Being a mom was always something I knew one day I would become. I loved the idea of creating life and bringing a baby into this world to care for and watch him/her grow into a beautiful and happy little human. I was always aware of how much hard work and time consuming being a mom is. This is why to me it was clear that my moment to be a mother would be when I knew I was ready.
While being a mom was something I always knew I would become, I didn’t rush into it. My husband and I dated, lived together, traveled, made career changes, got engaged, got married, and then decided it was time to become parents. Even when we decided we were ready, we didn’t particularly start trying. It was more like we stopped not trying (if that makes sense). We just knew we were prepared for a baby to come but we wanted them to come when he/she was ready to come to us.
Finding out I was pregnant was one the greatest days of my life. As I was becoming aware that I in fact was pregnant, it felt so surreal. It almost felt like I had an out of body experience. Like I floated out of my body and just saw my self sitting there waiting for my brain to process the news. As I made my way to my husband I almost felt drunk and could barely walk. I finally made my way to him and gave him the great news. It took a few seconds for him to process the big news as well.
A few days later we went to our first baby appointment and it was official that we in fact were going to have our first baby. We were also able to determine exactly how far along I was. Then it instantly became all about taking care of our little piece of love that was growing inside of me. Everything I read was baby related. We signed up for the baby classes and took them. We made it to all the appointments. Got the nursery put together and organized. Then the day finally came. After a whole night at the hospital at 9:58 AM on January 23, 2016 Emma Nicole was born.
To say our lives changed forever is an understatement. They always tell you that you will never really be ready to have a baby. There will always be a reason why the timing is not right. This is why we decided to just let nature take its course and for the baby to come to us when they were ready to. Mentally and emotionally preparing for a baby definitely helped. The long sleep deprived nights were really hard but we knew they were coming so it wasn’t a surprise. We didn’t always have the answers but we knew where to find them. So that helped us stay calm and learn how to tend to our baby and learn what she needed and learned what certain cries meant.
The thing is, we spent so much time preparing how to welcome the baby and how to be parents we sort of forgot how to live life. How different things would be after she got here and how much we would really have to adjust. How the things we did before wouldn’t be the same anymore. Now, I’m not talking about doing fun things like movies, going out to eat, taking spontaneous trips, etc. We always knew we would have to give those up for a while. I’m talking about not taking into consideration how much our day to day routine was going to change. And that’s when things really got hard.
Getting ready for work, going to work, going to the gym, grocery shopping, and all other daily things regular people do are all things you don’t really think about how much a new baby will affect. At least for us it did. And, it’s one of the big things that contributed to me being affected by postpartum depression and for it getting worse and worse.
I’m the type of person who has to have a daily routine. I typically have a to do list of things that need to be done everyday. I wake up at the same time and start my day with the same routine. After Emma was born this was impossible. I typically couldn’t even take a shower until like 11 pm when she was sleeping and it would have to be a quick one. I would be afraid that she would wake up in the middle of me showering wanting to eat.
I was able to have Emma sleep trained relatively quickly and on a schedule. Eventually she had a wake up time, feeding times, nap time and a bed time. By the time I went back to work she had her own routine. But, I still didn’t know how to fit everything else in between. I did meal prepping, my husband helped me with the house work, my grandparents stayed with us for a couple of months so that was helpful too. However, I still felt like I couldn’t get a grip. When I went back to work it was even more complicated.
We constantly kept having the people who agreed to come over and watch the baby while I was at work bail on us. A good friend of mine and her mom offered to watch her at their house and finally it was something more permanent. The problem was they lived opposite to our house and jobs. My husband had a later schedule at this point, so he would drop her off. I would go in to work very early to get out early and pick her up. By the time I got home from picking her up it was two hours after I had gotten out of work. Then I would get home to feed her dinner, have dinner, clean, get everything ready for the next day, breastfeed, give her a bath, take a shower and sometimes work overtime from home. I would end up going to bed after midnight most days. To then be up at 5 am to breastfeed her and then get ready for work and make it there for 7 am.
This routine was exhausting to say the least for all of us and really took a toll on me. Eventually it was too much and that’s when we decided the best thing would be for me to quit my job and stay home with her. It was a huge adjustment for us financially and emotionally for me as well. I never thought that I would end up being a stay at home mom. The truth is I like going to work and socializing with other adults. Being home all day with a baby was a hard adjustment. My husband was working long hours while we got our finances straightened without my income.
All these elements contributed to my depression. Every time I started to feel a little better and more like myself again, something else happened where I couldn’t stick to my new routine anymore and would have to start all over again. It was draining and very hard to go through pretty much alone since my husband was gone for long hours. I had no energy to do anything more than just taking care of my baby. I didn’t want to leave the house and my housework really started to fall behind.
After Emma turned one I came to realize that I needed to take control of my life back. I was doing a great job at being a mom and now needed sometime to focus on me. While I was being a good mom I still felt like I could be a better mom if I worked on my mental and emotional health. I had seeing a specialist to treat my postpartum depression and decided to apply some of their advice to my daily life. I started going out with Emma more and went back to the gym. I started documenting Emma’s meals and my recipes on Instagram again. This helped me keep busy and distracted. I also got some contact through social media with other adults. Even if it was just through my phone, it helped a little.
Another thing that really helped was going back to making a to do list. This helped me better manage my time. I learned how to split my house work and cooking and fit it into each day so that I’m only doing a bit everyday. Now that the weather is warm I spend a lot of time outside with Emma and that makes both of us happy. My husband is back to working normal hours and is around more so is able to help me out when he gets home from work. Even him spending time with Emma so I can finish my afternoon chores is a huge help. I go to the gym regularly and that has helped me very much with getting out of my depression.
Becoming a parent is a different experience for everyone. This has been our personal experience and it has definitely been a hard uphill battle just to get back on track with everyday life. But the good thing is that no matter how hard things get or how depressed I may feel, one look at my baby and I feel much better. Being a mom is a huge responsibility but it is also a privilege. I’m also very lucky to have a healthy baby growing up to be a smart and clever little girl. Sometimes I just have to remember to sit back and just enjoy my baby girl. The hard times won’t last forever and so won’t the time with my baby being a baby. She will grow fast and I don’t want to look back and feel like I missed any time with her. Even though becoming a parent has been challenging in ways that we didn’t even know were possible, it is still the best thing to ever happen to us.