What you don’t know, won’t hurt you…

It’s been over a year since I’ve blogged. I used to write daily…then days became weeks, which became months. Then bellebottoms sat vacant, like the sad little bakery on Bridesmaids. Only no one had written any crude words over my name. So there’s that.

Since that day long ago when the words stopped, lots changed. I got pregnant after 4 months of marriage, had a baby, bought our first house, and subsequently had my world rocked.

That’s right, things happen pretty fast around here!

With all of the changes came this desire to bring back my little pink and sparkly corner of the world. I wanted to dust off the screen and spill out everything that had been thought and felt over this past year. Yet, having a baby sort of sucks the time you have right out of your hands. You see, babies are sort of a full time job (cue the gasps of astonishment). You didn’t know that? Well, neither did I…sort of.

Let me explain.

I didn’t realize that this child would take over my entire existence long before birth. Once we found out we were pregnant in March of 2013, I immediately felt the symptoms of carrying a child. You name the side effect, I got it. It was a good thing my office at work was near the bathroom, because any further and I would have been puking in the halls (which I still did on occasion)…I got migraines, nausea, stretch marks, dark lines, swollen ankles, indigestion, an intolerance for lactose…I could name some more but due to mommy brain I’ve simply blocked them from memory.

When we found out we were pregnant, we looked at our little apartment and our two door cars and realized other things would need to change soon. This started “Budget Watch 2014”. Prior to those two blue lines on a stick, we weren’t exactly saving for a child. We wanted to travel, see the world, and enjoy life! Our weekly brunches in Dallas were going to need to be put on hold.

And that sucked.

Really, I was angry.

I cried so hard the day I found out I was pregnant. These weren’t tears of joy, they were tears of sorrow. Some may call me heartless for that, but it’s ok. I have to be honest with how I felt. We weren’t ready for a huge life change, and my selfish heart reacted in accordance with that mindset. I was fairly bitter for much of pregnancy. It hurt, I was always uncomfortable, and the sickness never seemed to end. Why did I have to feel these things for something I didn’t even want just yet? That thought drenched me in guilt for most of my pregnancy. Thoughts of women with infertility or who had experienced miscarriages made me mourn my sinful heart. Here I was, blessed with the gift of life, yet I was angry at God for giving it to me. What kind of person was I to feel that way?

Let’s also talk about the weight gain…ohhhh the weight gain. My eating disorder mindset came back with vengeance, slapping me in the face every time my belly grew another inch. I gained 40 pounds (plus 15 prior due to birth control) and felt like a different person. I lost control of myself, unable to work out due to feeling sick, yet eating a ton due to the being inside of me taking all my nutrients. I waddled everywhere, and any time I ate Mexican food my feet swelled so bad my boss called it “taco ankle”.

me at 38 weeks

me at 38 weeks

In my attempt to be positive and enjoy my situation, I focused my thoughts on the day when my son would be here, so I could enjoy the experience of what every mother calls “the most amazing feeling in the world”. I couldn’t wait to have that rush of emotions wash away all the negative of pregnancy. My due date came, and we induced, thinking due to the Thanksgiving holiday, we should go ahead and schedule his arrival. Well, 18 hours of painful labor, and Ollie wasn’t budging. Not.one.single.centimeter.

We went ahead with an unplanned C-section, since he had clearly made his home in my womb. The change in plans left me shaking. Literally. I shook so hard during the procedure that my husband and anesthesiologist had to hold my arms down. I dry-heaved like crazy, fighting the drugs in my system. Even after, I threw up what liquid was even left in my stomach. My first experience with breast feeding was holding my child in one arm and puking into a bag held by the nurse.

The first month was hard. Really hard. I clung to my single life of just me and Chris, and in that rebellion my heart struggled to accept motherhood. Every time Ollie bit me while nursing; every time he woke up at night; every time he cried and I couldn’t figure it out….I got angry. The littlest thing would set me off. I kept thinking to myself, “I must be doing something wrong? Why is this not more natural?” That anger took itself out on Chris, who fought so hard to keep me sane through the initial weeks. I pushed back against being a mom, and having my personal life set aside. I fought against not having my “me time” and doing something simple like taking long leisurely showers. Hot food? That was now a thing of the past. On maternity leave I sat at home by myself scrolling through Facebook looking at friend’s photos and feeling sad that I wasn’t a part of their social happenings. I had made the experience all about me, and was too engrossed in myself to realize that mistake.

I felt depressed quite often. I felt like a bad mom. I felt guilty for not wanting him quite yet. Every time I looked at his face my heart was twisted into feelings of love and feelings of guilt.

Then something changed. I don’t know when, but as Ollie changed, so did my mindset. I began to look at my “failures” as “quirks of motherhood”. I started reaching out to other new moms when the stress hit, heard their horror stories, and suddenly didn’t feel so alone. I expressed my concerns over my changing body, my leaky boobs, my extreme tiredness. They were all there with me. They knew my pain, and they empathized. I suddenly saw this thing called motherhood as an adventure. It’s not pretty. We scrape our knees and take wrong turns. We lose bottles and accidentally poke our kids in the eye. We forget to bring clean clothes to daycare, or forget to bring home the dirty ones. We drop the pacifier on the floor and put it straight back in their mouths.

It’s not easy. In fact, it’s so friggin hard some days that I just cry. Really, I’ve cried in front of people I don’t even know, standing in the elevator at work, balling my eyes out. And don’t even get me started on the times I’ve had poop on me and haven’t even realized it. Motherhood ain’t pretty, yo.

But it’s beautiful. And the amount of love I have for my kid far outweighs my stretch marks and large thighs. In the grand scheme of things I know very little about raising a child, but you know what? That’s ok. It won’t hurt me. I’ll grow right alongside Ollie in learning and developing as a mother. As he figures things out, so will I. And that “me time” I missed so dearly? Guess what? I still have it! That’s the blessing of having a community. They are there to take over when I just need some time away.

Oliver at 5 months old

Oliver at 5 months old

I’ll continue to struggle, and I’ll continue to have amazing days…and the beautiful thing is both are perfectly ok.

 

hearts and hugs,

B.

 

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