Long time no post, dear readers! I'm hesitating to write this update; however, I've always been striving to share with you exactly what's on my mind, in the hopes it may be at least a little useful for someone. This is probably the most difficult thing I've ever written, but also maybe the most necessary. So, here goes - if you're interested in just my beauty reviews, this post is not it - so check back soon for regular service.
Life's been a bit difficult for me these past few months. I know you guys are probably thinking 'Duuh! You've just had a baby!', but I'm not really talking difficult as in 'have no time for anything - feeling tired' kinda way. Before Julian was born, I'd been expecting that and I *think* I'd been mentally prepared, but what I hadn't been prepared for was feeling utterly lost and not like myself. Call it what you will - mood swings, baby blues (I'd hesitate to call it postpartum depression since I don't think it got as severe as to be diagnosed as such), existential crisis - the point is, I've been really struggling lately.
There were days and now thankfully just episodes during the day when I feel unexplicably sad, and worried about the baby, and somehow empty inside, like a hollow husk of a person I used to be. I can't wait until the day is finally over because it seems like such an ordeal to get through, and I'm so frustrated and angry at myself for even thinking it. At the same time, I dread the night time, because if he - and I - keep waking up again and again and again, I know that the next day is going to be even harder. You know how other mothers say - "Oh my gosh, time flies, they grow up too quickly!", and here I am, thinking "No, not at all, the days drag on without end, I can't wait for this to be over - but will it ever be over? Will I ever feel normal again?'.
Before you all write it in the comments, I AM incredibly grateful to have Julian in my life - a beautiful, happy, healthy baby - but at the same time, I feel broken and undeserving of such a blessing. Every little challenge I face with him makes me think I'm a bad mother, and he'll suffer because of my stupidity or lack of insight. Reasonably, I KNOW these are ridiculous thoughts but oftentimes I cannot help thinking them, and I am so mad at myself that I can't just snap out of them.
The reason I've decided to write about my state of mind is because I think that we women don't talk about the postpartum recovery process enough. We gush about the cuteness of our babies and brag about having our figures back while glazing over the more challenging facets. Obviously, we don't all struggle this much as new mothers, but some of us do, and I believe it's important to acknowledge it so that we don't feel so insane - and alone.
I was fortunate enough to have a very easy pregnancy and a standard, safe delivery, but now, at 4 months postpartum, I'm still not completely well - both mentally and physically. The ailing hip/ groin area I was experiencing towards the end of my pregnancy has not gone away, and it's since been joined by a backache. My hair is falling out so much I decided to chop it all off. I'm not just 'not sleeping enough' - at the lowest point when Julian was waking nearly every hour at night I was so sleep deprived I didn't even feel human anymore. I still feel weak and sluggish, and there's absolutely no way I feel up to working out to shed those extra pounds or to 'get my body back' - at the moment, I couldn't care less to be honest, and heading out for daily strolls is about all I can manage right now.
Well, enough of the pity party; I just wanted to say that the going's been rough, but I do see the light at the end of the tunnel. We've been sleeping better lately, and I think that maybe my hormones are becoming more balanced, and I'm starting to feel like myself again. I've also been taking more magnesium and it seems to be helping. The point of all this rambling is that I feel that I'd like to start blogging again. Writing is still my passion and I think it's something I need to do for myself, now maybe more than ever before in my life. However, I do realize it's not going to be easy, mostly due to time constraints - I'm not going to lie though, I know there will be days when even if I do have the time, I just won't have enough energy to write. And I think that's okay too.
To sum it all up, I'm back - sort of. I'll do my best to post, but I'm not going to be posting as often as I used to in the past. The reviews may get shorter and not as thorough. Photos may not be as plentiful. At times I may even not make any sense, and I apologize in advance. But carry on I shall, and carry on I will. Thank you for sticking with me, friends - I'm clicking 'Publish' before I chicken out.
Just want to say that you're amazing, and I'm wishing you a quick recovery and all the best.ReplyDelete
Thank you Adele - I don't always reply to your comments but I know you care and I really appreciate it <3Delete
I absolutely LOVE your honesty and I've always enjoyed reading your blog not because of the cute photos or nice reviews of beauty products, but because all you write is so candid, thoughtful and... simply human. I love this about you and your writing, so keep it going, please!ReplyDelete
I can't relate to what you're feeling right now, as I'm not a mother myself, but the things you mention are the exact fears of mine when I think about having a baby in the future (at 34, I guess I should speed up my decision making process a bit...). And again - I love the honesty and I do agree that too many women are somehow afraid of admitting that motherhood is not just about cute Instagram baby pictures (they're all over the place!). It seems that no one is tired and sleep deprived, no one has a single mood swing, and every mother is just peachy right after having a baby, with no problems at all. I actually feel relieved that women like you exist and that you can pluck up the courage and admit you're not perfect and that these cute and wonderful little creatures can be a bit overwhelming at times. I feel that women sometimes think that being a good mother is to defy your own needs completely, stop thinking about yourself altogether and focus solely on the baby. And I don't think it can work that way, if you are a more complex and intelligent person. Your own needs will peek through, and that's a good and healthy thing (although the so called "society" seems to have a different opinion).
Keep writing and I sincerely wish you all the best, I hope it all works out, at least to the point when it becomes more bearable. And then, the little steps ;-) I've been reading your blog for a while now, but I never got a chance to say hi, so probably now it's a good time ;-) All the best from Warsaw :-) - Paulina
Gosh, your guys' comments are making me emotional now! Thank you for reading and caring so much, Paulina - wielkie dzieki i mnostwo usciskow z Nowego Jorku <3Delete
I absolutely agree with you that all of us, but maybe new mothers or anyone in a vulnerable situation, need to take the time for self-care, be it taking a bath, reading a book on the sofa or pursuing one's hobbies. There are so many conflicting visions of motherhood and so many perceptions on what constitutes being a good parent, and it can be very difficult to try to comply with those perceived notions. We're all different too - we have different strengths and struggles, and I feel like discussions between women - especially mothers - should be a judgement-free zone.
Again, thank you for taking the time to write to me, it means a lot <3
You're not alone, Monika. I remember going through something similar after all 3 of my pregnancies. Stay strong, and chin up. It'll only get better, and good to have you back!ReplyDelete
Thank you for the support Lily! It's good to hear I wasn't the only one struggling. I think it's already getting better!Delete
Please talk to your healthcare provider. Everything you are expressing above is clearly indicative of post-partum depression. You do not have to feel this way! "Every little challenge I face with him makes me think I'm a bad mother, and he'll suffer because of my stupidity or lack of insight." This is NOT how a new mother should feel. I realize I do not know you at all and am just a random reader, but I cannot read what you wrote and let this go. For the sake of your family, please talk to your doctor! It' snot that you should feel great all the time, but you are clearly suffering. I cannot emphasize this enough - please!ReplyDelete
I know that you mean well and are not pushing a feel-good mentality, but I don't think you should tell women how to feel or NOT to feel as mothers at all.Delete
Hi Monika! This was a great post because it was so honest! I'm sure we all look forward to seeing you around more, but we also understand how you feel, or at least I know I do. I've dealt with depression myself, and by no means am I intending to throw you a diagnosis based on one post, I know I don't even know you, but all your words resonated so much with me, I would like to advise you to talk to your obgyn, and just tell them all of this, exactly what you said here, and see what they recommend. Contrary to popular belief about postpartum depression, it usually has its onset around the 4-6 month mark, and sometimes as late a 1 year post partum. And again, I'm not saying you're there or that's what this is, but no one better than your OB to help you assess the situation and guide you the best way. Anxiety can be the worst to deal with!ReplyDelete
Anyway, thank you for sharing and being so honest. Lots of love to you and Julian!
Thank you Orle, I really appreciate your comment! I promise I'll talk to my doctor if things don't improve, but I'm genuinely feeling better and better every week and my low episodes are getting few and far between. Sending hugs back!Delete
I'm so sorry. Thank you for your honesty, and please don't feel pressured to blog again until you're ready! Wishing you the best. <3ReplyDelete
I hope things will get better as the days get longer. I get depressed being stuck in a windowless dark room all day long (for more than two years) but I suppose it's rather different from a new motherhood.ReplyDelete
Anyway, do whatever you feel like doing . It's ok to keep calm and not blog if there are other priority in life.
You are very brave! I can imagine how hard this is to share..but it's very appreciated!ReplyDelete
One day at a time..you can do this!
Long time reader..not a big commenter..:)
It's a very vulnerable time, I think (not being a mother myself), and I think we still don't give enough support as a society to new mothers. It's okay to not be okay. I hope things keep getting better and that you can make some time to take care of yourself (a tall order with a newborn, I know, but even a couple minutes where you focus on you and no one else). Sending all the love and best wishes.ReplyDelete
Hi Monika, great post... my ''baby'' is 20month old and god those winters day also got to me. My only advice is GO OUT! take your baby go to a little coffee shop, take walks, find mother groups, mother-baby activities, share with other mothers, and have some social activities. Loneliness is a bitch so stay active but at the same time, sleep when baby sleep, and relax no one is perfect. As for the body ache, it is normal, i'm a runner and after my first newborn a started running 8 weeks after the birth and it was the most painful thing i experience. It took 8 months to kind of ''feel' normal physically. Hang in there ... yes time fly but you will only realized it in 6 months. :PReplyDelete
Thank you for writing about this and sharing your experience. It is so important, and your impulses to share to fill the gap in talking about this are so correct. I see you, and I appreciate how brave you were for being honest about this. Thank you.ReplyDelete
Monika, thank you for sharing this. I felt the same way when my son was born - staying home with him for several months was both a blessing and a curse, because every bump in the road became MY personal crusade to fix, and every failure to fix the bump right away became an enormous failure on my part as a parent. You are not alone.ReplyDelete
That said, what you're feeling doesn't sound fun. It sounds pretty awful. Can you talk to a therapist or go to a support group for like-minded parents of young babies? For me, part of the problem was that I put an enormous amount of pressure on myself to be a perfect parent, and that just wasn't going to happen. I had all of these ideas about I wanted things to go, and of course reality is very different. Speaking with other parents who had similar experiences was so helpful. It's also best to stay away from toxic places (i.e. social media) where mother-shaming and various other forms of trolling takes place. No one else has the right to tell you whether you are doing the wrong or right thing in sleep training, not sleep training, weaning, pumping, co-sleeping, etc. You have to do what's right for your family. Removing yourself from some of those judgmental places will go a long way.
For the physical stuff, I know that sleep deprivation is a big part of the aches and pains you're feeling, but maybe also think about going to see a massage therapist, acupuncturist, or chiropractor who can help with your body's alignment. If you have time, that is. Time is the biggest enemy. I can speak from personal experience that, once I started asking my partner to spend time with the baby so that I could have some "me" time, things started to improve immensely.
Sending you big hugs. Take all the help, time, and support you need to get you through this very difficult phase in life. Don't listen to anyone else who makes you feel bad or negates your experiences. And remember to be gentle with yourself.
Interesting post, Monika. I have never heard about this kind of problems. Most women tell that a new born baby sparks so much joy, but as I am a very realistic person I was not able to believe, that everybody feels that releaved and strong afterwards. I hope that you recover soon so that you can enjoy your time together. Take your time :)ReplyDelete
I'm late to everything these days, but I think you're right that most people don't want to admit that parenthood - and motherhood - isn't all sunshine and flowers and cute babies and happiness. Good for you for getting it out there and hopefully you're feeling better these days! Lots of love, my dear!ReplyDelete