By Alisa Gonzalez
The immediate moments after having a baby are some of the most blissful minutes. Then those quickly turn to days, that turn to weeks, that turn to months, and in perfect succession, your life and routine begins to happen all around you.
Once your little bundle of joy enters the world, you, as their mom, take a backseat to your former life. Rightfully so, I mean here you have this little helpless infant that cannot walk, or talk, or hold its head up, or feed itself, so yes, you come second to that. You have to teach and provide all of that for them, right? Right.
And as a mom, you’re also now expected to go back to your life while also caring for this brand new one.
We are the ones that do most of the work. I think it takes the same endurance to grow a baby as it does to run a triathlon. Your body is doing some amazing things. After your little babe comes – you, body and mind, do not just go back to the way it was pre-kids.
The worst part is that people just don’t talk about it. So, what happens? Well, my experience is surprisingly similar to a lot of others. The moments after my youngest child came from my body, I was exhausted. It had been three long days of slow induced labor until finally, at 6 A.M., on a Sunday, my baby was born. I was elated and so tired. As much as I wanted to be more excited than exhausted, I wasn’t.
I was just so tired.
All I wanted to do was sleep. I felt so guilty, and because of that, I refused to let the nurse know just how tired I was. So, I dealt with it alone. Because that’s what we do.
Sometimes I think I sound militant when I express my belief that a woman’s place is at home. People believe that a woman can do anything a man can do, but that’s just not true. Now, before I go into why I feel this way, I want you to know that I’m not a traditional woman. I’m not stupid or controlled. I’m not even married, but I have been a mom for most of my life.
I’m a regular person. I love my partner, and my three children are everything to me. But it’s more than just that. It’s more than them being everything. I raise my kids with the idea that they are the people that will run the world one day.
I’ve always thought that when you have children, you’re meant to raise them, as their mom, and not even in a Donna Reed oppressive way. I mean in an I’m so proud of my kids and who they are in this world – kind of way.
Their core beliefs are also mine.
People are always talking about “me” time, “self-care”, or time away. But the reality is when you’re a new mom, the chances that you actually consider time away from your newborn are slim to none. Why? Well, it’s simple. You just grew this little person inside of you for nearly a year. Your baby isn’t the only one who suffers from separation anxiety.
On top of it all mentally, your body is going through so much too. Your body has its own natural responses to this new normal. While being away from your baby, you can sometimes experience milk leakage or a sudden burst of tears in the middle of a romantic dinner with dad. And these things and feelings can come down the road too – like a year or more postpartum.
And it’s okay.
Your baby needs you, and you need your baby. The emotional connection is just as important as the physical connection for you and for them. And then there’s going back to work if you do. I don’t think a mother should return to her job until her children are in school, and even then I think it’s extremely important that you are there to pick them up from school, help them with their homework, feed them, make dinner, and do bedtime. You need to be a constant they can always depend on.
Things are not the same as they used to be.
I understand the importance of self-care, but I think child-care is more important. We can make the time that they don’t. They can’t initiate that gym membership or walk themselves outside for some sun. At least for a little while, we need to be their everything. And that can cause some resentment and pain.
For some, it’s a sadness. It’s a feeling that you’re giving them everything and you are left feeling empty. And that’s valid because you are. You’re giving everything you are, everything you have, to make sure that your kids have and can do everything to be a good human.
Maybe some moms don’t see it this way. It’s really hard to get away from the idea that it isn’t about just you anymore. Not me though. I have been a mother for most of my life. My first was born when I was 21 and my third when I was 37. My children’s behavior, how they’re disciplined, their core beliefs, and knowledge of this world, is completely up to me and my partner.
And even when you’re exhausted you should know, you’ve got this.