I've struggled and gone back and forth on whether to write this; to put myself out there and be completely honest and vulnerable. However, after chatting with a friend who is currently going through it, and hearing her say she wishes more people talked about it, I've decided to share my story. Motherhood is unique for every single person; this is my experience and my personal story.
I remember the first day we brought our sweet baby girl home like it was yesterday. We got home and laid her down on the bed, stared at her for a minute through our very sleep-deprived eyes, and then looked at each other with the same thought: "Now what?"
I had dreamt of being a mother my entire life. It took us years to conceive this sweet girl, and finally, she was here. She was in our arms and I was speechless. Speechless that I was a mom — this was the best gift ever — and speechless that I literally had no idea what I was doing.
The entire hospital experience was a blur. I was in pain trying to recover, rocking those fabulous mesh panties they give you, trying to figure out breastfeeding — which was a big struggle for me — and amongst it all, overwhelmed with the happiness and joy such a tiny little human life brought me. I didn't sleep the entire time I was there. I was completely terrified and felt like I needed to watch every move she made. So when we got home everything sort of hit me.
I'm a mother now. I'm in charge of a life forever.
The first few days home weren't bad — mainly because my mom was there to help. She let us catch up on sleep and helped me heal. When the baby was up during the night, she took her and saved my sanity. She and my husband calmed me during panic attacks and gave me strength when I needed it most.
The fact was though, things didn't come easy to me. In fact I struggled quite a bit with almost everything. I couldn't breastfeed to save my life, I worried about every little thing and worst of all I was sad — a lot. The high was over; family had to go back to work, including my husband, and my emotions were everywhere. I still had help during the day every so often, but every minute being alone and most nights, I struggled.
There were days that were so good; amazing in fact. I would get my work done, hold my little girl and feel complete bliss. Then there were days that were the total opposite. I would get frustrated, I would get sad, mad, anxious — every emotion you can imagine in one day.
No one told me this was going to happen.
No one told me that there would be nights when she was crying nonstop and I would get so frustrated I'd feel mad at her. Who gets mad at a 2-week-old? She doesn't know what she's doing and I would never ever do anything to hurt her; but this was hard. No one told me I would have days feeling that this was too much, that I couldn't handle this. No one told me that I would wake up during the night to feed her and be in so much pain I could barely sit up, struggle with breastfeeding, then have to wake up again in an hour and do it all over. I was told all about labor and pregnancy difficulties, but not about after you've given birth.
I felt crazy, literally like an insane person.
The worst part was that I knew what I was feeling; I knew I was sad. I knew that I felt like no one could relate to me, that I was doing all the work and nobody was helping me. But I couldn't stop feeling like that or shut it off. It was the worst feeling in the entire world. Even worse, half of that wasn't true. I did have help. I wasn't doing this on my own and the reality is that lots of moms can relate.
My husband could tell I was down. He always asked me what was wrong. I shrugged him off and ignored it, then went on feeling bad about myself. This should be the happiest time of my life and it's one of the hardest things I had ever done.
I eventually got help. My doctor put me on medicine and my hormones eventually got back in line.
So I'm here to say it's normal. Look what our bodies just did! However, that being said, don't be afraid to ask for help. We all have different experiences with motherhood and we all need to lean on each other and be completely real and up-front. Don't be ashamed and don't be too hard on yourself. The emotions after having a baby and postpartum depression are absolutely real and we can all get through it.
My little one is now six months old and I've gotten the hang of motherhood for the most part, though I'm constantly learning every day. I trust myself and my instincts now. I love her more than I thought possible and I truly can't even imagine my life without her. I don't know how I even did life before she was here; she's my world. All the pain, emotions, mesh panties and no sleep — it was and is completely worth it.
This post was written by Jess Oakes. She is the lady behind Positively Oakes, a Lifestyle blog focusing on Motherhood, Style and Family. She is a new Mom to a cute little girl and can most likely be found with a Dr. Pepper in her hand or close nearby