I've wanted to get the FIT4MOM blog up and running since I bought the franchise last September. Among the other tasks of running a business and a household, this one only ever made it to the B list and - let's face it - it's difficult enough to even make a dent in the A list. Now I have a two week old who so sweetly nudges me to stay awake nursing for cumulative hours every night, and I can only take so many rounds of Panda Pop. So, I present to you the launch of the FIT4MOM Santa Clarita Valley blog. I intend to use this space to connect with other moms, share tips and tricks from the experts on how to keep your family healthy, and help other moms feel like they're not alone in their battle - whoops! I mean journey - through motherhood.
Speaking of this journey, where it begins is not always a rainbow. For some reason, we mothers often feel ashamed of our struggles. Like if we aren't aces then we are flopping. At the beginning, we are expected to immediately fall in love with this tiny, squishy little stranger. We are to take him or her home and know exactly how to navigate through this world that is completely brand new to us. That sounds boring. Let's add in a sudden drop in estrogen, progesterone, endorphins, and other hormone levels. Now we're talkin'.
After having my first baby almost two years ago, I transitioned into motherhood with about as much grace as one can. It was hard and trying at times, but I had one of those "I'm enjoying every single moment" experiences. I expected to glide into my new role as a mom of two with only slightly more difficulty. After all, I've done this before and I'm totally a natural at this motherhood thing, right? *rolls eyes*
Looking back at my first-born's baby book I can see he was up all night, screamed in the car seat, and didn't love to be put down, but this all seemed far more manageable when we could sleep whenever he slept. This time around, with a two year old to keep alive and entertained all day, those same endearing (ha!) little baby behaviors seem almost intolerable. It feels like we will literally only sleep when we're dead.
I should acknowledge that I love my sweet little girl more than I can say. Poor thing is just a tiny puzzle piece which we are so desperately trying to fit in to this life puzzle we've created. Her role ain't so easy either! But I have found it very challenging to try to fit her piece in without the rest of the puzzle buckling and folding. I spent our whole first week home from the hospital crying over my oldest. I missed him even when he was right in front of me. He has done amazing with this transition and hardly seems to notice that I always have "Sissy" attached to me, but I felt so emotional about not being able to give him all of me like I previously could. Even when I was physically present for him, I was so exhausted that I was in no way mentally present. I'll never forget the moment Daddy took the baby so I could really play with him and I woke up 20 minutes later on the floor of his "fort" with him playing quietly in the corner by himself. *ALL the mommy guilt* I was feeling like he and I had broken up and I still feel like I'm mourning the loss of the relationship we once had. In a few months, when I'm getting more sleep, Sissy isn't eating as often, and we have wriggled our way in to some sort of a routine, this idea will probably seem ridiculous. But for now I sometimes find myself wanting to just scoop him up and run away with him back to simpler times. When it was just the three of us. *more mommy guilt*
These thoughts and feelings don't fall upon me because I don't love my baby girl. I could kiss her soft skin as she snuggles up against me all day long. I am so grateful she has completed our family. I do not take any of this for granted, as I remember what it was like to think I'd never get my first. But in an effort to keep it real, and because I have a platform, I believe it is important for other moms who are feeling less than overjoyed with their new role to know that there is nothing wrong with them. We can feel completely overwhelmed and still love our kids. We can feel the pain of being in the trenches and still be great moms. The most useful tool I came equipped with as a second time mom is the memory of how quickly this phase passes. But in the meantime, while the days seem long and the nights seem longer, find your village. Lean on them. Do not feel ashamed of this hormonal ride you're on. When you talk about it you give another mom in your boat the gift of feeling normal. I encourage you to sing the [baby] blues. We've got this, Mamas.
*It is important to note the difference between postpartum blues and postpartum depression. "Women with postpartum depression have intense feelings of sadness, anxiety, or despair that prevent them from being able to do their daily tasks" (ACOG, 2016). If you think you might be suffering from postpartum depression, I encourage you to open up about this as well but also, to talk to your doctor.