I've been a mom for almost ten years. And it's funny. I think I had mommy amnesia for every stage.
Me before Cora:
Oh- I'll be able to get through Cora's birth without an epidural! (turned out being right on this one but it was a close call) It doesn't hurt that much anyway (WRONG).
It's not THAT difficult to have a newborn. It will be a piece of cake this time! (WRONG).
Oh, breastfeeding will be a SNAP with just one. I don't need support. Or a pump. Or bottles or anything just in case. This will be a cinch! (WRONG!)
Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.
Man, look at that sweet face. I love her SO much.
But let me tell you something. It doesn't matter that this is my fifth time. This new mom stuff is HARD AS HELL.
Picture me with my head on my best friend's shoulder (she's an amazing pediatric nurse) crying my heart out because Cora LOST WEIGHT after me nursing her every hour for five days while I pumped on the other side and then fed her that.
I cried and cried and cried.
I felt like a failure. And it broke my heart. And it doesn't matter that this isn't my first rodeo and that I KNEW we would survive. It didn't matter that I damn well know that I'm not a failure as a mom. And that my worth as a woman and a mother doesn't depend on how successful I am at breastfeeding.
If you are reading this and you are struggling with sleepless nights and weigh ins and pressure from others, I want you to know this.
YOU ARE DOING A GREAT JOB. YOU WILL GET THROUGH THIS. DON'T BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR HELP AND CRY IF YOU NEED TO AND ADMIT YOU ARE OVERWHELMED.
It is scary. And exhausting. And I feel lost every day.
And then it came back to me. Mommy déjà vu.
I have felt this way
Every time I feel like I'm walking with a blindfold on.
Every time I am too hard on myself and every time I care too much what everyone else is doing and the path that everyone else is walking.
There's a big difference between having a child now and what it was like when I had Harper.
There's more information out there. Everyone is sharing their opinion and those opinions are right there all the time, thanks to social media. I feel like there is a lot more pressure now.
On the flip side- I am so much more relaxed as an "older mom". I am able to just hold Cora and love her and enjoy it.
That doesn't mean I'm not struggling and that it's not hard for me.
If you are reading this and YOU are struggling...know that it doesn't matter what anyone else is doing or saying or sharing their opinion about.
You do what works for YOU and YOUR family. That's what being a good mother is all about. Being a good mother is not about being perfect or being successful at everything you try. Failure happens. Learn from it and be gentle with yourself.
I'm telling myself these words every day.
Being a good mother and a good woman does not hinge on
bottle or breast
home or work
epidural or no epidural
baby wearing or stroller
co-sleeping or bassinet
organic or not
It just doesn't.
If you are reading this and you are in the thick of it...
I see you. You are a wonderful mom and this will pass.
And then you will be the one saying what a breeze it was (WRONG). And you will look at your beautiful, strong, smart, kind children and know all of this self-doubt and sleeplessness and uncertainty...
well it was all worth it.