Our precious boys...

Our precious boys...

Saturday, December 11, 2010

NEW MOMMY FUNK

Being a new mommy is everything I had hoped it would be. I have never felt so fulfilled in my life. Everything is absolutely perfect. Ha! Yeah, right! I’m pretty sure anyone who truly believes motherhood is 100% perfect is in denial…

First, I must admit that I am proud of myself. Why? Because I'm truly in awe of how far I have come along in these first three months of not only being a brand new mom, but a mother of multiples! If you would have told me what life would be like at the current time during our first week at home after the hospital, I wouldn't have believed it for a second…

Let me preface by saying that after writing this and right before posting it, I thought I should just destroy this post. Who would want to remember these feelings I was writing about? But after I thought about it – I realized that these were my real feelings that should be shared. And even though I wish I never had to have felt them, I know that by me writing these and sharing them – someone else will read and perhaps think, “Hey – that’s what I’m feeling and/or felt and I wasn’t the only one!” I’m sure many others have felt this way and are just too afraid to share it.(Or maybe I am the only crazy one! HA!)

After all, my whole purpose for starting this blog was to share my experience with others, so someone may find comfort in it if they were going through the similar things. So, why stop now!? I’m the type of person who isn’t afraid to admit her weaknesses, especially in hopes of hopefully helping someone else to cope! Even though I’m proud of myself for making it through these tough feelings, I know that this isn’t about me. This blog is about helping others and that is what I will continue to do! I don’t want to sound ungrateful, especially given what we went through to become parents. And I’m not. Trust me, I’m not!

So, here is what I have to say about those first three months of being a brand new mommy with twins…which is about how long it took me to get out of what I will call my “new mommy funk!”…

I felt like I had a lot of "strikes against" me. But I will prevail!

STRIKE 1: Premature babies. (Not sure I was emotionally prepared for them to come one month early.)

There I was. I had just delivered two baby boys via c-section one month before their due date. It was as if they were ripped right out of me without my approval. The hospital was a blur. And then what? I was supposed to bring these babies home and devote my life 100% to them. It is a hard adjustment going from years and years of just caring for myself to suddenly having 2 precious little lives 100% dependent upon ME. Honestly, it was really scary. Everyone really trusts me to know what to do and how to take care of these precious little things? What? How could the hospital just let us go home!? We didn’t really feel prepared. (But I’m told no one really ever does.)

STRIKE 2: I had two whole years of full freedom not working.

At first I felt like I had lost my independence. I was so used to being on my own, doing whatever I wanted, basically whenever I wanted. I set my own schedule and suddenly it was being set for me by two little babes needing to eat every 2 hours. How could such tiny little things take so much work, 24 hours a day? Would I ever get a break? I wasn’t getting much of anything done (besides taking care of the babies) and I’m the kind of person who likes to get things done promptly. I’m very organized and all I felt was chaos. Everything was so out of control and that was so unnerving for me. I like to get things accomplished and move on to the next. But those other things weren’t getting accomplished and my list of “to do’s” just kept getting longer and longer. People have told me to “let go” of things, and I slowly am learning. So, like I said, it was and still is an adjustment. One that I’m sure will take a while to get used to!

STRIKE 3: Infertility (For those who have gone through infertility treatments and get pregnant with multiples, there is a 75% chance that the mothers will have postpartum depression.)

So...after over three years of trying to have a baby, you’d think everything would be perfect, since our dreams had finally come true and the babies had arrived. But it wasn’t and that was a hard thing to feel. I felt guilty and ungrateful. I was feeling all the things I swore I'd never feel due to our struggles with infertility. I felt like a horrible person. It was hard to wrap my mind around the fact that we were so very grateful for this miracle we had prayed years for - yet now that the time was here, at times, I wanted to go back. I wanted my old life back, my old body, and my freedom back!! For a while, I felt that I was going through a mourning phase for the life Nick and I shared together, just us alone. I was so used to that life for over six years. So that change with the babies now here (for the good, I know), would take some getting used to.

While I was pregnant, I had read that for those who have gone through infertility treatments and get pregnant with multiples, there is a 75% chance that the mothers will have postpartum depression. I told myself that wouldn’t be me, as I didn’t have any wild expectations. I already knew ahead of time that multiples were going to be hard! I thought if I told myself it was going to be crazy hard, anything else would seem easier. But I think I was wrong. After the first weeks after the babies were here, I finally realized why those statistics are so high. It’s because IT IS SO UNBELIEVABLY HARD! When those who try and wait so long for a baby, find out that it isn’t picture perfect, they want to go back in time, and feel oh so guilty. And that guilt for something you’ve waited so long for is very disturbing. You feel horrible for feeling that way (which I’m told is how all new mothers feel to some extent).

STRIKE 4: Depressing Weather

Did I have postpartum depression? I’m not really sure. Maybe. The symptoms of that are things such as: insomnia, lack of appetite, mood swings, crying, anxiety, thoughts of harming yourself or your baby, etc. I didn’t have those symptoms except for crying and anxiety. But who wouldn’t experience that after having a baby, right!? And especially two!

I know I definitely had what they call the “baby blues.” It usually lasts just a few weeks, but I think mine lasted a while longer. (Therefore I am self diagnosing myself with “baby blues that lasted longer than the usual two weeks”!)The week we came home from the hospital there was major flooding in our town and that didn’t help put me in a good mood. Seeing rain and no sun for days was depressing. And yes, I was extremely anxious. My whole world was totally different and I feared being alone with two babies for the rest of my life! I didn’t want to do anything wrong as a mother, so I put unrealistic expectations on myself. Looking back, I now know I was thinking too much of the whole picture, instead of living and surviving one day at a time.

STRIKE 5: Cesarian = Major Surgery

Recovering from a major surgery is difficult. And recovering from a major surgery after having a baby and trying to care for that baby is extremely difficult. And then multiply that times two for two babies. I couldn’t do much and had to fully rely on others, which was rough for me. There was laundry to do, thank you’s to write, meals to make, etc. I’m a clean freak and the house was total mess. I honestly thought that I would never have time to make a meal again, yet alone even have the time to eat it! I was a wreck! Not to mention the many many visitors who were always flowing in and out of the door. I was thankful for the love, but it was much too overwhelming for me. I was stressed beyond belief and not getting any rest.

STRIKE 6: Not one but TWO babies!

I often thought about how I needed to write and journal for my blog and get it updated before I forgot all the memories and emotions of what I had been going through with the birth of the babies! But there was just no time to even think about it, yet alone time to type it out. Those first weeks at home I obviously wasn’t thinking clearly. But to my defense, the schedule was insane. It was feed, feed, feed the babies every two hours so they would gain weight. And as I’ve mentioned before, I breastfeed each baby separately and then we had to supplement with the bottle after each nursing session because of their extreme weight loss in the hospital. Needless to say, I felt like I was feeding them all day long. Between that we had to remember when was the next time for me to take my different medications at varying times. And to make sure I was taking the correct dosages of drugs together, but at the same time trying to slowly wean off of them so I wouldn’t become addicted. Between trying to recover from surgery and breast feed two babies, there wasn’t time for anything else!

STRIKE 7: OCD (I like things calm and everything was frantic!)

Like I mentioned, I’m a very organized person and like to plan and be prepared. The c-section delivery happened so fast and that threw my world upside down. I felt gypped because I didn’t get to bond with the babies right away as they were brought to the nursery for hours. I didn’t get to have that one-on-one skin-to-skin “kangaroo care” contact that everyone preaches is so important and vital for mom and babies immediately upon birth. I didn’t even feel like I got to bond with the babies in the hospital because it was so busy with their feeding schedule and with the tons of visitors we received. (Don’t get me wrong, we were thankful for the wonderful visitors, but ultimately I think it was too much for us. It was nonstop and we should have been relaxing and bonding more as a family.)

I also felt as if I was neglecting people and that hurt me. I’ve always been the one to support others and now I had no time at all. It especially hurt me when I thought about my two nieces. They’d come over to visit and all I could do was take care of the babies. I didn’t have any time or energy to play with my nieces. It just broke my heart. My sister told me that my three year old niece, Cora, was crying saying, “I want Amy.” My sister told Cora that I missed her. Then Cora called me, crying on the phone and asked, “Why do you miss me?” It broke my heart. She’ll never know how much I truly missed her…my little “Monster Coco”! But Nick reminded me that someday I’d have time again to support others more like I had in the past, but for now – I have to accept their help and support!

In the first month after the twins were born, more than one person asked me, "Can you even imagine your life before the twins?" I knew they were expecting me to say, "NO!" But I replied, "Yes, yes, I really can!" Because yes, I definitely could! I imagined my old laid back life, wearing clothes without poop, pee or spit up all over them, and a full nights sleep! I realize now that any dramatic life changing event mixed with extreme sleep deprivation will make you feel a little out of it! And that's okay, you just need to keep moving forward...taking each day one day at a time!

It wasn’t until almost a month after the babies were born that I realized a lot of my pain was because I ultimately blamed myself thinking I was a bad mother already. I blamed myself for not being able to carry the babies until full term. Therefore, I blamed myself for them losing weight in the hospital and getting sick. And then at home, I blamed myself for deciding to stop breastfeeding. I felt selfish and unworthy. After I realized that I was blaming myself, I felt relieved and came to the conclusion that what I was feeling was normal and okay and that I am a good mother because I do care so much. I couldn’t control not carrying the babies until full term, I couldn’t control or know how much they were eating (hence them getting sick), and I didn’t have to feel bad for stopping breastfeeding. This relief was such a blessing. It helped me move forward.

Looking back now, I realize I should have also stopped my outside commitments in order to full focus on myself, Nick, and the babies for those first few precious months. I think things may have looked a lot saner if I didn't have all those outside factors weighing on my mind and pressing on my time, when I should have been bonding with the twins. I should have completely temporarily halted my craft business and not accepted custom orders.How I found time to make a few things and get them shipped out at that point is beyond me! I should have not worried about making it to bible study or getting the baby thank you's written in a timely manner (I mean, hello, I think people will understand if they are a little belated when you are dealing with a new baby...or two!). I should have designated my church commitments to someone else for the time being (Faith Walk meetings and events, New Membership Board and taking new member photos, Wedding Coordinator, etc.) And last but not least, I should have not worried about keeping my blog up to date. Shoulda, coulda, woulda...I know. Next time will be different. I'm older and wiser now. :)

So, now almost 12 weeks after the babies were born, I am finally feeling like myself again. My hormones are finally back to normal. (I hope!) I’m proud of myself for taking two babies out and about by myself, being able to feed two babies at the same time, and surviving every day. Life is easier, I feel comfortable with the babies, and I am happy. I've learned a lot about myself and I've learned I'm stronger than I thought. Motherhood is about learning as you go. And boy, oh boy (times two!) I am learning more than I ever imagined. I am a mother and I love my little crazy babies. I’m choosing joy amongst the chaos. And I know I will make it through this!