The most difficult period of my life was unquestionably the year after I gave birth to my first son. I met my husband at the age of 31 and by the time we got married, dated for a while, and decided to have a family, I was 37 years old. I always wanted to have children, yet was never super excited about actually going through the process. I enjoyed single life, and then married life with my husband. We travelled a lot and basically did whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted.
I had a sense having a child would change that, yet did not realize how much.
I loved being pregnant, the first time. I felt great, I ate great, I continued yoga, and prioritized taking care of myself and my growing baby. I did not love the idea of actually giving birth. While I definitely experienced fear, I was committed to doing it naturally and did not, under any circumstance, want to have a c-section. After 9 months of being pregnant and loving every minute, I found myself dreading labor. I did not feel comfortable being at the mercy of hospital procedures and staff, even though I was going to an all natural birthing center.
10 days past my due date, my water finally broke. After 3 days of labor and 3 hours of pushing later, I pushed out my sweet baby boy. I was exhausted, and in shock. I didn’t exactly expect birth to be easy, but I also didn’t expect to be in SO much pain. I could barely walk for 2 weeks. The idea of going to the bathroom brought me to tears, and the last thing I wanted to do was take care of my baby. He needed me to do everything for him, and I could barely care for myself.
I was not expecting to feel like this, and was completely disappointed. I thought I’d be hanging out with my baby, reading books, going for walks, showing him off, and loving life. That’s not at all what happened.
I was fortunate to have the help of my Mother and Mother-in-law. My husband worked 5 minutes away at the time, and would come home frequently to help me. Honestly, what kept me going through this time was the little support system I had in place. I had been seeing my therapist for about 3 years, and had a few wonderful girlfriends who could relate to my experience… but they were in other states. I soon realized I craved a local support system of Moms who were in similar situations, and wanted to connect about it. My therapist, Mother, and in-laws were great but I needed some girlfriends who were in the trenches with me!
My doula had a brick and mortar business about 40 minutes away and offered support for new moms. I mustered all the energy I had left, to go there for support around breastfeeding and be around other new Mamas. Soon I found out about the Holistic Moms Network, and started going to those meetings once a month. It was exactly what I had been missing! I no longer felt isolated, and alone. I found Mom and Baby yoga classes.
Little by little, I started to enjoy life as a new mom and formed some amazing relationships that have continued to grow and blossom to this day. It didn’t happen overnight, but it happened just as it needed to.
Today, some of the most meaningful work I do now is in supporting new Moms. Becoming a Mom is such a game changer. For some, it flows easily and effortlessly, while for others, it is more of a transition. I’ve found the following 3 tips helping for any woman soon planning to have a baby:
Find your sisterhood. Women who love you, care about you and support you no matter what you do. The more the merrier. Relationships change after having babies and you may relate to certain women more after children than you did before.
Get comfortable with yourself. Meditate. Contemplate. Do what you need to do to be comfortable being alone with yourself. That new baby is not going to fill any void that you may be feeling. If anything, whatever unhappiness you may be experiencing, will be accentuated by that new little creature of love. Love yourself first. So important.
Try not to focus on the labor and delivery so much that it blinds you to what comes after. The labor and delivery are so short in the big picture. And, it will be how it will be. Take care of yourself, relax, enjoy and think about what kind of parent you want to be. This is where I could recommend a few different books that really helped me. But, go to what speaks to you. If you want to know my faves on pregnancy and parenting, email me and we can have a conversation about it.