Updated: Jan 29, 2022
When I first became pregnant with my son Oliver, I had many preconceived notions about what “postpartum life" was going to be. I had a very simplified idea about how my life would change, but I totally intended to incorporate the baby into MY life, not the other way around. I knew I’d be exhausted, I knew I'd have to change a lot of habits, and give up a lot of my past pleasures, but there absolutely was no way I could even begin to comprehend what life with a baby would actually be like. I mean, I knew my body would probably be a little different (even though I prayed like crazy it wouldn't be). But I believed that if you work hard enough, my body didn’t have to change just because I was a mom.
I secretly judged moms that I saw with screaming, misbehaved children. I told myself MY kids would be well-behaved....They wouldn’t eat junk food or throw temper-tantrums in public. They wouldn’t watch TV EVER! I knew a bit about postpartum depression and anxiety, and that for some breastfeeding was challenging. But these seemed like very distant possibilities. I was a happy, sound-minded person (or so I thought) - I wouldn’t be sad or overwhelmed! Especially not with a beautiful, fun little baby to fill my heart with love! I was going to breastfeed. No question about it!
Looking back now, almost two years later, I realize the truth is this: having a baby is really and truly the most rewarding, beautiful, incredible, happiest thing in the whole world. I feel so blessed to have a healthy and happy son. But here is another truth: having a baby changes everything…EVERYTHING. And motherhood is scary, overwhelming, and challenging at times. You will experience a level of complete exhaustion you never knew was possible. Your body will change in ways that you didn’t even consider. It’s not all a matter of how hard you work to “get your body back”…some things just never go back to the way they were before you grew and birthed a human being. And that’s ok. It is SO SO very ok.
You’ll feel sad and overwhelmed at times…yes, even despite having a beautiful, perfect little baby to love. You’ll feel sad, lost, and scared even when you know you shouldn’t. Trust me; every mama does at some point. And that doesn’t have to mean you have postpartum depression, but if you DO, that’s ok. It’s ok to need help and to ask for it. It’s ok to not feel ok, and it’s ok to talk to people about how you’re feeling.
Postpartum life is about feeling the utmost pride in your accomplishments, no matter how small; whether it’s cooking a meal, or doing a load of laundry, or getting a workout in. It’s beaming with joy at every time YOUR little human hits a new milestone…every laugh, every new tooth, the first steps, the first word… the joy you get from your little one’s accomplishments will outweigh any joy you have ever felt before. It’s discovering that the newborn days are hard and you will be in a fog and you will feel overwhelmed at times. But that the fog will clear before you know it and that, in fact, the time is fleeting. Your baby will grow more and more independent by the day, and soon you will be sleeping through the night again.
No matter where you are in you postpartum journey, you can do this Mama. You are not alone, you are doing just fine, and you are embarking on the most incredible journey…motherhood. Embrace it, cherish every moment, even the littlest ones, because time is going to pick up speed and you won't want to miss a thing.