I recently sat down and did a bit of reflection on this piece I wrote a few years ago, but from my now second time mother perspective. Here’s what came of it..
Girl, I love you, but oh my goodness such DRAMATICS. Then again, I remember. Those days would be impossible to ever forget. First time motherhood was quite the significant headfuck for you.
After your second birth, for the sake of sanity you realize you are historically close to loosing at that point, you choose a different dish. It is one that asks of you way less cooking and close to no prep — a delightfully easy meal of perogies, sausages and corn. Not the healthiest, but it was needed.
I won’t fool you, things weren’t perfect while you made those perogies, and nor will they likely ever be, frankly. You were anxious and scrambling, but the results were about twenty million times less of a hectic gong show. And not only do you amazingly get to eat that meal together as a family (newborn sleeping in your lap and all), you manage it at two weeks postpartum, too. Perfection be damned.
You could thank the gods that decided to listen that time around, but truth be told, just thank yourself. Second-time motherhood will instill in you the ability to handle (like a hot, graceful mess) 458634884 *more* things all at once. It is also quite the headfuck, just a slightly more manageable one. We even come to love it.
P.S. I’d be remiss to finish this with out letting you know that here in the future you haven’t cooked this chicken dish in years. O, now a preschooler, has long since refused to eat it. Something about all the items touching (how dare us) and him being seemingly allergic to any and all cooked vegetables. We’re having LOTS of fun with that one.
Dear me, I’m sitting here on our phone looking back at pictures you took. It’s January, 2016. You have just recently become a mom for the first time, and are six weeks postpartum. The majority of the pictures are of the babe your body created. You aren’t in many, and in those that you are, there is a purposeful effort on your behalf for the photo’s focus to be on anything else but you. But, I look to you anyways. Your face. Your hair. Your eyes. The layers that tell a story. Faint smiles, tangled curls in sloppy buns, dark circles and sleepy squints, a breast milk stained cardigan on it’s sixth day of wear. The story of a woman trying. Trying and tired, trying and unsure, trying and afraid. Ah, all that what would come in those months ahead. The countless hours of colic, the incredibly little, little sleep, the exasperation at the useless futility of everything you tried, the heart pounding anxiety at anything “gone wrong” that would envelope you in a bundle of trauma. The culmination of it all breaking you. Chasms laid wide, intrusive thoughts hungrily consuming the darkness now bare. An unspoken guilt that consumed you, perpetuating and furthering the cycle. Rinse, repeat, remorse and regret. It will be okay, I whisper to you. Gently placing my finger on your shoulder on the screen, as if it could be a hug that transcends time and instils in you the hope you didn’t have. You WILL overcome. The colic goes away, eventually. He sleeps, eventually. You get help from doctors, finally. It starts to work. The pieces come together. You find what he needs. You find what you need. Together, you thrive. You’re even crazy enough in five years to do it all over again, mental health reckonings and all. But, we figure it out that time sooner. She actually sleeps. She’s happier. She’s easier. Right now, though. It feels like you can’t breath. I know. I hear you. But, you will. We will. I promise.
I breast fed O until he was 17 months. Assumption dictated I would do the same with my daughter. When M was born, she latched perfectly. Hurray! Then she had to undergo blue light therapy in the hospital for jaundice and somehow, among it, she forgot how to latch. It has been a HARD journey since. I’ve been trying many many many MANY times a day to help M relearn what she had lost, and then following it by hours of pumping so that I could feed her (while D gave her expressed bottles). She was often frustrated, I was often at tears. It felt like all hours of the day were spent on this effort. I was pretty much stuck at home, with my breast-pump as my ankle monitor. I read what felt like every single article in existence about breastfeeding, and my anxiety was a MESS. (Exclusive pumpers and formula users, I have full respect for you. Please know that.) But, good news! After about three thousand attempts (no lie — I’m serious) and four weeks, M is finally latching and doing so consistently. It’s not perfect, and we both have some growing to get there, but, we made it. Achieving this with M has been monumental to my mental health. Now, I figure out how to transition her fully to breastfeeding, while ensuring she gets enough and keeps gaining weight. This will be another journey of learning, but it is one I am prepared to embrace. Slowly and carefully for my anxiety’s sake, but in proud abundance of how far we’ve already come. 💚
I am guilty of not publicly saying this or feeling this enough. But, I am incredibly thankful for my husband.
The past seven days have been some of the most trying in our lives (there are a *lot* more details, some unfortunate and messy, to M’s birth story/first few days of her life — ones I didn’t elaborate on in the positive bits I wrote for the announcement/Instagram).
Saying that it’s just been hard would be grossly inadequate at doing justice to the difficulties of those seven days, and what’s to come of them.
Through all of it, however, D has been a bastion of rock solid support, continually going above and beyond, and working tirelessly to hold all of us together. I would have been absolutely lost without him.
My labour with her was entirely slow and boring until it wasn’t.
In the span of an hour and a half: I went from a cervix that was taking YEARS to dilate, to her heart rate dropping and there being a very good potential of a scary, emergency c-section. But, the induction medication was stopped, she rallied back, and my cervix woke the heck up and went VERY VERY quickly to 10CM. Less than 18 pushes later she was here.
How it ended? I was told to stop halfway on my last push (with baby’s head already out!) as the OBGYN had left the room, thinking it would take longer. I laughed ‘cause the same dang thing happened with O, and my laughter finished pushing her out of me. Oops. Sorry guys, lol! She’s healthy, getting good at latching, and doing a great job at already making us tired.