the afterbirth


May 29, 2012 by Heather

There isn’t a really spectacular way to transition from “Oh, here is the birth story of my blessed child who I love so much” to “This, as it turns out, is really difficult and why am I crying everyday.”  There just isn’t.

For a brief moment I considered waiting to write about this until I was all the way out of it, on the other side.  But why do that?  It’s so much more fun to write about feeling like a hot mess when you yourself ARE the hot mess.

I’ve only ever heard one friend of mine mention her “baby blues.”  I don’t have a ton of friends with children, so maybe that is why I have just heard of it that one time.  Of course I read all about it in pregnancy books, about the symptoms and such.  In the past I’ve struggled with anxiety and been through some counseling and had a brief anti-depressant stint, so naturally I worried that I would be susceptible to the kind of unwanted symptoms the books described.  Lo and behold, I was right.

I sort of feel like talking about it is almost not allowed, you know?  I should be posting photos and making lists of all the things I love about my precious son and this and that.  But there’s enough of that out there, and not near enough of this.. so let’s roll with it.

Andrew went back to work this past Friday.  I’m just going to say the thing you’re not supposed to say:  as soon as he left I immediately felt like I was babysitting someone else’s baby.  Like, with Andrew here, Parker felt like our child.  But when he left I felt stranded and completely unprepared.  I was also massively constipated all day long, which did not help the cause.  We (Parker and myself) managed to survive the day, and I managed to have a victory down below around 3am the following morning.  Praise be the the One on high.

Luckily, the long weekend really helped things.  My soreness from the c-section got much better, and my motherly patience finally seemed to come in, like breast milk.  But just like breast milk, I start off with a whole lot of it in the morning (cantaloupes, no lie) and then by nightfall my patience is like a deflated, busted water balloon.  Just like my breasts.

Speaking of brrreasts, turns out breastfeeding is a bit of a drag.  (Again, can I say that?)  When I was pregnant and someone would ask if I planned to nurse, I would respond with an excited, “Yes!  Breast is best!”  Little did I know, “Breast” means having your nipples reduced to round pieces of hammered rubber for 4-hour stretches at times.  I am almost certain that Parker will grow to be 7 feet tall and weigh around 300 pounds.  The boy can eat.  And no, I am not his human pacifier.  As soon as he stops sucking, bam, he’s cut off.  But if he’s not sleeping, he’s eating.  He woke up from a nap at 7:30pm last night and enjoyed a milk feast all the way until midnight.  MIDNIGHT.  It wasn’t constant, there was burping and diapering and swaddling and rocking mixed in, but it definitely lasted a very long time.

My poor, poor nipples.

And Parker’s not the only one crying like a baby around these parts.  Oh no, Mom has joined in on the fun.  I have cried, on average, about 5 times a day since coming home from the hospital.  I cry because I feel trapped.  I cry because I never want anything bad to happen to my sweet baby.  I cry because I miss it being just me and Andrew.  I cry because I am exhausted.  I cry because my stomach looks like a water bed (you were right, Mallorie).  I cry because breastfeeding takes for-freaking-ever.  I cry because I want to not feel like crying.  I cry because I felt like a babysitter that one day, waiting for this kid’s parents to come pick him up.  I cry because I don’t wear pants most days.  I cry because I fear I am losing all mystery and sex appeal in the eyes of my luscious husband.  I cry because the only underwear I can manage to put on my body right now are the disgusting, giant mesh panties from the hospital (see previous sentence).  I cry because I know this precious boy will grow up someday and be some girl’s version of my Andrew and that makes me sad.  I cry thinking of him going to kindergarten.  I cry when I think about Parker being made inside of me.  Basically, I just cry about anything.  Boo hoo hooey.

Lest you begin to think I’ve totally lost it and I’m teetering on the edge here, please know that all of these feelings are beginning to lift.  I feel myself rising out of the fog slowly but surely.  My patience is increasing.  My selfishness is subsiding.  I’m finally starting to see this whole baby thing for what it is – not a burden to be frustrated at, but a beautiful, wonderful, amazing gift from God to be cherished and taken a day at a time.

I can’t do it all, I can’t be perfect, I can’t expect everything to be the way it was.  But I can do some things, I can try my best, and I can be hopeful and excited for what is happening now and for what is to come.  I can relish in the fact that he gets comfort and perfect nourishment from breastfeeding, something only I can give him.  I can love this yummy little baby and squeeze his thighs until he makes his cute annoyed face.  “Ugh, Mom, stop it.”

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”  James 1:17

“For You created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”  Psalm 139:13-14


Me, except with no pants.


14 thoughts on “the afterbirth

  1. Robin says:

    TMI I know, but oh well, here goes. The juice from boiled cabbage does wonders for constipation. No drugs to worry about, just some gas. I like to add some bacon bits, onions and celery salt while cooking. Strain and drink, be patient it can take 30 – 90 minutes to work.

    I truly believe that talking about what you’re feeling when you feel it is good for you! Keep it up!

  2. Marisa alexander says:

    Everything you are feeling is totally normal, I promise. It is a lot of work and you’ll be tired basically forever, but I promise it gets better and it’s the best job in the world!

  3. Jessica says:

    Heather I promise it gets so much better! Try pumping instead of just breast feeding. That helped me a TON and look how my two munchkins turned out 😉 so proud of you and Andrew and Parker is too cute! I get WAY too excited when I see you’ve blogged! Anytime you need some “food” advice let me know! P.S. I remember you watching my kid and doing a great job with him… And he was breast fed until he was 6 months old! ( you started watching him at 3!)

    • Aw, thank you so much. We are tossing around the idea of pumping and doing a bottle every now and then, probably beginning around 6 weeks or so. The important thing is that he’s getting the breast milk.

  4. Kelly says:

    Lansinoh is a life saver… use if after EVERY time you nurse! Also, I took stool softeners every day for about a month:) It gets better and he will be a pro at eating and feedings will be much shorter:)

  5. Jennifer H says:

    Jarrod didn’t have to go back to work until Henry was 3 weeks old so I feel like I got the delayed version of this. The first day he went work I cried on and off the whole day. My mom lived just down the street and me in my independent/obstinate nature didn’t call her. Mistake. Biggest thing, don’t be afraid to vent and ask for help. It’s the only thing that does help. And trust me, as someone pregnant with baby #2 only 18 months later, good and loving husbands still find their wives appealing. 🙂

  6. jami says:

    No words of encouragement or advice here since I’m about to embark on the same thing soon but just know that I’m thinking about you. I think it’s great that you’re expressing all of these things since a lot of times all you hear from your friends and family members is how great it is and not the reality of the day in and day out stuff. It’s hard, it sucks sometimes, and most of us just don’t know how to do it until we do. Thanks for being honest so a few months from now when I’m going through the same thing I can read this again and remember I’m not alone with these thoughts and feelings!

  7. Lauren says:

    Heather, I went through ALL of those same things. I cried ALL the time. I would even sit down in the shower and just cry. Everything was sentimental, and all moments felt precious and as if they were slipping away. As for the breastfeeding… i struggled with it for about three weeks, got all kinds of advice (requested and not), got guilt tripped, and finally gave up. It turns out that I was unable to produce enough for Ben, so God gave me peace about formula feeding. It took a while… but peace did come. Might I just say, too, that he has NEVER had an ear infection, he gains weight regularly but is not obese, and he is very bright! Don’t listen to ANYONE about what is best for little Parker. Do what feels right to you. Daniel and I have some diapers and some other things for you guys!

  8. I had baby blues for about a month after David was born and Chris had a week long anxiety attack after we came home…it’s all completely normal. It can be overwhelming and it’s ok to admit that. You’re still a great mom. My blues were mostly over breast feeding because I had a really hard time with it. Chris would come home and ask how it went that day and I would just burst out bawling “Horrible! Just awful! I can’t feed my baby!” One day you just wake up and realize “Hey, I’m not fighting back tears, it’s a good day!” Parker is precious btw…just love his hair 🙂

  9. Deidre Davis says:

    I remember these days! Ezra was a literal ‘booby monster’ and I got so sore! We had trouble at first because he was such a squirt, but it DOES get better. It’s so nice when the feedings get quicker and they get more efficient and get more at a time (although my new mom panic made me wonder if he was going to starve when this first happened).
    I hated feeling like I was doing everything wrong and second-guessing myself constantly. I’m hoping the second time around that some of that will have subsided and I’ll be more relaxed. I’m also hoping that since I’ve breastfed before I’ll have some sense of how it should go and things will go more smoothly (I’ll let you know if this hope has any basis as soon as I know).
    You are right to just take each day at a time, sometimes each moment at a time and try to focus on the thankful/blessed part instead of the chaotic state of things around you.
    I’m praying for you, and I hope you know you are not alone! I’m sure I’ll be right there again once Ellie comes! (all those hopes for less stress since I’ve done this before are probably going to be nixed since this time I also have a toddler)

  10. Porkchop says:

    Oh man, reading this makes me feel all kinds of sad and weird. Those first couple of weeks with my first were such a blur of crying, breastfeeding, and being tired to the bone in a way I had never experienced before. But you made it, you’re doing it! Bravo!

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