I adore my kids. I cherish them. In fact, I am completely obsessed with them. That does not mean I wasn't completely freaking miserable when they were born. Although I was grateful they were healthy little beautiful beings, that doesn't mean I have to pretend it was a pleasant experience. It doesn't make me a bad mom because I didn't find birthing my children enjoyable, and it doesn't make me any less happy that I have children.
Why am I telling you this? The reason is two-fold. First, it doesn't make you any less of a mother if you hate(d) being pregnant or had a bad birth experience. So lets all squash that notion immediately! The mom who had an all natural water birth and had a professional photographer there to catch the magic moment isn't a better mother for it. Talking about the birth like it was a day at Disneyland, doesn't either. Having an easy pregnancy doesn't make a person more suited toward parenting, or a "natural" born mother. Neither does having a high pain tolerance. Neither does forgoing an epidural to fully experience labor. You have nothing to prove to anyone. None of these things make a parent a good parent either. It's about keeping them safe, caring for their physical and mental health, showing them they are loved etc. So, when I tell you I did not in the least enjoy dealing with vomiting, heartburn, UTIs, back pain, insulin injections etc., that has nothing to do with loving my children. Likewise, not immediately forgetting that my body had just felt like it was being ripped apart from the outside the moment the baby was born, does not make me less of a mother.
Second, not telling new mothers about what to expect is a huge disservice. I thought I had done quite a bit of research regarding, "the things no one talks about" regarding birth and postpartum. I had seen the epidural needle and the catheter, shopped for aftercare products like witch hazel pads, and learned about postpartum bleeding. None of that could prepare me for what the reality of the experience is like. First, no one told me there were painful contractions after birth. No, looking at my baby didn't distract me from the pain of it either. And, it gets worse with each birth. And the nurse pressing on your stomach may be as bad as labor pains. Second, I was completely pissed off with how my stomach felt. I had read it will look/feel like when you are 6 months pregnant. WRONG. It felt like a deflated balloon with fat in it. Meanwhile, I was sharing a postpartum room with another bleeding mother who was also experiencing the stress of feeding a newborn. (I'm not even going to get into the breastfeeding topic today.) On top of all the physical pain (not just discomfort,) emotionally, you may not feel blissful. You may feel sad, cranky, or anything else. And, that's OK!
So, that is my self-care tip this week. If you have any feeling of inadequacy regarding pregnancy/birth, let them go. And, share this with a new mom!
And, while we are talking about self care, don't forget to do the Dragon Mama Self Care Check In.