When I was pregnant with Ryder I read two books on birth/parenting. One was the What to Expect When You’re Expecting because I literally had no idea. The second was Bringing Up Bébé, which I just read for fun really. I didn’t want to over read about what I should or shouldn’t be doing, I figured I would just know what to do. I had ideas and pictures in my head about the type of mom I would be, how my baby would be and how life would be perfect.
HA, I was so naive! From the moment my water broke and I ended up in an Emergency C-Section (which you can read about here) things just spiraled into a stressful situation that I didn’t know how to manage. Like most new parents we were nervous and unsure about everything but we were figuring it out and doing our best.
Things started to get more stressful when Ryder wasn’t gaining weight exclusively breastfeeding. There is so much pressure to breastfeed but no one is really educating new moms on how. Ryder struggling to gain weight made my anxiety soar, I felt like I had failed at something my body was supposed to be able to do. Looking back, that was silly, I wasn’t failing at all. Supplementing with formula meant I was doing everything I needed to make sure my baby was healthy and full. After going to a breastfeeding support group and getting help from a lactation consultant every week, things improved, we got off formula and I was able to continue breastfeeding for a full year.
**If your struggling breastfeeding, I recommend getting help from a lactation consultant. If you choose not to breastfeed or aren’t able to, that’s completely ok too. Don’t let others pressure you to breastfeed**
The feedings were just one of many issues for us, Ryder would not sleep. Like EVER. I would stay awake all night holding him, unsuccessfully trying to set him down in his bassinet without him jolting awake screaming. I really wasn’t getting any sleep, which wasn’t helping the anxiety and stress that I wasn’t wanting to admit I had. I remember sitting in bed in the middle of the night, nursing Ryder, reading thread after thread on Glow App about others babies his age and comparing what we were going through with other mamas on the internet, doing that also did not help the anxiety and stress.
Ryder would cry every night around 5pm for an hour before eventually falling asleep for a few hours. We tried everything to figure out what was going on, even made a Dr. appointment just to see if something was wrong but all we could do was wait the hour out. We have speculations but still no idea what that was about, that witching hour lasted for about 4 months. It was a very tough time for us.
I share all this to say, mama if you are struggling, you are not alone. I may have had different struggles than you but I had struggles, we all do. Most people don’t share them out loud, but THIS is my why. I want to share my experiences and let other moms know they aren’t alone in this scary job called motherhood. I remember being at a Mom’s group once and seeing other mom’s with their sleeping babies curled up against their chest as my child was whining and starting to fuss and I thought “Why does this seem so much harder for me?” The truth is those moms I saw with the sweet sleeping babies had struggles too, I don’t know what they were, but they had struggles too. As Ryder got older my struggles changed to the days of constant crying and tantrums for no apparent reason or the days I desperately needing to get out of the house for my sanity but Ryder having a meltdown over wearing pants, or struggling with my identity outside of being mom. My shift in Perspective is what saved me, I am genuinely a happier person now but I still have days I think this is so tough!
You can read a million parenting books but nothing prepares you for motherhood more than just diving in and figuring it out the best you can and having faith and grace in yourself as a mom. After having a baby your hormones are all crazy, you will cry and laugh over the smallest things. I remember a week after having Ryder, someone said to me “you are a very sensitive person” and I about lost it. I’m bawling my eyes out afterwards saying “yes I just had a baby, who isn’t gaining weight , or sleeping and constantly cries! YES I’M A LITTLE SENSITIVE RIGHT NOW!” Your emotions are all over the place so know that and give yourself grace and know there is another mama out there also struggling with you. Last tip I’ll give that helped me, When your struggling, go through the 100 photos on your phone that you took that day, look at the amazing human you created. You may feel like your struggling but I promise that little human thinks your the most amazing human in all of existence.