Hi!!! If you've somehow found your way here to this blog post, I just want to say THANK YOU! Whether you stumbled upon here on "accident" or you actually clicked on this post with the intention to actually read it, I want you to know that I truly do appreciate you doing so!
So if you're still reading this... welcome! Welcome to this new segment of my blog where you will find my raw honest truths about life. And I say "life" in general and not just "mom life" because I hope that those who are not yet moms will still want to read this and still be able to relate to the things I talk about. This series will touch on anything I feel like sharing - it could range anywhere from happy thoughts to sad thoughts; stories of my frustrations, my triumphs & victories (both little and big) in this tough journey through motherhood; it could be about ANYTHING that will make you go hmmmm.
My main goal with this is to create a safe place that will allow women to be vulnerable and open up and want to share their thoughts, experiences, and stories with the rest of us. A place where we can support other overwhelmed moms and have a dialogue without judgment. There is no 'one way' to do this thing called life. Because I feel like in this day and age, especially with social media, the expectations and culture of momhood (and womanhood) has changed so much since the generation of moms/women before me. Social media allows other moms/women out there to "hide" behind their computer screens or smart phones and openly criticize or bully other women (don't get me wrong, I know there are a lot who empower and encourage too). And then if it's not the mom-shame that gets to us, it's the mom guilt that we inflict on ourselves from the comments that weren't necessarily meant to shame us but rather to "encourage" us. Blame the hormones, man. They really do a number on us during pregnancy and postpartum.
Let me give you an example of a time I experienced mom-guilt from a comment that was not meant to shame me. And it's not even a really big or dramatic one. I'm sure some may think it's silly or that it's not even a big deal. But it really was for me at the time because I was a new mom. Like brand spanking new. Extremely hormonal, sleep-deprived, and completely overwhelmed. There were times where I felt defeated and so alone because everyone I knew that had kids were already past the baby stage and they really did not remember the details of just how hard it was and couldn't really help me feel better about going through it. I've had friends/family say to me "I'm soooo glad we're way past that stage" when they see all the work I'm putting in to try and establish some sort of schedule or when they see how tired I look or how I can't do things because my babies are so clingy and needy. And when I say "do things" I'm talking about simple things like daily chores. Don't even get me started on that subject. I'll have to save that one for a future post. I'm trying to keep this post short and sweet but it's actually turning out to be a long one.
Anyway, I digress from the actual story I'm trying to tell.
Ok so back to when Ella was about 6 weeks old. I posted this photo to my personal Instagram account - which is private by the way and only friends and family can see it. It's a photo of me wearing Ella in a Baby K'tan. And my caption said something along the lines of "trying to put baby to sleep" while the photo showed me in the living room, standing (most likely bouncing) while watching TV. And one of my friends commented something like "ohhhh watch out, you're going to spoil her!"
That's it. That's all that was said.
And I. Just. Lost. It.
Not because I thought she was shaming me. Because she wasn't. She's not a judgy person at all. That's not even her personality or style. She said it jokingly and I do know that. But at the time, because I was still so new to this and experiencing all the highs and lows of this beautiful chaos, I totally took this comment out of context and just immediately felt like I was failing as a mom. Because that photo or caption did not capture the entire story behind it. No one knew that I had tried everything I could think of to get my baby to sleep without the help of me rocking her to sleep. Or nursing her to sleep. Or bouncing around the entire house to get to her to sleep. No one knew just how badly my baby would scream the minute I put her down and how stressful it was for me to hear her scream. And I'm talkin' bloody murder type screaming. There was no cute "quiet" kind of crying from this child in the first few weeks of her life. Nooooo, this child of mine screamed like she was dying. And I'm not exaggerating. My neighbors would actually come over to check on us sometimes because they could hear her. The only way I could get Ella to nap during the day or go to bed at night, was to hold her. So yeah I became this extremely sensitive human being and I questioned everything about my ability to care for this tiny creature because I felt like I couldn't do anything right. And then I'd hear comments like "my baby never cried that bad as a newborn" which then made me think that something was wrong with Ella.
Like I get that most of the comments I've read or heard in person weren't meant to offend me. But there are still the ones that comment with the purpose of making you feel like sh*t because those type of people don't care if they hurt your feelings. Trust me, I've had my share. But when you're a brand new mom that has never been through a life changing event that drastic, it can really mess you up.
Me? I was a hot mess. I was alone (at least it felt that way). And then after that I kind of limited what I shared on social media because I put so much pressure on myself to be that perfect mom that society expects us to be - and for every mom, the definition of a perfect mom is different. I know there are many new moms out there that feel this same exact way but don't want to share their stories because they fear that someone might shame them or make them feel guilty. We torture ourselves by comparing ourselves and our babies to others. We look at photos on Instagram of Facebook and take it for what it looks like and don't know the whole story behind that perfect picture. When we see others parenting differently from how we think parenting should be, we either judge or we try to do it that way too and see if we get good results. Social media just makes it so easy to get caught up in all of that when we're feeling like we have no idea what we're doing.
So I'm hoping if I share my stories that others will want to, too. It always feels good to talk it out. And I have a lot of stories to share with you. 3 whole years worth. I may not have a lot of experience under my belt just yet but it's definitely been quite a journey for me.
If you have any stories you'd like to share, shoot me a comment and let's talk about it like real life girlfriends do!