Since the Internet is flooded with articles and photos of “reasons why you might have anxiety”, “loving someone with depression”, or something along those lines, I’m here to give you a few reasons why you don’t. But why? Because this glorification of mental illness and people looking for any reason under the sun to diagnose themselves with one is beyond ridiculous, and outright offensive to those who actually have to suffer with this. While the “symptoms” listed in these articles are very much consistent with anxiety and depression, they aren’t consistent with crippling and life-altering anxiety and depression. Let’s face it, everyone encounters a little anxiety and depression from time to time. Human beings cannot mentally, physically, and emotionally keep up with the rapid improvement of technology just yet. The working world boomed much quicker than men and women could adjust, which ultimately will led to abnormal stress levels. This does not, and I repeat, does not, mean that you have a debilitating mental illness. I’ll tell you why:
1. You have bad days in a series of good days
If you truly suffer with anxiety and depression, your life is a series of bad days with a few good days. When you have these good days, you wake up feeling different. You feel happy and don’t really understand how. This emotion is so abnormal for you that you end up ruining it by over-thinking about when it will end. This, inevitably, will send you right back into your sad and scared self because you think something has to go wrong. Like the feeling is just too good to be true. Don’t feel this way all day, everyday? Then you probably don’t have it as bad as the Internet makes it seem.
2. Your issues are situational and not based on a chemical imbalance or a long-term effect
Technically, PTSD is situational. However, it almost never goes away. Crying for days over a break up does not qualify as a mental illness. You’re sad. Not depressed. I cannot stress enough the difference between sadness and depression or nervousness and anxiety. It is completely normal to get anxious when you have to talk in front of a classroom or to have a fear of heights or sharks. Today’s society makes it seem like any fear is automatically considered an anxiety disorder when this simply is not the case. These issues are situational and don’t affect your everyday life. Being raped and never being able to go outside, or freaking out internally when you make eye contact with a male, that’s a serious problem. Having chronic anxiety and depression means being sad, angry, scared, irritated, and nervous all at the same time, all day, and for no reason at all.
3. You can still go out and enjoy yourself
When you have anxiety or depression as bad and for as long as some of us do, you stop feeling like yourself. You feel numb, hopeless, and like you’d be better off dead. You stop functioning. This, my friends, is what TRUE mental illness will do to you. It will suck the life right out of you. On top of all of that, you get nauseous and dizzy, and you get migraines. You just want to lay in bed because you can’t handle facing the world, but then you’re also too scared to be alone with yourself and your terrible thoughts. It’s a constant battle with yourself and it just does not allow the time or energy to do anything fun. Besides, even if you did have the energy, you’d just feel guilty. You’d feel like there’s something that needs to be done that you’re neglecting. Then you start to hate yourself for being so “lazy” and “unproductive”. Your mind literally never shuts off. Even when you’re sleeping, which is why you always feel tired.
Still think you have a problem? Does this sound like something you’d want to deal with? If not, then why the hell do you think it’s cute to repost a photo of a girl laying in bed with a quote that says “I just can’t do it anymore”. No, if you really couldn’t do it anymore, you would be seeing a therapist, taking meds, admitting yourself into a hospital, or at least trying to work on yourself privately, but you definitely would not be on the Internet reposting photos for attention. Think of the people who truly have a problem, and struggle through each day, before you go and self-diagnose yourself on social media for everyone to see.
Sincerely, the girl who has a serious mental illness
There’s one thing that you will hear so many times while you’re pregnant, that you will eventually tell other moms-to-be later on, and that’s “enjoy your baby, they grow up so fast”. Seriously, you’re lying if you say no one has said this to you while you were pregnant or within the babies first months. I have to admit something about this so-common-it-hurts phrase… it’s bulls***. Life doesn’t become sugar and honey just because you added an innocent (yet, adorable) baby into the mix. They might be the cutest thing you’ve ever seen, you might love to browse through baby clothes, and Pin countless photos of “picture perfect” families that make the whole motherhood thing seem easy as pie. But, let’s face it, the cuteness and tiny baby clothes are only a small fragment of having children. The majority of your time is spent getting pooped or peed on, smelling like dry milk, arguing with your partner, hating the way you look, not sleeping, and, sometimes, crippling anxiety and depression. Don’t get me wrong, though, I love my daughter to pieces. In fact, she’s the only reason I smile some days. The problem is, I think back to my life before baby and wish I still had that freedom. I miss how carefree I used to be – how I could do what I wanted, when I wanted, uninterrupted. Eventually, I will get used to this, but for someone to say “enjoy her”, I really have to sit back and think about how I can possibly do this.
How can I do this when everyday I have to look in the mirror and see a deflated belly full of stretch marks and cellulite that I never used to have? Should I work out or go enjoy my baby?
How can I do this when the hamper and sink have been overflowing for days? Should I clean or enjoy my baby?
How can I do this when I see my friends going out and having a great time like I used to? Should I hangout with my friends or enjoy my baby?
How can I do this when I can’t stop panicking or crying some days? When I need so desperately to take a break, but the baby is hungry and no one is home to take her for just one second?
How can I do this when I haven’t showered all day, my hair is greasy, yesterday’s mascara is smeared all down my cheek, I’m sweating from the summer heat, and all I can wear comfortably is my boyfriends’ over-sized shirts? Should I bathe or enjoy my baby?
How can I do this when my man comes home from a 15 hour shift and wants to have alone time with me, no matter how much he loves his little girl, and she cries every time I leave the room?
Truth is, this parenting s** is HARD! Especially if you weren’t ready to begin with. No one is truly “ready”, honestly. If you never had to take care of a baby day in and day out, provide nutrition from your own body, or be fully responsible for this new life – you can’t possibly prepare yourself for parenthood. No matter how many videos you watch, articles you read, or how many moms tell you about their experiences, you still won’t be ready. So, instead of telling people to “enjoy their baby”, I’m going to tell you to enjoy him or her when you CAN. Don’t feel guilty about putting him or her down for a while you get things done, don’t feel bad handing him or her off to another family member, take time for YOURSELF to go for a run, take a shower, or go on a date with your partner. Because, at the end of the day, you can only really enjoy your baby if you’re happy. Do whatever you need to do to be the confident, happy, and amazing mommy that you’ve always wanted to be.
While I was pregnant, I spent much of my time reading articles on what the first month postpartum would be like in respect to my body and my baby, what items I should put on my registry, what labor is like, etc. The one problem I ran into was that I couldn’t find an article written by a new mom – and I don’t mean a mom of a one-year old who would technically be considered a new mom – but instead, one that is the first time mom of a month to three month old baby. I needed to read something written by a brand new mother who focuses on the first few month and goes into detail. Everything I read was vague and unoriginal. I am also only 20 years old with a semi-low income, so finding an article written by someone other than an older mom with lots of available time and money, was nearly impossible. That being said, I’m going to focus this article on labor and delivery and the first month and go into lots of detail. I am the mom of a two-month old and I had an unplanned c-section, so if you’re looking to read an article on the first year or vaginal births, this article isn’t for you – sorry!
Labor and Delivery
Never set expectations for labor and delivery. I was dead-set against getting an epidural and the possibility of a C-Section seemed absolutely impossible to me, so I never even considered it. I also thought that because I have a high pain tolerance that I would be able to handle contractions like a champ. A few days before my due date – at only 1 cm dilated and no signs of labor – I tried inducing myself by eating fresh pineapple, taking a long walk, and doing squats. Nothing happened. Luckily, my doctor planned to induce me 2 days after my due date, but until I had the Pitocin drip, I still had no signs of labor. Chances are, my stubborn little baby would have stayed in there until something or someone expedited her grand entrance.
1. Induction and Epidural
Five minutes after I was hooked up to the Pitocin drip, I had no warning or ease-in and immediately went into active labor. In Layman’s terms – my contractions went from 0 to 100… real quick. After 3 hours of contractions measuring in the 70s-80s, and 2-3 minutes apart, I was practically begging the L&D nurse for my epidural, and my original plan to
forgo the drugs was throw out the window. It was only after a text from my grandma that read “don’t be a hero and get the drugs” that I felt silly for putting myself through that pain for no reason. Just saying, you don’t get a reward for going drug-free, so let that sink in, lol. Although, I’ve heard that the epidural increases your chances of needing an episiotomy and tearing, but that didn’t apply to me. The process of getting the epidural wasn’t nearly as bad as people made it seem. You don’t see the needle and it feels like a little prick followed by hot and cold sensations. After that, I was completely at ease. I was so numb that I kept telling the nurse that there was something under me and I couldn’t move it… turns out it was my butt. Weirdest feeling ever.
2. The C-Section
Five hours and 3 dilation checks later, they realized that I had stopped dilating and my contractions were weakening. This is when I heard the words I thought I would never hear – “We’re probably going to do a c-section”. I just stared at her in disbelief. I didn’t need a c-section, she was crazy. I can’t even say that it ever sank in, I was panicking from that moment until I was in the recovery room and they could give me a benzodiazepine (that I cannot remember the name of). The metal table, the harsh lighting, the doctors running around preparing to cut you open, and talking about you like you weren’t even there – it was traumatizing. My anesthesiologist was cracking jokes the whole time.. I didn’t laugh once.
The only thing that helped were my boyfriends soothing words and the thought of my beautiful baby girl that I was minutes away from meeting. You feel like you’re getting stretched and tugged on the whole time, but no sharp pain – thank God. The worst part was the “elephant on your chest” sensation (as my doctor explained it) that you get from the suction of pulling the baby out.. it really felt like someone punched me in the chest with a hulk glove. Then I heard the sweet cry of my newborn baby and my OB say “she has hair!”, which was the one thing besides blue eyes that I wished she had, and she has those, too! The only contact you get with your baby afterwards is a cheek-to-cheek touch and a few kisses if you’re lucky. Then you get stitched up (which seems like it takes forever) and then you get sent off to recovery where you get to make the decision of whether or not you want your relatives to be able to see the baby while you recover. I was selfish and said no, but oh well, you deserve to be able to be the first one to hold your baby after going through all that. My advice for this section is to prepare yourself for the possibility of a c-section. I wish I had read about it beforehand or that I would have at least accepted that it could happen. Don’t worry though – after you calm down, you realize it wasn’t that bad.
Your Hospital Stay
1. What To Pack
First of all, you don’t need to bring your whole damn wardrobe, all of your toiletries, or 50 things to keep you occupied. Bring a few loose outfits like sweat pants or stretchy dresses, hair ties, flip flops, chargers, shampoo & body wash, some cute newborn and 0-3 clothes, and your camera if you have one. I brought my makeup, but I didn’t care enough to even bother with it. I also just threw my hair on top of my head. I read so many blog posts on what to bring to the hospital, and have to laugh at them now. Listen to me now – you do NOT need your hair dryer or your own towels or a face mask (yes, someone seriously suggested this). You’re going to be there for 3 days MAX and they’re just extra baggage you have to carry all the way up to the labor floor, unpack, and pack again. Seriously, just keep it simple. If you’re allowing visitors and you have lots that live close to you, they will all be in and out of your room the whole day. You won’t have time to read a book and you probably won’t even have time to watch Netflix or whatever movie streaming app you may have. Just enjoy this time with your beautiful new baby because they grow so fast and you will never get that time back.
2. The Visitors
The one thing I wish I’d done while I was in the hospital (especially since I was there for 4 days and was breastfeeding) was to have asked the L&D receptionist to ask me before letting visitors in. In those first few postpartum days, you are going to be doing a lot of gross stuff, looking gross, feeling gross, basically everything but the baby is gross and demeaning. If you had an epidural, the nurse is going to have to help you stand afterwards and she’ll have to help you get into mesh panties. If you have a C-section, she’ll have to help you squirt a water bottle on your lady parts when you use the bathroom, too. You also have to tell them when you poop. The whole situation is awkward and weird; all modesty is forgotten. I was so uncomfortable breast feeding in front of anyone but my boyfriend and my mom. If someone came in when my daughter was hungry, I would wait until they left to feed her. I know it sounds awful, but no one really gave me a choice. You always, of course, have the option of not telling anyone you had the baby until you are home to avoid visitors in the first place.
Make sure you bring snacks. I was told not to eat anything after midnight, the night of May 16th, since I was being induced the following morning at 7 AM. I didn’t get to eat anything all day because I was in labor for 12 hours and, when I was out of surgery, the cafeteria was closed for the night. I was also only allowed to have liquids for the next few hours after that, and at that point I hadn’t eaten anything but ice chips for twenty-four hours… I gulped down two iced teas when I got back to my room, yeah, mmm, calories. Plus, you only get three meals a day, but let’s be real, we all get hungry in between them. Having some type of non-perishable snack is a must.
If you plan to breastfeed (skip this paragraph if you don’t), make sure you call the lactation consultant as often as you need to because she won’t be there when you go home. My daughter latched on perfectly when we were in the hospital, but I think she could sense my stress when we went home and breast feeding became very difficult (still doing it 2 months later, though). Warning: the LC will grab your boobs to help you, they will be aggressive and do things to your baby that you think is mean, but it’s really not, and they will use the word “nipple” 500 times in one sentence. The word “nipple” makes me very uncomfortable so it just added to the mortification I was already suffering through, lol. It’s only awkward the first time, though. After that, you don’t care who touches your boobs just as long as your baby doesn’t starve and she doesn’t tear your nipples up with a poor latch. One time I let my daughter nurse for one whole hour on one side and then an hour on the other the next time she was hungry.
Don’t do this. Your nipples will look like purple grapes and they will feel as though you’ve just ground them on a cheese grater. In which case, I present to you… the nipple shield – a magical piece of flimsy rubber that you put over your nipple when you nurse and takes away the wincing pain of your baby’s latch. However, just like everything else in life, only use it in moderation. If you don’t, you’ll end up with clogged ducts, which will eventually lead to mastitis, inflammation of the breast, if left untreated, and you will now have two painful boulders on your chest in place of your boobs. Sounds awesome, right? Yeah, breastfeeding isn’t as beautiful as you thought. If this happens to you, you might be thinking why the hell you didn’t just go with formula. But, no. You’ve already gone this far (a whopping 24 hours), so why would you give up? Even after going through all this, I’ll still advocate and suggest breastfeeding to any expectant mother. The term “breast is best” is, and always will be, true. Last advice for this section: get a Boppy, it will be your best friend. Its uses in my home range from easy breastfeeding to a comfy pillow for my boyfriend. For those of you that haven’t heard of this amazing invention, it’s simply a C-shaped pillow that fits around you and takes all the weight of the baby off of your arms and back. When the baby gets a little older it makes for a great lounger, as well. Also, call your insurance company to see if they offer free breast pumps to expectant mothers. I got the Medela Pump In Style Advanced for free and I absolutely love it. Plus, Babies R Us and Walmart carry Medela accessories; it’s so convenient.
The First Month Home
I remember so clearly getting wheeled out of the hospital holding my baby so proudly like a trophy; it’s such a bittersweet moment. All of the extra help is mostly gone, and the thought of bringing such a needy, helpless, and fragile being home to take care of all by yourself is frightening, but amazing at the same time. When we finally got home (I say finally because new-daddy mode kicked in within my boyfriend and he was driving like 5 miles an hour) I sat on my bed and thought well, this is the beginning of my life as a mother and freedom no longer exists. Simultaneously, I couldn’t stop staring at my little bundle of happiness. Her smell, the way she smiled in her sleep, how she fell asleep on my chest to the sound of my heart beat that she was so used to… motherhood is so beautifully indescribable. This is a crazy new chapter in your life where you learn something new about your baby and yourself everyday.
1. Tips and Tricks
Your baby isn’t as fragile as you think she is– The first week or two, I was prettified of putting onesies over my baby’s head. I really thought I was hurting her if it seemed even a little tight. You’re going to be scared, but I promise you, you’re not going to hurt her by simply changing her clothes. Just be gentle!
You’re going to be more exhausted than you ever thought was possible – while I want to lessen your worries about new mommy-hood, I can’t sugar-coat it either. Here are some things you can do to minimize your middle-of-the-night stress from exhaustion:
Co-sleep, at least for the first month, because running back and forth to the nursery, when you can barely keep your eyes open, is probably awful.
If you’re co-sleeping, keep a few diapers and a pack of wipes next to your bed so you don’t always have to take your baby to her changing table when you have to change her diaper.
If you’re not co-sleeping, get a changing table organizer (more about it in “2. What Ya Need and What Ya Don’t”).
If you’re pumping, make sure you have clean flanges and bottles next to your pumping station so you don’t have to worry about washing them the next time you wake up to pump.
If you’re formula feeding, have a bottle made and in the fridge for the next time your baby wakes up.
Avoid sleepers with snaps! Unless you get them as gifts, of course. I can’t tell you how many times I buttoned the wrong button at the top and then, consequently, buttoned the rest wrong, just to do it all over again. I also broke a nail once trying to pinch one closed. Terrible night. Get the sleeper’s with zippers, nothing is easier than zipping.
Have extra changing pad covers, or disposable covers, to just throw on if your baby poops or pees on the original one.
You can never take too much baby stuff with you – This doesn’t mean take every baby item you own with you when you travel or go out, but bring everything you think she might need. I always have 2 extra outfits, 6 diapers, wipes, travel sized hand-sanitizer, Aquaphor and Desitin (since you never know when baby will get a rash), and pacifiers. After running out of diapers, wipes, and an extra outfit on 3 separateoccasions, I bring everything with me.
A clean house and a happy baby can coexist – If you think that baby wraps, carriers, and slings are pointless now, you’ll change your mind when your baby is inconsolable and only wants to be held. If you have s*** to do, these make it possible to do it without putting your baby down. Scrubbing the floors while holding your baby might not work, but you can wash the dishes, do the laundry, dust, make the bed – the options are endless, honestly.
“Sleep when she sleeps” – This is BS. If you’re care and stress-free enough to have the same sleep schedule as a newborn knowing you have a sink full of dishes than I applaud you. I went crazy if I knew I had stuff to do when I was trying to take a nap. You’ll get sleep eventually, don’t worry.
Make sure baby is fed and changed right before you leave the house – This is probably self-explanatory, but in order to maximize your time to get things done uninterrupted, you need to feed and change baby first.
There is a big difference between the baby blues, postpartum depression, and postpartum psychosis – It’s completely normal to cry randomly and frequently right after birth; those hormones are real pains in the arse. However, if this persists for longer than a week, the baby blues may have developed into postpartum depression and you should seek professional help. Any feelings of harming yourself or the baby are signs of postpartum psychosis and need to also be treated immediately. Never underestimate the power of motherly instinct, if you think there’s a problem, reach out to a doctor or loved one as soon as possible. For the first two weeks, I’d cry every time my baby cried because I thought she hated me… yeah, really.
Get on a schedule – Wait, what the f*** is a schedule? I leave without brushing my hair or teeth sometimes because the baby pooped last second and I was supposed to use that 5 minutes to freshen up. It. Happens. A schedule might sound like a foreign and far-fetched subject, but you will regain punctuality and organization soon enough. Getting such a small human ready to leave the house is an abnormally difficult task.
2. What Ya Need and What Ya Don’t
Somewhere for baby to sleep –
This might seem obvious, but some people choose to co-sleep while others put their baby in their own crib right away. In which case, you might want a bassinet and a crib. Our baby sleeps in her Fischer Price Rock ‘n Play and loves it! It vibrates, it has mesh sides for safety, it rocks, it’s inclined, and it folds up easily for traveling and storage. It’s an all around great product.
Changing table – at first, I thought this was an unnecessary expense and a space-taker. When my boyfriend’s grandma bought us one and we set it up, I immediately realized how great it was. Not only is it convenient by allowing you to stand while changing the baby, but all you need for the diaper change is readily available. There’s so much storage on the one that I have that I have room for a basket full of all of her grooming/health items, a basket full of her bath supplies, and her dirty laundry basket. It’s not a must, but it is definitely good to have. I bought a separate changing pad to put on it – Summer Infant brand on Amazon. I also recommend extra changing pad covers; I have 4 and I feel like I’m always replacing them because of how often my baby poops or pees on them, lol. The changing table I have is the Delta changing table in Espresso Cherry on Amazon.
Stroller and Car Seat – I put these two together because it is more economical to buy them together as a travel system. You cannot leave the hospital without having the car seat properly installed and you can’t drive anywhere with the baby without one, so this is obviously a must. You can get away without a stroller if you need to, but I use mine pretty frequently. I have the Graco Snugride 30 Click Connect from Amazon and absolutely love it.
Bouncer/Swing – I’ll start off by saying that you do not need one of these if you have a tight budget. I rarely use my bouncer, but it is nice when I want to put her down when I’m trying to do something on my laptop or clean. I love the one that I have because it vibrates, plays music, and makes nature sounds to relax the baby. I have this adorable, pink and grey Fisher Price bouncer.
Changing table organizer –Not necessary, but very useful. This little apparatus goes on the changing table or on something next to it that is within arms reach, and has a space for diapers, wipes, diaper rash cream, q-tips, diaper trash bags, and anything else you’d like to have available during a diaper change. Before you have a baby, this will seem arbitrary, but when your baby poops all over everything (including you) and it seems like you need to have 8 arms to complete the job, this will come in handy. The one I have is Munchkin brand off of Amazon.
Infant Bath –There are so many baths available to buy, but I chose the Blooming Bath. Its both functional and adorable. It just sits in the sink and you lay your baby in it to bathe her. Simple, easy, and cute. Ring it out and throw it in the dryer when you’re done
Play mat – Play mats are great to keep your baby occupied while she’s awake. You can either lay her on her back to look at all the dangling toys or a mirror (that most come with) because newborns love their own reflection, or you can lay them on their bellies for tummy time. I have the Fischer Price Kick ‘n Play from Babies R Us. I love this one because my baby loves to kick her feet, so she just makes her own music by kicking the piano keys.
Diaper Pail – Unless you want your house to smell like a dirty diaper or you want to continuously have to take a bag of diapers out to the outside trash can, then you need one of these. We have the Diaper Genie and it’s a real time and nose saver. It was a little confusing to set up, but once you get it done it’s easy as pie and super convenient. (You can see it in the picture of the changing table above all the way to the left).
Nursing Pillow – If you’re breastfeeding, this is a must. (discussed in the breastfeeding section above).
Bottles – Even if you’re breastfeeding, you’re going to need bottles. Not everyone is able to breastfeed all the time, some can’t breastfeed at all, and some just realize after they started that it’s not for them. In any case, you’d want to have bottles readily available so you’re not rushing to the store with a screaming baby. This is also why you should consider buying a pump. I alternate pumping and breastfeeding and I have a lot of bottles. I use Dr. Brown’s, Munchkin Latch, MAM, and Tommee Tippee. Munchkin Latch and MAM are designed for easy transitioning between breast and bottle feeding, Dr. Brown’s is great for anti-colic (my daughter gets the hiccups every time she eats except when I use these), and Tommee Tippee is good for both.
Diaper Bag –
These are a must. You can’t go out without diapers, wipes, pacifiers, extra outfits, etc, so you might as well have a bag designated to baby. All diaper bags are pretty pricey. Since I love, love, love Vera Bradley, I got my diaper bag off of their clearance section and it is AMAZING. Seriously, they reduce the cost by 60% just because the pattern is “out of season”. Craziness. It’s lined with plastic for any spills and this brand is so unbelievably durable, you’ll never need a new one.
I won’t bore you with the obvious clothing, blankets, diapers, and items that the baby won’t use until she is older. You’ll get tons of receiving blankets and clothes at your shower, and if you won’t be having a shower, you don’t need that many. I received so many blankets at my shower that 75% of them haven’t been used (if you do get too many at your shower, like me, you can turn them into one, giant quilt). Any advice I give on the amount of clothing you need in a specific size may not be applicable to everyone because all babies are different. My daughter was in newborn size clothing for a month and a half, while some babies are born too big to wear it at all. That same concept is true for diapers, as well (as a side note, we love Pampers Swaddlers because of the indicator line that turns blue when it is wet; I opened a gifted box of Pampers Baby Dry and I’m not liking them so far. Swaddlers all the way, lol). Despite what the hanger says, i.e, 0-3 months, babies are different shapes and sizes at a certain age. My daughter is now in 3 month clothing at only 2 months old. Because of this, it’s best to have one or two outfits in NB and in 0-3 to bring to the hospital for baby. The only two things I don’t recommend buying is a wipe warmer, which I’m sure you’ve heard before, and a bottle sterilizer. Unless you take the warmer with you everywhere you go, your baby will hate the feeling of a cold/room temperature wipe on her booty. As for the sterilizer, you can boil everything. Even the cheapest sterilizer, the one that goes in the microwave, is around 30 bucks. Babies aren’t cheap, so cut your costs wherever you can.
From One Mom to Another
Being a new mom is like being thrown out into a basketball game, with everyone expecting you to win, when you’ve never even picked up the ball. You can’t think that just because your mom said you were an easy baby, that your baby won’t have colic and scream every time she’s awake. Never, ever compare yourself to other moms or expect your situation to be identical to theirs. If you do this, any time you stray from this “norm” you will wonder what you’re doing wrong, when, in reality, you’re doing everything right. I am in no way, shape, or form a perfect, or even an experienced, mom. I am still learning. Instead of envying the mom’s who seem like they have it all together, I view them as hope for the future. Motherhood isn’t always the beautiful experience everyone thought it would be; it’s stressful and it pushes you to your limits some days. Just remember that no matter how crazy your day was, always be thankful for the ability to be able to carry, give birth to, and raise your baby boy or girl because some woman never get to experience it.
To anyone who was born in the 80’s and 90’s, these songs should bring back some great memories either from your teenage years or just listening to your mom play them in the car everywhere you went. Guaranteed one of them gets stuck in your head for the rest of the day.
All the Small Things – Blink-182 (1999)
All Star – Smash Mouth (1999)
Angel – Shaggy ft. Rayvon (2000)
Apologize – Timbaland ft. OneRepublic (2007)
Because of You – Kelly Clarkson (2004)
Bitch – Meredith Brooks (1997)
Bring Me to Life – Evanescence (2003)
Boulevard of Broken Dreams – Green Day (2004)
Complicated – Avril Lavigne (2002)
Dani California – Red Hot Chili Peppers (2006)
Don’t Speak – No Doubt (1995)
Dreams – The Cranberries (1993)
Drops of Jupiter – Train (2001)
Follow Me – Uncle Kracker (2000)
Genie in a Bottle – Christina Aguilera (1999)
Hanging By a Moment – Lifehouse (2000)
Hollaback Girl – Gwen Stefani (2005)
I Want it That Way – Backstreet Boys (1999)
I’m Like a Bird – Nelly Furtado (2000)
In the End – Linkin Park (2000)
Iris – Goo Goo Dolls (1998)
Ironic – Alanis Morissette (1995)
Just Like a Pill – P!nk (2001)
Kiss Me – Sixpence None the Richer (1997)
Let Me Go – 3 Doors Down (2005)
Lips of an Angel – Hinder (2005)
The Middle – Jimmy Eats World (2001)
Mr. Brightside – The Killers (2004)
Mr. Jones – Counting Crows (1993)
Pon De Replay – Rihanna (2005)
The Reason – Hoobstank (2003)
Santeria – Sublime (1996)
Say it Right – Nelly Furtado (2006)
Scars – Papa Roach (2004)
The Scientist – Coldplay (2002)
She Will Be Loved – Maroon 5 (2002)
Someday – Nickelback (2003)
Stacy’s Mom – Fountains of Wayne (2003)
Steal My Sunshine – Len (1999)
Stickwitu – The Pussycat Dolls ft. Avant (2005)
Temperature – Sean Paul (2005)
Torn – Natalie Imbruglia (1997)
Umbrella – Rihanna ft. Jay-Z (2007)
Unwritten – Natasha Bedingfield (2004)
Welcome to My Life – Simple Plan (2004)
What Goes Around…Comes Around – Justin Timberlake (2006)
Every mother remembers the agonizing time it took after they awkwardly just peed on that magical stick to get the results that may or may not change their whole life forever… no big deal. And, of course, who could forget the minute that second little pink line shows up and the onslaught of emotions that comes right after? The whole experience is just painfully fervent, and, depending on the person, very happy.
Women always read “what to expect when you’re expecting” kind of articles that range from the changes that are about to occur in their body, to what kind of things the baby is going to need, to what life is going to be like with a little human, but the truth is, every pregnancy and living situation is different. Soooo, I am going to be writing a funny, yet sentimental article on thoughts that every woman has throughout their pregnancy. What I like most about this post is that basically anyone can enjoy it. Moms can read it to reminisce on the times when their little tot(s) was/were still inside them, moms-to-be can read it to compare their thoughts with the ones that I write about, and women who are currently TTC, or will be in the future, can read it to gain some insight on what this time will be like for them. I was going to separate them by trimester, but just like I mentioned before, every pregnancy is different so each thought could happen at a different time for each woman. So, here are 10 thoughts every pregnant women has at some point during those crazy nine months.
Oh shit, I’m having a baby. This can be a positive or negative thought. Either this is exactly what you’ve been hoping for, or this was something you were not ready for. Accidents happen people, but this little accident will be the light of your life. So instead of freaking out, take the time to think about how blessed you actually are that you have the ability to have a baby at all, because some women never can. And for the women that have been praying for this for awhile, take the time to relax and relish in the moment. These 9 months might seem like they last forever, but you will miss the feeling of having your little one so close, the cute baby bump, and all the attention once he or she arrives.
When will this nausea, vomiting, and exhaustion end? Okay, so this may not apply to you lucky women who have/had a perfect pregnancy, but I’m using it anyway because I had to deal with it. Plus, for someone reading this to gain insight on what pregnancy is like, I would like to know the worst case scenario for full-term, healthy pregnancies if I were them. Anyway, this is also a dependent situation. Some women have nausea only, some women have nausea and vomiting, but it usually goes away after 12 weeks, and, for the unlucky few, it can last until the day the baby is born. Fortunately, mine has subsided, and during the time I did have it, I didn’t take medication… I kind of just powered through it. The exhaustion was almost the worst part. For someone who is on her feet all day at work and was enrolled in full-time college, this killed me. I would literally fall asleep standing up. Some days I felt like a complete zombie. Wake up, throw up, force my eyelids open for 12 hours and sleep was my daily routine. If it gets to be too much, contact your doctor.
Am I having a little princess or a linebacker? This feeling will not go away until you find out, honestly, so try to contain your excitement. For those of you choosing to find out, the period between finding out that you’re expecting and the day that your fetal anatomy scan is scheduled absolutely drags. I went through three stages. At first, I didn’t care what it was. If someone were to ask, I’d say “I don’t care, as long as they’re healthy!” which is a good mentality to have. Then I started having these strong motherly instincts that I was having a boy. It got to the point where having a girl seemed impossible, which was fine, because I wanted a boy. Legos were my favorite growing up, and I couldn’t wait to buy them for him. Okay, so it’s not like he would have been able to play with them for, like, 5 years, but I would have had a blast setting them up. Then, the day I was waiting for finally came – Christmas Eve, A.k.a my 20 week ultrasound. I had a couple friends and family coming over for the reveal. My boyfriend and I bought two outfits, one for a boy and one for a girl, and had the tech put the winner in a cute, little red box that I got to open in front of everyone. The loser went in an extra bag I brought. I wrote out all my old wives tales results on a piece of paper for everyone to see (I had more girl results than boy, but we knew that wasn’t going to happen). Believe it or not, I open the box, and there lies the little floral dress I picked out. Everyone was laughing at me because I was just in complete shock and didn’t do your typical jump-for-joy like most women. So, the third stage, was acceptance and complete happiness that I was going to have a mini-me instead. Now I have an obsession with looking/shopping for adorable baby girl outfits. I registered for everything in pink. I’m pretty crazy, but I’m just crazy for beautiful daughter that I have yet to meet.
What the hell was that? this thought is referring to the first time you feel your baby’s tiny feet kick you. Yeah, it’s weird, and you probably will sit there and wonder if that’s even what you’re feeling. To me, it felt like a twitch right below my belly button. Now, it’s quite obvious when she moves/kicks because it’s 10x stronger than before. My boyfriend finally felt it after trying basically every night, and he screamed like a little girl. Seriously, hilarious. I’m laughing as I write this. The most amazing part is when you’re “alone” and laying down, reading, doing work, or watching TV, and she starts kicking you. It’s a sweet little reminder that you’re NOT alone. I can’t help but to smile at the thought of it. I wish she was kicking me right now, but sadly, she must be sleeping:(.
Baby stuff… why is there so much baby stuff? At some point, you have to start looking for baby stuff, whether you’re buying it yourself, or you’re registering for it for a baby shower. For those of you that use Pinterest, it can be so much fun to browse and add pin after pin until the sun goes down (not gonna lie, some of my days off actually look like this) and sometimes it can completely make your head spin. “We couldn’t live without these items” and “you’ll be happy you pinned this later” are two common pin captions that you’ll find. Just a bunch of moms (who are mostly upper-class, so don’t let your heart sink when you see the prices on some of the items they suggest, you don’t need a $5,000 stroller) who are trying to help, but it can drive you crazy if you’re a first-time mom. This is something I’m currently stressing over. I have this constant fear that I’m missing something, or the baby will get here and I won’t have something that I absolutely need. It’s really weighing on me. Try not to get too stressed, after all, it’s not good for the baby. Try to think about how they did it back in the stone age when they had nothing… you’ll be alright ;).
How should I decorate the nursery? If you’re choosing to wait until the baby is born to find out the sex, this might not be a huge deal. Something neutral, like grays, yellows, and greens with some baby animals, and you’re all set (now, I’m thinking how cute this would be). But, if you’re anything like me (CONTROL FREAK) this can be pretty difficult, especially if it’s gender-specific because the options are endless. For a boy, I liked elephants, under-the-sea, fishing, and sports themes (daddy loves to fish and watch/play sports), and for girl I liked vintage, like eyelet lace and all-white, floral, and fairy tale themes. I ended up with the floral theme because she’s due in May and it’s basically perfect. Now, I’m having trouble finding bedding so I resorted myself to buying fabric and will be sewing it myself… just kidding, my wonderful grammy is helping and my sister painted her an adorable painting on canvas already. But seriously girls, don’t be psycho like me, and stay off Pinterest for the nursery. Browse a retailers website and choose that way… so much simpler.
What will my baby look like? This is a big one. If you’re like me, you’ve probably wondered if the baby will have your blue eyes, or their daddy’s big lips. You may have even stared at you and your partner’s baby photos side-by-side to get a better idea. I honestly haven’t done this, but that’s only because I haven’t got my hands on one of Christian’s baby photos yet ;). The time will come. But what women doesn’t wonder about this? Pregnant or not, you have probably thought about what your children will look like. It’s a humanly instinct.
What will their birthday be? We all wonder what day we’re going to have to set aside to celebrate every year for the rest of our lives. Yeah, we all have a due date, but don’t go circling it on your calendar because it’s only tentative. And unfortunately for me, it’s 5 days after my birthday, so I might have to share it with her. Oh, and I already do share it with my twin sister, and on top of that, I have to share the day with all the moms out there every few years for mother’s day. If their due date is around a holiday, you’ll keep thinking about the possibility of the baby being born on that day. And, of course, if it’s around a family member or friend’s birthday, you’ve probably heard “you better have that baby on my birthday!”. It’s definitely exciting wondering what day your baby will enter this crazy world, but as it gets close to your due date, it might be less exciting and more annoying because you just want them out. You also can’t help but to think about what time they’ll be born, or how much they’ll weigh. Will she come at 3 AM when everyone is sleeping, will we have a ten-pounder, or will they come early and we get an itty-bitty 6-pounder? So many questions.
My partner is going to be a father and we’re going to be a family… This could bring on a wide-range of emotions. If you’re lucky enough to have a smart, hard-working, funny, sweet and caring partner like I do, this is only a beautiful thought. You imagine how fast they’re going to change when they hold their baby for the first time. Thinking of Christian holding our baby and seeing how happy he is, makes me happy. He loves her so much already. I know we’re going to be great parents. It won’t be easy, but neither of us would ever give up on each other. This baby is only going to make us stronger. I can’t wait to watch her grow into a beautiful young lady.
I can’t wait to hold him or her in my arms. This thought happens frequently throughout pregnancy, but it gets stronger the closer you are to your due date. Everyday I get this overwhelming feeling of love for her and I just want her to be here. You’re always going to hear “don’t rush it, you’ll want to put her back in once she’s here” which may be true, but under that layer of stress will always be a thicker layer of love. It’s hard not to also think about how short life is and how quickly they’ll grow into a moody teenager and then eventually have a family of their own. It’s a sad, but beautiful thought just to be able to experience this at all. I can’t wait to hold her, take care of her and introduce her to all my loved ones. She’s going to change so many peoples’ lives. I’m without words for the way impending motherhood feels, but it’s so special. My heart is full.
Religion can be thought of in many different ways. To me, it’s whatever you believe in, and that doesn’t have to be a “god”. Whatever you turn to during tough times and whatever you put your heart and soul into, that is your religion. I will say, however, that I do believe in God, so don’t let this post be misleading. On top of Christianity, I like to indulge in a few other activities that I consider a part of my spirituality. Let me tell you why you should find your “religion”.
A friend of mine, who is much older than me… like almost 40 years older, is the best example of this mentality, so I’m going to share her story. And yes, if you’re anything like me, you find people in their 60’s to be the best people because they experienced their young adult years in the hippy era… they’re basically my spirit animals. Anyway, she struggled with alcoholism, a debilitating disease that affects many people close to that person. It can ruin so many lives, and is largely dismissed and underestimated by people who have never experienced it. Addiction kills you while you’re still alive, it controls and manipulates you. A couple years ago, we got the heart-breaking news that she went comatose due to alcohol poisoning and nearly died. If you ask her about it, she will tell you that she did die and was given a second chance.
Not long after her first day home, on one of first warm day of the year, she saw me outside getting ready to go ride my bike and called me over to ask me about the tattoo on my leg, which had been covered up all winter, so she never saw it (she doesn’t like tattoos, but I opened her eyes) ;). What I thought was going to be a quick hi-and-bye, turned into an hour-long conversation that changed my life.
She told me that she found her “religion”.
Of course I asked, “which one?”, and she looked at me funny.
She said, “well dear, a little bit of everything”.
She then went on about how she talks to God, but also believes in Chakras and reincarnation, which are both Buddhist and Hindu beliefs. And for someone so fixated on Christianity, I thought this was very interesting. We talked for so long about this and all the possibilities that is life after death. This woman is truly intriguing. Every warm day, she is working on her garden, which is so beautiful (I’ll attach pictures) and she smokes marijuana sometimes which makes her eccentric and that much more interesting. She really wasn’t lying when she said she believes in a little bit of everything and I have learned so much from her. She is who I aspire to be.
I also have other neighbors who identify with Wicca, another amazing practice that I have learned so much about thanks to them.
Having something to believe in does not, in any way, shape, or form, make you weird or weak. It makes you happier. Each day I am figuring out who I am and who I want to be because, again, thanks to these amazing women in my life, I learned to be open-minded towards everything and that, to me, is the greatest satisfaction in life.
Find your “religion” and I promise you will be an all-around happier person.
I’m sure everyone has heard of the phrase postpartum depression, but antepartum? Probably not. Antepartum, reffering to the mother, is the period after conception and before birth. It isn’t the same thing as pregnancy, since it is a general term of the same time-frame, referring to both mother and baby (just to throw this in there, prenatal is the term that applies to just the baby). Normally, women feel better during this time because of all the “happy hormones” being released from the brain, but when you have a not-so-perfect brain like I do, this isn’t always the case. It’s been 4 months since I stopped taking my antidepressant and mood stabilizer, so it’s definitely out of my system by now. And, recently I started feeling depressed again… shocker. Some days I am over-the-moon excited about my daughter, just counting down the days until her due date, and others, I feel like I won’t be good enough and wonder if adoption would lead to a better life for her. Obviously, this is not what I want, but a damaged mind has the power to make me feel like it is.
Fortunately, over the past year, I have realized that I have the power to laugh at these evil thoughts rather than dwell on them. There’s always one thing that you can think of to bring you back to reality and feel like life is worth living again.
Mine is summertime.
It is almost impossible for me to feel sad when imaging the warm sun on my face, surrounded by about twenty trees in full bloom, with a breeze so perfect that it makes you think “this is what heaven feels like”. Find this place and your sadness will seem so infinitesimal compared to the beauty that you can create with one simple thought. The human mind is capable of anything – do not let it control you. Use your creativity, your kindness, and your faith to make up for the chemical imbalance.
My happy place isn’t just a figment of my imagination, it will be here in May, and this year I get to include my daughter in these day dreams, which makes them that much better. I can take her on walk and instill within her the same love that I have for nature, and to me, that is the best bonding (and a great way to make me smile). At the beginning of this post I was feeling awful and figured this might be a good time to accurately portray how depression affects me, and now I feel great. Never forget that your happy place will always be there. If you haven’t found one yet, you will, and your mental illness will not be so scary anymore.
Let me start off by saying that I have never given birth, so this is based on opinion and not experience. Throughout my extensive research on various aspects of pregnancy, I have seen many subjective articles on women’s birthing experiences, which is great since I need to know what I could be faced with. The problem is, I feel like there is this weird tension between women who have had vaginal births and women who have had c-sections. I have seen many women who have only had c-sections get belittled since they never actually had to push a child out. I just want to say that no matter how your baby is delivered, you are all strong women and are just as much of a mother as the next. C-sections are scary, especially for women who get told that they have to have their abdomens sliced open last second and have only a minute to process it. I don’t know what is going to happen when I go into labor, so I am going to try to be prepared for both scenarios. Whether you had a vaginal birth, c-section, IVF, or are an adoptive mother, you all have the same job – to love and raise your child to be the best that they can be.
I am proud to say that I finally got around to starting my own blog, which is something that most outspoken, loud-mouthed, gossip-ers would love to do. My 3rd 19 credit semester just ended, and I can actually breathe again. But, of course, relaxing isn’t something I am particularly good at, so I naturally had to give myself work… A.K.A this blog. Although, as soon as I figure out all this tech-y business, it’ll be more of a hobby than a task. Usually I’m great at figuring out the internet and computer/phone related things, but I’m pretty sure this process has given me my first gray hair. ANYWAY, let me tell you about myself now 😉 I have experienced so much in my short 19, soon-to-be 20, years. I’ll start off with my weaknesses and then move on to why I’m grateful. I have battled with mental illness for as long as I can remember. I was bullied all of my high school career, and eventually, after four years of not seeking help, I hit rock bottom at the end of my senior year. I can remember the exact moment I started to not feel like myself, and it was quite possibly the scariest thing ever. Every day it got progressively worse to the point where I would either not go to school, or spend the whole day in the counselor’s office, one of my biggest supporters (I owe her for my recovery). Each day was a blur. It felt like an out-of-body experience. I went from having extreme anxiety, to feeling nothing in the blink of an eye. All of my friends and family members felt like strangers, and I had no emotional connection to anything that was familiar to me. In May 2014, a week after my 18th birthday, I had my counselor take me to the ER because I needed to do something for myself. I finally made the decision to sign myself into a behavioral hospital, where I met amazing girls and got on the right medication. I can’t say much for their program, because I felt incarcerated and some of their counselors were awful. One had the audacity to tell me my family hated me, which obviously isn’t even remotely true. The food was great though, honestly. Two and a half weeks later, I was released by the doctor and I felt amazing. I felt normal, anyway. I got out just in time to go to my senior prom and to walk in my graduation. I truly am proud of myself for never giving up. Today, I am a photographer, my Canon is basically my child. I am a tattoo addict, I use them as a source of artistic expression and self-healing. I am a huge nature-lover and will spend every day above 70 by the river, hopefully with a fishing pole in my hand. I just started writing my first book, which I hope to be done with sometime this year. I am working on my Diagnostic Medical Sonography degree to become an ultrasound technician. And finally, the most beautiful part of my life – my family. I have a twin sister who is nothing like me, and that’s okay. My 3 year anniversary with my amazing boyfriend, who has been there for me through thick and thin, is coming up in less than 2 weeks. And, I am super excited to announce that our first child, a baby girl, is due to arrive on May 15th, 2016, 5 days after my 20th birthday. I am literally going to be raising a mini-me – another Taurus… wish me luck. I owe everything that I am and everything that I have to the Lord. You can expect for my posts to be based on these things. I will be posting about my pregnancy, advice on coping with anxiety and depression, my photography, the occasional zodiac post, and, of course, a rant or two, since I have a big mouth. I can’t wait to share my life and wisdom with you all. Welcome to our journey.