These thoughts have been swirling around in my sleep deprived brain for six weeks. I started putting them into words on the fourth day of my son’s life, but as many mothers of newborns can relate to, I’ve been consumed with this almost 13 pound human being and also with a wildly active toddler. Oh how our lives have changed so much once again. It’s not “my first rodeo,” this time, but I have come upon some reminders of the challenges posed to new (again) mommies. The very first reminders were of course the physical ones. The physical challenges alone zap a woman almost completely; I would venture to say that giving birth takes the same amount of energy as running a marathon without training, but I could be wrong. Regardless, I’ll just go with it so I feel very powerful and physically capable of anything! But let’s be real…it’s out-of-your-own-body painful (before the heavenly epidural)…the copious amount of blood afterwards, perhaps even for weeks (I apologize for this over-share)…the general soreness/cramping…sore boobs/nipples…just to name a few! But amazingly, women all around the world decide to do it again. Maybe the loss of these memories is nature’s way of promoting women to continue to procreate!
During my 31 hour labor with Violet, I vividly recall telling Jordan, “This will be our only child. I will never do this again….labor is a b****, and labor is for the birds…etc.” I had a surprisingly different experience with Charlie’s labor. It was much shorter (just under 6 hours), I felt more prepared mentally and physically, and I also very much respected the physician and appreciated the education he has provided throughout all my prenatal care. The only time I did not like him is when he made me wait for about 2 hours to get my epidural as the longest, most painful transition was from 3 cm to 4cm. That being said, although the Pitocin contractions were intense, they were shorter lived than with Vi’s labor, so thank God for that. Some women opt out of epidurals. First of all—WHY!?!? Secondly—are you gluttons for punishment!?!? Ok, I do respect your choice. And I also think you are super women with a much higher pain tolerance than me.
Since marrying Jordan, I’ve envisioned three children completing our family. If you would have asked me if this was still the plan about four weeks ago, I would have said, “no.” To be honest (and real again), the sleep deprivation hits me HARD. It affects my mood significantly, and I did experience some postpartum blues (debatable depression). In addition, challenges keeping up with Charlie’s need for milk made me guilty and inadequate (but these issues have since resolved). I have found that postpartum blues and depression are another topic women don’t often discuss openly. It’s more common than I had originally thought, so again, for the sake of relating and helping others feel less alone, I’ll talk about it. I’m incredibly thankful for helpful resources and village of family and friends to get me through that first month. The hormones quickly dive down like a steep roller coaster…the very same hormones that gradually increased and protected me and my mood during the pregnancy. Thankfully once they leveled off, I started feeling like myself again. Another helpful factor was learning Charlie’s “schedule” (if you can say babies that young have one), and I started taking advantage of his longer naps by napping with him at least once during the day. Then there’s coffee…that’s a necessity.
Despite the physical and emotional challenges that naturally follow a delivery, I am grateful to have a healthy chunky baby boy with a double chin and arm rolls. The baby scent, goat sounding cries, and first smiles are filling my days now. For the next month or so, I will savor those until I have to go back to a different “work” and adjust to working full-time with two children. But our rainbow is here shining brightly in our lives.