Pregnancy, a Pandemic, and Prenatal Anxiety, OH MY!

My first pregnancy was a dream. No morning sickness, great news at every checkup, and I was calm, cool, and collected through the entire 40 weeks.

This time around I’m facing some new territory.

This time I’m dealing with a pandemic, taking care of my toddler, and oh hey, prenatal anxiety decided to walk into the party.

Now, I have zero reasons at this moment to be anxious or stressed about this pregnancy. Every appointment has gone like a dream. Although I had nausea at the beginning, it was very mild compared to other women’s experiences. I’ve been able to workout 5 days a week, work, and keep up with my 20 month old.

I guess a worldwide pandemic could be cause for anxiety, but honestly it’s not even the first thing on my mind when that sinking, overwhelming feeling sets in.

Instead I’m anxious about all the things that COULD go wrong but haven’t yet.

This is not like me. If you know me, I’m pretty chill. I like to go with the flow, and I don’t tend to freak out or worry too easily.

My first experience with anxiety was when postpartum anxiety hit me like a ton of bricks 2 weeks after giving birth to my daughter. I had never before felt that way. It terrified me! I couldn’t breath, my mind raced, my heart raced and I couldn’t pin point a single thought or reason for it.

It took me about 9 months, research, talking to people and talking with other mothers who have gone through it to finally control it. I learned tools and methods to calm it (which you can find in an earlier blog post), and eventually it just kind of faded away.

The last 5 months I have been pretty calm…. but every once in a while the fear just takes over. It doesn’t just take over, it overwhelms me worse than my postpartum anxiety did.

The thing about pregnancy is you are SO out of control, and you feel it. Your body no longer feels like the one you know so well, you can’t do some of the things you normally can, and no matter how well you take care of yourself you have ZERO control of the outcome.

For some reason this time around that lack of control over the outcome has freaked me out.

I have no idea why since the first time around I had a dream pregnancy. Then again, sometimes I think that’s the exact reason.

I know so many women who have done everything right, and been healthy, and something just went wrong out of nowhere. I know many that this has happened to multiple times… so in the back of my head there’s a voice saying “why would you be so lucky?”

I think about how blessed I was with an easy pregnancy, a healthy baby, and an easy birth all the time. I try to focus on my own experience and use that to focus on how well this second one has been going as well.

Anxiety, however, has no rationality. It just attacks, and it takes your positive thoughts and twists them. It sounds more like “you had such a good pregnancy the first time, while so many others suffered…. why would you think this time would go so well?”

I’m only 19 weeks pregnant, just about halfway through, but early enough that fetal movement isn’t super strong or regular. This NEVER bothered me with my first.

This time if I don’t feel the baby move more than once a day I go into full blown panic mode! My doctor even reassured me at my last doctors appointment that before 22 weeks she doesn’t even usually ask about it, and the fact that I feel it at all is amazing. You would think that would reassure me… but nope!

A major trigger I have noticed is social media. It makes sense that I didn’t see many pregnancy loss stories prior to being a mother, because I didn’t follow mommy accounts yet. This time they are pretty much all I follow.

The month of October is Infant and pregnancy loss awareness month. I think this is super important to bring to light, and beyond necessary to be shared. Sharing stories of your losses helps other mamas going through it, and show others that they are not alone. I love that women are speaking their truths, sharing their stories, and connecting with others about the pain they share.

Now for me…. this has been SUCH a trigger. I have never felt the sting of pregnancy or infant loss, but something about seeing post after post this past month has caused my anxiety to skyrocket.

One day last week, I read two posts in a row about mamas losing their babies at 18 weeks… the exact gestational stage I was at. I lost it.

I realized I hadn’t really felt much movement for the past few days. I reached for the Doppler my sister in law let me borrow a few months ago and my heart sank! I couldn’t find her!

It took me 5 minutes of pure panic until I found her little heartbeat and calmed down. I reached out to my husband and best friends and explained how I was spiraling. They reassured me all is well, and baby and I will be fine.

This was helpful at the moment but still…. the anxiety creeps back in all the time. I’ve been abstaining from mindless scrolling on social media, and it has been a real help.

Prenatal anxiety is a bitch. I want to enjoy this pregnancy like I did the last. I want to walk through my day with my daughter, and not be freaking out while I should be having fun with her. I just want to feel more in control of my mind.

Thankfully, this is not my first rodeo with anxiety. Postpartum anxiety has helped me to be much more prepared for prenatal anxiety.

I am so grateful to have the guidance and tools from my postpartum experience to help me calm it. Instead of it lasting hours, I use my breathing techniques and other tools to calm myself within a few minutes. I use art, being in nature, and exercise to keep it at bay.

Without knowing these tools I don’t know what I would do.

I wanted to share this so that other pregnant mamas know they are not alone. About 10% of pregnant women experience perinatal anxiety or depression. There are resources for you. There are forums to talk to other mamas going through it. There are therapists trained to help with this exact type of anxiety.

If you’re feeling any type of anxiety or depression during your pregnancy please know you are not on your own. Talk to a loved one or a friend. If it’s crippling you tell your doctor. Don’t suffer in silence.

Pregnancy and motherhood can feel isolating and lonely to begin with, but you’re not alone. Anxiety can heighten those feelings, but again, you aren’t alone.

Share your feelings, don’t be afraid of them. Journal it out if that helps. Just get the help you need mama, because you deserve it.

Let’s normalize these topics of women’s mental health. It is so important to know you never stand alone.

We will get through this, and come out the other side stronger because of it.

Second Pregnancy: Prepare to be Just as Unprepared

That first time you read that positive pregnancy test, you jump for joy, and dive head first into the first trimester of pregnancy. It’s wild. You embark on a journey like no other you’ve seen before.

You feel like you’ve been hit by a truck, feel like your boobs have been used for punching bags, and you’re probably puking. All the while you’re thinking “no one prepared me for this!”

The second time you would think you’d go into pregnancy saying “Been there done that, this should be a breeze!” However, in my newfound experience in my second pregnancy…. that just ain’t true!

In full transparency, my first pregnancy was a breeze.

Not a hint of morning sickness, no aches or pains, maybe some sore boobs, but honestly my only real symptom was pure exhaustion. Exhaustion like I had never experienced before. Taking naps in my car on my lunch break and still falling asleep at my desk, and napping at home after work level exhaustion.

I expected that the second pregnancy would most likely be a little different, because as we know “all pregnancies are different”.

Well it started off different.

This time I knew. I knew before I even took a test. I told my husband, and one of my close friends that I swore I was pregnant a few days before I could test.

I was able to recognize the signs. My box of wine in the fridge suddenly went untouched…. and I had been having a glass every other night since covid hit because I mean that’s what you do in quarantine right? Suddenly I didn’t even wanna think about alcohol. That was the first weird thing I realized the first time around, before ever thinking I was pregnant. This time it was a giveaway.

I started craving orange juice. Immediately. I also started having vivid dreams, and I just had this innate feeling that I had a tiny little creature beginning to suck the life out of me.

Sure enough I tested the earliest day I could in my cycle and there it was… a second pink line.

Just like the first time there were tears, excitement, and joy! I expected my symptoms to begin sometime in the next few weeks and that I would be needing some naps very soon.

Boy was I in for a shock.

This pregnancy could not be more different.

Yes, I did get the giant wave of exhaustion…. but it was ten times worse…. probably because, Idk, now I have a toddler to chase?! Also naps?! What are those? So I began my first 3 months of zombie life.

SPOILER ALERT: the exhaustion didn’t stop past first trimester. Although, yes I am definitely LESS exhausted now that I’m in that blissful second trimester stage, mama ain’t got time to rest working from home, taking care of a 20 month old, and a house. Mamas, this just comes with the territory!

Next came something I was blessed beyond measure not to have dealt with the first go round: nausea. Boy was I unprepared for that.

From weeks 6-10 I spent nauseous pretty much all day. I lived on pizza, Mac and cheese, pasta and crackers and ginger ale. Even water made me nauseous. Also…. although it “went away” I’m 17 weeks along now and still experience nausea every once in a while… I even puked for the first time yesterday… what an unexpected turn of second trimester events that was!

Aches and pains came quite fast this time. Round ligament pains showed up somewhere around 8 weeks and have been more intense this time around. Headaches too! Headaches galore. Oh and back pain. I swear I can feel where I had my epidural!

That belly shows up waaay sooner too. I started showing around 8 weeks, and started really popping by 12. My husband and I actually had a good laugh comparing my 12 week pregnancy belly to a photo of me pregnant with my first at 17 weeks…. my belly at 12 weeks was larger this time.

That’s just how it goes. The body remembers what it went through the last time and starts preparing the womb a little quicker this time.

Besides the physical symptoms being different, so is the rest of the experience.

The first time around you read all the books, you check the apps daily to see how baby is developing, you make lists and lists of names. You spend hours dreaming up the most beautiful nursery. Your husband beams at you, and you beam back at him as you think of the little bundle of joy joining you soon.

This time you know from experience what’s going to happen to your body, and you’re lucky if you remember to check your apps once a week. I’m proud I know what week I’m in, but i couldn’t tell you how many weeks and days I am unless I find my app. Last time if I was asked how far along I was I could tell you down to the hour!

In planning the nursery, instead of searching the baby furniture stores for the most beautiful crib and furniture set, in perusing Facebook marketplace. You realize how little of the baby registry stuff you ended up using, and are just happy to have a place to put the baby.

People keep asking us about a name, and the truth is we haven’t even had time to really sit down and discuss it! While we’re just as excited about bringing this little girl into the world as we were our first, there’s very little sitting and and imagining what that will be like.

The truth is, the second time around you have a little one you’re already spending all your time focusing on. We’re so focused on her and her needs, feeding her, entertaining her, and keeping her alive that we have little time to discuss the new baby.

Something else I hadn’t experienced before was the thoughts every second time mama has. “Will I love this one as much as my first?!” “Is she going to love the baby, or resent her?” “Am I going to be able to handle two?!”

I’ve talked to so many moms of multiples, and they have all assured me that these thoughts are normal, and that yes I will love them exactly the same amount and that yes they will love one another. Also… my grandma had 10 children so surely I can handle two!

Pregnancy is wild no matter if it’s your first, second, or any time after. Your body reacts differently to each pregnancy. You may feel differently mentally as well. You may have completely forgotten some of the pesky pregnancy symptoms.

The truth is, pregnancy reminds us that we aren’t as in control as we think we are.

Whether it’s your first or second, it asks you to go with the flow. Just like motherhood, we have to adapt, change and let go of the control we wish we had and give ourselves grace during this time.

No matter how different your pregnancies are, the result will be the same. You will be handed this sweet innocent little baby, and your heart will explode into a million more pieces.

It doesn’t matter how prepared we are for pregnancy, or what it may throw at us. You’re a mama now, you can handle anything!

Check on Your Quarantined Mom Friends… We are NOT O.K.

We are all feeling a little stir crazy right now.

No one ever imagined that the lockdown situation would have lasted more than 2 weeks, a month tops… but here we are.

While it’s easy to find statistics for death tolls and infection rates plastered on Facebook walls and media outlets, there are some other rising numbers the media doesn’t seem to be covering.

The mental health crisis happening right now in America is a silent pandemic. I haven’t spoken to a single person who isn’t feeling a mental strain right now.

Humans are not meant to be isolated from one another. Virtual connection has literally been proven through science to leave people feeling lonelier. That’s right. You actually feel more alone connected through a screen.

Human brains produce oxytocin when we hug, kiss, smile or even just see someone we love walk into a room. This hormone is very helpful in boosting our immune systems.

Isolation causes depression and anxiety which actually weaken your immune systems. This can’t do much good when we’re worrying about fighting off a virus.

I completely understand why we are being asked to stay home, wear masks and gloves, and social distance. I am very thankful for our health care and other essential workers, and wish to support them by any means I can, and if that means abiding by these rules I will.

Now that being said…. I am f*^$king losing it!

A day before Mother’s Day our state was told that the lift of the NYS “pause” would not be happening next week. Now it is moved until June.

I literally felt my soul die a little when I heard this. Yes I can read, yes I listen… I know that he is opening regions in stages… but I can say with certainty from numbers that my region won’t be one of them.

I am blessed to be able to earn an income from home. My husband is considered essential and is working as well. So we haven’t even had to worry about half the burden so many are dealing with right now.

I have had family members and friends who have contracted the virus, and even been hospitalized for it, but I have suffered no great loss from this.

I am lucky to have my husband and daughter to keep me company while we’re stuck at home. Something I do not take for granted at all. I feel for all those doing this alone.

Still, my mental health has been suffering since the start…. and I am in no way alone.

Every single friend I have spoken to in the last few weeks has talked about the mental toll this is taking on them. We are all feeling it.

The media isn’t sharing the fact that suicide rates, depression, anxiety and domestic abuse is on an exponential rise right now, but if you google it on your own you’ll find it.

We need human connection.

You could argue that I’m getting plenty of human connection at home right now… and I don’t want to complain because I realize I’m blessed.

Let me paint you a picture of what being quarantined at home with a toddler looks like right now.

We wake up every day around 6:30.

If I want any time to do anything for myself I have to get up by 5:30 or it isn’t happening.

She just finished getting her molars in all at once, and now her canines decided they’re gonna come in all at once as well! If you don’t know, this means she’s cranky AF from the second she wakes up til nap time 5 hours later.

About an hour after she wakes up she demands her breakfast. Although she can say quite a few words, I still have to guess what she’ll want to eat for breakfast each day… and if I get it wrong it’s tantrum city. Some days I can get through this first wave of tantrums, and somedays I want to cry too.

After breakfast I usually try to get some work done from home. This means I use my trusty babysitter Sesame Street to watch her for an hour or two so I can sit at the table and attempt to get something done uninterrupted…

5 minutes later… I’m interrupted.

She wants to “help work”. It’s adorable but after a few minutes I wanna cry. She isn’t much help… in fact she just makes it impossible to get anything done. My husband is a real hero on the days he is home, and this interruption can be avoided for the most part… when he’s not home I’m pretty much interrupted every few minutes until nap time.

Work is harder than ever before and ten times as stressful. I miss being able to drop my girl off to a babysitter so I could get my work done, without having to stop and change diapers, make sure someone isn’t going to jump off a couch to her doom, or eat something she shouldn’t. Now I want to cry about an hour into work because it takes me twice as long to do anything.

Finally it’s naptime! Emphasis on FINALLY!

This is the two hour period of time I use to cram in any important things that need to be done. Usually I use this time to get as much work as I can done. If it’s not a workday I clean my house, I try to take a shower that’s longer than 3 minutes, and I may even shave! Cleaning is almost impossible stuck home with a toddler unless they’re napping, so I usually pick my battles and save it for bedtime or days off. You can tell me cleaning can wait because no one is coming over… but a messy home just makes my anxiety skyrocket!

Two hours goes way faster than it used to… she’s up again! I kinda missed her, but I’m also kinda stressed about her being awake again. Bye bye productivity time.

Lunch time means the same battle that happened for breakfast. This time she usually throws most of the food to the dog and demands my food… which is the same as hers, but for some reason tastes better off my plate.

The next few hours are a blur of tantrums, reading the same books ten thousand times, trying to give her some outside time (and myself because otherwise I will cry), and trying to finish my work.

Now it’s the race to get something edible together quickly while my daughter has a meltdown.

She is crying because she wants to be cooking with me but I can’t let her up by the stove that’s hot, or near the knife I’m using to cut the veggies. I try to use the tv again as a distraction but this time she usually doesn’t take the bait. I end up cooking a meal listening to her scream at me and pull on my legs until I pick her up… this makes cooking dinner very stressful and take much longer.

She usually throws half of that on the floor too.

Bedtime… a mad dash to get a bath, some pjs, and a bottle. We read a book, the tantrums melt away and now she snuggles up to me and daddy. At this point of the night I finally feel peace… I feel so loved and forget some of the stress for a while. I rock her and sing her nightly lullaby and lay her down….

Peace and quiet… just what I need.

Now if it’s a work day I get right back to it! I usually work for another hour or so, then I clean the house… and by the time I’m done… bed time for mama.

Guess what… repeat that every damn day.

On days off you can pepper in a little extra outdoor time, and a LOT more chore time.

There are no breaks.

No babysitters.

No binge watching tv shows.

No naps for mama.

No trips to the nail salon for an hour.

No unaccompanied trips to target where I can aimlessly browse the store.

No cocktails with my best friends.

No nights out with my mama tribe to share our battle stories, and decompress.

No alone time… real alone time where I can do something just for myself.

This is what it’s like to be quarantined as a mother of a toddler.

Add on the strain or trying to educate your child from home, having multiple children, being a single parent, being unemployed or a single income family now.

Try being a brand new mama who just went through a traumatic experience birthing a baby during a pandemic… many alone, and now you’re navigating this new chaos completely isolated. The mental strain can be unbearable.

Every single mother I know has compared this to feeling like they did the first few months after giving birth. Those baby blues, the isolation. We are all feeling like postpartum is hitting us hard again, without that new bundle of joy.

In a normal situation we need that human connection of a night out with a friend. We need in person conversation with anyone who isn’t a child or your partner. We need that time to vent, to cry on each other shoulders, and to feel supported and less alone… we can’t do that right now and it feels all the more isolating.

So check on your mama friends. They already do so much on any normal day… and right now they are handling double the normal physical, emotional and mental load.

They’re therapists, teachers, and caregivers to their children. Support systems for their family. They always feel the pressure to be everyone’s everything, and even more now. That’s a lot.

When all this is over I hope all the mamas get the chance to have the ultimate moms night out. Leave your cell phones on silent, and tell your husbands to figure it out. We have a lot of decompressing to do.

Dads you guys deserve one of these nights too if I’m being honest… I see you.

In all seriousness, this is a very hard time for everyone mentally. We all need a little extra love right now, and are all craving some human interaction. But mamas, I know how hard this is hitting you.

We are always the ones telling our children and families it is going to be alright, and right now that’s what we need to hear desperately.

You are not alone, and if you need a support group please contact me. I would love to get one together.

We will get through this. We got through pregnancy, birth and postpartum, and it made us stronger… so will this.

I hope we can all experience a hug with our friends, a long leisurely trip to target, or a moms night out soon.. but until then just know you aren’t alone mama.

You are stronger than you know, and you can do hard things. That’s what moms do. We got this.

Big Ups to All Our Mom Haters!

There you are scrolling through your Instagram or Facebook, reading posts about parenting, and advice. Something resonates with you so you click on the comments. There you see a mile long list of people judging the author of that post for her take on raising her child.

Now you feel attacked because seconds ago you were nodding along like “hell yeah mama,I feel you!”

Or, maybe you joined a group on Facebook for mothers. Maybe a topic is on a particular parenting method you’re trying out. You write a question because, let’s be honest, none of us actually know what we’re doing here. You ask for help on whatever subject you are stuck on. You post, and close out your phone hoping some angel will help you out, and make you feel like you’re not alone on this.

An hour later you check your post, it’s blown up. Many lovely, supportive mamas have written back to you giving advice or saying “you got this!” “Do you!” … but then there are the few “I don’t know if you know this but that’s NOT how you should do this”, “I would NEVER!”… you know what I’m talking about.

Here you are, a tired, confused, mentally drained mama just trying to figure out how to raise a kind, happy, little human, grasping for a life line… instead they cast you out to sea without a raft.

Listen ladies. This mom thing isn’t easy. It’s hard, like really, REALLY, hard.

We put our heart and soul into every waking moment we have with our kids. We want the best for them. BUT NO ONE HAS A HANDBOOK!

Not to mention the fact that every single person, mother and child, are so different. What works for one kid may not work for the next.

You may have found the perfect parenting book for you, and the methodology works like a charm for you and your kids. Maybe your family is exactly as you want it… but guess what, your idea of the perfect family may not be mine! You know what else? It’s totally fine.

We all come from different places, different types of families, different backgrounds, so it doesn’t make sense that there’s a one size fits all method of parenting.

I’m so happy that you give your child zero screen time ever, and that it works for you. Seriously, I applaud it, and I tried that. But when I’m trying to get dinner ready and my daughter is overtired cuz she refused her second nap, snacks won’t distract her, she refuses to play independently, wants to be held, and I’m home alone… I let her watch 20 minutes of tv and feel ZERO guilt. Someone else may give their kid a few hours of screen time a day and I want them to feel ok with their choice too!

Just because I want to limit my kids intake of screen time, doesn’t give me the right to tell someone else how they should raise their own kid. I knew this inherently before becoming a mom, so I kind of thought everyone would.. turns out I was wrong!

I have decided to incorporate montessori and Waldorf style parenting, and a respectful parenting approach when it comes to raising my daughter. I joined some Facebook groups for ideas on activities, ways to set up our home to be helpful in this, and support. I don’t do everything by the book. I’m a firm believer in taking what works for you, and leaving the rest.

I never really post, but have seen post after post of new moms trying to learn how to incorporate some of these things, being berated for not doing it the “right” way. Some people are purists, and if they see a mom say their kid is doing anything that strays away from the exact ideology they scold!

You bet your ass I comment on those posts, backing up the poor mama who reached out for help and got yelled at instead.

Moms, you know how exhausting and hard figuring all this out is. So why are we attacking one another for having different beliefs and making different choices?

If you disagree with another mom’s choice of how she feeds her kids, how much screen time she allows, that she lets her kids play princess, that she isn’t pushing gender neutrality, that her 3 year old still has a binky, that she lets her son have a doll, that she cosleeps, that she doesn’t cosleep, or anything else she may choose to do, DON’T COMMENT.

Yep it’s that simple.

If you see another mom being judged for asking a question, or stating how she does something, back her up. Tell her she’s doing an amazing job, and doing the best for her kids.

All that matters is that she’s taking care of her children. That they are loved, fed, and supported. It doesn’t actually matter how!

It’s hard enough trying to learn what works best for your kids, and how to approach all the curves parenthood throws at you. No one needs a negative Nancy telling them they’re doing it wrong on top of it all.

Let’s be the kind of people we want our children to be. Kind, happy, and supportive.

If someone tells you about something they are doing with their kids, and it doesn’t align with your type of parenting, just smile and nod. You’re entitled to raise your children the way you want, and so is she.

Lift one another up, don’t tear another mom down. We’re all struggling in this together. Yes, even the moms who claim to know it all… surprise! They don’t!

Don’t let the mom-shamers get you down either. For every opinionated loud mouth mama I have met, there are 10 more who are ready to cheer you on.

My best mama friends and I do everything completely different and somehow we all still manage to tell each other we’re doing amazing when we need to hear it most. Find a mom tribe that supports you through it all.

Remember that we all feel lost, like we are failing, or don’t know what the heck we are doing at times. Be kind, always.

The way you’re treating others shows your children how they should treat others. So before you go shaming another mom on the internet, or in real life, think about how you’d feel if your kid did that to someone else.

We’re all gonna get a little mom shaming from time to time, and for those moments I like to use the beautiful words from Shawty-Lo: “Big ups, to all my haters!”

You do you mamas, I support you. You got this!

11 Things I Learned From the First 11 Months as a Mom

11 months ago I entered into the greatest chapter of my life, motherhood. It’s actually super freaking weird to think that it’s almost been a year that I became a mother… but just as weird to think that it’s only been 11 months!

It feels like a day and a lifetime all at once!

That’s just one of the many things I have learned over the last few months. Motherhood has taught me so much more than I ever knew possible, and I’m literally just getting started at this whole mom thing!

Before having my daughter I read all the “must need” lists and the “things no one tells you” lists, but damn was there more than that to find out about.

Nothing you read in a book or on the internet can prepare you for what lies ahead so I’m not gonna pretend like this list will do that.

I am however going to share with you the 11 most surprising and important things I learned over the 11 months that I have spent fumbling through motherhood! So without any further adieu, let’s get right into it!

1. Adult diapers are God’s gift to postpartum mamas:

Yes you read that correct. Adult freaking diapers!!!! This one I did actually learn from the internet. Some women say to steal the mesh undies from the hospital, and some say get diapers so I bought a pack and brought a few to the hospital just so I could see which worked best.

So listen… you’re gonna push this beautiful little baby out, or you’re gonna have a c-section… and no matter what your body has to get rid of the house they partied it up in for 10 months, and they made a big house party mess in there mamas!

It’s not pretty, it’s not fun, and after 9 months of no period at all, get ready to have the longest one of your entire life! Don’t worry though, you just pushed a bowling ball through your hooha or underwent major surgery… this is nothing!

Now, sometime after the nurse takes you to pee for the first time (which if you’re like me takes you about 40 minutes to finally manage the courage to do it), they’re gonna hand you this disturbing pair of mesh undies and stuff ginormous pads, and an ice pack the size of your femur in it and say put this on.

The ice packs are a blessing, steal as many of those bad boys as you can… but that mesh underwear ain’t holding anything in mama!

It took me 3 hours, and I ripped into my hospital bag and was a diaper wearing queen for the next month! Do yourself a favor and order yourself like 3 packs on amazon. You can even get the pretty kind with flowers and bows on them so your husband will find you super attractive when he catches you brushing your teeth in your adult diaper! Jk… you don’t want him finding you attractive for a long time… and trust me these will do the trick

My personal favorite was “poise” discreet! Trust me! Diapers ain’t just for that new baby!

2. Sleep when the baby sleeps… if you can.

Now this we all hear for the entirety of our pregnancy, and it won’t stop once that little bundle of joy comes screaming and crying into your life. Honestly, it may be the best freaking advice you get!

Here’s the thing tho… your husband will most likely have to go back to work at some point. That leaves you all alone at home, with dishes, laundry, and animals, a person you have to feed and clothe, and keep alive now. Sometimes it’s really really hard to sleep when all you can think of is the pile of laundry at the foot of your bed, or the dishes stacking up in the sink.

I napped when I could, and honestly it was always the best decision; however, I also found it really difficult a lot of times to fall asleep with the running list in my head.

Also, at some point most mamas have to go back to work too! When the heck am I supposed to nap then?! No really someone tell me cuz I would love a freaking nap!

3.Instagram is not reality, everyone’s crying on their bathroom floor it’s not just you

4. There’s no need to “bounce back”, and actually your body needs the extra pounds:

So there’s this thing called the internet… you have heard of it right? Well all over it you can see photos of celebrities “bouncing back” after having babies. Not only that, we see it on tabloids, on tv, on instagrams. We see headlines like “how Kim got her body back after baby!”

This is literally RIDICULOUS. First of all… those people don’t bounce back, they work their literal asses off to get their bodies to shrink back to their old size. They have millions of dollars, personal trainers, nannies, and personal chefs to ensure that they have time to devote to getting back into shape. They also have stylists that help them hide any imperfections they may still be working on… oh and plastic surgeons on speed dial.

We are not celebrities. Our careers do not depend on how we look in a bikini… so why the hell do we care?!

Your body just took 9 months to grow eyeballs, brains, bones, a beating heart… and 9 months to gain all that weight!!!! You are not gonna lose it in a month! Probably not even 9 months. I’m 11 months out and I’m still 8-10 pounds heavier than I was pre-baby. I’ll probably never get back to my weight before baby and I’m ok with that!

I’m not gonna lie and say I didn’t want my body to bounce back. I did. I looked in the mirror everyday for the first 9 months after having my daughter and scrutinized my jiggly flabby skin, the little extra weight I now have around my belly and cannot for the life of me get rid of.

I worked really hard to get back to loving my body, and being positive about it.

Also, I heard on Jillian Michaels podcast a few days ago that you’re not gonna lose that last 10 pounds if your breastfeeding because your body literally needs it to do so! Wish I heard that months ago when I was working out and eating super clean and couldn’t figure out why my scale wouldn’t budge at all since 2 months postpartum!

We should love our bodies. We’re not gonna get our body back post baby, because it’s not the same anymore! It’s better! It created, housed and birthed a little human. It’s stronger than it has ever been before.

We should love it and be so proud of it for what it’s done for us, not worry about the last 10 or 20 pounds.

5. Break up with your old jeans mama:

So as we just discussed… our bodies change after having a baby. Even if you lose all that baby weight, there’s a good chance your clothes won’t fit right. My shirts were all 2 inches too short and some of my jeans were never to button again.

This isn’t just because of weight gain… this is because our bones literally shift when we are pregnant to make room and make way for a baby to shoot out of your pelvis.

My hips are wider than they were before and they’re never going back. Chances are yours aren’t either. So say bye bye to all your clothes that no longer “spark joy” as Marie Kondo would say, and go buy yourself a new pair of killer jeans that make you feel amazing!

6. Cravings are worse once your baby is born, at least for me!

We always hear about pregnancy cravings, all the weird things you suddenly want as soon as you see a positive on a pregnancy test.

Well let me tell you… they get worse! I did have a few weird cravings during my pregnancy. Mostly mint chocolate chip ice cream, and grilled cheese with tomato on rye. It wasn’t crazy tho. I only made my husband search for a restaurant that would make a grilled cheese once because we were out and that’s all I wanted in life.

After having my daughter the cravings were so much more intense. I sent my husband out for milk shakes like 3 times a week! I wanted something, and I wanted it right now! I talked to some other mamas when I started experiencing that and they agreed!

Pregnancy cravings were a joke compared to my postpartum cravings!

7. People will just touch your baby… seriously:

I had my daughter in February. Smack dab in the middle of cold and flu season, so for the first few months I left her home most of the time that I absolutely had to leave the house. Our pediatrician had recommended we ask strangers to keep their hands to themselves, and keep her out of stores and crowded places so it wouldn’t happen.

I thought to myself why would a stranger touch my baby? Yeah right lady, like that’s gonna happen!

Whelp…. It does. Like a lot!

I couldn’t tell you what zoo these people grew up in that they think you can just go up to someone’s shopping cart and grab their baby’s hands or face but they do it!!!!

I know that it’s never meant to be harmful, or rude but people please stop touching babies unless you ask first and are given permission. I don’t know you or where your hands have been.

Next time someone does it to my daughter I’m just gonna reach out and touch that persons face and say “oh you’re so cute too!” I bet the won’t like that either!

8 The unsolicited advice gets worse.

Yeah, you thought all that advice you got when you were pregnant was gonna taper off? Yeah right! Think again mama!

It’s JUST begun!

I am not even to toddler tantrum age yet and I’ve already been flooded with lots of advice on how to discipline a child, sleeping, feeding etc..

11 months in I have learned to just smile and nod, because people mean well and this will be going on for 18 more years so I may as well just accept it right?

9. People will ask you how ur doing things, and then act like it’s the wrong way:

So here’s the thing… there are literally a million ways to parent. Go to amazon and search parenting books. Now tell me how many different books you find… yeah it’s crazy!

We are all different. We live in different places, grew up with different religions, beliefs and ideals. We all have different trauma, and life experiences that have molded us. We all come in different sizes, shapes and colors…. it kind of makes sense that we don’t all parent the exact same way right?

As a new mom, you are just trying to get a grasp on this parenting thing. You may do some research… or like me just kind of wing it until u have an actual question like “wait…. when and how do I feed a baby real food?” Or “wait… my baby is supposed to nap regularly?! How the eff?!”

Naturally, people are always curious about your new life as a mama, and what you and that cute kid you made are up to. So they’ll ask questions.

Some people are freaking awesome and super supportive of anything and everything you tell them that you are doing with your baby! They’ll applaud you, and cheer you on for the great job your doing. These are your people!!!

Others… well they’ll ask something like “oh when will you start feeding the baby real food,” and you’ll tell them you did and that you started with avocado and they’ll say… “avocado! Why not rice cereal?! We started with rice cereal, it’s what the doctor said to do.” And the convo will continue and you may start to feel judged for all your choices as a mom.

Don’t worry, the choices you are making are the right ones for you and your baby, just as that persons choices were right for them!

As I said, were all different and that’s what makes us great. So shrug it off when you get a look of disapproval when someone asks how you’re doing things. If it works for you and your family that’s all that matters mama!

10. Baby’s don’t just teeth on toys…

Around 7 months my sweet girl started popping teeth left and right… around 8 months she decided teething toys were not really her style.

She would settle in while I nursed her and look up at me with her sweet little gaze and then CHOMP! The first time it happened I jumped and screamed and thought to myself “oh my she must have done that on accident!”

So we continued nursing… a few minutes pass and again she clamped those freakishly strong toothy jaws down once again! I jumped and yelled again, which made her giggle, and so the game continued.

It didn’t take long for me to realize that my little girl was doing this on freaking purpose!!!!! She was using me as a human chew toy!

I’m telling you this because although I was told breastfeeding would be hard, no one EVER brought up biting! Like come on people! It would have been nice to be prepared!

So here you go ladies, fair warning that your little one may one day decide to test their new teeth out on your nips. Thank me later for the warning.

11. You seriously can’t remember life before your kid, and wouldn’t want to:

My husband and I talked about the idea of children for years. I remember right after we first moved in together, no ring on my finger, him looking at me and saying that he would like to have kids before we’re 30. 25 year old Rachael rolled her eyes and said listen dude, my body my choice and no way Jose!

The conversation usually came up and he would always say let’s just have kids as soon as we get hitched. To which I would usually respond something like “that sounds great but don’t you wanna have fun for a while before we have to plan out date nights and outings a month ahead?”

In my mind we would be married for a few years and then consider children.

Well jokes on me!

2 weeks before our first anniversary, I was at a restaurant with my husband and realized I had zero interest in the beer I just ordered. I handed it to him and said I would drive… he was in disbelief because I NEVER want to drive.

After finishing our meal, a friend met us at the restaurants bar, he ordered a drink. I was probably 10 feet away from him, and my nose immediately identified his dark and stormy… and it hit me. I never had a super powerful sense of smell before, and I’m not one to turn down a weekend beer… holy crap…I’m knocked up!

I peed on a stick the next morning and BAM, our lives were changed forever.

My daughter was born 9 months later, and we entered the realm of parenting. We never looked back. Yes, I have to have at least a weeks notice if someone wants to go out to dinner so I can find a babysitter. No I can’t just up and leave the house whenever I want anymore. Yes traveling is a big to do now. Yes my entire life revolves around a tiny human now.

You know what though… I literally cannot for the life of me remember what it felt like before! I remember having lots of fun with my husband, being spontaneous and just going out to dinner or a bar cuz we felt like it. Meeting up with friends with 30 only minutes notice. I just don’t remember how that felt… and honestly I wouldn’t go back if I had the chance.

Yes parenting is a lot of work, and takes a lot of self sacrifice, but oh my goodness is it the most rewarding experience I have ever had. The love and fulfillment I feel from snuggling my daughter or watching her learn and grow is unlike anything I have ever known before.

Daily, my husband and I talk about how we can’t remember life before her, and how we wouldn’t want to.

This whole mom thing is hard, it’s exhausting, it’s emotional… but if someone gave me a chance to pick a different life I wouldn’t even dream of it.

These have been the best 11 months of my entire life, and I can’t wait to see what the next 18 years has in store!

We Plan… Baby Laughs

I have always been a planner.

I like to plan what I’m eating for each meal, I like to plan my weekends (a good 5 days ahead), I like to plan what time I’ll be in bed. I just like to have a plan!

Since becoming a parent, planning has become super interesting. Plans become EXTRA important in many ways.

We have to plan ahead and pack 100 diapers… just in case our kids randomly decide to poop up their backs. Hand in hand with that, we need to make sure we have an extra outfit in case they do, have an extra layer in case it gets cold, extra socks, cooler clothes, pjs… just in case!

We need to plan a time when we absolutely have to start getting everyone ready so that we’re only a few minutes late, and not an hour late. We need to plan waaaaaay ahead of time if we want to do anything without our kids, because we need someone to commit to watching them.

There’s a whole lot of planning going on here!

Today I planned on taking my daughter to a play date at our church. It’s a weekly open play date held by the local mother’s club, and I was excited to finally go to one with her. I RSVPd on Facebook a week ago with excitement! I seriously love taking Tori to play with other kids, because she lights up around them.

My best friends also had planned to take their little ones, which I appreciated because I’m shy around new people.

My daughter woke at 7:30 this morning, just as I finished writing up my last report for work. PERFECT! That meant she would take her nap by 8:30, and be up by 9:30, giving us just enough time to get dressed and get out the door to make it right on time! We played for a bit, read some books, I nursed her and right on cue she started rubbing her tired eyes.

With a smile on my face for my perfect planning, I brought her to her room to lay her down. I kissed her, handed her her pacifier and waved as I closed the door, proud of myself to sticking to such a good schedule.

She didn’t make a peep! Wonderful! This was going just as I planned…

I began emailing the reports I had finished. I got about 10 minutes in, and that’s when I heard it.

“Maaaaaaama! Maaaaaaaaaama! Daaaaaadaaaaa!”

She was not sleeping. Not even laying down. I opened my baby monitor app and low and behold, my sweet angel baby wasn’t napping. Nope, she was preforming a concert for her stuffed animals in her room. She sang loud and proud, and bounced her knees as she smacked the side of her crib to keep the beat.

I waited. “She’ll go to sleep, just give her a few minutes,” I thought to myself.

Well, 30 minutes passed, and she was on her second set. It sounded like her teddy bears were demanding an encore, and she wasn’t going to disappoint.

She was happy, so I let her continue her merriment.

About 45 minutes into her performance, she took her final bow and laid down for her nap.

I looked at the clock… plans had been derailed. There was NO way that we were gonna be at the play date before 10:30, and at that point it was far more work to get there than it would be worth it.

I texted my girlfriends “why is it that every time I make plans my child refuses to take her nap?” This is universal code to our other mom friends for “hey… don’t kill me but we’re probably not going to make it.”

Within seconds I had two texts back saying the exact same things. No ones plans were going the way we had hoped.

#MOMLIFE… am I right? Why do we even bother trying sometimes?

It seemed that none of our babies wanted to nap, and wouldn’t be up in time for the play date. This didn’t stop me from having hope for a few minutes!

We even attempted a new plan to possibly go for a walk instead after the girls napped… key word POSSIBLY.

You guessed it… that didn’t happen either!

The planner in me wants to freak out when these things happen.

In my head my daughter and I were going to have a beautiful day. We were going to meet other moms, she was going to play with other babies, and we were all going to have so much fun.

I’ve grown used to plans changing quickly and abruptly over the last 9 months, and I’ve learned to embrace it. It is what it is.

Yes, it would have been lovely to get out of the house for an hour today and have some adult conversation. Yes, Victoria would have had a blast and probably taken a nice long nap for me this afternoon. Yes, time with my girlfriends would have been amazing.

It would have been great, but it’s ok that we couldn’t make it. There will be others.

I used to beat myself up when I’d make plans and they got all thrown off. Now I have been forced to learn to accept it and go with the flow.

No, my plan didn’t work out today.

Instead Victoria and I took the dog for an extra long walk on the farm after we fed our ducks. She and I sang and laughed the whole time. We ran into her aunt on our walk and she got to see her and smiled from ear to ear.

We laughed together as I showed her pictures of my grandmothers and asked her if she had met them in heaven (pretty sure she said yes). She learned how to say “Nana” and “Oma” (what HER two grandmothers go by). We danced to some music.

We snuggled.

We smiled… a LOT!

Today didn’t go as planned, but it did turn out to be a pretty awesome day with my daughter. Just the two of us.

That’s what is important these days; not the plans I make and wish would work out. The important thing these days is making the most of the precious time I have with my little girl; soaking up every second of the days I get to spend with her, and giving her my full attention.

She’s not going to remember the group play date that mommy didn’t take her to when she was 9 months old. She WILL remember that I made her laugh, smile, and feel so loved. She will remember how often I just let her be herself and play, and sat back to watch her.

It does seem that every time I make a plan Tori throws it completely off, but that’s ok.

It’s totally fine, because it also seems that the days those plans go out the window are some of the most magical days we have together.

So mamas embrace those plans that went up in flames. Remember to just enjoy every moment we have with these precious gifts we call our children.

Every moment we get with them is a part of the greater plan, and that’s all that matters.

Thank You for Being a Friend… Seriously, Thank You!

As you prepare for your future child you pour yourself into research, you read all the books, you make all the lists.

You browse the aisles of Buy Buy Baby with your partner with a twinkle in your eye as you compile your registry.

You Pinterest all the baby hacks, and things you need to keep your baby alive for their first year.

You set aside a room in your house for the nursery and nest til your little hearts content!

You have your shower and neatly put away all the things that you have been told are completely necessary to raise your little baby (many of which you will never use or open).

Well I’m here to tell you that one of the most important things that you will need when your child is born is not on that baby registry. Nope! You won’t find it in that parenting book you have read cover to cover, you definitely can’t buy it in a store, and most likely no one has even mentioned it to you as a necessity.

In my experience so far, this has been extremely important to my survival as a mom. You simply need some really good mom friends.

Sorry husbands, and family members! You are also important. You cooked for me for weeks after the baby came, you cared for me, and you love my daughter better than I could ever hope for. I’m not taking any of you for granted, but hear me out.

Mom friends are so so so important.

Motherhood is the most amazing experience of my entire life, but it can also be super lonely. The days can feel long, and isolating when your trapped at home with a fussy baby, dealing with the baby blues, and trying to figure out how to keep yourself fed and clean on top of the pile of chores around the house.

My husband is absolutely amazing. I tell him all the time that I literally do not know how single parents do this, because without him I would be failing at life.

My parents, siblings and in-laws are wonderful. They have all gone above and beyond to help us out with the baby whenever we need, and have been an amazing support system for us.

Friends who aren’t parents yet are also super important. I can’t tell you how thankful I am to grab a drink with a girlfriend and have a conversation about her dating life, rather than diapers and burping. It’s a breath of fresh air to have a conversation about anything other than your baby when you’ve been taking care of them day in and day out. You need these friends to remind you that you’re still you even after having a kid. I’m beyond grateful for all of my good friends, and love them like family.

That being said, a good mom friend is the only person that can make it feel like you aren’t alone on new parent island!

My husband is a very social person. He will make friends with just about anyone. Seriously… we’ll be in a store 100 miles away from our house and I’ll come back from another aisle and find him laughing with some random person, and when I ask him who it is he says “I don’t know, just some guy I met in the aisle.” Needless to say, he’s always making new friends.

I am not this way. I am friendly, but slightly shy.

I’m horrible at keeping up with friends. If you haven’t heard from me in days, weeks, months, years it’s not because I stopped liking you, it’s because I literally cannot take care of myself and my home, (and now my child) and remain in contact with other people as often as if like.

In the past I have been known to say to my husband MANY times, “but we don’t need any new friends, I love our friends and I find it hard enough to keep up with socializing as it is!”

Well people… things change! Give me ALL the mom friends!

You know who doesn’t give a shit if you text them daily or weekly… other moms! They aren’t annoyed or thinking you hate them! They’re just as frazzled as you are, and odds are they read your last text and forgot to respond for a month because their baby woke from their nap as they opened it.

You know who isn’t offended that you are late to every single plan you make? Mom friends! Yeah you both said 10am, but you also both know that really meant whenever you manage to escape your house after battling your child.

You know who also isn’t offended that you canceled your plans an hour before you were supposed to meet? That’s right! Your mom friends! They get it. They have felt the sting of defeat when their child won’t nap, and is screaming at the top of their lungs as you try to get them dressed to go somewhere.

They just get it.

They’re going through these same things you are, and they couldn’t be happier to share all these hair pulling, tear jerking moments with you, as well as all of your triumphs.

It feels so good to have friends that text you back “oh girl, I am right there with you” when you feel like you could scream after a day of your child going on nap strike.

When you lose your shit, you need someone who is losing their shit right along side you, so that you don’t feel like you’re the only one who may be headed to the mental ward. It’s good to know you’ll be heading there with a friend or two.

No one else knows the feeling of wanting to murder their husbands almost every single day, while simultaneously loving them, and being ridiculously grateful for them at the same time. Yes men, you thought we were complex before… wait til we become mothers.

The other night I had the pleasure of grabbing a glass of wine with 4 other mamas. One of my friends started a story by saying “oh my gosh I have to tell you this story, because I know none of you will be shocked when I talk about poop!” Ain’t that the truth!

No one but a fellow mom will bond with you over poop stories. If I were to talk to any of my friends who’ve yet to have children, and recount the amount of blowout stories I have I’m pretty sure I may never hear from them again. You know who is happy to hear you vent about your kids “fun with feces”, and will happily compare stories with you? A mom friend! They are glad to compare and see who’s day was literally shittier!

You can talk about your kids non stop! You know when you’re out with a bunch of your friends who aren’t parents, and your having a conversation, and then you realize “oh my goodness, I’m just rambling about my kid… I can’t even stop! Have I run out of non-kid things to talk about?” Well, no worries about that when you’re with your mom friends!

The best thing about finding good mom friends is the support. No one lifts me up like my mama friends.

If I tell them I’m having an awful postpartum anxiety day, they check in on me. If any of us are having a hard time with something we get on our group chat and ask advice. We cry on each other’s shoulders. We tell each other “you’re right” when we need someone to reassure us.

We vent to each other about all the heartaches, emotions, and difficulties of mom life. We pour each other a glass of wine and let each other know it’s going to be ok. We try to get each other out of the house kid free (key word try).

We are all different. We each will parent our children differently. However, we are there for each other; there for all the hard times as well as the beautiful ones.

It doesn’t matter how you became a mom, if you are a stay at home, a working mom, or something in between. It doesn’t matter if you are super outgoing or super timid. It doesn’t matter if you have all the help in the world, or are struggling to stay afloat. This is the hardest job any of us will ever have. Having mom friends is like having a team of coworkers who you can bitch at the water cooler with.

If you are a new mom, or the only mom in your group of friends, I highly encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and find a mom friend. Even just one!

Take your kids to a play group, a baby program at your library, a mommy and me workout, join a mother’s club! Trust me, I am super shy when it comes to meeting new people, but it is worth it!

If you need a mom friend in your corner, I’m here for you.

Find your mom tribe, because no mama should ever feel alone; and because you’ll never feel more seen than you will sipping your cold coffee with a fellow mama who also isn’t quite sure if she brushed her teeth today or not. We’re all in this together.

Welcome to the Hood

A few weeks ago my husband and I found ourselves having our regular evening conversation.

We’re still in the beginning stages of parenting so it still goes kind of like this: “she’s amazing, I just love her so much” “I’m so happy she is sleeping, but my goodness I miss her!” “Hey did you take any videos today? Got any pics we can look at?!”

Go ahead and gag if you want y’all, but I know this sweet baby stage isn’t gonna last, so just let me have this okay?!

Anyway, somewhere in this discussion my husband turned to me and said “you know, it used to annoy the shit out of me when people would say ‘you won’t know until you’re a parent what it feels like’ but omg it’s so true! It’s like a members only club, and we finally got the card!”

I laughed and said he was spot on, and we had a good chuckle about the naive, innocent, fun loving, footloose and fancy-free people we used to be 9 months ago.

RIP pre-baby Krupski’s! You had a good run of late nights, and quiet weekends where you could sleep in and nurse your hangovers from more than just one glass of wine. You blasted countless hours of Nicki Minaj on your car rides to work, and dropped the F-bomb freely whenever you F-in wanted to.

These were good times.

Enter Victoria Mary Krupski… the good times went to AMAZING times.

I truly mean that.

Yes, like I mentioned a few lines earlier, I can’t have more than a glass of wine without a raging hangover. Yes, my alarm clock is a squealing baby at 6 am no matter what day it is (ahhh sleeping in I remember you fondly). Yes, my radio no longer plays my favorite bands, and is now screaming “Baby Shark” until my ears bleed. Yes, any and all plans I make for a day are subject to change due to nap strikes, teething, tantrums, and days where all she wants is mama.

Yes to all of the above, but also HELL YES to it’s been the best 9 months of my life.

It’s hard as hell, and there is literally no freaking way to know what each day will be like (which for a planner like me was hard to come to terms with); but waking up each morning to her smiling face, snuggles and hearing her say “mama” as she reaches for me in her crib makes that all worth it.

Some days I want to cry, because I can’t get a single thing done. The days she wants me to hold her or nurse her non-stop. The days she refuses to nap. These are rough days for me, but at the end of the day, I always find myself a little bummed that they’re over. Never knew I could feel like that.

When she falls down and bumps her head, and cries (happening often because she’s determined to walk already), my heart literally feels like it’s breaking. Watching her little tears stream down her face, and hearing her scream cry “mama” kills me.

I never knew I could physically feel my child’s pain. She’ll stop crying two seconds after it happens and I’ll still be trying to recover. I’m so screwed when she goes to school and someone else’s kid does something to hurt her… anyone seen This is 40? Thinking that scene where the mom makes the little boy cry for picking on her daughter is a vision of my future.

The crazy rush of love that I get every single time I look into her eyes is overwhelming. As cliché as it is, there is literally no way to put that feeling into words.

I really can’t wait to put her to bed at the end of the day. I’m all touched out from her clinging to my neck. I can’t wait to sit in silence instead of next to her while she plays, because if I walk away she screams at me. I can’t wait to just have 10 minutes alone once she’s in bed.

Then the weirdest thing happens. I miss that little girl! Soooo freaking much.

I look at photos, Nick and I watch videos. We have conversations that mostly revolve around her. It’s ridiculous! Ridiculously amazing.

My mom was right (I see that happy smirk on your face Mom). All my mom friends were right. I didn’t know until I had my daughter what it felt like.

I have officially received my members only card into the craziest club I’ve ever had the pleasure of joining.

There are sub groups within this club, and they too are members-only.

There are boy moms, girl moms, single parents, co-parents, adoptive parents, parents of multiples, rainbow baby parents, working moms, stay at home moms, stay at home dads, military parents… the list goes on.

Until we have our children, no matter what way, we really don’t have any clue. So let me apologize to all the mamas I rolled my eyes at before I had a baby…. even while pregnant (yes i admit it).

I am so honored to have joined this group of amazing men and women, and to know the most incredible love I have ever felt.

This is the best club I have ever joined, and the weirdest one as well.

After all, there ain’t no hood like parenthood.

PPA: What Literally No One Warned Me About

I’m going to start this post by saying that I truly do not want any sympathy. I am merely sharing my experience so that I can spare a future mama from being hit with something they never expected.

Motherhood is amazing. Amazingly beautiful, amazingly trying, amazingly wonderful, and amazingly difficult. I’ve only been a mother for a whopping 3 months and I can already tell you this. I am beyond grateful for my little one, for my pregnancy, and my birth experience. I honestly would do everything all over again, even the 4th trimester (trust me it ain’t no piece of cake).

When I got pregnant I began reading many books on what to expect during pregnancy and what will happen after the baby arrived. My doctors discussed some of these expectations and possibilities at length with me. Towards the end of my pregnancy, and after giving birth to my baby girl, postpartum depression or PPD was constantly brought up. I was screened (although if you ask me a few vague questions don’t really seem like enough to me) and told I wasn’t suffering from any PPD. I knew that wasn’t the case, so this didn’t shock me.

What did worry me was the way I started feeling every night before going to bed since about a week after I gave birth. I would get the baby ready for bed, brush my teeth, say goodnight to my husband and hop in bed. All of a sudden my chest would tighten, my mind would race, and I would feel as tho I couldn’t catch my breath.

I had never dealt with anything like this, but coming from a family who deals with a lot of anxiety, I knew that this is what it felt like.

Why now?! I had literally never dealt with anxiety EVER.

I kept asking myself what I was anxious about. Was I failing already as a mother? Am I already unraveling? Is it the fact that I will have to return to work and leave my baby with someone else 3 days a week? Is it because my husband and my relationship will ultimately never be the way it was before children? Was it all of these things?

I honestly couldn’t pinpoint any reason for it. All I can tell you is that I had no clue where it was coming from or why.

Not a single doctor or person I had come in contact with said anything to me about feeling anxious after the baby. Not one. So I really didn’t know it had anything to do with it.

Many of my girlfriends, and my husband, and family had asked me how I was doing. They said if you have any feelings of depression please talk to them. No one said anything about anxiety. So for a while I said nothing about it.

My husband has been extremely supportive and helpful through my entire pregnancy, and my postpartum journey. He consistently would ask how I felt, and to please talk to him if I felt off in any way.

One night after getting the baby to sleep, I was very overwhelmed with my anxiety. I couldn’t keep this to myself any longer. I went out to my husband and told him how I had been feeling. I said no one said anything about anxiety, they just stressed the signs of depression.

He urged me to google it.

Lowe and behold, PPA popped up. Postpartum anxiety is a very real, very common occurrence. How did no one tell me about it?

From what I was reading online, many women in forums had no idea about it either. Some of these women didn’t even know that’s what they were going through until years later.

I was not alone. This immediately made me feel better, not completely, but better.

I found forums of women discussing their anxieties and what they were doing to treat them. I was encouraged to talk about everything on my mind, and to share it all with a loved one. I found links to get help and seek therapy if it was so severe I couldn’t get through it on my own.

Here is my question: why is this not talked about? Why are we only focusing on PPD when PPA is just as prevalent?

This is why I am talking about it. May is Maternity Mental Heath Awareness month, and I hope that by talking about my own experience I can help someone else in theirs.

If you are pregnant, or a new mama and you ever feel any symptoms that don’t quite fit into the PPD category but you know aren’t normal to you, talk to someone. You are not alone.

PPA is very real. You don’t have to do it alone. Reach out to a loved one, a fellow mama, a therapist, anyone. For me just talking about my feelings has helped tremendously, but that may not be the case for everyone.

Please never feel unworthy of asking for help, and getting it. You deserve it mamas. You give your all everyday for your family. Remember, you can’t pour from an empty cup!

I hope in the future doctors will open the discussion for not just PPD but anxiety as well and any other postpartum mood disorders not discussed. Until then, it is our duty to help one another out and share our own experiences.

If I can help just one woman know that she isn’t alone, and there is help for her out there, then I am happy.

You are worthy of happiness, you are worthy of help. You are worthy mama. Don’t ever forget it.