Have you ever been warned that having a baby means there will be days you’ll feel so drained that moving off the couch to the bed seems like too much of a chore to be worth the warm blanket and familiar pillow? Or putting your feet on the floor is only worth the energy used when you’re certain it’s that or pee the bed? How about being told that hearing your baby cry almost literally makes your nipples crawl into your breast tissue in fear of having to be chewed on by a ravenous toothless (or not entirely toothless) human? No? Me neither! And I’ve had 7 of them! In all the pre-baby speeches I received about not sleeping, not having the energy to go to the few and far-between kid-friendly parties, no one thought to warn me about feeling “touched out,” the horrors of cracked nipples and still having to nurse/pump through the pain, the struggle and tears with wrong latches, lip tie, mastitis, and inverted nipples, or nursing strikes (when baby decides eating is for the weak and goes hours, or days, without latching or latching long enough).
With all the well-meaning, unsolicited advice I received, and still receive, no one warned me that my baby would at times want nothing more than to nurse for 24 hrs straight, and that it’s OK to do nothing but nurse that baby. I was never told about the mental leaps that babies go through that cause them to have terrifying meltdowns they’ve never shown before, and make you wonder if they’ve been possessed by the devil himself (though I’ve been told 36 different ways to cope with it by 40 different strangers and nearly all of them childless).
Having had a miscarriage before my first baby, I felt I didn’t have the right to complain about my swollen feet and itchy belly toward the end of the pregnancy, or to be upset when things weren’t going well, or that it made me ungrateful for my child when I wanted nothing more than an evening with just my husband and no rattlers, diapers, breast pumps, nursing sessions, or cries that interrupted the best part of the show, or punctuated the kiss that I’d waited all day to get. The truth is, we are human, and we gave birth to humans. It’s perfectly normal, and acceptable to feel overwhelmed, overly exhausted, and completely lost! If you think you’ve got it all together you’re missing something. Just ask any mom who has ever left the house on time or early with every kid dressed, makeup on, gas in the car, and the dog fed. She probably left all the lunchboxes on the kitchen counter, or the curling iron on, or forgot to leave the key to the shed for the lawn guy coming at 3pm, or (worst of the worst) left the diaper bag with 20oz of defrosted breastmilk sitting by the door.
Stop judging yourself! Love yourself and that baby. And refill your cup. Any questions?