Embracing Postpartum Life

So as many of my readers know I recently (10 weeks ago) had a baby. She is delightful and adorable and chunky and precious. We are totally in awe of her and love watching her development.

For the most part we are adjusting well. I recently went back to work and my boyfriend and I do what I consider a pretty good job taking care of each other and dividing up baby care and housework. I gained a LOT of weight and have lost a bunch of it but still have far to go.

To be honest though, I am overwhelmed and exhausted.

I am not ashamed to say that I HATED being pregnant. It was a totally miserable time for me both physically and emotionally. I had horrible writer’s block and I had to stop working before I was mentally ready (my two biggest stress relievers). Beyond these emotional and physical difficulties, we had to deal with financial stresses as well. Because I was so unhappy I had this (now was I now know was insane) notion that everything would magically get better once I popped out my almost nine pound baby. And a lot of things were better. I could breathe again, a lot of the pain was gone, and I could get back on my happy meds. I am totally in love with my little nugget and motherhood has suited me well.

For the most part.

I have written before about combating insecurities. I have never been very good at accepting things as they are. That can be a very good thing because I have a lot of will and determination to change the things in my life that I don’t like. Rarely have I allowed myself to get stagnant- not in jobs, friendships or romantic relationships. I am a take charge kind of gal with determination to work hard to fix less than desirable things. However, having a baby brings on a whole new set of challenges that aren’t so fixable. I’m still hanging onto 25 pounds that I desperately want to lose. Our apartment is tiny, messy, and overcrowded. I miss spending time with my friends and with my boyfriend, and I miss having hobbies. We are stretched financially, and I miss having time to sit down and work on this website without a squirmy and oftentimes fussy baby asleep in my arms or strapped to my chest.

I hate to make excuses, but sometimes things just aren’t as easy as you think they should be. Yes, I should work out, but I also JUST started back at work at my sometimes exhausting job as a bartender. My boyfriend and I work opposite schedules and we’re trying to keep our newborn out of daycare as much as possible until she’s a little older and we’re back on our feet financially. It’s 100 degrees here in Houston- too hot and unsafe to take the baby in the stroller for very long. While I have been eating very healthy, I just haven’t found a solution to getting enough exercise yet.

It drives me absolutely insane to feel this way.

There are a lot of things you take for granted when you don’t have kids. The ability to drop what you’re doing and go to the grocery store or yoga. I find myself trying to decide if I want to load the dishwasher or brush my teeth while she’s down for a nap. My boyfriend and I are around each other a lot, but finding the time to actually have a conversation or spend valuable time together is another story.

I know that these are problems many new parents encounter. I am not trying to complain or even say that I’m unhappy, because I am actually very happy but embracing my postpartum life is a challenge.

I am grateful to have a good job I love that has been patient with me throughout my pregnancy journey. I am grateful for family and friends that help a lot. I am grateful for my hardworking and supportive baby daddy; dammit though! What I would do for eight hours of sleep a night.

I know that my little one is only this tiny for a short time. I feel guilty every time she falls asleep in my arms and I rush to put her in the bassinet so I can get things done. I am scared of waking up in a few years- perhaps even with a great body and lots of money- and feeling submerged in the realization that I didn’t spend enough time enjoying my kid while she was little. I have always struggled with being so focused on making it to the next stage of my life I forget to cherish the one I am in.

Acceptance isn’t always the enemy.

Having drive to work hard and change your life is a beautiful thing, but it shouldn’t be at the expense of living in the present and appreciating what you have now. I am going to try harder to let some things go for now. Everything happens in due time, and I don’t want to miss a single opportunity to snuggle my baby while she still lets me.

-Elizabeth Price