Motherhood is new to me.
I’ve only been a mom a few months. But that doesn’t mean I’m not a mom. Oh believe me. I’m a full blown, full fledged, in the trenches mom. I got through the first three months- the scary and insane newborn time- which were stressful and also awe inspiring. When Jay went back to work the end of December, I was still recovering and I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to do everything I needed to. I could f barely stand up straight let alone bend. Could I pick up the baby? Could I do it all by myself? I wasn’t sure. But I did it. Did it hurt? Sometimes. Was it hard? Sometimes. But I had help. Thank god.
It still wasn’t easy.
Know what else isn’t easy?
Pregnancy ain’t easy.
My pregnancy was perfect. Textbook. No health issues, perfect weight gain. Every blood panel was on point, the baby was growing perfectly. My genetic testing was all good. Glucose test passed with flying colors. Even with all that though, I was still growing a human. I was exhausted, ached everywhere, had pains in muscles and bones I didn’t know existed, I couldn’t get comfortable to sleep at night and had to nap more than a toddler. Still, that’s relatively easy. However ….true to form in my life, the other shoe dropped. I developed high blood pressure in my third trimester. Not consistent, and not preeclampsia. Just a form of gestational hypertension. Up one week, down the next. However this problem is something obstetricians are very wary of, and despite my weekly ultrasounds and non stress tests which proved my placenta and fluid was fine and the baby’s heartbeat was good, they didn’t want me to go past 39 weeks and risk anything. Which brings me to what else ain’t easy…
Childbirth ain’t easy.
And c-sections are NOT the “easy way out.” It doesn’t matter if you had an all natural delivery in a pool, if you gave birth in a taxi on the way to the hospital, if you had an epidural and pushed three times or had a section: IT AIN’T EASY. I was induced on the evening of Wednesday, December 6… and by Thursday evening had not progressed past 8.5 cm. Despite cocktails of drugs and Pitocin and balloons and all kinds of positioning. This was very concerning to my OB who suggested (when I was at 6 cm) that we seriously start thinking about plan B; the “dreaded” c-section. By the time I was 8.5 cm, my epidural machine was mysteriously turned off at some point and while my legs were numb and immobile, I felt every single contraction- which, on Pitocin, is stronger and worse than natural contractions (so I’ve heard). I was exhausted after over 24 hours of this and I said, probably not very confidently, “Let’s do it. I can’t do this anymore.” And so we did. And I was shaking going into that operating room, passing it off in my head as the epidural side effects or the cold temperatures. But I think it was fear. I was very afraid, but also very looking forward to having my little guy with me and being in a recovery room and having it all behind me. He was born at 10:31 pm. Thankfully I faced my fears and did it this way because not only was he facing posterior, aka “sunny side up”, but the cord was wrapped around his neck. Also he was quite large and hadn’t even descended into my pelvis yet, so the poor thing had a cone head. He was not coming out any other way, so my “failure” at delivery was the best thing that could’ve happened for us.
But none of it was easy.
Breastfeeding ain’t easy.
SAY IT AGAIN SISTER. I know some people might scoff at me saying this because I have an abundant supply, my baby latched perfectly immediately, and I haven’t experienced any issues like nipple pain or cracking (aside from thrush) but it’s true. Even when it comes naturally and is “easy” it still isn’t easy. After successfully having my mere hours old baby latch in the recovery room only to be forced to “supplement” with formula after two days by the nurses in the hospital (another story for another day) and then having to get a newborn back to breastfeeding after he had no interest (bottles are more instantly gratifying, obvi), ultimately having tremendous success in that but not before becoming painfully engorged anyway because my milk came in with full force and he wasn’t nursing enough, finally getting him back into the groove when he hits a growth spurt and has to NURSE CONSTANTLY, three bouts of thrush- for BOTH OF US (and having a baby that screamed when taking Nystatin four times a day- FUN), three different anti-fungal prescriptions for thrush for him & one for me, leaking when away from the baby for more than 4 hours, leaking when I think of him and I’m away from him, all the stained clothes, the hours of pumping… it isn’t easy at all. Wow. Run on sentence much?
Anyway.. it’s hard. Is it worth it? Absolutely. But it is not easy. Don’t think it’s an easy way out; oh it’s free and it’s simple to just stick the baby on there! Nope. It doesn’t work that way for everyone. Clogged ducts, mastitis, undersupply, oversupply, a myriad of problems can present themselves to a breastfeeding mom. Some can take the option away from her completely. And you know what the bottom line is? Fed is best. My baby gets two or three bottles of formula a day, the rest is breast milk. He’s happy. Healthy. Gaining weight and growing like a weed. Too fast for my liking. There is nothing wrong with the way you choose to feed your baby, as long as your baby is healthy, it’s YOUR decision and no one is forcing you to do anything or guilting you. Formula, breast milk, breastfeeding or a combination… it doesn’t matter. Healthy chubby happy babies are what’s important. But whatever you do just don’t think it’s “easy.”
Because none of it is easy. Let’s say it once again, even louder, for the cheap seats in the back:
Motherhood ain’t easy.
I knew this going in, but the full concept of it doesn’t hit you until you have a baby and they get sick. Or they have colic. Or they get a vaccine and get cranky for the rest of the day and want to cling to you endlessly while screaming. Or you try and juggle the 6 million things you have to do in addition to taking care of the needs of a very tiny, very demanding, very adorable little human that you created. He simultaneously breaks my heart and fills it with joy. The screaming and sleepless nights are erased by the smiles in the morning. It kills me to see him growing up but at the same time each milestone is so exciting and wonderful to see. It’s a thankless job, motherhood. For which you aren’t paid nearly enough. Oh my god is it amazing.
But honey, none of it is easy.
It’s beautiful. And tragic. And happy. And sad. And lonely. And overwhelming. And I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the entire world.
If you have a mom.. or a grandma.. or your wife or girlfriend or sister is a mom, then give them a great big hug and a thank you today. And mean it. Moms have the hardest job in the world, sometimes with the most difficult coworkers. We deserve to be appreciated and loved and thanked. Not just today, but ESPECIALLY today.
Oh and uh… jewelry doesn’t hurt either.