Transition to Motherhood: Nothing Was What I Expected, Part II

Posted On Friday, 09 August 2019
Transition to Motherhood: Nothing Was What I Expected, Part II

[Read Part I]

Part II

The months following the birth of my son Benny was the toughest period in my life. It’s a time that no one really talks about -- that fourth trimester.

Yes, I heard a few stories about a few common challenges, the lack of sleep being the biggest one, but it was always laughed off like it wasn’t that big of a deal.

Let me be the one to tell you, it is.

Adjusting to my new role as a mother.

Motherhood is equal parts amazing, terrifying, maddening, rewarding, and powerful.

I was shocked at how quickly I couldn’t keep up. As soon as Benny’s cries began, my day was just a blur.

I was in constant motion. Juggling and trying to find the work-life-mom-balance, is there one?

Still trying to find it.

It’s not the pleasant, slowly opening my eyes kind of wake-up either. It’s the adrenaline, frazzled, did I even get any sleep kind of wake-up. Every day I felt even more drained than the last. I felt like I was constantly drowning. I was putting all my energy on Benny and other things like household chores, cooking, grocery shopping, bills, my marriage, friendships, and caring for myself were slipping through the cracks.

My body was also in the process of trying to heal from the trauma of giving birth.

I felt like I’d been hit by a truck.

The bleeding. The pain of the stitches I received from delivering vaginally. The swelling of my body. The shift in my hormones. The loneliness that lurked throughout the day. The intensity of the love I feel for my baby. The pain of breast engorgement. The frustration of having my shirt covered in milk from my boobs leaking or from Benny’s spit up. The constant blood curdling screams from my son, and the debilitating lack of sleep which made me feel like I was being tortured. Seriously, I don’t think I knew what tired really meant until having a newborn. All of it made me feel like I was losing my mind.

Why didn’t anyone tell me about this part of motherhood?

I also couldn’t hold a conversation.

I found it hard to articulate my thoughts, and my short-term memory was non-existent. I was aware of pregnancy brain, but I couldn’t understand what was happening.

It didn’t matter what it was, my head was constantly foggy and nothing seemed like it was getting easier or that a routine was being established.

I still am constantly treading water and the only escape is when I am finally able to put my head down at night. But even then, it doesn’t stop. The tossing and turning, having trouble going back to sleep after my many wake-ups in the night. Something is constantly eating at me, and I can’t shake it.

I was exhausted. All. The. Time. I was juggling a newborn, a new house, my job, trying to maintain relationships with my friends, quality time with my husband, and trying to find ‘me’ time.

Why is it that these burdens all fall on the woman too?

Why didn’t/does Chris feel this way?

Is it because I am more aware of the never ending checklist? Is it because he doesn’t think of these things because I take care of them all? Isn’t that what marriage is about, equal partnership?

Then why was I the one constantly struggling to stay afloat while Chris was at ease? Why wasn’t anything changing?

No matter what I do, everything I want to accomplish in a day never gets done. Every new day is a new shortcoming. When I choose one task over the other, something is being sacrificed. My lunch time, the time I take for myself at the gym, my dog Rosie’s outings to the park, spending time with my husband, the dust that’s been collecting throughout our home all week, the carpet that still needs to be vacuumed, the yard that needs to be cleaned, or if I’m working, the quality time with my son.

It’s a constant battle of deciding which losses I’m willing to make. Which for me, is incredibly hard.

For too long, I was putting everything and everyone ahead of me. Then, I would find myself angry, full of resentment and irritated beyond repair.

For those that say, “if it’s important enough you’ll find time to do it”, clearly don’t have kids.

There is never enough time in the day to get everything done.

When I get a little time for myself during nap time or when Benny goes down at night I often debate with myself, should I catch up on sleep? Or finally watch the latest episode or movie I’ve been dying to see? Hang with my husband? Or take a hot bath? Take Rosie for a walk/go to the dog park? Clean? Call and chat with my friends?

I love Benny so much, but sometimes I wish I had my own life back. Typing and re-reading that sentence makes me feel horrible and guilty. However, I don’t think I’m the only new mom who thinks that way. I can’t be, right? THEN SPEAK UP PLEASE.

Why aren’t the mommy blogs I follow talking about any of that?

Continue with Part III...

Lauren Allen

Lauren Allen (Scialabba) is the Assistant Director of Operations and Producer at Doctorpodcasting where she helps marketing departments in healthcare organizations grow their podcast library and assist their needs on a daily basis. Outside of work she enjoys spending time with family, eating pizza, and soaking up Chicago's summer weather.

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