The Things No One Tells You- Transitioning into Motherhood- PT. 2
Shai is turning 12 weeks this Thursday. As I sit here & write this I acknowledge I’m still brand new to this motherhood thing & we have an endless journey ahead of us. That being said if we’re getting technical my “Four Trimester” is wrapping up.
The fourth trimester is the idea that the first three months after birth are essentially an extension of your pregnancy. It’s all new, new to you, new to your baby. It’s a period of time to set apart- to give yourself kindness, grace & patience. It is the “Essential Art of Nourishing the New Mother” (the title of a great book by the way) & has been around for thousands of years. I took the fourth trimester one step further & we honored the Sacred Window. The Sacred Window is the idea that the first 40 days of life sets the tone & helps to foster a deep rooted understanding of each other. We observed the first 40 days by staying at home for 40 days straight. To be fair, we did leave the house a few times- each time to go to a Pediatrican appt…let’s call it a modified modernized sacred window, nevertheless it wasn’t easy. (I’d like to thank amazon prime now & their Whole Foods delivery service for making it possible).
Welcoming a child into the world is a huge transformational shift, duh. I believe that your baby * specially chooses you * to be their guide in this lifetime- wow what a huge responsibility. It has made my husband & I question so many lifestyle choices. We ditched our bottled water obsession in favor of a weekly glass jug delivery service, this week we signed a contract to have solar roof panels installed on our house to reduce our energy consumption. My point is you begin to view life through an entirely different lens. In my case it’s Shai colored lenses & I’ll be damned if I’m contributing to leaving him a shittier Earth than he’s already getting.
During this fourth trimester + excessive amount of time spent at home, I’ve had plenty of moments to pause & reflect.
I’d like to share the two biggest struggles that I’ve dealt with post-partum. They don’t have much to do with mothering, luckily that’s come super naturally to me so far. But in order to set a good example for my son, I myself must remain whole. For me the issues are more personal & they are:
my body image & personal pressure to make the baby weight vanish overnight
My body image issues stem from gaining a total of 65 pounds while pregnant with Shai. At 5’4” the weight is much harder to budge than I thought. Having a background of teaching yoga & pilates I assumed- I of all people would bounce right back, so far it hasn’t been that easy. For me to set the expectation to lose that amount of weight overnight is completely unrealistic. This also gave me so much guilt, how could I be so selfish to even care what I looked like? I just birthed a living being? Overall it’s given me a tangible reminder in patience & trusting the season of your life. Ultimately, I’m breastfeeding, so my number one priority is making sure I’m well nourished so my son is too. “bikini season” is 365 days a year here in Miami Beach- & for me it will have to wait. A good friend told me: 9 months in & 9 months out, which is a lovely way to look at it.
post partum anxiety on a crippling level!
My PP anxiety is something CRAZY that I was not expecting. Post-Partum depression gets the spotlight, doctor’s are always warning you of it- fortunately for me I dodged that bullet- unfortunately for me, post-partum anxiety snuck up on me & attacked! What is crippling pp anxiety? & what is it like?
Well for me I could barely drive my car. I felt like we were going to die every time we left the house to go the1/2 mile to the pediatrician’s office. I couldn’t even look forward through the windshield because my eyes were glued to my rear view mirror, every stop sign & red light along our route represented an opportunity to be rear-ended. wtf. I never thought like that before, let me take it one step further, if a crappy car got behind me I would have to immediately switch lanes for fear that the brakes in their car weren’t working… like I said CRAZY. oh & another driving hurdle? Having to pull over to check if my son was breathing in his car seat, I would open the backdoor panicked- nope..he’s just napping…
This cycle would just repeat itself over & over. I couldn’t stand to watch anyone else hold my son, not even his father. wtf. I would incessantly repeat, watch his head! watch his neck! making it pretty unenjoyable for anyone brave enough to hold him. All of these irrational thoughts & fears would just flash through my mind like an unwanted lighting storm. Just like there’s no controlling the weather- at that stage- there was no controlling my mind. Not all the meditation & breathing techniques in the world were helping me to cope with that anxiety. So where did it go? I have no clue.. but just as quickly as it came, I’m finally relieved to say it’s gone - well not completely I don’t think anxiety is ever entirely removed from a mother’s psyche, but a veil has definitely been lifted & I’m feeling more in control again.
I hope this post resonates with someone who might be going through something similar. Remember you’re never alone, hang in there mama, it does get better.
What weird things came up for you post-partum? What were your biggest lessons disguised as troubles in the earliest days of motherhood?