^Snuggling Ryker at 2 weeks in the hospital^
I have been thinking about writing this post ever since I had my little boy two weeks ago. I usually try to stay positive on my blog and write about adventurous trips, funny stories, my latest pinterest undertaking or style segment. These are things that make me happy, that inspire creativity and share goodness. I started, deleted, and restarted this post but ultimately decided I would write this for me to remember to stay humble, grateful, and prayerful.
I don’t want to be a Debbie Downer but after the past four days, reality hit me hard and my anticipations of motherhood were hit even harder. Some people have amazing deliveries that go just like they planned and then sway into the role of a mom with effortless ease, baby in tow and wearing an outfit that makes Carrie Bradshaw jealous. I figured that would be me. I would pop a healthy baby out, go home 24 hours later and sure it would be exhausting, but I have done hard things before. I would take long walks around the park wearing my baby, life would be so easy with nothing to do but feed and play with him, heck, I probably would even be back in the gym after a few weeks feeling like my old self.
I honestly have no idea why I thought this would be my new mom life. It baffles me now as I write this: my labor didn’t go as planned, my perfect baby was coombs positive and jaundice, we had to stay at the hospital longer than anticipated, and then I got an infection that landed me back in the hospital for the past four days with enough drama, doctors and drugs to air my own personal episode of Grey’s Anatomy.
I am almost ashamed to admit it, but I told a few people before I had a baby that I think women like to talk about their labor and make it out to be so much worse than it really was, as if they want to play up the sympathy card of ‘my labor was worse than yours.’ I still believe it’s semi-true with ladies trying to one-up their friend’s birth story. However after experiencing birth, a part of me feels that they just want to be acknowledged for pretty much the hardest thing they will ever put their body through. Yes, you do deserve a medal for that 40 hour labor, emergency c-section, etc. etc.
Why do we set up these unrealistic expectations for ourselves? Is it because we hope for the best but really never plan for the worst? Are we in utter denial that things could possibly not go as we planned? Or during the age of keeping up with the Jones’ and a sparkly sugar coated social media wonderland are we guilty of trying to make our lives look perfectly placed without a care in the world?
I love social media. I love seeing my friend’s fun adventures and super artsy photos that inspire me to see the world through a different lens. I don’t want to scroll through my instagram and see how awful their day was but would it be so bad if every now and then we shared a small struggle and were able to come together to uplift one another and build a community based on more realistic possibilities…
I have several friends that have braved our rather judgmental world and opened up about their hardships. Eating disorders, high-risk pregnancies, infertility, depression and difficulty breastfeeding – these women inspire me with their bravery and I applaud them for their honesty. Especially when it comes to labor, I wish someone had sat me down and prepared me for a not so sparkly few weeks, a probability of not healing as quickly as I imagined, or that I would be so sleep deprived and hormonal that I wouldn’t remember when I had showered last. But let me also open up to you… as sad and scared and downright miserable I may have felt over the past two weeks I have also felt immense joy, peace, gratitude, and more love than I ever knew my body could hold. There are ups and downs and nine times out of ten you labor won’t go as planned but it will be worth it when you see that little face, feel their five fingers wrap around your one, see that first smile and smell their fresh skin. THIS TOO SHALL PASS. Having a baby truly does change everything and I would never go back.