4/6/11

A New Normal

I feel like nobody properly warned me for the emotions I would experience after giving birth and bringing home my new baby.

I'm not talking about the "oh my gosh I love this baby so much" kind of emotions. Everybody talks about those and seems to assume that every woman feels like that way when they get home from the hospital.

Not always true.

I'm talking about the "What the heck have I done? When will my life feel normal again? Who is this little gremlin that I'm responsible for?" kind of emotions.

Now, during my research as a mother of a whole month I've realized 2 things:

1. Not every woman goes through the second set of emotions I listed
and
2. if you do experience these emotions, it is ok.

It took several conversations with other mommies who have experienced those same thoughts, and reading lots of articles online (you know the credible kind) to realize that I'm normal. Well at least in this matter I'm normal.

The first night we brought Eli home he cried every hour on the hour. We later figured out that he was probably cold that night, but at the time I had no idea what was wrong with this little creature.

Yes I carried him for 9 + months in my belly but that doesn't at all mean that I knew him. He was a stranger in my room screaming and all I wanted to do was sleep.

I can remember sitting up in bed that first night, trying to get my child to nurse instead of scream, and looking over at my husband who was sleeping so soundly I could practically see the visions of sugarplums above his head, and I thought "what did we do?" "we just brought a child into this world and we KNOW NOTHING ABOUT HIM"

It was in that moment that I longed to feel normal again.

For 9 months all I talked about and thought about was this sweet baby growing in my belly. What he would look like, what our lives would be like when he came etc. etc. But I had no idea that my hormones would basically attack me and I would feel all of these raging emotions just a few short days after his arrival. THAT was not apart of my picture perfect plan!

One day while in the middle of my hormone-hell (as I like to call it) I ventured out to Old Navy to buy some transitional clothes (something to wear for the days that I am in between maternity and regular)

While shopping I ran into a friend. She was excited to see me out and about and said 'Hi! How are you doing?"

I immediately started crying these huge giant tears. In fact I didn't even know that my body was capable of producing such large tears. While crying in the middle of Old Navy sandwiched between those creepy mannequins that I'm always afraid will start talking, I told her that I just wanted to feel normal again.

I'm sure she immediately regretted asking her simple standard question of "how are you?"

But in those first few days all I could think was "I just want to be normal again"

And for the record the fact that I wanted to feel normal again had nothing to do with my love for my baby.

My love for him was unexplainable, but at the same time my whole life was now completely different and I was coming to terms with that.

At first it was scary for me to be feeling these emotions. I went through many moments of wondering if I was wrong or a bad mom for just wanting to feel normal again.

I didn't want to get rid of my baby, and I didn't want to re-write history but I did want to feel normal again.

Now I'm not sure when it happened, or how it happened, but slowly and surely things have started to feel normal again.

It seems like there was a time when hormone-hell subsided and things just started to click. It wasn't all at once, but there was a week where I could tell everyday I was feeling more like myself.

It was around the time that I wrote a post about having a growing love for Eli. Because that is how it happens. Every day I love him a little more. I can't explain it and I don't know how it happens or how I'm capable of loving him more but I do.

And not only do I love him a little more but I learn him more everyday. What his specific cry's or noises mean. What he looks like when he is fighting sleep. About what time he will wake up to eat. The moments when he's alert and the times when he just needs to sleep. I learn a little more about him each day.

I've only been a mom for a month, and maybe it seems a little premature to be talking about these emotions so soon, but I already feel like I'm on the other side of it. I now realize that in those first few days I just needed to relax and know that life would feel normal again.

I now truly see that those first few days were about survival. I was learning Eli and he was learning me. He was figuring out how to live outside of the womb for the first time and I was figuring out how to live with a baby for the first time. Complete survival mode.

Before Eli came Luke and I did all the grocery shopping together. Even though there were times when we would have a knock-down-drag-out in the middle of the cereal aisle I loved our time of grocery shopping together.

Yesterday, I got a call from Luke and he suggested to me that we go grocery shopping together that night. I was ecstatic. Well, maybe ecstatic is a big word to use for grocery shopping but I was happy.

So that evening we went grocery shopping. Me and Luke getting into a fight in the cereal aisle because the man takes 20 minutes to choose one cereal, while our sweet baby slept in his car seat in the cart right next to us. We have added a new member to our grocery shopping days. No, it's not the normal it was, but it's our new normal and I wouldn't change it for anything.

Goodbye hormone-hell. Please stay far away.

40 comments:

Staci said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
THE Stephanie said...

Megan, you're a great mom! It's tough to adjust, but you're getting the hang of it.

Now, next time post some pics of that sweet baby! LOL

Carolyn said...

I've never been a mom... I don't know what it's like. But from friends that have had children, I think this is COMPLETELY normal. Completely. I applaud your bravery for talking about it, and I know your little family will get back to "normal" soon. :)

Kodi said...

You did a great job of explaining this! I think it's different for every mom with every baby. When Manning was born I felt so disappointed and letdown, and then I felt guilty for feeling disappointed. With Deacon I've been more overwhelmed & wished I could just have a break. An uninterrupted nap etc. I think it's so great that you posted this. You could really help some moms.

Tiffany said...

I have been a "stalker" for a while now but I just wanted to tell you how I love your honesty!

I can in no way shape form or fashion relate to bringing home a new baby but I did feel that way when I got married and the next day had two step kids to raise! I've never been a mom but now had full custody/reasonability of not one but TWO! It's never the same normal.. but you find your way with the new normal you have.

You have a beautiful family.

Lindsay said...

I'm so glad you shared this! I appreciate all of the honesty I can get before I have a baby!

Miss E said...

What an amazingly honest and raw post. And as someone who will be delivering her first child in about a month, I'm so glad to read this and have a 'heads up' from another new mama. I loved the part about going to the grocery store as a family of 3. I'm glad you are settling into your new normal.

Thank you, thank you!

Happiness Is... said...

I totally went through this, too. For me, it hit twice (I pray this isn't the case for you). It happened once around the timeframe you describe (within the first month). There were moments where I had NO idea what Thatcher needed or wanted and I just wanted to say "stop crying!!!!!" And I wondered if we'd ever fall into a routine.

Then it happened again around 6 weeks, likely because Thatcher was having a growth spurt and JUST when we thought we had it all somewhat figured out (a few nights of 7 hours of sleep, etc), he started eating ALL the time and waking up 2-3 times a night. Add to that the fact that the husband was spending 4 nights away from home and I was panicking internally about whether I could possibly care for my son for 4 straight days with no break and you had a hormonal disaster.

However, I have to say that getting through the 4 days alone was empowering and liberating. I did it, I got through it and I know I am capable of taking care of him - we still have our moments, but I definitely went through this stuff, too.

Cindy said...

I love your honesty! I went through postpartum depression after my first, so my horomone hell lasted too long. I'm glad yours is gone! With my second baby the horomones were so much better. I think it varies with pregnancies.
I'm glad you are enjoying your new normal! It is the little things like grocery shopping that help at times, isn't it? :)

Mary @The Sweet Bookshelf said...

I've got a 9 wk old and when it started for me, my husband was sleeping soundly next to me while I held our screaming baby. I wanted to hurl my pillow at him. How could he possibly be sleeping?! Didn't he know I needed support? Didn't he know I haven't slept more than 3 hrs consecutively since his birth?!?! People sugar coat things, but I'm glad my 4 sisters told me how it was. I would be far worse off right now. I would still like some me time...I don't get that, and it makes me sad.

Annie said...

i sure have loved your posts over the past 4 weeks.
so informational for me and i'm sure many others.
i'm glad you 3 are getting into a new routine of normal. i imagine it will just keep getting better and better :)
have a great rest of your week hun!

Julie said...

Yes, these hormones are totally normal. It's the strangest feeling those first few weeks, you are so happy and so depressed at the same time. It's awful and wonderful all mixed up into one crazy feeling. Things WILL get back to "normal" eventually. For some it takes longer than others, and no two people are the same.

Congratulations on your little one, he is precious.

Lauren said...

I really appreciate women like you who are just honest. Yes, we know you love and adore your little boy, but it's not always easy and perfect. I'm not a mom but posts like this are realistic of things I should expect, and I like that.

Congrats on Eli, and may your new normal continue to be blessed :)

-Lauren
(my blog is private but if you want access, just email me though my profile!)

Kelly said...

THANK YOU for being honest! I am 14 days away from a c-section and every time I do something, I think "this is the last time I'm going to do this without a baby." I'm terrified...but excited. I assume that's normal and your blog post has brought me comfort! Thanks!

Melanee said...

girl, it is such a journey of emotions and it will continue to be for the rest of your life w/ your kiddos. but as you are seeing now, it is a journey well worth taking. eli will make you a better person. i'm sure you're doing awesome!

Charla Liedahl said...

Your honesty is refreshing. Thanks for being so transparent. I can completely relate as I went through the hormone hell with both of my babies. For me, it was very much tied to difficulty nursing (with my oldest son.) Nursing was FAR MORE difficult and painful than labor and delivery for me. I had no idea it could be the utter nightmare it was. When I decided that enough was enough and my baby would be just fine on formula so mnay of those emotions slipped away. With my second son, nursing was easier but I was COMPLETELY overwhelmed with being a mother to two little ones, having a husband who travels frequently and no nearby family. Thank God my Mom came and stayed for a month to help with the transition. Otherwise I may have ended up in the looney bin! ALl that to say...normal returns...but it's definitely a "new normal" that, over time, becomes a "better normal." Best wishes to you!

Perfectly Imperfect said...

Oh Megan.. I do love you!!

I actually talked about this a lot after having the little. I had NO idea how bad I would feel at times. I had no idea that I'd be like "what the heck did I do to my life?!?" on nights when she wouldn't stop screaming. in. my. face. But... it does stop. Eventually. I wrote about this yesterday; months 1-3 were awful where she screamed and I cried over how little I knew. Then it got better. Now she's one (sob!!) and it's a whole new set of tears. You are normal. This is normal. It's freaking hard. But you're a rock Mama. Email me if you ever need anything.. I'm here!

Heather Allen said...

I just laughed when I read this because I could have seriously written that post. Even though my son is adopted- I went through the same emotions. You bring this strange little person into your home and it is weird. A new normal will just click into place. It is good to know other moms go through this!

Stolen by Mullen said...

I remember thinking "HOLY COW she was easier inside my belly!" :) And, as for the love thing, I swear I love her more and more each day and I am somewhat scared that my heart will burst soon. The grow and change so much in the first few years that it just so exciting....but SOOOO difficult all at that same time.

Lauren said...

such a great post! hang in there. i have a 7 month old and love her more than life however the transition and learning - not to mention freakazoid hormones are hard. you will have highs and lows over the next few months and slowly but surely the new normal will find its place. praying for yall!

Danni said...

I've been following your blog for a while, and can totally relate, so I thought I'd comment! I had a baby boy 2 days before you and it has definitely been like being on a rollercoaster! I have had several of those "What have I done??" moments as well as being overwhelmed with love for my little one. I hear it keeps getting easier :) Thanks for your honesty!

Anonymous said...

With a two-week old wailing in the bedroom, and my sleep-deprived body tense and exhausted you have no idea how much I needed to read this. I'm following a number of blogs right now where the mothers have new babies, and everything seems so textbook perfect. Thanks for keeping it real and letting me know that I'm not the only one. I wish more people were open about how depressing, terrifying, and exhausting new motherhood can be.

Again, really appreciate this post. I needed it this morning!!!

Tricia said...

I don't have any kids, (yet - fingers crossed)but this was very refreshing and "real" to hear. You come across so many blogs that make each moment seem like a piece of heaven. And although it is magical and so happy, it is a rough start and one that takes some learning. So many emotions involved, etc. Thanks for sharing the "real" side of becoming parents. You are a great Mom!

Classy Fab Sarah said...

So glad you are finally feeling into the groove of your new life. Eli is absolutely precious!

Carrie said...

Thanks for the warning. I'm not close to having a kid but I love the insider tips. It's brave of you to write about how you're feeling and because you have so many followers I know you will be helping lots of women. Now when do we get more pictures of that cutie?

Dianna said...

I love this post! Thank you so much for being so honest and real with your readers. I am 26 weeks along in my first pregnancy and I can't help but wonder if I will deal with PPD. Your blog is just so refreshing and honest!

Ashley said...

I so appreciate this post and I can really relate to your feelings on this. Something that I found REALLY helped me during those first few months was just gettng out of the house once a day or every couple of days. Even if we just went to Target or the grocery store, it did a lot to help me feel like things would soon be "normal" again, even if it was going to be a new kind of normal. Also, gettin gup and showering every morning did WONDERS for me personally. It made me feel more productive, even if that ws the ONLY thing I did that day. Other than nursing, which we all know how much time that takes! It's mnore than a full time job :)

Kelly said...

Oh, Megan, you are not alone! Your situation sounds exactly like me only 6 months ago!!! I thought there was a mom conspiracy against telling other new moms the truth about life after baby! I would curse them through my mondo-tears and vow that I would never feel the same ever again!!!
However, there is HOPE!!! One, the Lord will not leave you or forsake you (thank goodness!!!) :D and, things start to turn around around 6 months. My sister had told me that, and I couldn't even imaging 6 months away, but now that Tucker is 7 months old, I can attest that things have gotten MUCH better! You feel more like yourself, and that little boy and you will have figured a lot of things out together!
YOU ARE A GREAT MOM!!!! Don't forget that!!! You are not going to mess him up, and you will return to "normal" eventually!!!

d.a.r. said...

I love you and I love this post. Seriously. Thank you so much for your honesty and for sharing your heart--if I go through this, it will be such a blessing to now that I am not alone!

Hope you are enjoying your new normal...grocery store spats and all :)

Kristen and Sebastian said...

I have never posted on your blog before but always read it. Thank you so much for posting this. I'm expecting my first baby in June and scared to death about everything you just spoke about. Thank you for talking about your challenges with being a new mom. You have no idea how much you have put me at ease.

Megan Myers said...

I'm glad you posted this. It seems like you never hear what a new mom really goes through. It's also nice to hear that I'm not the only one who feels as though I might get into a fight at the grocery store with the husband! Although, you seem a little more willing to take part in that chore. You are a great mother and Eli loves you very much! You're both new to this and you'll get the hang of it.

(This is also coming from a non-mother. I admire you for sharing your true feelings.)

A Nerd and A Free Spirit said...

Totally filing this away in my brain for when I pop out a kid someday. I have a feeling I will need this!!!

~Kathryn

The Blogivers said...

A blog friend of mine (Jenni from Story of My Life) just told me about your blog, specifically so I could read this post, and I'm so glad I did! My due date is 17 days away, and before I even found out I was pregnant, I was worrying that I would experience the emotions you have talked about and that I wouldn't be able to tell anyone - but reading your story makes me feel better already, so thank you so much for sharing! Consider me a new follower :) Looking forward to reading about your adventures as a new mom!

Becca said...

I know I've mentioned this a time or 29, but I love your honesty :-) thanks for sharing! And I think you're an amazing mom! ps - can you email me your address when you get a chance? I have a little something for Eli that I've been wanting to send, but I cant find your address back! my life is a little chaotic right now :-) sorry!

Heather said...

The hormone-hell is BRUTAL. I had it both times. The second time was better because at least (a) I knew what it was and (b) I knew it was temporary and would go away soon. That being said...it is real and it is terrible. I always tried to tell my husband..."It's like I know what I am feeling is not exactly RIGHT....but it's still what I am feeling and I can't make it go away." SO GLAD you are on the other side of it. Loved this post! Have a great day, Megan!

Jenny said...

Megan - I just discovered your blog recently and started following because I have a 6-week old daughter...so our babies are very close in age. I TOTALLY relate to the feelings that you described, and I am also beginning to feel like we are settling into a new normal. I went to get my hair done yesterday - and felt like a new person! I'm starting to adjust to our new routine and am feeling more confident about it.
I had to laugh when I read about your husband sleeping so soundly as you try to calm and feed a crying baby right next to him. My hubby is NOTORIOUS for beginning to SNORE as soon as I put my little one on the boob! DRIVES ME NUTS! :)
Glad you are feeling more like yourself - enjoy your sweet little guy!
~Jenny

Danielle said...

Megan, I lived this 11 months ago, almost to the day. The first few weeks I was in such a bad place emotionally. I for sure had PPD and remember being annoyed no one told me I would feel like that and it wouldn't be all lovey-dovey. Things do get better, which is sounds like you're realizing. :) Keep up the good work!

Waiting for Bulgaria said...

Preach it sister! I went through the very same thing. It was about 2 and 1/2 weeks after my son was born that I thought, "I've lost my mind. Whatever was I thinking?" At the same time it had nothing to do with my love for him, but I see now that it was truly about survival. When I told my mom how I felt, she just started laughing and so did my doctor and my mother-in-law. Apparently, it was very funny to all three of them. Then all three explained that they had gone through the same thing with all of their babies but it was the worst with the first (8 babies between the three of them). I immediately felt better, and it just got better from that point on. And once my hormones normalized I was like a whole new person.

Jessica @ Acting Adult said...

I think you're being very honest with yourself. Emotions are right, no matter what they are. I'm glad you feel like you're getting back to the new normal. It's a good thing!

jlc said...

Thank you for being so honest.... I really liked reading this post as so many mommies never tell it how it really is those first few days afterwards.... <3