When I got Casey’s story, I related to everything!! I too went through labor a little over a year ago, and life has changed in a flash. Casey tells her story of the up’s and down’s of the first year of motherhood. She is so relatable and most of us will have a part of our heart where the first weeks and days are cemented in our head. Read Casey’s story in her words, of how the joys of motherhood are brought on by the joys of labor pains!!
29 hours of labor, 6 hours in “active labor,” sweat, throw up, a few laughs here and there, four letter words spilling out of my mouth, breathing like it was my job, my husband rubbing my back, my face buried in my hands as I am bent over looking at my mom and saying “I don’t know how you f*cking did this three times!” Oh yeah and no epidural. Let me just say, I totally understand why women get epidurals now! At that point, I had no idea that the labor would be the easiest part (and it was far from easy). I know this sounds crazy, but let me explain. The reason I say the labor was the easiest part is because there was a beginning, middle, and end. I had a goal to achieve. I knew the pain would be over at some point…little did I know that everything was going to get even harder!
We left the hospital two days later and I remember being in the backseat with this new, precious life, my husband driving us home, and all I could think about was how we were now responsible for this little guy… how did they let us leave the hospital?! As we drove home, I was overwhelmed by the world around us, people everywhere, cars honking at one another, the noise was constant and all I wanted to do was take this baby home and keep him safe.
My husband was able to take a week off from work and stay home with us. That week was so special. He would help out during the night, we both did diaper duty, we all took naps together, we got to know this beautiful baby boy together, it was a very special time. After that week, my husband had to go back to work. Fortunately (great healthcare and I can stay at home) and unfortunately (long hours at work), he doesn’t have a 9-5 job; his hours are inconsistent and very demanding. He usually leaves the house between 6 and 7 am and could get home one day at 6pm or he could get home at 1am, and we never know until that day.
So now it was just the two of us for most of the day, me and my son, trying to figure out this crazy, new world. Like I said, I found the beginning of our new life to be incredibly difficult. Not only did I feel alone, but I felt like I had NO clue what to do! Before I had my son, I taught 5th grade… give me a prepubescent 10 year old and I know what to do, but with this newborn baby, I felt like I didn’t even know where to begin. I most definitely had a case of the baby blues, breastfeeding was hard, my milk production in the beginning was lower than I thought and my son would just cry and I didn’t know why. In a sleep-deprived state of worry I kept looking to a plethora of books to tell me what to do and I never found “the right answer.” My husband kept telling me that I was already equipped with everything I needed to be a good mom ( I tried to prove him wrong a few times). I didn’t believe him initially. After a while, I quit reading all of those books that would supposedly tell me the “correct” thing to do. I stopped worrying that I “had to do it right,” and the educator in me reminded me that every child is different and that there isn’t one “right” way that fits for everyone. Of course that realization didn’t happen overnight (that would have been too easy) it took me a couple of months to realize this.
Fast forward to the present day, my son is about to be a year old and I am constantly humbled by how beautiful and challenging and special this whole being a mom thing is. Don’t get me wrong, it still can be hard as sh*t and there are days where I entertain the idea of day drinking, but seriously, I feel beyond grateful to be the woman that this little man looks up to. I am his mom, I have been there day in and day out for this little guy, we have had to figure it all out together and I know that someday, that hard work is going to pay off.
What is something nobody told you about your first year of motherhood?
Oh man, where do I begin! There are the little things that no one tells you about, like you might shake after giving birth or that you have a mucus plug that’s most definitely going to come out! Overall, I feel like people hinted to me that it would be hard in the beginning, but nobody told me HOW HARD it would be. Nobody said that your emotions are all over the place in the beginning. That feeling sad and overwhelmed and depressed for a little bit is normal, it’s ok to feel that way and that nothing is wrong with you for feeling that.
How have you changed as a person, now that you are a mother?
Wow, I think I am still figuring that out. First of all, being a mom is teaching me to realize that I am not in control. I also feel that being a mom puts every part of my being under a microscope and makes me really reflect on the things I do, how I think, how I problem solve, how I handle situations and it makes me ask myself, “is there another way to approach this that helps my family more?” Being a mom is also teaching me to slow down, not only for my son, but for myself included.
Be kind to yourself and know that it is going to be ok. You don’t always have to feel like this is the best thing ever…..because sometimes it’s really just hard and that’s ok too. Also, it gets really fun to watch this little person develop into someone with a personality. Like, I said, the beginning was hard for me, but it got a lot better, we got into our groove and it is an amazing thing to be a part of now.
Do you miss being pregnant, if yes what do you miss? And if no what do you not miss?
I really enjoyed being pregnant, the whole process was so special and so humbling. The first trimester was not fun, I was throwing up my breakfast every morning like clockwork, but after that, I felt great! I did love having a big belly but I don’t “miss” being pregnant because it’s much more fun to have this little person in the world now.
What do you feel like you don’t do enough of during the day?
I most definitely don’t do enough for myself. Trying to find that balance of taking care of my son, getting things done around the house and taking care of myself has been challenging for me.
Now that you have told the Mother Effin Truth, who do you want to nominate to tell their story as a mother? And why? I would love to nominate Sybil Azur. She is a beautiful woman inside and out who is not afraid to be honest about what life is like being a mom. She has two beautiful children and she has been a great friend and a supportive mama to me!