I am here today to tell you about my experience transitioning into motherhood, but not the pretty and fulfilling part of it. I am here to tell you about the raw and ground-shaking transition, that turned my life upside down and made me feel things I had never experienced before and did not know how to deal with.
Before I had my first daughter, I had this idea in my head that parenthood would be a piece of cake, a white wall/perfectly-sleeping-baby/bounced-back-from-postpartum-in-a-week experience due mostly to the social media accounts I was following back then, which do not get me wrong… are beautiful and inspiring, and the women behind them are just like us, but I did not know that that would be so far from my reality.
The second factor that contributed to my idea of perfect parenthood was my own parents always handling parenthood like champions, it just seemed so effortless and natural for them, so of course I thought to myself: I’ve got this!
I finally had my first baby in August 2016. Everything was ready for her at home, clothes were washed, nursery set up, my mother was waiting for us at home with a delicious homemade meal prepared… it all looked so beautiful.
The first week was manageable: breastfeeding hurt but was established, sleep deprivation was not a big issue yet because my husband and I were so excited, and that little baby was just great. It was when my mother left back to her country, my husband went back to work, and I found myself alone. My 2 week old baby had severe colic, I was recovering from quite a traumatic delivery, and had zero confidence that I could take care of my own child.
The first 2 months were rocky to say the least. From waking up almost 10 times a night, to resenting my husband for not being on the same page with me (he just couldn’t connect with the baby, and was always too tired to help) I almost fell apart.
Truthfully, I was so in love with my daughter, she was absolutely perfect and my own to love, but for months I completely annulled myself in every possible way, and I still struggle with that. The mom guilt is so real and present every minute of everyday, and transitioning from an individual who used to be free to do whatever she wanted to be basically be in house arrest is so abrupt.
I didn’t shower for days straight because she did not want to be with my husband, and when she was fine and I could have a moment for myself, I felt guilty and stressed, not able to enjoy a simple shower or a sit down meal.
Then… My husband and I found ourselves expecting another baby, just like that. In the middle of this whole uncharted territory we would become parents to children 11 months apart. It’s so easy to be judged when something like that happens, but it does happen. It did happen.
We kept working on our marriage and on how to find balance between being parents and being a couple. We were either hugging and smiling at each other, or arguing and ignoring each other, there was no balance at all. I worried everyday that having another child would be the final straw and our marriage would fall apart, but we love each other very much and kept trying to make it work.
My second pregnancy was wonderful, and thankfully uneventful! The only thing that was very difficult was to chase down a crawling baby with a huge baby bump, but somehow I did it!
I feared that my first daughter would be jealous and hurt for suddenly having to share her parents, and I feared that my heart would not be able to love another baby the same way I loved her. As for husband… he was mentally preparing himself for the hardest time of his life.
On August 2017, my second daughter was born and she immediately took residence in my heart, so that fear flew out the window right away. My first daughter just ignored the newborn and kept behaving the same way she did before, win win! So we were left still working on our marriage.
Managing two was a challenge, but I can’t explain to you how we made it work. Our second baby was even more colicky than the first one and that lasted for 3 whole months. My first daughter wanted attention, so during the day I tried splitting my time evenly, sometimes succeeding, often failing, but somehow this time around my husband and I knew what to do. We knew how to handle the witching hour, the household chores, the crawling baby, and slowly things started looking up.
Some days were great, and happy. Some days were exhausting, and filled with arguments. While we were keeping up with what we needed to do with the babies, to me, he was never doing enough and I was overwhelmed. To him, He wanted moments with his wife, so we kept fighting.
3 months in, her colic was completely gone, and as parents we were working hard and gaining confidence to take care of our Irish Twins.
We finally had a breakthrough and talked for hours after letting resentment create a wedge between us for so long. We found within ourselves and in the girls the strength to fight for our family. We forgave each other, and promised to not forget that we are a couple, to devote time to our relationship and to communicate an issue before it fasters into resentment.
Where we are at? We’re at a good place. We are learning each day together how to parent and manage a house. We’re learning that bad days really do make you stronger, because they teach you and change you. Good days make you almost forget the hardships, and are so rewarding… I simply love them.
I, as an individual am trying to understand that I matter too. Sometimes I feel so lonely and isolated for having quit my job and given up my independence, but then I remember that it was the best choice for our family.
We are all in this together. All parents. There is no shame in the way you choose to educate or care for your children, and if your journey doesn’t seem perfect, it’s because it isn’t, but it is YOUR journey.
We are keeping it together because we are strong. We may fail at times, but we also succeed many many times. Our children don’t need us to be perfect, they need us to be present, to love them, and to do the best we can. #keepingittogether
This post is sponsored by @PlumOrganics, and their incredible #KeepingItTogether campaign, which encourages new parents, and lets us all know that we are all in this together!
Make sure to visit plumorganics.com/keepingittogether
“You Can Make It Through This In One Piece”
3 thoughts on “Keeping It Together: Transitioning Into Parenthood”
I am in tears reading this. We’re due in 3 months with baby 2 and I have all the same feels you mentioned, My marriage isn’t the best since our daughter was born and it’s scary to think what’ll happen when the new baby comes along. It’s nice knowing I’m not alone in this. Thank you for sharing! 💕
As being a new mom… this is such an encouraging post♡ thanks for sharing♡
Maya: I really appreciate your honesty around the challenges that you’ve experienced in moving from couple to family of 3, and then so quickly 4. There aren’t enough people out there willing to share the (normal) reality of what it means to start a family.
We (society) do a piss-poor job of preparing couples for parenthood.
We try to prepare you for parent-ING, but not your new reality and identity, parent-HOOD. I’ve been teaching Becoming Us classes in Portland, Oregon for the past year (to the day – April 2nd, 2017 was my first class!) I’ve been a Health Educator for the past 20 years preparing couples with realistic expectations about pregnancy and birth. Now through these Becoming Us classes, I can prepare couples with realistic expectations about parenting and the how it affects the couple relationship.
To date, 71 couples have come through these sessions with me to learn: how to baby-proof their relationship, how to welcome their new parent selves, how to adjust to their new normal, how to identify their primary emotions and discover what needs are not being met, and how to grow even closer through conflict.
When statistics show that 92% of couples report increased conflict after the birth of their first baby, the message needs to be: “Conflict and challenge is normal after a couples becomes a family. Here are the tools to help prepare you for those conflicts and challenges, and grow closer despite them.”
Open, honest sharing about the realities of these challenges is one very important way to normalize this for couples who are just getting ready to start a family. I appreciate your willingness to share in this way. Keep up the good work (I LOVE your pictures! They’re hysterical.)