Everything I had observed before having a baby (movies, TV shows, commercials, my own mother) convinced me I would be happy after having a baby. Sure I expected to be exhausted, but nevertheless, happy. I knew my life would change, but I just figured I would love being a mother and therefore wouldn’t miss my old life.
I couldn’t have predicted just how much I would look back and grieve my old life. I yearned for the freedom I had to wake up on a Saturday morning after sleeping in a bit, sipping a hot cup of coffee and enjoying a quiet morning while my husband usually slept in longer. I loved the weekends and used to look forward to them. My husband and I would do fun stuff like dine out, hang out with friends, or have a lazy Sunday enjoying some adult beverages at our favorite restaurant patio. This was the life! I was truly happy with it all.
Weekends now looked much different. When I was still breastfeeding, in addition to middle of the night feedings I would be up around 6:00am for another feeding and to start my day. Caffeine was not allowed because of breastfeeding so a hot cup of coffee was out. Instead of relaxing while waiting for my husband to wake up I was now consumed with caring for an infant which probably included a few diaper changes, rocking, bouncing or some sort of soothing and another feeding. My husband would wake up around 9:00am, 3 hours after I had already been up and had conquered half the day.
The rest of the day would have to be worked around my baby’s naps which started at three naps a day, then dropped to two naps at six months and finally only one nap at eighteen months. What did it matter though? Where were we going to go anyway? We did do our best to get out of the house with the baby however it always felt like more trouble than it was worth. Having this baby was taking away from my life not adding to it. I grieved the loss of my freedom, my relationship with my husband and most of all my happiness. I wanted it all back!
Because I was not prepared for this grief and didn’t even know this was a possibility for my postpartum experience, I felt so much shame and isolation for feeling this way.
Today, as a postpartum therapist I’m on a mission to end shame for struggling mothers who are experiencing a lack of joy in their new role. I strive to support and normalize a grieving process that can occur after having a baby.
As part of my mission, I’m so excited to be publishing my book next month on Amazon POSTPARTUM HAPPINESS, What to do when you love the kids, but hate the job.