Adding a baby to my family was the biggest event in my life (and I’ve bought an apartment in New York City, so I have lived through some sh*t). Yes, becoming a mom brought me more joy than I’ve ever felt it possible to experience, but it also ushered in a host of unexpected feelings, especially in those first few months immediately following my baby’s arrival. There are some painful things no one knows postpartum moms deal with, including pregnant women preparing to be moms themselves.
I certainly didn’t see these things coming, and I consider myself a pretty prepared person. I don’t “wing” anything. So I was really surprised at having to face, and overcome, a lot of unpleasant and downright painful obstacles postpartum and while also caring for a newborn. Obviously my experiences are unique to me. I had medicated, uncomplicated vaginal births with my two kids, and so I wasn’t having to recover from surgery, like moms who have had C-sections, or the often protracted, nerve-wracking period of time adoptive parents endure and carry into the early stages of welcoming their children. The painful things I experienced postpartum had as much to do with the physical aspects of childbirth as they did with the emotional baggage I was already carrying as a working mom who was questioning everything in light of this perfect little baby that was now my permanent roommate.
I didn’t talk much about dealing with this stuff, mostly because I thought doing so would show me as weak, and I was afraid of appearing that way to others. I wanted to give off an air of confidence and that there was no question my baby would be raised to be kind, intelligent, empathetic, and charming by parents who knew what they were doing. The problem? My partner and I had never done this before, so we definitely didn’t know what we were doing. We only knew that we loved our kid, and wanted her to feel loved. So I swallowed my fear and trepidation and anxiety and carried on. But I wouldn’t recommend this approach. I wish I was more open about the struggles I was having postpartum. Seeking comfort would not have made me appear weak, I realize now that I'm nine years postpartum. It would have shown that I was proactive about being the best version of myself so I could realize the hopes I had for my child.
Here are some of those painful things I dealt with postpartum, that I didn’t let anyone know about: