A year ago I gave birth. I….gave….birth. An actual human being came out of my vagina and it was the most magical moment of my life. But if can be real for a second it didn’t always feel that way. The first few months were absolute HELL. I didn’t think I was going to make it and truthfully, I thought my life was O V E R. I went from being a pretty independent self-sufficient person, with a great job, apartment, and amazing boyfriend, to just an empty vessel of myself.
My daughter coming into my life ripped the rug right out from under me and left my sleep-deprived-nipple-sore-self scrambling looking for the pieces. Sleep deprivation is a SPECIAL kind of hell that easily placed a dark cloud over what would’ve been the most exciting time of my life.
I was a mess—I was diagnosed with postpartum depression and generalized anxiety. I felt so guilty for not enjoying this moment but was equally annoyed at everyone telling me to enjoy it because it goes by so fast.
Those first few months all I can think about was, “When will I sleep more than 45 minutes? When will my nipples stop hurting? Will it always be this way?” I breastfed exclusively which meant my baby was attached to me to what felt like 24/7. Some days I nursed every 2 hours, other days I nursed every 20-30 minutes. Let’s not even talk about the amount of diapers. My life felt like it was over. Boob, poop, and pee. That was the my mantra.
I felt trapped by this little shriveled up creature that I gave birth to. I SUBJECTED MY SELF TO THIS. GOD I WAS SO MAD.
Over time things DID get easier (by over time, meaning 7 months or so in). I was sleeping more, on medication for PPD and Anxiety, losing weight, and most importantly the dark cloud was gone and I was absolutely in love with my daughter. Now that my sleep deprived days are behind me, I can look back and remember the things that really helped me survive my first year of motherhood.
He is my number one in this entire process. During those first few months he cooked for me, cleaned for me, fed me while I breastfed, made sure I was eating/drinking water, took over during the nights if he could, changed diapers, bathed baby, ALL WHILE GOING TO WORK FULL TIME LIKE IT WAS NOTHING. He never complained, he just loved me, and did the best he could. I found a real one yalllllllllllllll
(def ugly cried while typing this. God I love him!!!
#2| My Friends
Some of my relationships with my friends changed when I gave birth. I assume that maybe they felt because I was a mom—I was busy? I don’t know. I just felt really isolated. Those that said they would be there for you, just wasn’t. Once my boyfriend went back to work, I was alone with the baby and it was very hard. A huge shout out to those (you know who you are) for checking in and just making me feel like myself.
Having a baby made me feel really disconnected from the real world, especially since no one around me was having babies. I also appreciated having simple conversations that HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH MY BABY. Those things really brought me back to myself and helped with my healing.
#3| Anyone Who Cooked/Cleaned For Me
No seriously. I was too shy and embarrassed to ask for help and sometimes I really just didn’t know what I needed. With a newborn, cooking & cleaning was really the last thing I had the energy to do. I appreciated my friends/family that came through and did it without me saying a word. Sure….. come see my baby, but can you bring food plssss.
On that note—SEAMLESS I love you, but also f*ck you because half of the delivery guys REFUSED to deliver my food to my actual door like they’re supposed to, TUH. So annoying for me to say, “I HAVE A BABY I CANNOT COME DOWN”. Either way, seamless pulled through, MAJOR.
#5| Sleep Training/Nap Schedules
I cannot stress how important this is, because honestly naps were for me, LOL. It was the only way I was able to survive. Sometimes I napped when my daughter napped, watched shows, cooked for myself, cleaned, etc!
I am bizarre and started sleep training my daughter at 4 months old (some say you should start at 6 months). By sleep training I mean setting up a consistent bed time routine and nap schedule. I literally googled (Nap/sleep schedule for 4 month old). Whatever matched my daughter’s feeding schedule, was what I worked on!
Over time, I learned to watch for signs of tiredness and made sure to put her down at the same time (or close to) every time. Be flexible though, my baby would go through sleep regressions whether it was due to developmental growth, teething, etc. I went with the flow and stayed consistent. Remember the schedule is used as GUIDE! As my baby got older she napped less and less, but it’s fine because she sleeps throughout the night! (7:30pm-6:30am). Yes this is a very HUMBLE brag, because I am DAMN proud of myself!
The Baby Sleep Site is a great resource! I love how they were able to organize sleeping schedules by month, Check them out!
It’s crazy how fast a year goes by. So much has changed since and for the better. I cannot imagine my life without my daughter. So incredibly thankful for my amazing boyfriend, friends, and family that really helped out (big or small), it mattered! Motherhood is HARD, but trust me you are stronger than you think. Hope you guys found these tips helpful! Because you can survive motherhood if you’re a new mama!