It’s been three months now. Three whole months with a second child. I laugh a lot or cry depending on the day thinking, “I have two kids! It’s crazy.” The first time was really hard for me as far as acceptance and understanding of what it means to be a new mother.
Postpartum anxiety took over which led to depression which led me to not being able to breastfeed for more than six weeks. I know other mamas out there know and felt or feel that overwhelming, “I don’t think I can do this” type of anxiety. Well, that feeling sat with me for a long time after my first child. I honestly didn’t want another child. I couldn’t do it. I was just starting to get hold of myself with the help of prayer, lots of therapy and some medication sprinkled in there.
Welp, I had a little itch, but I wanted to adopt my second child, so I started researching this venture and while I was researching, God laughed and said, “Honey, you are already pregnant.”
I was nervous, happy, and scared. During the nine months of pregnancy, my father fell and was in the hospital for two months with a brain injury and my mother passed away. Conley came and it was the most beautiful experience, filling me with so many tears.
I came home from the hospital and felt this overwhelming feeling of love and this, “I’m a super mom” type of feeling. Then sleep deprivation kicked it. It kicked in hard. Around two months postpartum, I cried a lot, was overwhelmed and could feel many of those old emotions creeping back in. I knew I had to do something different because I didn’t want to feel the same again. It’s hard getting your life and yourself under control with only three consecutive hours of sleep. It makes you a different person. I knew I didn’t want to become a whole different person and I wanted to love myself and this journey and feed my child as long as possible.
I started going to therapy more and the thing I loved about it most was that every time I would put myself down, she would immediately say, “Tiffany, you don’t have time for those thoughts. They don’t deserve your energy right now.” It was so simple, but so true. I started practicing that and every time I would bash myself, I would literally say out loud, “Stop. I’m too tired for these thoughts and they don’t belong here.”
I still have a ton of work to do with this postpartum journey, but the difference this time around is that I want to do the work. I want to talk about this. I want to help other mamas that feel scared or lost or don’t know if they can do this.
My child is three months old now and my biggest accomplishment is not only keeping him alive but damn it, feeding him! Yes, fed is best! I know that, but I struggled so hard with anxiety with my first child that I couldn’t even feed in public or around anyone. I can now go to a restaurant, put my cover on and feed my child with confidence. That would have never happened the first time. I would have cried and wanted to go home.
I’m stronger this time in many ways, not perfect, but stronger in the sense that I have made it three months. It’s not that long, but to someone who had debilitating anxiety the first time around, this is huge. Little wins like this are what my best friend and I text each other about. Every day brings little wins of some kind and you have to celebrate them. It could be that you woke up five minutes earlier than normal and fed yourself before the kids ask for everything under the moon. That’s a win.
Also, this time around I’m open with my friends. I cry to them, laugh with them, and cry a little more. It’s amazing what can happen when you are open rather than pretending to be open. Ask for help. Ask for help. Ask for help. If you don’t get it from the people around you. Find new people.
I’m learning so much about my strength. I have gone through so much the last six months with family and a new baby and I’m still able to smile most days. We don’t give ourselves enough credit. As mothers, we are the harshest critics of ourselves. We do some amazing things and I wanted to share and celebrate my three months of postpartum because this time around, I have found a little more love for myself.