If any has ever told you that pregnancy is hard… they haven’t experienced postpartum yet. (Alright, my pregnancy wasn’t bad at all, so that may be a bold statement to those who really have experienced a difficult pregnancy, but in my case… it’s the truth.)
I love having Rylee here more than anything, it is the most amazing experience in the world! So don’t get me wrong, because I get the privilege of waking up to this beautiful face every
morning 2-3 hours.
But man, nothing has prepared me for the emotional and physical rollercoaster of postpartum. I always thought (and maybe didn’t do my research well enough) that after labor and delivery, being a mom would be a breeze. I prepared myself already for lots of crying and lack of sleep for a couple months, no biggy.
During my pregnancy, Brett and I hardly noticed any attitude or emotional changes to my behavior due to hormones. After pregnancy… I am a hormonal wreck! The first trip out with Rylee to the doctor’s office.. crying… for no reason. And in almost every situation after that? Crying… for no reason.
And let me tell you a little something about breastfeeding. Everyone tells you that “You HAVE to breastfeed” and stress that it is the most important thing for your baby. Of course I agree with that and made the decision to breastfeed the moment I knew I was pregnant, but the emphasis put on breastfeeding makes formula look like the devil!!
I was so distraught when we took Rylee in for her first checkup and we heard she lost weight because she wasn’t getting enough nutrition from breastfeeding alone. Hormone check! I was an emotional wreck! Thoughts of failure and depression sunk in and I felt like I couldn’t do the ONE thing I was supposed to do as a mother. Extreme I know, but that’s hormones for ya.
When the doctor told us that formula is OK and still great nutrition to give to Rylee I felt (a little) better about it, knowing that the important thing was to get Rylee the nutrition that she needed and back on track with weight gain.
I am getting more and more used to the idea of using formula to supplement. I find it now to be almost essential to mine and Brett’s sanity and wellbeing. Plus, added bonus – the formula has vitamin D in it so we can make sure Rylee gets her dosage, since she wont get any from my breast milk. A combo of formula and pumped breast milk have become great fillers for me when I am exhausted in the middle of the night, need a break during the day or want to run an errand to get out of the house. And it keeps me from feeling like I am some kind of constant feeding machine on restart every 2 hours!
Ladies, we as human beings should feel guiltless in continuing to do the things we love, like shopping for instance, regardless of the fact that we just gave birth. It’s not a crime or something to be ashamed of if we need a break or just need to get away. It’s normal.
Breastfeeding is hard. Hard on the body and hard on a mother’s emotions, especially when it doesn’t go as smoothly as you thought it would. (Nipple shield, you are my savior) And then, there is the dreaded Mastitis. Of which I had never heard of in my life. Until last week when I came down with a fever of 102 and couldn’t do anything but sleep.
My mother, who thankfully was there to help with Rylee while my fever was on the rise, mentioned it may be Mastitis, as she had experienced this while breastfeeding me. According to MayoClinic.com, Mastitis is an infection of the breast tissue that results in breast pain, swelling, warmth and redness of the breast.
Of course I freaked out. It’s only been 2 weeks of breastfeeding and now this? Feeling useless, not able to care for my own child because I was so fatigued, I knew I had to do something. I called my doctor, choking back tears, explaining the situation. “Oh yeah” my doctor’s nurse replied, “why don’t you come in and we’ll get you some antibiotics.” Hmm, seemed like a common occurrence. Why did I have no idea this infection even existed??
I spent so much time worrying about what to do while I was pregnant, “What can I eat?” “How much can I work out?” “What vitamins do I need to take?” “How much caffeine can I have daily?” “You can’t eat cold cuts??” That I did absolutely no research or reading on what it is like after giving birth and how my body would react to postpartum.
The first two weeks were rocky, and filled with plenty of ups and downs, but after starting my antibiotics, however, I am feeling like myself again. Our feeding/sleeping times have also became more of a planned schedule, keeping us prepared and on track. Brett even looked at me one day and said, “It’s good to have you back again. You finally seem like yourself.”
I AM feeling like myself again, and I am learning to take everything a step at a time, not to lose my cool, take deep breaths, and turn to Brett and my gorgeous daughter and be thankful for the amazing family that I am so lucky to have.