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.
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.
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…
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?
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, 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!