It’s been a whole month, I know.
July has always been my favorite month – it’s my birth month, and it always feels like summer is never going to end. I had family stay with me for 2 weeks, and in between that and my client work, there wasn’t too much time to write! I’ll admit that I’ve tried so hard to stick to an editorial calendar, or even batch blog, but with this blog, for some reason, I can only write while I’m in my creative flow.
The other thing is that the reality of my new life is really starting to sink in, and while I’m in love with motherhood and all that comes with it, I’m not weathering the changes as well as I initially was. And because I’ve never shied away from talking about any of this, here are some of the challenges I’ve been facing lately:
Motherhood has expanded my emotions: it has opened up a room in my heart I didn’t know was there. And this room has elevated my highest highs and uncovered my lowest lows. As if I wasn’t an emotional person before, now my emotions are my emotions on speed. Everything gets me. I’m crying at the thought of a sad commercial now. And with that, when I feel less-than or have mom guilt I feel truly devastated by it. When I mess something up, it feels like a career-ending failure I can never overcome. When Ivy cries it feels like a knife to the heart. Every day is a struggle and a battle, and some days are way better than others. The hardest part for me is when it’s a bad day it feels like a bad week – hours are longer, and the depression is physical to the point where I make myself sick.
I had never truly had a panic attack before becoming a mother. My first was triggered by a health scare (that luckily turned out to be nothing). I felt my rib cage tightening and squeezing my lungs out. I felt my bones all of a sudden become too small for my body. My throat closed up and my eyes lost focus. I never felt the threat of a looming anxiety attack before, but now that I’ve experienced it I understand how terrifying it is. I also understand why some people do everything they can to avoid that feeling again. Some days I have to work really hard to leave the house. It’s hard because I never know when something will trigger me again, and having this heightened emotion is a scary new reality that I’m trying to overcome.
It’s nothing you haven’t heard before: becoming a mother changes everything, especially your body. I am fat. I am bigger than I have ever been. I have about 20 pounds to lose before I even get to where I was when I was my fattest. It’s hard because I still feel like pre-pregnancy best-shape-of-my-life sweating-for-the-wedding me, but when I look in the mirror it is a very different story. I know I’m more than my body, but some days it is hard to find self-worth when every recent picture or pass by the mirror serves as a reminder that I’m not who I used to be.
I don’t exactly have a bald spot, but I was NOT expecting the intense amount of hair loss. I knew I would lose some volume, but I feel like I’ve lost 50% of the hair on my head. I’ve always been the girl known for my long, healthy hair. So this is a shock to my core and has gutted me like nothing else – not having my hair to be my saving grace has altered my self-esteem in a way I didn’t think possible.
Someone told me before I gave birth that motherhood is like touching the other side of the universe: you get to play a part in creation. I’ll never forget hearing these words because they inspired so much emotion in me, and when I’m feeling nostalgic for my maidenhood I’m reminded of all the joys and all the growth motherhood has already brought me.
These issues are not fun, and my postpartum reality will take a long time to get used to. I’m happy to say that during each episode I am supported by my husband and by my family and friends. My new normal is a tricky one, but I’m blessed to have it and even on my hardest days, wouldn’t trade it for the world.