My 21 Days of Postpartum

How much of what we share is real? We often see the good highlighted in other's lives but do we see the bad? Is there bad? And if so, why isn't it shared, because it too is real. Maybe it's due to the fact that we struggle to share and acknowledge the bad within and with ourselves.

I wrote this post a week ago and it shared the bad I was feeling at 21 days post partum. But I gave it a fake ending -one that sounded good and looked good on this screen as I re-read it to myself and prepared to push "publish." Today at 29 days post partum, I'm revising that ending...

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My sweet boy turned 21 days old yesterday -which means 3 weeks of us being home, 3 weeks of me being a mom and a wife, and the 3 weeks of what I call My 21 Days of Postpartum. It’s all been quite harder than I thought. We had a tough first week, a good second week, and we are just coming off of a really trying third week. Not to mention that in the past 3 days I have felt like 3 totally different women: 1.) a disconnected woman, 2.) a superwoman-wannabe but actually a hormotional-disaster, and 3.) a good mother (finally!). 

Today, I feel like a combination of woman 1 and 3 but at some point in the last 3 days I tried too hard at too much and lost myself as a mother and as a wife. That’s really, really hard to admit.

My expectations were to win at motherhood -to be a “natural” if there’s such a thing. 

This past week, I didn’t feel like I was winning at all, at anything! Defeat robbed me of my confidence, my patience, and my love. There was a day I sat on the couch looking down at my inconsolable son in my arms and I did nothing. I was tired of “trying.” Everything I tried didn’t work. Empty and out of ideas I sat there wishing this would all end; this -this stage, this learning curve, this difficulty I was not expecting. 

Was my child going to be this fussy forever? How much longer could I do this

The hysterical cries felt endless. The nights and days blurred time and sleep. How did I not expect this? How did I not know what my child wanted by now? How? Why

Help. Someone. Help.” -is all I felt.

My husband came home that night to find me shut off not enjoying him or my son, and sadly but truthfully -I wasn’t. That breaks my heart. It broke my heart then, too. And in that moment I wanted to hate my husband

(That's where last week ended.) 

This week at 29 days post partum coming off of an even more trying fourth week, I feel ready to share more of the bad. 

Last week after that night mentioned above I shifted all of my anger from my poor innocent child to my husband. I was stuck there in that emotion and in that anger, and it only got worse. 

As women, the transition into motherhood happens innately and the selfless love a baby requires takes over your mind and body. Everything I have done in the last 29 days has been for my son. I eat, breathe, and sleep thinking all things "baby." My brain hasn't turned off for 29 days and I don't know if it ever will. 

In a nutshell, I was going nuts. 

Seeing how easily my husband came and went, how quickly he could choose himself first, and how independent he still lived not needing me or how unconsumed he was with all things baby, made me feel unloved, unappreciated, misunderstood, overlooked, and in sum as if didn't matter. How and why did all of those things come back to that thought: the thought that... 

I didn't matter?

That thought is hurtful and self-sabotaging but I ran with it. I believed it and I placed the blame on all of my husband's actions. As if he solely was the one who created that thought within me. That's easy to let yourself believe, and it is what I did, but that is not true. I created that thought in reaction to the life change and identity shift I was experiencing.

In that moment, my ego needed to know I mattered to him.

I took drastic measures to make my husband validate me and he did but, the real turning point for me, for us, wasn't anything he did -it was me. I stopped

I turned off, just for a day. 

This weekend I let my husband do everything for our son because what I was doing and trying just wasn't working anymore. I  needed help. I needed his help and it took me a long time to realize that. I thought "mommy knows best" meant I would know best. I struggled when I didn't know best, or when it felt like I didn't know anything at all

When I turned off the frantic emotions and insomniac state of mind I was living in, I was able to relax. I was able to watch my husband try. And turns out we talked about what to try and it worked! Our biggest problem was not our son, it was us. Neither of us were open to the other person -we were in such a whirlwind of new parenting that we couldn't get our heads above water. When we did, we approached everything more calmly and with a plan. So far (2 days in) that plan is working and we have a less fussy, more enjoyable baby.

I want to jokingly call my husband our baby whisperer but my ego doesn't want to give him all the credit. 

But what I do owe to my husband is this: I love you. I was overwhelmed and struggling with the idea and emotions of what this kind of overwhelmed feels like. I needed in that moment to know that you were feeling just as terrified and lost as me but you weren’t. I am sorry for not accepting that maybe you’re the one winning at this.

To myself, I owe you thisYou matteryou are enough -and THAT is enough to be a good mother.

To my son: I love you beyond words and beyond my own understanding so much so that it infuriates and frightens me all in the same breath to feel like I’m not good enough for you. But I promise to you I will always give you the best I can of myself. 

Keep mommin' out there ya’ll -it does get better.