Most of my 2019 went by like a blur. It felt like I was floating for at least the first 6-8 months. Like I was just existing. I would say this was probably due to being a new mum and trying to find a balance between my old and new realities.
I consider myself a spiritual person, but just like everyone else, I struggle every now and then with keeping that spirituality on a 100. I’m big on keeping a strong personal relationship with God, but sometimes I find it so hard to pray. It’s almost like I have a brain block whenever I try.
For some reason, nobody tells you the truth about what to expect during and after delivery. It’s like there’s some unspoken rule not to tell expectant mothers. Well too bad I didn’t get the memo, because i’m about to spill!
You know that feeling of disorientation and confusion that hits when you leave a place you’ve been used to all your life and go to a new place with different and unfamiliar ways of living? It’s called culture shock. Being a first time mum pretty much leaves you with the same feeling. Well at least that’s how I felt.
The first few days after the delivery weren’t so bad because we were still in the hospital and the nurses and doctors came around to check every now and then; the nurses bathed the baby and gave me drugs, so the fact that I was now a mother hadn’t hit me yet. I mean, I knew a baby came out of me, the reduced size of my stomach and the cutie in the cot beside me were testaments to that fact, but mentally, I hadn’t really processed the fact that everything had gone from 0 to 100,000 in a matter of seconds.
I always imagined breastfeeding to be a plug and play kind of scenario, like everything will just happen like clockwork- baby latches on and milk flows in the litres, boy was I wrong. Although I didn’t have a problem getting baby to latch on the first time, in fact she latched like a pro, and I was super grateful for that because some women aren’t so lucky, but what nobody told me was that my nipples were going to hurt like MAD! I wasn’t prepared mehn! I literally had to squeeze husbae’s hand while fighting back tears every single time I tried to breastfeed. Also I didn’t realise the milk was going to take a while to come in, so I was there enduring pain from breastfeeding and milk wasn’t even coming out. The doctor told me to keep letting her suck, that it will get easier and less painful, easy for them to say?! The milk eventually started coming in trickles (I know because I decided to use a breast pump to help) but my nips were mad sore and painful that I burst into tears a few times.
I didn’t even know what this word meant until 2 days after delivery and I definitely had no idea about the intense pain or the heaviness I would feel. Engorgement is when the breasts overfill with milk, causing them to feel hard and very painful. I cried from the pain. I also felt really miserable because nipples hurt, boobs hurt, and I was tired from lack of sleep. Sigh!
Okay this wasn’t really a shock because EVERYBODY kept telling me to prepare for sleepless nights. But even if the whole world tells you something, you can never truly be prepared until you actually experience it. Husbae and I were both red eyed for the first few days in the hospital. I actually felt bad for him because I know how important his sleep is to him, I mean, I don’t even think we slept up to 6 hours in the 72 hours we were at the hospital. Might be an exaggeration but it really was that bad. We took turns rocking the baby whenever she cried, while the other person tried to catch some shut eye.
I really don’t know if this happens to everybody, but it happened to me! The first day we got back from the hospital, I was so overwhelmed that I broke down crying at least 3 times. I think this is where postpartum depression and anxiety sets in for some women, but thank God for me mehn! I was overwhelmed because there was a lot going on. From trying to assemble baby’s bassinet, to unpacking hospital bags, to figuring out the breast pump (in hopes that it would relieve pain from the engorgement), plus I was dealing with seriously sore nipples and fatigue from not getting enough sleep. It was A LOT for me to take in at once! I guess that’s why it’s advised to be as prepared for baby as possible before your due date. I was mostly just preoccupied with waiting for baby to arrive.
The actual baby
Yup, the reality finally hit me when we got back home from the hospital. Not the fact that I was a mother oh, that reality took its sweet time to hit, but that there was actually a baby that I birthed. It was really surreal. Thank goodness my mother was around because I honestly don’t know how I would have survived. There was suddenly all these new things to remember at the same time. I had to remember to feed the baby, remember to change baby’s diaper (trust me, it is very possible to forget when you’re overwhelmed), remember to take my medication. These things certainly don’t come pre-programmed into your brain immediately after delivery, it takes getting used to. It is really important to have someone with you after delivery for your mental well-being, but if you don’t, know that you are stronger than you think and can handle it.
Omo! Cravings that I didn’t experience while pregnant, hit me strongly when I started breastfeeding. I was always pekish and thirsty and needing something to eat. I craved short bread biscuits so much that I could finish the big pack in one sitting, I just had to learn to stop myself, because short bread everyday is really not sustainable. So because your body is losing calories and energy while breastfeeding, it leaves you feeling very hungry and thirsty…I did not know this.
Going one size up
Clothes, shoes, bra size….they all increased, to my utmost dismay! Because this meant I had to buy new ones when it was time to resume work. The issue with the clothes will come in another post where i’ll talk about weight gain/loss after delivery, right now, i’m still trying to come to terms with my “extra” size.
Did you know about any of these post-delivery experiences? If you're a mum, did you experience any?
P.s: If you’re hoping to become a mom some day, please don’t let this post scare you because everybody’s experience is different and unique. Although these experiences were difficult for me, I would do it all again in a heartbeat.
I enjoy blogging a lot. Especially when I write on topics i’m passionate about and know the blog post will help or inspire someone. Blogging to me is sort of a release, an avenue for me to pour out pent up emotion, giving the voices in my head a platform to speak. Although while running my old blog, blogging became a lot of WORK! And when something you enjoy starts to seem like too much work, it definitely loses its appeal.
At some point I got stuck and didn’t know how to move forward, I was overwhelmed and felt extremely pressured by the invisible forces of the blogosphere; pressured to consistently post relevant content that adds value to the reader, pressured to promote posts on social media so that they get read and hopefully rake in comments, pressured to make sure my posts ranked high on Google search using SEO. *sigh!* I mean, all this was too much for me to process even after my 5+ years of blogging. Hats off to bloggers who have all this figured out, you guys are truly MVP’s!
And then what about the insecurities and over thinking that come with putting out a blog post? Asking yourself “what if nobody likes it?” “what if they think my title sucks and they don’t read?” “what if nobody drops a comment?” Comments on the old blog were practically non-existent and this took a toll on my blogging confidence.
I started to question my reasons for blogging, I asked myself so many times “why are you blogging?” “are you even on the right track?” “Does your blog even have a clear focus that people can resonate with?”That last question was because there were too many categories on my blog and writing for each one was a lot of pressure. I scrambled to write on topics that I had little or no interest in, just because I had to put content out. My own blog began to overwhelm me, and not in a good way. This took the relaxation out of writing and it became unpleasant work.
One day while reflecting, I thought, what if I just want to write for the sake of expressing myself? What if I don’t always have value to add but just want to share an experience in the hope that someone somewhere can relate? And if I just want to write to empty my mind of all the words floating around without thinking of monetising the blog, is that such a bad thing? What if I just want to blog without feeling like an unserious or inadequate blogger?!!
I love to blog, but then, I want to do it on my own terms, I want to give value without the pressure of being expected to give value. I just need a space to express my thoughts, a space where the voices in my head can have a platform to flourish.
So this post is me saying WHY NOT?! Why can’t I blog without following all the rules? Why can’t I just pour out the words and hope that someone out there can relate and be inspired?
And that is exactly what i’m going to do. Will you join me on this new journey?
For months, I had contemplated deleting my former blog (misspurpleheart.com) and starting afresh. I was stuck and didn’t know how to move forward, I was also overwhelmed because I had too many categories and felt pressured to write for each one monthly. This took the relaxation out of writing for me and it became work. Hard-stressful-not enjoyable work.