As we embarked on the expansion of our family I was well aware that so many things would change. That friendships would change. That I would change. I knew there were going to be moments of refinement and transition. That I’ll learn to adapt and find balance.
This year proved to me the hardest year of my life, the loneliest, and also the most rewarding and full of growth.
I found out who my friends were- or lack thereof. People flock to you when you have a new born. Friends and family come to help and hold baby. But, the minute my husband left for work out of town for 4 months, I became so sleep deprived and lonely that I got 2 stomach bugs and 4 colds/flu. And because I was sick, no one wanted to help. But I was crying out for it. I wept multiple times on weekend nights my hubby was home, out of sheer exhaustion.
But well before any of this – and actually almost a year ago to the date, my very best friend was banned from my baby shower by her husband because they didn’t like one person in attendance.. I was shocked and deeply hurt that the person who’s held my hand through three losses was ok with up and leaving just like that… She was Auntie in my eyes… I haven’t really spoken to her since. I still cry at this loss. I felt abandoned by someone I considered as my sister, my family. This was my first experience of losing part of my tribe.. And my baby wasn’t even here yet.
I cannot tell you how many times I reached out, shyly admitting to PPD/PPA and getting responses like, “this is what it’s like being a mom”, “it’s not what you thought it was huh”, “maybe you just weren’t ready”…
I learned that I am resilient. That I can battle through and even in the worst moments when I am flu ridden, puking, fever, aches, pains, chills and colds I can care for my little one and still stand tall and do exceptionally well with little help. Once my hubby returned, things significantly improved- but I won’t dare say that it solved the need and desire for community. For my tribe.
The calls spread further, on both ends… And I wandered my way through a few other tribes of momma groups… Not really ever feeling like I found my niche. Then I became so full of desire to fill a gap that I myself have been walking through… That this right of passage to motherhood via birth of any form (vaginal, cesarian, medication free or as many as possible to ease the physical pain of labor) was not a road to be walked alone. I wanted to be a momma’s biggest fan, a support in the hard fight of bringing a baby earth side, then the tricky and sometimes not-so-tricky transition to being “mommy”…. To your 1st or your 10th!
Crosby’s 1st birthday is just around the corner and as I drove home from worship I couldn’t help but reflect that things have changed so dramatically and my first year of being a mom is defined best in one word.
I’m definitely not pointing fingers because I’m half to blame. At about 8 weeks postpartum the baby blues hung around…. And once my hubby left town for work it increased and I finally admitted to PPD/PPA… But I mostly struggled in silence. It went untreated, but not unspoken. As the depression got thicker and I struggled with the transition of mommy hood I stopped reaching out.. Because I didn’t want to be “THAT” mom. I already had the reflux/colic baby who was a terrible sleeper and napper. I had, and still have a somewhat “fussy” baby, that’s hard to work around. We struggled terribly with breastfeeding and weight gain, he became mobile and distracted at an early age and nursing him while out was a chore. Not to mention, heaven forbid he has a reflux moment and I’m now wearing all the milk he just ate but he was too and I just… Nothing ever came naturally to me. I fumbled and yes… Was way too concerned while how I appeared to be handling mommy life… So I secluded myself more…
I feel once Crosby grew out of a lot of his hardness my ties had been broken and everyone moved on. I’ve been attempting to reignite, or establish new reltionships. I’m in counseling for PPD/PPA, I’m searching for mommy groups and pursuing my passion as a birth and bereavement doula. To continuously support all momma’s through all transitions.
God has blessed me immensely. But I’ve still felt lonely. Part of it was the lack of intimacy with Him… So I was/am more intentional with my time and spending time praying and in the word…
But, I’m still transitioning to finding my tribe. Finding my people. Maybe they’re right under my nose…. Maybe not…
Mommy hood is hard. I expected I would be a “natural” because I always wanted to be “mommy”. I don’t regret it, I don’t wish I chose otherwise… But I’ve continually been surprised at the growth required for the first year of parenting. Especially parenting after loss… I know exactly what I’m missing out on, and as hard as it’s been…. I still wish I would have been able to hold and parent each one that was lost.