Tag Archives: emotions

real talk: my advice for expectant mamas.

shawnnathompson_advice_4Almost every Tuesday since Crosby was born, he and I have gone to a baby + parent group at the hospital I delivered at. (I still don’t know if I can technically say I “delivered” Crosby, since I had a c-section.  “Delivered” seems so… vaginal. Can someone research that and let me know? I’m too lazy to. Kthxbai.)  We really love going to class.  Me: for the adult interaction with people who are going through the same shenanigans that I am.  Crosby: for the overhead lighting.  The kid loves a good 60-watt soft tone lightbulb.

Anyhoo, yesterday at class we got to talking about advice.  Specifically, advice we’d give to expectant moms, now that all of us have been at this parent thing for a few months. A lot of the answers people came up with were regarding how the expectations before having a baby don’t really match up to the reality.  Whether it’s breastfeeding or sleeping or just the pure exhaustion of keeping a little human alive.  Which was all legit and true.  Because honestly, what you imagine life will be like with a baby is kind of hogwash compared to the actual reality of having a baby.

Well so anyways.  I thought about this topic for a while after class and tried to remember what surprised me the most after having a baby.  I thought about what advice I would have loved to hear.  And what I came up with, what my most important piece of advice to any new mom would be, is:

Do not be surprised if you feel like a fucking insane person for a while after you have your baby.  

Let me explain.  Right after Crosby was born and through the first week of his life, I was ecstatic.  Like :: this is amazing!  my baby is amazing!  breastfeeding is amazing!  I am amazing!  no sleep is amazing! I look amazing!  I feel amazing! :: type of situation.  I was on cloud 9.  I was also on a whole truckload of pain killers. (C-section.)

Week two hit, and I went off my pain meds.  Breastfeeding did not continue to be amazing.  My adrenaline was gone, and I started to get exhausted.  And then the feelings hit.  So.many.FEELINGS.  Feelings that burst out of my eyes in the form of tears at least 10 times per day.  Anything could set me off, and everything did.  It was overwhelming.  But even though there were so many emotions, I couldn’t quite pinpoint the source of my internal mayhem.  I kept saying to Casey, “I don’t know why I’m crying?!”  He was as supportive as a guy could possibly be, but there was only so much he could do or say.  It was all in my head. I felt overwhelmed and numb at the same time.  I felt lonely.  I wondered if I’d ever feel like myself again.  During this time, I felt like I was failing Crosby.  I felt insanely guilty that I had a healthy, amazing little guy right in front of me, yet I was lost in a sea of emotions.  What was wrong with me.

Sure, I’d heard about baby blues and of course I was aware that that was a possibility.  But to this day I don’t think that that’s what it was.  I mean, maybe a little… but not to the fullest extent.  I know women who have truly experienced post-partum depression and I can see the struggle and the heartache it can bring.  But for me, I think it was a mixture of coming off of a junkie-sized amount of medication and just being over-freaking-whelmed.  I remember talking to my best friend around day 9 (she’s a mama of two) and asking her if it was normal that I couldn’t stop crying.  She reassured me that yes, it was “normal” but it wouldn’t last forever.  She also reminded me of what my body had gone through and that my life had just changed in the craziest way possible and that I just needed time to adjust to that. She also told me that the feelings of guilt that I was having were feelings I’d get to know pretty well as time went on.  And she was so right.  The mom guilt struggle is real.  #TMGSIR. (<—- can we make that a thing?  Yes?  No?  Maybe so?)

Luckily (?) the peak of my rollercoaster only lasted about a week-ish.  I didn’t really talk to many people about it other than a few friends, my mom and Casey.  But since then, I’ve heard many other women talk about having similar experiences.  And I keep wondering why, if so many other people go through these same emotions, why don’t people talk about it more?  Why do we expect new parents to be nothing but elated?  I mean, yes it’s exciting and you will be elated!  But also?  Having a baby is INSANE.  And what’s even more insane is to expect yourself to be shitting rainbows and barfing unicorns because you just brought a life into the world.  I mean.  YOU JUST BROUGHT A LIFE INTO THE WORLD.  Via your ladyparts and/or a hole in your abdomen.  Right?!?!  Insane.  In the membrane.

So to recap.  My advice to any expectant mom out there: be prepared to be a hot fucking mess.  Or not.  But maybe.  Maybe your mess will be minimal, like just a little candy wrapper.  Maybe your mess will be big, like Britney Spears circa hair shave of 2007.  Regardless of the extent of your emotional rollercoaster, it’s all okay.  And it will get better.  New moms?  You are doing a GREAT JOB.  But please do not be afraid to talk about how you’re feeling.  With your husband or partner, your friends, your mom, James Blunt, Pinot Noir, Sleepless in Seattle, or even just your regular doctor.  Or me!  Hi!  And I repeat, it WILL get better.  You are not alone.

That’s all I got.  Well, that and be prepared to lose all your damn hair. Post-partum hair loss is real. #PPHLIR (<—– can we make that a thing too?  and all post pictures of our receding hairlines? No?)

And on that note, here are a few more pictures of me without makeup.  Because real life.

shawnnathompson_advice_3shawnnathompson_advice_2

Any pearls of wisdom y’all would like to share?  I’d love to hear.

 


three weeks in.

shawnnathompson_threeweeks_3So we’re three weeks into our new normal and I’d like to think we have established somewhat of a routine, but mostly we’re still in survival mode.  As in, let’s just figure out how to get through the next 20 minutes and then we’ll go from there.  I’ve been thinking a lot lately… and isn’t it the strangest thing that you get pregnant, have a baby and then you are just supposed to know how to take care of it?  Other than your own experiences growing up and taking baby classes, there is no real training to be a parent.  I mean, you have to have more training to get your driver’s license than you do to have a baby.  Which doesn’t really seem right, right?  And these poor babies, they have no idea that we have no idea what we’re doing.  Maybe it’s a good thing they can’t remember these early years… otherwise their first memories would be their parents looking at each other and saying things like “is it supposed to be that color?” and “will his eyes stay crossed forever?”   But hey, you know what?  Our little man is healthy and cute and getting fatter everyday so I think we’re doing ok so far?

We’ve definitely had our fair share of ups and downs over the past few weeks.  Admittedly I was not prepared for how overwhelming everything would be.  And really, how can you possibly prepare yourself for having your world turn upside down in the blink of an eye?  Or the slice of scalpel.  (Too much?)  The first few weeks were overrun with aches and pains, exhaustion, love, anxiety, and of course, emotions.  DAMN the emotions!  I talked a little bit about that in this post, and will likely talk about it at some point again.  And again.  For today though, we’ll just say that all of the emotions?  I’ve had them.

But hey.  It’s true what they say.  Every day gets a little bit easier.  Every day we get a little more used to our new bedtime routines and 2am wake up calls.  We get a little more accustomed to knowing we may not get a shower today.  Or tomorrow.  (Wait, what’s a shower again?)  We’re getting better at not freaking out every time Crosby cries.  We know we’ll figure it out.  We’re getting really good at peeing while holding a baby.  We’re also getting used to having dishes pile up and being okay with it.  We’ll get to it.  We understand that our time isn’t just ours anymore and that this adorable little creature relies on us to be cool with that.   We know that it will and is getting easier every day.  Can I get an amen?

Lucky for us, Crosby is a pretty good baby.  (Knock on seventeen billion pieces of wood)  I mean, we think he’s a good baby.  We really have nothing to compare this to?  But I’d say that on a scale from 1 to Gary Busey, he’s a 4.  He mostly reserves his crying fits for when he’s got crap in his pants or needs to be fed.  And who can argue with that logic?  We hear ya kid.  But speaking of being fed, one of the biggest shocks to me has been the time and energy it takes to feed a baby.  And the challenges that come along with it.  Again, this is probably something I’ll talk about in more detail in the future, but for today I will just give a word of warning to any pregnant pals out there.  Prepare yourself for spending some long hours feeding your little love.  Buy a comfy rocking chair.  Stock up on magazines.  If you’re planning to or find yourself needing to pump, buy this adorable hands free tube top.  Get your lactation consultant on speed dial.  And most importantly, prepare yourself mentally for when your baby gets milk caught in their throat.  Not in a choking way, just in a gurgly YOU NEED TO CLEAR YOUR THROAT kind of way.  Because you know what?  Babies don’t know how to clear their throats.  So it will be up to you to keep your composure, no matter how much that raspy phlemy breathing squicks you out.

And cue the terrible quality iphone pictures of my cute baby!

shawnnathompson_threeweeks_1 shawnnathompson_threeweeksThese pictures above were taken on Crosby’s actual due date.  Also known as the day I dressed him up like Harry from Home Alone and let that leaf fly into his mouth.  Ya see it stuck in there?

shawnnathompson_threeweeks_7If he wasn’t mine, I’d kidnap him.

shawnnathompson_threeweeks_6“You have a baby!  In a BAR!”  Name that movie….shawnnathompson_threeweeks_5You know, I wouldn’t mind being fed wine this way….

shawnnathompson_threeweeks_4shawnnathompson_threeweeks_9Every morning at 9am we listen to Eminem and work on our white boy street cred.

shawnnathompson_threeweeks_10And then promptly at 10am we put on matching outfits and talk about how he’s never leaving me.

shawnnathompson_threeweeks_11And then my heart explodes.

God bless all the new mamas and papas out there.  You’re doin a great job.