Written by Sandra Askey
From the moment I saw those pink lines, I was amazed at all of the wonder involved in starting a family. I couldn’t wait to watch my belly grow and to decorate the nursery. Then I threw up and kept throwing up. 16 weeks. Still throwing up. 30 weeks. STILL throwing up. 40 weeks. STILL throwing the eff UP.
Why? Why did I end up like this? Why can’t I be the happy pregnant lady who glows and decorates her bump for Halloween and eats pickles and ice cream at 3 am because cravings…but no. That’s when the depression set in but I didn’t yet realize it.
Then he was born. And embarrassingly enough to admit, my first thought was “Finally, I have my body back.” But I didn’t. Breastfeeding was the worst experience. He couldn’t latch due to an undiagnosed tongue and lip tie that went undiagnosed for the next three months-three months of HELL.
Again, why? I felt so alone. I felt like a failure. But everyone kept telling me I was doing great and I was wonderful. I’ll never forget feeling so unworthy of those comments.
Fast forward to month four. The tongue tie was addressed and fixed, but my husband’s job relocated him. So we moved with a four-month old. This new job gave me the blessing of being able to be a stay at home mom. But again, I was failing.
He’s not sleeping through the night. The house is a wreck. And I can’t bring my self to shower more than once a week.Every night I would cry and wonder, “Why did I do this? Why did I have a kid? What is so wrong with me that I got a kid who couldn’t breastfeed and won’t sleep?” And to top it off, I’m supposed to still want to “date” my husband when I can’t even look in the mirror.
I wrestled with so many awful thoughts. I would look at my baby and cry. I can’t be what he needs but there was no one else. Just me and my baby all day while my husband worked. And all night while he didn’t sleep.
One night I finally broke down. From exhaustion, stress, (wine)…my husband just held me.
Once the sobbing stopped, we began talking about every (horrible) thing I had been holding in. He broke down. He couldn’t believe I had been holding this in. Because to everyone else, even him, I was rocking it.
Slowly, with his help, prayer, and finally reaching out to other moms to hear their stories, I begain to heal. I’m learning how to ask for help. And I’m learning to leave the kitchen a wreck and just sleep when I can. But most importantly, I’m learning that it’s okay to not be okay.
So what if my life isn’t always instagram worthy? I. Am. Worthy.
If I could tell any first time mom anything, I would say this: “Don’t waste your time pretending you have everything under control. Get help as soon as you feel you need it so you can be fully present. My baby is almost eight months old now (and still not sleeping through the night), but I would give anything to go back to those newborn days and fully soak them in. I will always have a pain in my heart for my first baby and those dark days. But he has such a better mom now and I pray I continue to be bold in the face of darkness.