When Being a New Mom Beats You Up and Wears You Down
We recently had an entire week dedicated to postpartum depression-related content. Jessica, who has shared her journey through pregnancy and who had her baby boy in February, shares some of the struggles she’s been facing during the first months of motherhood. We want other moms to know that the exhaustion, self-doubt and frustration adjusting to the role of motherhood can be overwhelming. If you’ve ever felt like you were the only mom who didn’t have it all together, read on!
I’m crying…again…and hard. I feel like everything in the world sucks, and that everything is completely out of my control. None of my clothes fit. The baby is screaming, and I don’t know why. He seems to be regressing in the nursing department, where his skills weren’t stellar to begin with. Searing pain is shooting through my nipples. I’m exhausted. The house is a mess. The bills need to be paid. The laundry needs to be done. There are 10 things on our list of errands that need to be run and no time to run them.
I miss my friends. I’m tired of turning down every social invitation, but I know I can’t say yes because of the logistics of nursing and/or pumping. And because the baby is fussy. And because I don’t have anything to wear. And because it seems like there are 10,000 things to get done at home that I never have any time to do. And because I’m too tired.
I also miss not being able to exercise for the same reasons I can’t hang out with my friends. I hate my body right now. I miss the body I worked for before I got pregnant—the body that ran the half marathon. Now my tummy fat just hangs over the c-section scar. I don’t have the time or budget to buy a new flattering wardrobe, and I don’t want to buy the size I am now anyway. I hate wearing my maternity clothes, and I hate the few new things I’ve purchased. Nursing is supposed to help take the weight off, but it’s not. And it seems like everyone else I know got back into their old clothes in no time.
The baby and I are struggling with breastfeeding, and I feel like I’m doing something wrong because it’s supposed to be easy by now. I’m resentful that a full quarter of my life is spent trying to feed and burp him. My one main job as his mother is to feed him (and being little more than a cow has its own psychological consequences), and I feel like I’m failing at it. I don’t know if he’s getting enough. I don’t know if he’s gaining enough weight. I don’t know if he has acid reflux or excessive gas or something else that’s hurting him, but he sounds like he’s in pain. I feel like switching to formula would be sacrificing his well-being for mine, and I feel guilty for even considering it.