I didn’t know it all, but I thought I knew enough. While I was pregnant, I knew multiple women who were also pregnant or had recently given birth. Over the course of my pregnancy, I had heard several stories of women’s pregnancy, labor and delivery. Although I refused to go to prenatal classes, I read blogs, articles and pamphlets. I felt as if I was not going to be surprised regardless of the scenario, because I heard of every possible situation that could happen. I was prepared.
Now while I was educated on several topics, I was not ready to actually experience some of what becoming a mom entailed. As I experienced certain things, I realized that many women do not share these experiences with one another in fear of being judged. A friend, Randi Peterson, started a blog which covered many things I was experiencing yet I still felt guilty and ashamed for some of my thoughts. I know I could not possibly be the only one who has felt this way.
My body is ruined.
I do not know what I expected. I knew stretch marks happen and I was not too concerned, but the moment I laid eyes on my new postpartum body I wanted to cry. I hoped that because I was young, my “snap-back” would be quick and easy. I thought the amount of stretch marks would be low, and over time disappear. I hoped that I would not gain too much weight since I was constantly moving throughout my pregnancy. I was wrong. Over time, the stretch marks multiplied and darkened and I gained a total of 50 pounds. After birth, more stretch marks appeared. They now cover my stomach, hips and thighs. When I look in the mirror I get upset because unlike weight, I can’t just “lose” stretch marks. I can’t help but to think the pregnancy ruined my body. I will no longer feel comfortable wearing a bathing suit or certain clothing. As time passes, I hope to regain the confidence I once had and be proud of my body that gave me the most wonderful thing in my life.
I need attention.
I feel like I became invisible once my child is born. I walk into a room and people fight over who can hold her. When people call, they want to know how Alani is doing. I have even started saying, “HELLO I STILL EXIST”. As a temporary stay-at-home mom, it’s usually just Alani and I all day. I love spending time with her, but sometimes I need attention. I want people to understand that I still exist. That there is still a person behind this mother role. Is that selfish of me? I really don’t care.
Do I have to hold her?
After delivery, I just wanted to take pain killers, shower and sleep. I absolutely LOVE my child and cannot put her down now. In the moment, I just wasn’t ready. I didn’t want to hold her. When they handed her to me I really wanted to ask them to give her to her dad instead. I felt guilty and like I was a horrible mother, because I didn’t experience that delivery moment women talk about where they connect with their child. Instead, I shared that moment with Alani about two hours later. I also would like to share that I have met mothers who don’t experience that connection until days, weeks or even months after their child was born. Do not feel guilty. I was simply exhausted and needed time. Now I know that no mother should feel ashamed.
Overall, I am adjusting well into my role as a mother and absolutely loving it. I have already said I want more babies probably a hundred times… this week. Don’t dwell on the negative thoughts or feel ashamed for having them. Share your thoughts and feelings with someone because there’s a chance they have felt the same way at one point. It is all part of adjusting.