Mat Leave: Not sure wtf day it is
Oh hey there, it’s ME again, back from the DEAD – otherwise known as having a newborn.
Last time I posted was more than 2 weeks when I just had the baby and I was still living in shock and denial that a human came out of my body (I’m STILL in disbelief but obviously had to accept it REAL fast).
Guys – let me tell you, newborns are not for the faint of heart. It’s also a total physical and emotional roller coaster that has high highs and very severe lows (emphasis on severe because yesterday I spent almost all day crying).
2 weeks into having my life completely change, I’ve decided to draft a list of high level thoughts + feelings on what it’s like on the other side with a newborn. This list is not going to sugar coat things my friend, and it’s something that I wish I had read prior to Kensington being born, so that maybe I could be a bit more mentally prepared for what was to come!
1. I feel lied to – or at least tricked by all the people casually walking around who have kids like it’s no big deal. IT’S A BIG FUCKING DEAL. I didn’t realize the pain and suffering you had to endure. Prop – serious props. Newborns are MONSTERS. They’re emotional and physical terrorists – they build you up and then tear you right back down. How do they do this? Mostly sleep deprivation. But also there’s so many things you have to worry and think about, that it’s also a mental assault on your brain too. I recently read a quote that NAVY seals are similar to new moms, because they are trained to tolerate torture by prolonged sleep deprivation and having to listen to hours of infant screams, similar to new moms! ENOUGH SAID.
2. Myth: you will fall instantly in love with your baby. I mean yes I believe this is real for some people – but for me it’s not. I mean I feel the obligatory kind of love because hello, Kensington came out of my body so I love her like I love my arms and legs, but I’m not IN love with her (yet).
But here’s the thing: I don’t feel guilty about this. I think some people are afraid to admit they’re not in love with their baby initially but I’m not afraid to say it. Because you know what I think is weird? Falling in love with something instantly without having forged any sort of connection to it. THAT to me seems more foreign and strange.
I am confident I will grow to love Kensi to smithereens though because look what happened with Frankly (who is still #1 in my heart… for now). When we got Frankly as a puppy, I was so overwhelmed with all the work that was required to take care of her that I felt really detached and burdened by her. It wasn’t until we figured out and normalized into a routine and she became house trained that our lives became easier, and subsequently my adoration grew.
So in case anyone still doubted me when I emphatically said Frankly will still be #1 in my heart even after the baby was born – this statement STILL HOLDS TRUE. In my heart, the hierarchy in this house is Dan – #1, Frankly #2, and then Kensi #3. But then in terms of needs being met it’s reverse, Kensi has to be #1, Frankly is #2 and then Dan is #3 because he can change his OWN diaper and pick up his own poop thank you very much.
3. There will be several moments (and for me it’s like dozens of times in an hour) that you question wtf you have done. In my case on day 2, I decided I didn’t want her or this life anymore and told Dan we should put her up for adoption and that for a newborn she was pretty cute so I was confident that someone would pick her right away. But then a day later I conceded we can still keep her. Not going to lie, I still dance around and think about it several times a day.
4. Mourning. It’s kind of funny that as one life is born into the world, another life as you know it is essentially put to rest. For me, my old life has died – and now I’m adjusting to a new life. I miss what my old life use to be. My independence, my frivolous spending habits, the ability to just do whatever I wanted whenever I wanted, working + making money, the list goes on and on. I spent almost ALL day yesterday crying because I missed my old life so badly, that I felt like it finally sunk in that the life I once knew has pretty much died.
5. Missing when it was just the 2 of us. Or in my case – I miss when it was just the three of us – Dan, Frankly and I. We were the three amigos and now I feel a tremendous amount of guilt for not having more quality time to spend with either of them.
As you can see – the above list is kind of depressing (even though it’s the TRUTH). That’s why I’m glad that I didn’t originally post this on Day 3 when I originally drafted the list because since then, I’ve had more time to normalize (and my hormones are also calming down somewhat). For every bullet on the list above, I’ve also drafted a new list of realizations I’ve had since Kensington was born:
1. I’m really fucking strong. Physically, mentally, emotionally – even when I’m a sobbing mess and crying for hours (or days!), I’m still strong. I carried and grew a human inside of me for 10 months. And then I unknowingly endured contractions for DAYS. I was in active labour for 10 hours (take THAT Navy Seals!) and veins were bulging out of my neck and head while I was pushing Kensington out of me. I’m actually UNSTOPPABLE.
Not that I ever doubted this myself but for anyone who might be on the fence – here’s the truth: Women are stronger than men. We just are.
This is something I have to keep reminding myself 2 weeks later because yesterday I was just confronted with so many things I felt fearful of. Afraid to figure out how to put her in the car seat by myself. How to use the stroller by myself. How to use the breast pump. Everything that felt new and foreign that I’ve never done with her feels really scary, intimidating and daunting. And then I have to remind myself I somehow made it through labour, and survived the first 2 weeks – so somehow I probably have the reserves to figure it out.
2. I love Dan MORE THAN EVER (and vice versa). I might not be head over heels in love with Kensington yet, but I know I love Dan more than ever. Dan was amazing to me during labour and has been even more amazing to me since. I was bedridden for a few days after the delivery and Dan did EVERYTHING he possibly could to make me feel comfortable. He’s been there waking up with me in the middle of the night, changes the majority of diapers, always makes sure a glass of water is filled next to me to keep me hydrated, and doesn’t complain when he has to go up and down the stairs a million times if I ask him to get things for me. The list goes on and on. The days after Kensington was born, we would be in bed and even though I felt really overwhelmed and crippled with fear and anxiety on how to keep this human being alive, I knew that no matter what I had a partner who felt the exact same way I did and thought I was doing great.
3. Kensington is changing every day, and subsequently so am I (or at least I have to). This is VERY scary and liberating all at the same time. I’m the same but I’m completely different. Things I cared about I instantly don’t seem to care about anymore. Case in point: Aritzia sent me their snooze you lose sale email and I went through it and didn’t buy ANYTHING. I don’t even have the compulsion to shop (for clothes) anymore, because now I evaluate everything as ‘is it worth it if it gets puked, peed or shat on?’ and if it’s not – then bye Felicia!
4. Learning to let go. Newborns are the greatest exercise to challenge anyone who has issues with letting go. I’m slowly day by day learning to let go and shed my OCD anxieties and insecurities. For anyone who is Type A or a control freak – you’ll know how tough and challenging the idea of letting go of any sort of control is, but Kensington is forcing me to do it and I’ll be better for it and so will she.
I’m also letting go of what I think my life was, and doing my best to welcome what my new life is like. Right now my new life is awful. Simply awful. Kensington may have been receiving her livelihood via an umbilical cord when she was inside me, but being outside is different because there’s an invisible umbilical cord. I am her source of nutrients so I am essentially tethered to her. She has to be fed, diaper changed and go to sleep every 2-4 hours…. day in and day out. This is the formula to driving someone insane, and this is ultimately what is making me feel depressed and spontaneously combust into tears anytime someone asks “how are you doing?” Lets be clear: I’M NOT FINE. And I just have to keep reminding myself: THIS IS NORMAL and THIS TOO SHALL PASS.
That’s why when I’m scrolling through social media and seeing all these mommy blogs, with moms and their strollers out for coffee or tons of social media of people posting these perfect pictures of themselves with their newborn in these cutesy outfits I’m like WTF. That is not real life. Do not try to instagram filter what being a first time mom is. Show me the pictures of you in your pjs for 3 days straight, covered in vom, sleep deprived, and bawling your eyes out. Those are the REAL pics I want to see, none of this insta filtered bull shizzle.
5. I’m grateful for the small private moments I might have with Dan and Frankly because I appreciate them way more now. And I’m also grateful for the sweet moments that I see Kensington have with everyone around me. Dan + Kensi. My parents + Kensi. Dan’s parents + Kensi. Mostly though Kensi + Frankly – the combination of those two are going to be DEADLY (right now Franks isn’t too interested in her but she always checks up on her when she cries and gives her some really good sniffs once in awhile and that already warms my heart).
I’m committed to trying to return to normal and updating the blog more, so stay tuned! But note I’m also committed to being super honest + frank about what being a new mom is like, like for REAL and not social media real. Hence the pics I posted are all of me looking like shit, because that’s what it’s REALLY like!