The buildup to having a baby is a big one.
The wait. The excitement. The anticipation.
It’s a life-changing, momentous event. Add to that the buildup to having a baby when you have waited years and went through infertility treatments, and it suddenly feels like even more of a climb; like hiking up a mountain, without water on no sleep, in the dark… sans flashlight. That kind of climb. Once you get to the top, the sun finally peaks over the mountain and illuminates the whole sky, and you feel a sense of accomplishment and warmth in your heart. It’s so strong that you feel like you knew it was there all along–just waiting to come out.
Then comes the descent of hormones and lack of sleep.
The drain on your body and all-consuming emotions after baby gets here can be overwhelming. Even more, you thought the worry would stop because you got what you waited for all of this time, but it doesn’t. Of course it’s amazing, your heart is totally full, and you feel LOVE like you’ve never felt before. Yet it’s still hard for some reason. The newborn stage is no joke, but you feel like you can’t be sad or upset or struggle because you wanted this, you waited for this, you prayed, you manifested it, you created a life, and maybe even spent a lot of money and time to get there. How could you be even the least bit negative or, *gasp*, resentful??
You feel guilty for having these feelings. Let’s say that again, you feel really, really guilty for having these feelings.
When we feel that guilt and shame we tend to hide. It’s almost like the infertility journey haunts us just a little bit. The feeling many of us feel after having a baby feels kind of similar, doesn’t it? We don’t want to talk about it for fear of being judged, and it actually seems embarrassing! After all that effort we put in to making a baby, we can’t even handle being a mom?! I’m speaking in second person here because I’m hoping someone out there hears me.
I know I’m not alone.
I want you to know there is a whole community of us out there! A community of women just like me who went through the fertility journey and are now on the postpartum journey with those nagging feelings of guilt. Many who are dealing with the mom guilt, the shame and the tough stuff that comes with being a new mom. We try to be strong. I know I do. I don’t like asking for help. I was that way throughout my infertility journey. What I needed to realize is that part of being strong is also allowing myself to be vulnerable, to ask for help and reach out when I was in need.
…and you need yo realize it, too!
Let’s be honest–there is no manual for this one. No one tells you what to expect, what to prepare for, and what might come up when you finally have that baby in your arms after experiencing infertility. The time leading up to getting pregnant was so slow, and the time after seems to move so much faster. Then add a pandemic and isolation into the mix!
I want you to know it’s OK to gave these feelings. Know that you are not alone, even if it might feel that way. Your feelings are valid, no matter what your journey to baby looked like. Most importantly, though, you are still the best mother that you can possibly be for your baby/ies. The best things in life usually ARE hard and require a lot of work.
Being postpartum is stepping into and learning a whole new role in life. It’s OK to miss the old one a little bit.. the old you. It’s OK to miss the freedom and lots of sleep. That doesn’t mean you appreciate your current life any less. It actually means you had a great time and a great path to get to this new love.
You got this, mama!