotten into a fight with a blowfish… who won the battle and then decided to take up residency in my lower eyelids.

But still, despite how tired I am or how much better I need to be at making time for myself, I never feel the urge to shoot down an expecting mom or dad’s excitement over their soon-to-be-here bundle of joy.  I just don’t get that!  Because, quite frankly, these soon-to-be mom and dads are scared enough as it is.  They know they’re about to undertake the toughest journey of their lives.  They know that things are going to change and that sleep isn’t going to come so readily for awhile.

I mean, you just have to walk through a supermarket and listen for the screams, tantrums, and sudden outbursts of tears.

Their kids are usually pretty hysterical too.  😉

These moms and dads need to be reminded that it really will all be okay.  Really!  They will learn, and grow, and fall in love with a little human who is about to become their entire world.  And even though there will be many hard days, there will be so many more moments that are priceless, and precious, and beautiful.

And things will get easier!

The crazy thing is that the comments don’t stop just because you’ve given birth and been a mom for over a year. I definitely hear the “you’re such a new mom” comments a lot these days.  And my initial reaction is to try proving that I’m not acting like a new mom (even though I am a new mom).  So I struggle with my urge to wipe the shopping carriage with cleansing wipes, or to let Brady eat off the floor, or to wrap him in bubble wrap.

But here’s the thing…  I am a new mom.  And I’m only acting the same as all those other women did when they were new moms too (maybe with just a bit of extra silliness thrown in for good measure).

They know that a little dirt won’t hurt a baby or that a nursery full of sneezing kiddo’s won’t cause more than the common cold.  But as a new mom, you can’t shut off your terror of germs or hard objects or potential hazards (like anything with a hard edge.  Or anything that could be ingested.  Or – well – anything, really).  And although it seems silly to the more experienced, what you know in your head doesn’t go with what you feel in your heart.  And your heart wins every time.

This is why I choose to surround myself with women who are honest… but who also encourage and uplift me.  Being a mom is hard enough without other women telling you about how much worse it’s all going to get.  I’d rather focus on the positive and on how much I love being a mom.

Because I really, really LOVE being a mom.  There is nothing more beautiful, and amazing, and incredible!  And I’d really rather focus on that, whether it’s for my own life or whether I’m encouraging someone else!

As women, we really do need to learn to be there for each other.  Let it start with us!!  🙂

P.S.  To all of you new moms, it actually gets easier.  🙂  I promise!!!