If you happened to catch my last post, birthdays are a big deal around here. Especially First Birthdays. Carter's Carnival Birthday was a smashing success, literally! Everything came together even better than I could have ever imagined. I cannot wait to share the pictures with you. As promised, however, I'll be taking this week off from blogging. I'm getting 100 kinds of emotional about C turning one (in a great way, of course!) and want to soak up every single minute with the birthday boy before his actual Day Of Birth, Saturday July 30th. Of course there will be a mushy, gushy letter to him posted here on Friday. In the meantime I've lined up a handful of fabulous ladies to guest post for me!
First up is PattyAnn from The Pittman Show. Mommy to a beautiful baby girl and all around fabulous lady. She's hilarious, has a tattoo and often curses in her blog posts. I mean, match made in Blogger heaven, no? She's most definitely a part of the #CMTC and I hope you enjoy reading a pretty awesome post about The Mommy Secret.
I want to start off by wishing C a Happy Birthweek! After reading about all the fabulous party planning that AP has been up to, I just couldn't help getting the first birthday crazies. I mean, we're only three months away over here!
One year is kind of a big deal. The first year of life, the first year you were a family, the first year when things don't always happen the way you expect them to happen and you take a step back as every cliche saying about parenthood -the ones every single person within a three mile radius is so eager to tell you when you're pregnant- flashes through your mind and you and say "Oh. I get it."
Prior to October 26, 2010 I was convinced that if anybody was fit for the job of motherhood, it was me. I've worked with kids for most of adult life and absolutely loved it. I studied early childhood development in college. I dealt with kids with special needs, and those with behavioral problems so bad that I am now a firm believer in spanking. Parents loved me and so did the children. I felt like the kid whisperer. Fast forward to me getting pregnant and I knew I could not be more ready to be a parent. When my baby girl was born via c-section, I was relieved that she was healthy and here. The first days were as expected; happy, exhausting, and that newness feeling lingered, which was probably evident through every move as we tried to navigate through the week.
At the time my Lily was born, there seemed to have been a boom of babies among many people that I knew. I'd click through blogs and read countless "new baby" posts, scroll through my Facebook feed with glowing mama's posing with their fresh from the womb offspring, everybody saying how blessed they felt, how lucky they were.
I didn't get it.
Not only did I not get it, but I wasn't exactly rushing to my computer to tell the world about it. Who are these people who say these things and look like they have actually gotten sleep?!? Was I missing something? It was as if everyone except for me was in on some secret- the secret to the deliriously-fresh-glowy-happy feeling that they had immediately after giving birth. It wasn't that I was not happy. I was. And, in my heart, I knew I was incredibly blessed and lucky. But...I had to remind myself of that. Every day.
The months following Lily's birth were difficult. I wasn't good at it, like I thought I would be. I cried. A lot. I thought that once the first couple of weeks had passed, things would get easier, I would get better and they just didn't. It was an awful feeling knowing that I didn't feel like those other mom's...happy and blissful. I felt like a bad mommy. I remember her waking up, five thousand times during the night and thinking WHAT DOES SHE WANT?!? I know I wasn't depressed. I know people who have suffered through postpartum depression, and my emotions didn't compare. But it probably would have been a good idea to see a doctor.
I finally told a friend everything I had been feeling ("and I suck and I'm stupid and she cries and I don't know why! and then I cry and this sucksand I hate my boobs and I don't even make enough milk and I'm tired and I'm so ugly and this sucks!) that she let me in on the secret. Patty, she says to me, EVERYBODY FEELS THAT WAY...it's just that nobody wants to say it because it sounds really bad. That made much more sense to me. And it was so simple. I don't know why I didn't think about that. I realized I'd been emotionally screwing myself for months, driving myself crazy, literally. I had an expectation of feeling overwhelmingly happy that all those little things that "they" warn you about would not even matter. New parents hear time and again how fast the first few months fly by. "Treasure it" they say, "because it'll flash by before you know it." I'm a thousand percent convinced that those people have mentally blocked that particular period from their memory. Because it is a s#!t show.
After this, my perception changed. Or rather, I changed it. It is hard. At times, things did suck. Rather than crying in frustration with every single middle of the night cryfest, I thanked God that she was crying. I thanked God that she was waking me up eleven hundred times during the night. Because there are people who would give anything to hear the sound of a crying baby in their house. From then on I, as I always tend to do, found the humor in it all. When people asked how things were going, I was honest. "Stressful! She keeps me up all night, this party animal! I guess I'll just sleep when I'm dead, huh?" And the more honest I was, the more I found that people actually agreed with me. It was, as it turns out, the big secret that everybody happened to be in on. I do believe so many people have great experiences with their new baby. I even believe that parenting comes quite easily to some, too. I don't think that every single parent goes through what I went through. But, for the sake of someone's sanity I will continue to be brutally honest about my first few months of parenthood. And I always do it with a lot of laughs.