Life After Pregnancy: Why I Needed a Life RESET Button After Baby


Life Reset Button

Life After Pregnancy:

Why I Needed a Life RESET Button… 

I’ve been meaning to sit down and explain my erratic postings, or lack thereof between the New Year and the end of February. Believe it or not (you surely will believe it), this is my 5th attempt at writing this letter to my readers. I don’t know if I am actually doing this so much for my readers (no offense), but more or less as a way for me to hit the restart button on my own life. The past few weeks haven’t been easy and I really wanted to share my story (the abridged version as best as I can!). I did a lot of searching on the Internet to try and find the answers and reasons as to WHY I felt THIS way. When would it end? How could I help myself so it would stop? How did it to be this way and why wasn’t I all smiles?

As many of you know, I recently gave birth to my second child. After a torturous pregnancy that would make anyone say "I’m done having kids now!", I finally rounded third base and headed to home plate. My pregnancy was far from fun, but manageable. I wasn’t feeling great, but I was able to work and live my life. Most days were horrible, but I would still be able to pull myself off the couch and function. I pushed through the first 36 or so weeks and blogged full-time just as I had before. I did slow down a little bit, but nothing worth mentioning or noticeable to others.

What Matters Mom Quote Kids

I gave birth to my daughter on January 24th through a scheduled caesarean section. I was petrified beyond belief, which was obvious to all of those around me. My OB’s had actually tried to toss me into surgery several times during the 2-weeks prior to my scheduled date. That’s a story for another day (don’t worry – that story will be shared very soon!). Basically, I did all I could and filled myself with excuses because I was very stubborn and put my foot down with my doctors: I was NOT having a baby prior to January 24, 2013. That was THAT.

I remember laying in the preparation room prior to surgery and shaking – inside and out. I was sweating, laughing out of fear, and yelling in the next breath at anything I could get angry with (including the wall?). It was scary and I just wanted it all to end. I had voided the idea of a caesarean from my mind throughout the entire pregnancy, but it became very real as I lay in that hospital bed.

The pain was excrutiating for me while I was in the hospital, but literally vanished and became unnoticeable to me as I moved around the house. I literally came home from the hospital and started to clean the kitchen and living room an hour later. I sat on my couch and laid in my bed for 9-months. I was SICK of sitting around and the ability to bend, stretch, hop, and jump off of countertops — thrilling. I went from couch potato to cleaning freak within a matter of minutes and it felt amazing!

My first few days home were great! I was a bit tired, but otherwise my physical state was perfect and I was basically cleaning the house, playing with my son, and tending to my newborn with great enthusiasm. Mind you, I wasn’t exactly feeling well enough to sit down and work on my blog and other ventures. I was, but the motivation and drive that I was feeling was geared more towards remaining active and moving around. I was tired of SITTING, so cleaning was actually a great alternative (go figure).

That all changed just as my daughter was turning 1-week old. Her sleeping schedule wasn’t exactly perfect (waking up anywhere between 2:30-4am for a feeding). However, I was getting MORE than enough sleep since my 3.5-year-old son sleeps until 11am-12pm. My daughter was basically sleeping 22-23 hours a day (seriously), so I would wake up to feed her and get right back to sleeping. I was averaging about 9-10 hours of sleep – broken up sleep, but I WAS sleeping! 

My body went into shutdown mode and there was nothing I could do to change it. Vitamins, iron supplements for my anemia, coffee (and LOTS of it!), drinking plenty of water, eating a nutrition and well-balanced diet. I literally tried everything in the book and nothing made a difference. I could sit on the couch and pass out in a FLASH without even realizing I was falling asleep. Pulling myself out of it and trying to function so that I could work, clean, FUNCTION – impossible and difficult to manage. 

Tired Mom Parenting Exhaustion

I knew it wasn’t postpartum depression. Maybe it was a slight case of the baby blues, but I wasn’t unhappy. I was (and always have been!) a very happy person. Sure, I had raging hormones occasionally, but the only thing that was holding me back an upsetting me was my inability to work. I could literally stare at the TV with a blank, emotionless, tired, and bored face. I wasn’t bored. I wasn’t sad. I was just VERY tired and frustrated because I was tired.

Remember pulling an all-nighter in college and having that achey, foggy, unmotivated, scatter brain mentality the following day? I felt like that every single day and started to wonder if this was just how life was for mothers with more than one child. Going from one child into the world of a 2 child family was insane! I just knew that i had to snap out of it or risk losing my mind.

The kids were never part of the problem — I was. Well, I wasn’t, but rather how I felt. I was mentally exhausted and hadn’t even done much of anything. After awhile of frustratingly pulling my hair out and crossing everything off the list of ways I could possibly self-medicate and solve this problem (I drank WAY too much coffee in February), I began to reevaluate the situation. I took a step back and realized this had to end immediately.

I’ve always been the type of person that just wants to GO-GO-GO, work – work – work, and pull all-nighters to get the job done. Suddenly I had NO motivation? Everyone said, "…but you JUST had a baby! You need to rest!", but I know my body and something wasn’t right. It just didn’t feel right and too much time had passed for my pregnancy and c-section to be an excuse. I was well past recovery and my daughter was on a well-adjusted schedule already. Something HAD to give and it wasn’t going to be my sanity… 

 

Im Just Tired Exhaustion Quote

 

To make a long story short and best summarize what I went through between late-January into late-February, I guess what I really did need in the end was TIME. I stopped taking my prenatal vitamins and instead turned to a multivitamin for women. Even though I was and always have drank plenty of water, I also increased my daily consumption. I was eating a balanced diet throughout this ordeal, but I flipped and switched out some of my regular foods for other choice meals that I might not usually purchase. Whether or not one of these smaller changes helped, I don’t know. 

What I do know is that I suddenly felt motivated and focused again. It was as if the switch went straight from the off to on position in the blink of an eye. Just as sudden as the onset of exhaustion had hit, I was taken right back into a fresh and renewed state of being AWAKE again. It was great, but would it last? 

 

Exhausted Mom Quote

 

I didn’t get my hopes up … and decided to take things slow. I decided to avoid any rigorous cleaning for a few days and basically chill out with the kids, only straighten up toys when the floorspace got out of hand, and remind myself that there is always tomorrow. My growing anxiety over feeling responsible for not only ONE life, but TWO children was another mental burden that had originally set my mental state into overdrive. I had to learn a better way to balance what had to get done and who I should be giving attention to when needed.

I had a hard time giving into my usual work ethics and expectations of myself during my pregnancy, but I was at least able to continue working. Being able to do absolutely N O T H I N G was horrific. Some might have enjoyed feeling like that, but you almost feel like you are worthless since you don’t have the energy to do much of anything! I always felt very glad that I have always been able to bite my tongue and repeat, "this too shall pass". It was far from easy, but I knew this would end. It could have taken a few days, weeks, or months. Until then, I would keep pushing through and do wht I could to help myself improve and feel more alert.

So tired Everything is funny

So, what am I getting at? Basically, I needed to feel like I could press a restart button on life and erase the mess I had created. After a rough pregnancy, terrifying pain from surgery (thankfully recovered from physical pain quite fast!), and horrific postpartum lethargy issues… I am unbelievably blessed with a gorgeous, happy, healthy, and perfect little girl.

I couldn’t ask for more. Every day that I spent in bed sick to my stomach, having to skip Christmas Day dinner, suffering through the surgical pains and forcing myself to walk again (bit my tongue REALLY hard; caesarean pain is NO joke!)… it was ALL worth it. 

I have spent entire days cleaning up my life over the past 3 weeks since I (all of a sudden) bounced back. I literally woke up one day and felt wide awake and fresh. I didn’t get my hopes up since I felt good sporadically in the past weeks, but this time it was real!

I want my readers to know that I am happy to say everything is back on track. I’ve been working behind the scenes sending emails, corresponding with my favorite brands, outlining plans for large upcoming campaigns, and feel so excited to get back on track finally!

My original "final" reset date was April 1st, which was a deadline I had set for myself where my personal life (bills, paperwork, etc.) would be all caught up with. I also picked this date for MamaNYC to begin rolling on as it was before.

Happily, I can say this deadline isn’t necessary. I’m done, ready, good to go, caught up, completely finished, prepared for the future. I couldn’t imagine that a pregnancy could cause someone to get so behind on ‘life’. Second child meant double the work! All I wanted in the end was two healthy and happy children — that’s all I could ask for! 

Here’s my restart on ‘life’…. BAM!

 

Life Reset Button

 

 

  • ellen beck

    Getting aback into the swing of things after a major life event isnt always easy… and it is so often a matter of time patience anpersaverance.

    BTW- I had a broken hand and many other things and it is 8 weeks in- I am now learning to type agon so pardon the typos.

    I am glad to hear things are evenig out for you, dont get discouraged at small set backs, keep moving forward!

  • http://my3littlekittens.com Kristen @ My 3 Little Kittens

    Nicole….I can’t even begin to tell you how much I wish we lived closer together. Having someone [YOU} to talk about “everything pregnancy” during my pregnancy meant so much to me. Please know that I am always here for you when you need to vent….I am so glad you wrote this post and have gotten back on track….I am still getting there myself, but all in due time…….After it all, you have a gorgeous little baby Daughter who loves you to pieces ……. *smile

  • MADDIE K

    Well, that sure was a lot for you to go through, but I’m glad you have things under control now and you are feeling better.

  • http://www.momsbookshelfandmore.com Miranda Sherman

    Feel free to send that reset button my way, its been over 2 years since I had Broden and I am still tired and out of energy! Glad to have you back though!

  • terri tillman

    i can relate to some of your issues during pregnancy. i had to stop working towards the end of mine due to kidney issues and pain. plus, i started spotting and found out my placenta was attached over the opening of my cervix. when i did go into labor, in the middle of the night, i ended up having an emergency c-section. luckily it was the ‘we are going to put you to sleep’ c-sections because i would not have been able to be awake for any cutting and the like. i woke up the next morning in ICU. the first thing my dr said to me was “we almost lost you two last night”. i agree with your phrase ” cesarean pain is NO joke”. it aint!!! after a week in ICU i was moved to a regular room for a couple of days then we got to go home. needless to say, i only had one baby. i never had the guts to do it again. today she is 32 yrs old and still the light of my life.

  • Heather McKenzie Carter

    After I gave birth last year I swore I was done having children (here I am a 13 months later and 7 months pregnant!) I came home and for a week or so I ran on adrenaline..
    and
    then
    I
    crashed.
    For 6 long weeks or so I was barely able to function. Nothing to seemed to help. I even tried b12 weekly injections. I just needed sleep. I needed time to cuddle.
    Then, as life slowly got back into the swing of the things my sister best friend and mother came over and cleaned my house top to bottom. My husband budgeted to have someone clean my house a couple hours a week so things didnt fall apart and I could focus on the baby, myself, and caring for my other kids.
    This time around I expect the same. I know I will need help.
    And this old mare aint getting any younger, lol. I know the world wont stop spinning because I can barely function, but this time- I’m going to be ready.

  • http://savingmorethanme.com Kimberly

    I’m so glad to hear you’re feeling better. It sounds like your body/mind needed time to adjust.
    Enjoy your new normal. Sounds like you are truly blessed.

  • Tammy S

    I am glad you have reset your life. I think sometimes our bodies just shut down to take a break. It’s there way of saying slow down and figure out what is really important. It sounds like you figured it out and let the other stuff go. I am glad you are up and running at full speed. Take care.

    • http://www.mamanyc.net Nicole

      It was HARD, but I realized I couldn’t play catch up. I literally had to SHUTDOWN, erase all of it, and take one priority on at a time. Kids came first and thereafter I added responsibilities back one by one — slowly. I didn’t feel this way with my first pregnancy, but double the workload really makes a HUGE impact on your energy and motivation!

  • Amanda Alvarado

    I am so glad you are back! I felt like that after we lost our 2nd dd at 30 weeks (I know some of it was grief) and I still don’t think now almost 4 years later I’ve completely recovered my level of energy! :-) There are days I get home from work and don’t want to do anything but vegetate (especially those 13-15 hrs days!). But dinner still needs to be cooked, dd showered and ready for bed and dh needs some attention too ;-)

  • Deb K

    So glad to hear that you are back. I don’t have little ones anymore but I can so relate. I don’t have the energy to pick up after the grandchildren half of the time :-)

  • Michelle S

    Like someone else mentioned, I do think that our bodies sometimes “shutdown” a little and force us to go at a slower pace.

    I’m so glad you’re back to feeling good! Maybe you shouldn’t over do it, though?

  • Rachel N

    I’m still waiting for my reset button…. I had baby #3 3 months ago and life is just insane right now. It is hard to accomplish anything with 3 little kids and I don’t have any time for myself. With a baby up 2 or 3 times in the night and 2 toddlers who wake up at 6am, sleep is hard to come by. I keep telling myself that this too shall pass. I am very happy and content with my family, just trying to figure out how to fit everything in and meet everybody’s needs, including my own.

  • http://goingcrazywannago.com JanetGoingCrazy

    Girl, I TOLD you to take it easy! I apologize for getting so behind on reading your blog posts {I’m partly blaming your sporadic email RSS…just sayin’} but I love this post because it is about YOU and showing that YOU are real and life is REAL! I miss talking to you all the time, but I know you are busy with two young’ins and I also know that we both have busy lives. I can’t imagine blogging as much as you do, but I really wish I could. I think you should write more like this and tell us about you because the you that I know is a pretty interesting, funny, intelligent, spunky, savvy lady!! Mwah…and {{hugs}}!!!

  • http://www.ashleighgfg.blogspot.ca Ashleigh Swerdfeger

    I am so sorry you had that experience! Everyone has a different postpartum experience. I wonder if a doula support could have you helped you adjust? (a curious question because I am studying to be one :)

    I am so glad you could find something that worked for you and get your motivation. It is so frustrating as a mom to realize you need a break and can’t do what you want. Sometimes our bodies know what we need more than our minds. Plus our babies are only small once. This is so helpful for new moms as well.