Here’s how this all began.
Before having my first baby at 33, I figured it would be pretty intuitive, and dare I say easy, to meet my own needs after giving birth. I was in good shape and extremely healthy beforehand. So afterward, I planned to just “take it easy” for a while and let my body run its natural course of recovery.
Then doctors would follow up with me, I’d get the care I needed, and they’d tell me what to do next. I’d jump back on the wagon of eating right and working out and surely I would look and feel like myself again pretty quickly. Right? HA! Instead, I was left wondering: what about me?
Everything seemed to go wrong.
Right away… breastfeeding didn’t work out. I was flabbergasted something so natural was so hard to do. Our son wouldn’t latch at first and my milk supply was low and never increased no matter what I did. Power pumping, lactation cookies, visiting a specialist, even trying a prescription medication. Nothing helped.
After struggling physically and mentally, I quit altogether before three weeks was up. I had a lot of big feelings about this. There was guilt and fear around if my baby would be healthy. Or if his immune system would be strong enough. A real fear for a new mom with a newborn, especially during a global pandemic.
Maybe quitting breastfeeding is part of the reason my weight loss suddenly plateaued for over a month. I still had 15 lbs left to lose from the 30+ I had gained with my pregnancy. After having steadily lost a couple pounds a week for the first few months, it just totally stalled out.
It didn’t seem to matter that I was working out almost every day and eating healthy. I didn’t look like myself or feel like myself and I was really trying to be patient. But it was so frustrating. After sharing my body for almost a year, I just wanted it back to myself.
I still hadn’t moved from wondering what about me? into coming up with a plan of action.
The physical trauma of delivery and infant care definitely left its mark. Lifting, feeding, and toting around a 9 lb–and quickly growing–baby was doing a number on my shoulder, back, and neck. I was in pain all the time, often straining myself while comforting him. And it honestly took me a while to realize I didn’t have to live with this pain.
I’m sure any mom knows what I’m talking about. We put ourselves last. It’s just what you feel like you’re supposed to do. Baby is crying so you tend to their needs. Husband is frustrated so you swoop in and take over so he doesn’t get annoyed since this was all your idea in the first place.
It was already a tough time to have a baby, to say the least.
Not to mention, this all happened during a global pandemic–hi, Covid. Yes, I delivered a 9 lb baby wearing a mask. Yes, I (and everyone else giving birth around this time) was socially isolating myself and my family to the detriment of receiving the social support that’s so crucial for new moms–and dads!–during this crazy time in our lives. Yes, I had my 6-week follow up appointment with my OBGYN via video chat instead of in person–despite having had an episiotomy during delivery. LET THAT SINK IN.
The doc cleared me, but I wasn’t OK.
I received incredible care throughout my pregnancy and delivery. It’s just that all the sudden once baby was born, it felt like 99% of the priority was now placed on my already healthy and happy (thank god) baby boy. I’m so grateful and thankful he is thriving and doing well. But there’s just one tiny, tiny little thing. I was NOT ok and I felt like I had no clue what I was doing.
Yes, I love my son more than anything in the world. Yes, being a parent is all about sacrificing your time, your money, energy, and body to create life. Yet, the whole experience left me wondering… what about me? Quick check: did you just think to yourself wow that sounds selfish? Or is that just me projecting as I type this?
The truth is: women need even MORE love, support, patience, kindness, information, and resources after officially becoming a mom to an outside baby. Just taking a quick look at the app store: there are countless pregnancy and new parent tools available and only a handful directed towards helping with a new mom’s needs.
My baby was healthy, but what about me? I didn’t know how to take care of MYSELF.
I wondered: What about my physical recovery? What about my mental health? Why can’t I sleep when both my husband and baby are out like a light? Why does my body hurt all day every day? When will I feel better again? How do I help my pelvic floor recover? What do I need to know about my nutrition? When can I start working out again? When will I lose this weight? Who can I turn to for help?
I know I’m not alone with these questions. I’ve talked to countless new and not-so-new moms about wanting more guidance and support during this time in our lives. That’s why this blog isn’t all about me. To be clear: I am lucky enough to have a great support network: a loving husband who is a great father to our son, and lots of friends and family who help and care a lot.
This is how What About Mamas was born.
So this is my new passion project. I’m here to help other mamas find the resources I didn’t know existed at first. With the hopes of reaching anyone else out there wondering… now that I’ve had a baby… hey… what about me?
Because I didn’t give up. I dug into the resources that may be a little hidden but ARE out there for new moms–even if you have to advocate for yourself and ask for them. That’s what this is all about. It’s about self-care, healthy boundaries, breastfeeding, mental health, body image, postpartum insomnia, mom guilt, and everything else I encounter along the way. The one thing it’s NOT about… is our beautiful bouncing bundles of joy.
Because, mama, you matter too.
Struggling to make time for yourself the way I was in the beginning? I created a free Motherhood Self-Care Guide to help.
And feel free to check out my little self care gift shop if you want to treat yourself (or pamper a friend) with something special today while supporting this blog and other mama-owned businesses!
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