One of the reasons I started this blog was to kind of free myself, and hopefully other mamas and parents, of the things that were not supposed to talk or, *GASP* complain about. From mom-shaming to mom-tribes to mom-bods and everything in between…I’m kind of confused about what i’m ‘supposed’ to feel proud of and feel ashamed about. I want this to be a space for us to feel a little less crazy and awful and a little more normal…because what does normal even mean, right?
With that said…motherhood is just not fair, you guys.
I am ALL about body positivity and loving the skin we are in, I truly am. I am constantly amazed at what our bodies can do, from growing our beautiful babies to sometimes being able to supply their sole nourishment for their first year+ of life. I mean are you freaking kidding me? That’s badass. Go us. HOWEVER. I have yet to jump on the “my stretch marks are my tiger stripes” train. I was fortunate enough to get away from both of my pregnancies with minimal stretch marks but I definitely still got ’em! Real talk: I DON’T LOVE THEM. I am not a fan of these stretch marks. I wish I didn’t have them. I know they are proof of how my body grew two perfect little babies…but those two perfect little babies are all the proof I need. The extra little skin that I have where my belly expanded…I’m just not such a fan! Every time I scroll through my timeline on facebook there is yet another article about how amazing these things are and how we should embrace them and love them and basically everything short of color our little “stretchies” in with permanent marker. I love that for some women, these are warrior scars because if we can agree on one thing with regard to this topic it is that we are all friggin’ warriors. Maybe one day I will feel differently but for now I’ll continue my search for flattering swimsuits that hide my stretch marks.
Aaaaaaand mamas…when are we going to be able to do a freaking jumping jack again? I’ll leave it at that.
Can’t touch this.
Sometimes I just don’t want to be touched. I love the hugs and kisses, y’all, I really do. But some days I CANNOT wait for bed time for lots of reasons but sometimes I am just looking forward to not having someone hanging off of me or touching me for the the first time all day long. M has this thing where he has to be touching my elbow when we are eating or watching a movie, or getting ready for a nap or reading stories, or really at any time during the day. It’s cute. But sometimes it drives me up the FREAKING WALL. And it’s really cute when he hangs on my leg like a little koala bear (I used to call him my koala baby because he was so attached to me when he was little) for a couple of minutes. But then it’s like okay let’s find something else to do please. I know, I know…they’re only little for a little bit and we should cherish every. single. moment. I get it. But sometimes we can want our space too, mamas.
I read an article a few a weeks ago about a mama who chose to stop breastfeeding when her baby was 4 months old. She had a wonderful experience with being able to breastfeed. Great supply, no issues with latching or anything. Blasphemy, right?! She couldn’t deal with the isolation. My first thought was “Yes mama, yes. How brave”. To admit that you chose to stop breastfeeding in the time of social media and mom-shaming? Snaps, girl. I LOVE breastfeeding. I love the bonding and the little noises that C makes and the little scratches from their sharp little fingernails and everything. But it CAN be isolating. I probably care too much about what others think about my breastfeeding so I choose to privately nurse my baby when we’ve got others visiting or if we are out somewhere, for the most part. That means that I’m leaving a party or a dinner or a gathering for 20 minutes or so while everyone else is still enjoying one another’s company. And that is every 2-3 hours for the first 6 months or so. It can be isolating. And then add in problems with breastfeeding, or if you are an exclusive pumper which means you are spending even more time pumping alone in a room by yourself every 2-3 hours to keep your supply up. It means not being able to go out to lunch or a mid morning or afternoon walk with coworkers or being locked in a little closet at work to pump because that’s the only private place available. It can be isolating. And it’s okay to feel that way. It’s okay to not love breastfeeding all of the time.
Also, pro-tip for folks who think it’s appropriate to ask a new mom if she’s breastfeeding: IT’S NOT. If I choose to talk to you about how I’m feeding my child then that’s great. But please don’t ask a mother if she’s breastfeeding or not. If she’s not, it will likely only make her feel guilty and who knows if it’s by choice or an inability to do so? And if she is, maybe she doesn’t want to be but feels guilty about that or maybe she’s drinking tea and beer and cookies and doing yoga to try and get her supply up and it’s just. not. working. Breastfeeding a lot of things: complex, wonderful, frustrating, painful, but it’s also very personal. Breast is great, we know this. Research tells us this. Pediatricians tell us this. facebook mom articles tell us this. Mom groups tell us this. But fed is best, y’all.
ALL OF THE EMOTIONS
Before babies I could watch Grey’s Anatomy and dab my teary eyes at the sad episodes with a single tissue. It didn’t matter who Shonda was taking out that episode…a 77 year old nun or sweet little baby. I cried but it was contained (Except when Derek died. My house was not a safe place that night). Nowadays? NOPE. Ugly cry does not adequately explain what my body does when I am watching ANYTHING to do with children being hurt or injured or worse. And it doesn’t stop at the end of the episode. If you asked my husband, he would tell you that he often has to talk me down and let me know that it’s not real life or listen to me weep and try to talk through my blubbering about how it’s just not fair and nothing bad should ever happen to kids and babies. I’m not even talking about Grey’s Anatomy sad here…I’m talking Homeward Bound sad. Like the fact that those three little kids lost their beloved animals for weeks, possibly months?! I CAN’T TAKE IT. And the part where they are searching the woods and those parents find their little girl hiding but Shadow was protecting her. STOP IT. I’m getting emotional right now.
Worrying is like a rocking chair…
It gives you something to do but gets you nowhere. I KNOW THIS. But does it change the fact that I will worry about my babies every day for the rest of their lives? Nope. I worried about general things before I entered the beautiful journey that is motherhood but now it is a constant worry. I remember when we first brought M home and it was the middle of the night. He was making his usual scary infant sounds that new parents are equally unfamiliar with and terrified of. I just started crying thinking about the fact that the only thing I wish I could do for this little 8lb love of mine was protect him from anything and everything…and then I realized that I couldn’t. Making this realization will simply take your breath away. I know that hormones are raging after childbirth so part of my tears could be explained by all of that…but to this day it is still something I think about and some days, especially the times when my littles are sick, it feels like i’m getting the wind knocked out of me. Before parenthood we are appropriately selfish. Nowadays we have little pieces of our heart walking around on the outside world and all we are trying to do is protect them. It’s scary, and hard, and sometimes impossible.
…they run up to you when you walk through the door, giggling and yell “Mommy!”, or they jump into your arms after getting scared or hurt, or crawl into your bed and cuddle you in the wee hours of the morning, or randomly say “tank you fur dinna mom!”, or say “I love you” when you are least expecting it and need it most. And then all of the rest is forgotten. Right? You don’t remember the pain or the fear or the unfavorable marks…you feel pure love. Little (and really big) moments of pure joy and unconditional love ALL THE TIME. It’s a feeling that can’t be explained, only felt, and it cannot be compared to anything else in this world. So yea, motherhood is unfair. But it’s also the best damn thing that I’ve ever done and get to do every single day.