I mean, I guess the appropriate first words should be, “Baby UGGs.” When I saw them I knew I had to grab them for Watson because any chance a mom can get to match her son should be taken advantage of—am I right?
We laid low last week because Watson has had a double ear infection, but he showed some signs of feeling better over the weekend, so we walked down to the dock to soak up a little fresh air. It finally feels consistently like winter here. Charleston’s weather is so unpredictable. It can be 85 degrees one day and 55 the next—but we’ve had more cool days than warm around here, which I love considering we were in shorts and t-shirts last Christmas. I like cold weather and I like dressing for it. Wait, I should mention that “cold” weather for me is not below 50 degrees and anything under that is considered “freezing,” which I do NOT like. haha.
I’ve been picking up some cold weather gear for Watson any chance I can find something really cute, like this hat and mitten set from Nordstrom. He outgrows hats really quickly, but this one is for 2-4Y, so fingers crossed we can make it last at least one more winter! It’s so soft on the inside and has multiple warm layers. We also are loving these jogger jeans, this soft t-shirt he has underneath, his fuzzy sweater, and of course these tiny UGGs.
It’s hard to believe we only have 2-3 more weeks tops until this sweet boy is a big brother. Leaves me with so many emotions. Sadness, excitement, an overflowing feeling of love, fear, and so much more—all rolled into one. On one hand, I’m so ready for our baby girl to be born, but on the other hand, I’m soaking in every moment I can that she stays put in my belly.
I think a lot of my fear comes from the insider knowledge I now have of being this thing called a “second time mom.” See, this time, I know the drill and know what I’m getting myself into. The recovery of labor, the way you feel like a zombie for a good few weeks, the hardships of breastfeeding, the feelings of confinement from being cooped up inside and not having true flexibility anymore, those crazy hormones that make you just want to cry all the time, that new postpartum body, the hair loss to go along with it, and so on… It’s hard.
When I had Watson and brought that sweet little bundle home from the hospital, I was a little blindsided by all of that. Sure, I read the books and went to the classes, but you just don’t know how it really is until you’ve been there, done it, and have the breastmilk stains on your t-shirt to prove it. I can’t really remember my expectations, but maybe I thought having a newborn was going to be like a staycation. A good excuse to pause the hustle and bustle, snuggle with that sweet, new baby, and then resume life as I knew it before, but with a new family member in tow.
Yeah, not exactly. Not for me, at least.
I really struggled in those postpartum days, so I wanted to write about it in case any new mommas reading this are having a rough time, too. This is hard for me to write, by the way. I think I brushed on it here and there, but it has taken me almost two years to put the pen to paper, so to speak. I know so many women aren’t given the opportunity to become a mother, so I just didn’t want to sound ungrateful or like a complainer. Or have a mixed message go out that I don’t like being a mom. Because the truth couldn’t be more opposite than that. But when Watson was first born, I kept waiting for that “newborn high” to set in that I saw all these mommas have through their Instagram photos and captions. The snuggles and sweet baby smells were amazing, but what about the tough parts? Why didn’t anyone mention that? Was I the only one feeling this? Was I the only one that looked and felt like I had been hit by a truck? A lot of women say they feel like being a mom is what they were destined to be—their life’s purpose, fulfilled. And I was over here just waiting and waiting for that feeling to arrive.
We started off on a rocky foot. We brought Watson home from the hospital to a house that was a complete disaster. Our kitchen was under renovation and at that time, we didn’t even have drywall in there, much less a sink, dishwasher, or an oven to heat up all those casseroles you imagine yourself eating after you’re home with a new baby. We had dust absolutely everywhere, a refrigerator in the dining room, a whole kitchen’s worth of cabinet boxes and trim parts stacked in the living room up to the ceiling, plates and other kitchen things stuffed in the guest room, and a little microwave station stacked up in the back corner of the play room with some paper plates, boxes of granola bars, bread, and plastic utensils. After staying home with Watson in our house for two nights, we had to leave because it was time for our hardwood floors to be installed, stained, and then given multiple coats of poly on different days, so the fumes were going to be something terrible for about a week. We hit the road and stayed with my parents during that time and although it sort of felt like an inconvenience to be forced to leave home, it really ended up being wonderful to have the help from my parents, especially when Brandon had to check back in with work mid-week. All was good. We were tired, but life was good.
Getting back to our house after that week was when it all got rough for me. Brandon went back to work and I was pretty much stuck inside our bedroom during the day from that point in time until the end of our renovation. Here’s what I mean by, “stuck in our bedroom.” We had no less than three random men in our house from 7am until 5pm every weekday working on our kitchen for the next 8+ weeks. (It took way longer than it should have, considering we started it a couple weeks before Watson was born.) Our house was one-story, flowed with a long open floor plan, and the kitchen was smack dab in the middle of it all, so it served as a hallway to get to any room. Like, we had to walk through the kitchen to get to the living room. And you had to walk through the kitchen to get to the bedrooms, and so forth. Since all rooms were visible from the kitchen, I stayed closed up in our bedroom with Watson and the cat all day long until they left. It was the only place for me to have privacy from these workers with being on a crazy breastfeeding/sleeping schedule. Plus, the doorway for our bedroom was located in the kitchen, so often, I couldn’t even walk out of the room if there was a big, messy project being worked on. Any day that I got out of the house was much better, but being a brand new mom and feeling so sleep deprived… I just didn’t want to have to get all ready and go somewhere.
So that’s all just to set the scene, not to complain—promise!!! We signed up for that renovation and we were grateful to be able to do it because the kitchen beforehand was just bad! It was our choice to get it done and I was so pumped about it! But it was our first time renovating and so we didn’t know how stressful the process would be. So choosing to do it when we were bringing home a brand new baby was probably the worst decision ever because that just quadrupled the inconveniences of it!
I never spoke to my doctor about feeling depressed because I wasn’t sure if I was, but I definitely was—even if just mildly—now that I look back. It was the first time I’ve ever felt anxiety. My chest was always tight and I could cry at any given second. Maybe I just blamed it on the kitchen renovation issues we were having, but I know that wasn’t the only thing causing me to feel that way. I had heard about postpartum depression, but before being a mom myself, I didn’t understand how anyone could possibly be depressed after having a baby—especially when you consider how much of a miraculous blessing it is. It seemed to me like that would be the happiest moments of a woman’s life! And while the latter is definitely true, I learned firsthand that it’s possible to feel that and have the baby blues, too.
I wondered how my life would ever slightly resemble the way it used to look. Being able to run around town to events and errands. Having girls’ nights and fitting into the clingy dresses I once wore to those things. Hopping over to last minute work meetings and daily gym sessions with my girlfriends. Being able to wear clothes that didn’t have to be nursing friendly. Spontaneous date nights with Brandon. Heck, having a bra size that was two cups smaller than it had suddenly and painfully become overnight from breastfeeding. All of those little things that ultimately made me “Megan” at the end of the day. It was gone and I completely grieved the loss of myself. I loved my baby more than the world, but transitioning into this new life and adjusting to be what felt like a whole new person was hard. Especially at the beginning when the baby needs you and only you to be fed or be rocked… it left me feeling no sense of freedom whatsoever. And I craved that feeling again.
It’s hard for me to admit that being a mom didn’t come naturally for me. Maybe from the outside, it did. But not deep down. I never would have expected that about myself. I played with baby dolls until much later an age than probably appropriate and had dreamed of the day I would become a mom for as long as I could remember. I was ready to have children from the moment we got married! So to suddenly not feel like “mom life” was a life I wanted was incredibly hard to come to terms with. I felt a lot of guilt.
The day our kitchen renovation was finished was a day I’ll always remember because I felt such a heaviness lifted. It was a long, dark 8 weeks cooped up in our tiny bedroom with our brand new Watson. And I mean “dark” both figuratively and literally—there was just one odd, little window in that bedroom, which we kept covered up with drapery because it needed to be replaced! But when that dust in our house got swept away and the breast pump parts no longer had to be washed in our bathroom sink, things got easier. But also, I think that the 8 week mark is a pivotal turning point in a new mom’s life. At 8 weeks, we had a schedule pretty much figured out, I was starting to be able to fit back in my normal clothes, he was not feeding around the clock anymore and was sleeping a pretty solid night’s sleep.
From there, each day got easier and I started to find the joy and fun of parenthood. Want to know the dead truth? 21 months later… I’m still not in love with every moment of being a mother. Just being real. But that’s normal, right? (Someone please tell me it is.) I miss the “old me” sometimes, but I love the new person that I’ve become even more. Being Watson’s mom is the best thing I’ve ever done and it brings me more happiness than anything in the world. But getting to this point wasn’t something that I felt from day one, as I had expected all during my pregnancy.
So with all that said, yes, I’m terrified to have another baby. I’m terrified that those same “loss of identity” feelings I had when Watson was born will all come back now that I’m finally settled into my new identity as Watson’s mom. I’m scared that I will lose my mind when both babies are crying. I worry that Watson won’t feel the same amount of love that he is used to getting. I’m scared to breastfeed again. I’m terrified of having to go through the recovery from delivering a baby again. I am wondering how dinners out will be with two little ones—and going to church and going to Target. I’m just scared as a whole, but Brandon and I are both so much more excited than we are scared. And would we have done it all over again if it was really as terrible like it sounds in this post? No way! Because it’s not!! The feelings of anxiety and baby blues were really just the first few months for me, although it’s different for everyone. Some people don’t get them at all! Although it was the hardest thing I’ve gone through, I know how sweet those first months are and I would go back to those dark days in our old bedroom in a skinny minute if that meant I could snuggle on our newborn Watson again. This time, I know to expect the first couple of months to be really tough. Brandon and I both will certainly have a lot of learning and adjusting to do with having two under two, but I will not be blindsided like I was before with the hardships of motherhood. I’ve got my game face on. This time, I’m going into this as a mom already. And us moms can do anything.
I could end this post with some mushy gushy feelings about having babies (because I could talk about that all day), but that’s not the point of this post. People don’t seem to really talk about this side of having a baby. Or maybe they do and I just chose to ignore it in the past. So, I knew I wanted to talk about it at some point on here to let all the new mommas out there know that you’re not alone, it does get easier, and do not beat yourself up over not loving your new life the way you had hoped. As your baby grows, you will grow as a mother. You will adjust and learn the ins and outs of each other. Talk to friends and other moms in your life—it helps so much just to be able to vent. Get out of the house as much as you can. It may be hard to do at first, but schedule some self-care moments for you. (I shared some ideas here.) Those sweet newborn moments are such a brief stage in life and before you know it, it will be a distant memory, which is so bittersweet. So hold onto those babies. Don’t worry about not brushing your hair or teeth, for that matter. Soak up the sweetness. And remember, we’re all in this together.