It's been a while. I've wanted to write but it just hasn't happened. The last few months of the pregnancy I was pretty much in survival mode and well since my daughter has been born I haven't had the energy to write or the time really. My self care has been lacking since April 16th (the day Grace was born) and writing is a big part of that for me. I really do hope that my journey helps others but I write mostly for myself. Putting my thoughts on to paper, being vulnerable for the entire world (well whoever reads my blog) to see is very cathartic to me. It's like therapy, but free and way easier. So here is a glimpse into how I have been feeling and my journey since becoming a mother, completely raw and unfiltered.
Motherhood is hard. Way harder than I ever imagined. My daughter is a little over a month old and I still have no freaking idea what I am doing. Can I mention how much I hate that? I worry constantly so much so that the anxiety is crippling some times. I worry about her safety and whether I am doing the "right" thing. Even after years of therapy and self work, I struggle with wanting to be the perfect mom.
I thought once Grace was born things would get back to normal quickly. After a very difficult pregnancy I thought I would feel better once I was no longer throwing up constantly. I was very unprepared and naive as to how things were going to play out. First off, recovering from preclampsia and a c section were way harder than I ever imagined. It wasn't quick. It wasn't easy. And man was it painful. Now that I am able to move around and do every day tasks I am suffering from the fatigue one would feel when they spent months on bed rest. My body is out of shape and it's getting to me. Despite being as sick as I was during the pregnancy I gained 90lbs. It's not really the number that bothers me. I vowed to not step on a scale once Grace was born and I have stuck to that. It's how uncomfortable and disconnected I feel in my body. It's the fact that it's hard for me to get up and down from the floor and that my thighs rub together when I walk. Did I mention that I have next to no clothes that fit? Before you jump on top of me about how I should be focusing on my daughter as opposed to my size, please realiize expressing and accepting these bad feelings are what allows me to get past them and focus on my daughter. A few weeks ago I was scared to reach out and express these feelings because I want to be a role model to my daughter but I am doing that by being honest, expressing my feelings, communicating, asking for help and not allowing shame to win.
Despite the tone of this post so far, I am very happy. The love and joy that I feel every time that I look at my daughter isn't measurable. Even at 2:30am when she wants to do anything but sleep, I am overcome with gratitude. I am honored to be her mother. It's so much fun watching her develop and grow and we are starting to see parts of her personality come out. She is such a peaceful, content and easy baby. We are blessed beyond measure and I realize that every single day.
I used to believe that you couldn't have happy and sad or anxious and content. That conflicting feelings just coudln't exsist. But that is what motherhood has been like for me. It's frusturating when you daughter is fussing and the only thing that calms her down is holding her, and it's 5 am and you want nothing more to sleep. But it also feels amazing knowing that you are a source of comfort and safety and I love snuggling with her.
My eating disorder recovery was pretty solid before pregnancy. Niavely I believed that once my daughter was born I would never have another ED thought again. With the stress of having a baby, not getting enough sleep and not taking care of myself as well as I should be, and the pregnancy weight gain, a lot of my ED thoughts have come back really really strong. Because of this I have sought out support and have been honest with myself, my support system, friends and family. Allowing myself to talk about these thoughts and feelings has kept me from acting on them and for that I am proud of myself. As hard as it can be dealing with the thoughts it's empowering not to give in. By doing so I am gaining momentum.
The more I write the more I am thinking about the purpose of this post and the clearer it is becoming to me. It seems a lot of pressure is put on new moms, by our society and ourselves. As someone who has struggled with an ED and other mental illnesses, the pressure is even greater. I want to show the world that I have my shit together and am an amazing mom. The thing I have realized is I don't need to have my shit together to be an amazing mom. On days I am struggling a little more I lean on my husband for support. I do the bare minimum of what needs to get done. I spend a lot of time snuggling with my little one. I don't try to be superwoman. I won't say the negative voice doesn't creep in often, but that is when I turn off my head and listen to my heart. No matter how hard the day, when I stop and realize how much I love my daughter, nothing else matters. When I realize this I no longer feel the need to do things perfectly or make it seems like I have it all together. Because my love for her is something that I never doubt and I believe this is more important than anything else.