23 May 2013

Survival. What I really felt the first 10 months of motherhood.

Sixteen months.  That's how old Hazelnut is now.  Looking back, I can't believe I lived through those first 10 months!  In a lot of ways, it was easy.  We bonded well & she got into a great schedule that worked really well for her.  She's generally a happy kid & is completely adorable.  No major sickness, either, which is huge!

But then on the other hand, it was really tough.  Mommy guilt was (and still is!) awful.  Terrible.  I tried to keep it at bay, but it was really hard.  Guilt that I couldn't get her to nurse.  Guilt that I didn't make enough milk.  Guilt that I couldn't hold her because I was pumping.  Guilt that I was playing online while pumping instead of looking at her.  Guilt that she had formula.  Guilt that I just wasn't sure what formula was best & hadn't done enough research to make a well-informed decision.  Guilt that I watched my favorite TV show instead of playing with her.  Guilt that it felt nice when she went down for a nap.  Guilt that I didn't have a 5 course meal prepared for her after her nap.

You get the idea.

It wasn't rational guilt.  It was all really high-strung emotions.  I was an emotional wreck for 10 months straight.  I remember driving in the car more than once & thinking "I shouldn't be driving right now.  I'm not in a good mental state."

My head was in a fog for 10 months straight.  I'm not really sure what it was.  I wasn't sad or depressed.  I had a great bond with Hazelnut, and I felt very loved & surrounded with support.  Overwhelming amounts of support from friends & family!  And Hazelnut slept through the night, so it wasn't from a lack of sleep.  I was just in a constant fog.  I couldn't think clearly.  I was just going through the motions of life.  Just trying to get through & make it until the next day without totally falling apart.

I also didn't lose any baby weight during this time.  I felt gross & fat all the time.  Constantly on the verge of tears.  I had friends that quickly lost all their weight, breastfed easily, and went on about their lives.  I felt like I'd just left the hospital.

I'd planned to take one month for maternity leave.  After a week I called my boss in tears & asked for an extra month, which she quickly agreed to, thankfully.

At 3 months I remember thinking, "I shouldn't still be in a fog."

At 6 months I started to feel it lift a little.  I started to feel just a little bit like myself again.  Just a glimpse.

At 10 months I finally threw in the towel with nursing.  I'd made it so far, fighting tooth & nail for every single ounce.  I felt far more overwhelmed than I did the night we brought Hazelnut home.  I just couldn't do it anymore.

And then it started to lift.  Little by little, the fog started to clear.  It still took months.  And crazy enough, I'm just now really feeling like myself.  She's sixteen months old!

Honestly, I've never heard of anyone else dealing with this, but I'm sure I'm not the first one.  So mama... if this is you, hang in there.  It does get better.  The fog will lift one day.

I still haven't lost all the weight... I'm 17 pounds away from my pre-pregnancy weight.  And writing all this down really brought back a flood of emotions.  But I survived.  I'm here.  And the fog is lifting.

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