Did you know that more babies are born in August than any other month of the year? It's true! Pairing the sunny month of August with World Breastfeeding Week, we thought this was a great time to highlight some amazing moms from our community who humbly opened up to share their journey to motherhood as well as the complicated experiences associated with the postpartum phase. We hope that you enjoy and laugh, cry, and experience all the emotions with each mama we highlight this month. Don't forget to keep scrolling and enter to win our postpartum giveaway below!
Postpartum Series 3: The First Five Days of Motherhood
When you’re pregnant for the first time, people have a lot of advice, opinions, and stories to tell. They instruct you how to do it “right.” They tell you to pass on the epidural and be sure to breastfeed. They tell you it will be love at first sight and how magical those first moments are going to be when they plop your new little bundle on your chest.
But what if those moments aren’t magical? What if things don’t go as you planned? What if your choices differ from the “right” choices?
I can tell you that my first five days of being a mom did not feel magical. In fact, those first five days threw me into the deep end of a pool filled with mom-guilt and began my spiral into postpartum depression. Let me tell you why.
I did take the epidural. Enter guilt and shame.
While there were many reasons I chose this path, one of the crown jewels was that my baby was 10lbs, 4oz. Let’s just say the moment didn’t feel as beautiful as my friends with 6 pound babies described it. 😳 And as for those first moments when they put my little big guy on my chest? I was trying to savor them, but honestly, my body was distracted by what it had just experienced and I didn’t get to enjoy the ‘love at first sight’ moment until a few hours later.
I didn’t breastfeed. Layer on guilt and shame.
This one is extra fun because it wasn’t as simple as choosing not to. (Although, I stand by the fact that it would have been more than ok even if it is simply a choice.) But in my situation, my body was literally incapable of the task. See, just over a year prior to the birth of my first son, I had a breast reduction. One of the potential side effects was that I may not be able to breastfeed–and that turned out to be exactly the case.
But you guys… I tried and I tried and I beat myself up for five days. I had lactation consultants constantly in and out of my room, insisting that it was going to work if I just kept trying. Even worse, when I would explain to them that a previous doctor had told me this might be the case, they would completely dismiss the conversation and again tell me to just keep trying.
For five days my baby cried. For five days I cried. For five days he was not getting enough food. For five days they didn’t want him to experience nipple confusion, so they had me feeding him formula out of a tiny little cup that I was supposed to pour into his mouth. (Good luck getting a newborn to participate well on that one.) For five days I felt like an absolute failure. I felt like someone who wasn’t strong enough to go med-free during the delivery and someone who was too defective to feed her child the natural way.
But on day five, in the middle of the night, during yet another cry fest (by both parties), my husband put a stop to the madness in a single moment that I’ll never forget. He looked at me so simply and said, “I’m going to go down to the kitchen and I’m going to make a bottle. And we are going to feed our baby. And this is going to stop.”
And I cried. This time not out of guilt and frustration, but out of pure relief. My husband saw me and gave me the permission slip I shouldn’t have needed to care for my son in the way that he needed.
And then we slept. Because for the first time in his life, my little guy had a full belly and was able to rest.
While I shouldn’t have to explain and defend my decisions, the reality is that moms feel like they have to. Perhaps if we continue shedding some light on the complexity that can exist behind a mom’s choices, we can all be reminded that you don’t often know the whole story. And that as long as a mother is able to show up for her baby with love, she’s doing it right.
Amy Husted is a boy mom of two and an entrepreneur whose expertise lies in bringing family technology products to market. In her free time, she enjoys trips to the beach, hosting events, and inspiring women to chase their dreams.
We have partnered with the mom-founded, daughter-run brand, Motherlove, which supports moms from bump to birth, breastfeeding, and baby. Motherlove uses the power of plants and herbs to create a more supported journey for expecting and new moms. Founded by an herbalist mother over three decades ago, our products have always been rooted in connecting motherhood to the wisdom and time-trusted herbs of Mother Earth.
Better breathing means better sleep
The Nozebot is a battery-powered suction device designed to clear nasal congestion in babies and children.