Monday, June 19, 2017

What to Expect When You're Expecting

Being pregnant and having Jack has been the greatest accomplishment in my life.  He has brought more joy than I ever could have imagined. It it hard to think of life before he was here!

I had a pretty great pregnancy.  Yes, there was rib pain and sleepless nights, but Jack was healthy and for the most part I was too.  While I was pregnant there were two things people told me constantly: "enjoy sleep now" and "your life is about to change forever." Those were both true! I have learned how to run off less sleep and yes, my life has changed forever for the better.

What I want to talk about today are the things that no one told me would happen.  I knew there would be sleepless nights and I was as prepared for that as I could be. And I knew my life would be different. But here are three things no one told me when I was pregnant. Hopefully they're helpful for you:

Breastfeeding is hard. REALLY HARD! I cannot believe that while I was pregnant, no one told me this.  Almost everyone asked me if I was going to breastfeed, even strangers.  But no one asked and then shared their struggle.  One of my biggest regrets/upset is my breastfeeding journey.  Jack latched on great and at first my supply was not a problem. When he was about two months and started eating more I knew something wasn't right.  I would feed him for 45 minutes to an hour and poor baby would finish and cry and cry. I was trying so hard to stick to the Baby Wise schedule that I would make him wait to eat until the next feeding.  I had no clue he was still hungry! One night when he was about 6 weeks old, Mike worked and then was given the opprotunity to host a really cool event that would be great exposure for him. I had had such a rough day, when he called and told me I just busted out crying.  I called my mom telling her how fussy Jack had been and I had been feeding him all day and didn't know what to do.  She could hear him crying and she told me to make a bottle.  I explained to her that "the book says it isn't time for him to eat". She yelled at me to feed my baby! I was at my wits end so I said screw the schedule and I made him a bottle of the measly 6 ounces I was able to pump in a day or two.  Poor baby chugged that thing down faster than anything I had ever seen.  When he finished it he was so happy and never fussed again.  This is when I started to realize he was not getting enough from me. 

I started pumping more but I would pump 6-8 times a day and on a good day only get 4oz.  We had to start giving him formula and I began to feel like the biggest failure in the world. If my one job on earth is to have a baby and be able to provide for him and I can't even do that, what good am I? Yes, thats really what I thought. I cried everyday and felt so ashamed. I was drinking mother's milk tea, taking the mother's milk drops, making lactation cookies, and talking to lactation consultants. I was also stressed to the max so that made my supply even worse I'm sure.  People continued to come and randomly ask me if I was breastfeeding or how it was going.  Sometimes I would get tears in my eyes and other times I would just get mad.  The crazy thing about it was that once I started talking about how awful it was going, everyone else did too! Almost every time I would share then they would share a similar experience: how they weren't able to at all, or how extremely hard and exhausting it was. 

I have to admit I was happy to hear this but also mad! Why did no one tell me this!? I started doing a ton of research and saw that I was not in the minority but the majority! Breastfeeding is hard, not just for me but for almost every mom! I have met a couple people who had zero problems and were able to for a year or longer but not many. That wasn't my experience. Hopefully you can prepare for this better than I did.  

Second, the afterbirth sucks.  I know this sounds dramatic. And this is one of those things that vary person to person.  But I had no idea how much pain and discomfort I would be in after having Jack. Jack's heart rate had dropped multiple times during my labor. Ten minutes into pushing it dropped and he had to come out NOW.  I had to be cut (episiotomy). I did not care as long as Jack was out, healthy, and in my arms. BUT... while I was holding Jack and the doc was stitching me up...I knew it had to be pretty bad... I took FOREVER. Also, don't forget even though I work in Aesthetics, I am a RN. I took mama baby and I knew exactly was was happening down there.  

When my doc finally finished I asked how bad it was.  It was a third degree. If you want to google it you can 😬.  I was on the biggest high of my life and thought "eh, its not that bad".  He told me I was going to be in a lot of pain for the next two weeks.  The next morning I could barely walk.  And that continued for about the next week.  I was so sad.  I was the happiest I had ever been but the pain was holding my back.  I couldn't even lift Jack up if he was laying down.  Those first couple nights at home, whenever Jack needed fed my husband or mom would have to hand him to me because I couldn't get him myself.  I started to understand how people get postpartum depression. Hormones are crazy and with this much pain and not even being able to pick my baby up, I was devastated.  And let's not even get into going to the bathroom. The pads, spray bottle and wipes... it was a huge process every single time.  I started to think that my body would never heal and that it would never be the same again. BUT, I started talking about this and hearing from friends who went through the same, similar, and even worse.  One of my friends had a fourth degree and broke her tailbone. WHAT??? And you know what, she healed and was fine. I am amazed at how fast God lets the body heal, within two weeks I would walk normal and within 3 weeks I felt pretty much normal.

Last but not least, mom guilt.  This was something I was not prepared for.  I had heard of this before but it was almost in a proud, bragging way. It was in a way that made it seem like the more guilty you feel the more you care about your child.  My biggest sin is how much I worry.  I constantly worry.  I worry about myself and I worry about others.  I worry about things I know I cannot change and things I have no control over.  It is something I have to pray about and try to work on daily.  So add that to this thing called mom guilt and you can imagine what a disaster it is.  Not only am I worrying about everything Jack does: is he too hot or too cold? Did he sleep too much or not enough? Is he still hungry or did I overfeed him?  Is he getting enough tummy time? Is it bad that I cleaned a little while he was playing instead of being with him? He bumped his head, I should have been there! And the list goes on and on.  The guilt was getting to a point that was debilitating. I was not enjoying time with Jack because I was constantly worried and feeling guilty that I was doing something wrong, not doing something enough, doing something too much and so on.  We took a parenting class through our church and one night my husband "asked for a friend" how to deal with mom guilt.  I remember one of the teachers talking about how God fills the gaps.  I cannot be there 24/7. But I am commited 24/7.  I am committed to being the best mom I can be. To loving him and taking care of him.  I am not God. I am not all-knowing, all-powerful, I am not in control of all things... I'm not even in control of myself.  I saw that the guilt can be a way to be in control when all the control belongs to God.  So with all that said, I will say, yes I still have mom guilt. But I will no longer let it control me and make me feel like less of a mom (most the time).

I hope some of y'all can relate to these. Being a mom is the best thing and the hardest thing I have ever done! What are some things you wish you would have known before you had your baby?  How did you deal with it?


  1. Thank you for posting this! These are all things I couldn't agree with you more about and I hope they can help other moms. Although I had read many breast feeding books and such I still had no idea how hard it would really be. I had to supplement in the beginning till about 2 months, but I was one of the lucky ones that will all that nursing and pumping I upped my supply enough to feed him and freeze some milk too. But all those emotions...WOW..did I feel like a failure also. It took a long time before I realized that it didn't matter how he was being fed, what mattered most was that he was fed! Now don't get me wrong ill choose breast feeding any day over formula but fed is best! Here we are still nursing at 21 months and I would not change a thing. Post Partum is another story, I also had to be cut and it was a 2nd degree cut. It was all I could do to walk out of the hospital and the ride home was awful. The bathroom trips took so much effort and time and there was usually a crying baby in there with you. Mom guilt is something that I believe we all deal with to some extent and that is what makes us great mothers. But we have to give it all to God and continue to remember that he is in control. I know you are a wonderful mother! Keep up the good work!

    1. Aw, thank you so much! That is so amazing that you were able to build your supply back up. And yes, I agree, fed is best! God is completely in control. And I am so glad he is, because his way is always better than mine! Thank you so much for sharing! Us mama's have to stick together! <3

  2. Yes, I too am grateful for your post. I don't know why it is that us mother's are in such a "competitive mode." Mostly, it comes from ourselves! I was in the same boat as you! Breastfeeding BOTH my children was super difficult! Once I got over my guilt and pride, yes, each time, I supplemented. I was so much better able to focus on the task at hand. This made such a difference mainly for them but some for me. I wish we would give ourselves a break from these "mommy competitions" and just learn that God is in control no matter what! Stephanie, you will find that Satan will use doubt to get to us, to take the joy out of being a mother. I too, felt like such a failure and with God's grace, my children are happy and thriving. Sometimes it's easier said than done when you are in the heat of the moment. Call me! The only way I was ever able to get over my struggles was to be open with a friend. Which I am sure you do. When you are asked, "How are you?" Be brave enough to share what's happening because perhaps the other person has the kind healing balm that will be just what you need! And you will help them feel good just in the fact that they may have helped. If you have ever noticed, every time I come into church I have a "donut" pillow. That's because of my stubbornness to have a VBAC delivery. I wanted to say that I had a child naturally and to this day I am paying for it with lingering pelvic floor pain. Take it from me pride can cause damage! For some reason us women don't want to talk about things because perhaps we are perceived as week and complaining when in reality we seek compassion and wisdom from others who understand. So, just to let you know, I totally understand and have compassion for you (and Jack and Mike). Your husband is part of your team so make sure you feel you can use him - he's your best alli besides God, of course. Then, call on your spiritual friends-you have so many. And when you are not feeling up to doing something or going out, that's your call. The key is does that call benefit you and God? This raising of kids phase of your life will be testing and fleeting at the same time. Joyful and sad at the same time. But you can rely on those vows you made to your husband to stick by each other through good and trying times. Keep your posts up as they help all of us to see that us fellow mothers and women need to stick together and lift each other up in spirit, prayer, service, and love. And mostly love because it encourages us to action and draws us closer.