Note: So, while this website is mostly for my professional work, I wanted to share this note below, because I am working on a documentary about the postpartum season, and this confession fits that purpose so well. So while it’s not the traditional content for a writer/director’s website, I hope you’ll understand.
I just got out of a shower at 3:30 am where I had a good cry. I am 4.5 weeks postpartum with my son and I can’t sleep.
Why was I crying? Lots of reasons.
I was crying because I am still carrying baby weight.
I was crying because I can’t get back to sleep.
I was crying because somebody said something mean-ish to me on an online mommy forum.
I was crying because my baby still fights latching on and I can’t figure out why.
I was crying because I feel like I am failing my little girl.
I was crying because I feel like I am failing myself.
Some are silly reasons. Some are not so silly.
I’m writing and publishing this post because I need to remember what it can feel like at 4.5 weeks postpartum. And I need you to know what 4.5 weeks postpartum can feel like.
I cognitively know that I will make it through these trying first few weeks and first few months, and I will get fit again, and I will sleep again, and it doesn’t matter what someone I don’t know said in a forum, and my baby is going to love nursing and chill out eventually, and I haven’t actually failed my little girl, and she still loves me, and I have lots to be proud of and lots more still to accomplish.
I cognitively know these things.
But at 3:30 am, when your baby fights to latch, and you’re exhausted, and you know it’s going to be hours before you sleep again, and because of that you’ll be a lazy mama to your beautiful toddler the next day instead of a engaged, involved mama like you envisioned yourself to be, it’s hard to stay positive. And so you look for a good place to cry. And because you stink (since you haven’t showered in a day and a half), the shower seems like a good a place as any. And I didn’t wake anyone up.
I’m not publishing this for pity (although I will take a bit of grace), and I want you to know, people have brought food and checked in on me. I have support.
I’m publishing this because the postpartum experience needs to be shared, not private.
This shit is hard.
My mother always remembers how with each new baby, her mother had a girl from their small farming community who came in to help. I had my mother here for three weeks, and then my mother-in-law and father-in-law for another week after that. And on the day after they left, meals from our friends began. Some via delivery, some brought with a welcome visit. Both are awesome.
So, there it is.
I am usually a confident, outspoken, organized leader. Accomplished. But when I am in the depths of the postpartum season, I feel like a slob. Like a blob of lazy. Like it was a mistake that I have these two children and what was He thinking giving them to me.
It can happen to anyone. It doesn’t matter what her prenatal self was like. The postpartum season can be confidence-shattering. And it takes time to rebuild.
And sometimes rebuilding involves a good cry in the shower.