Postpartum Claustrophobia: The Postpartum Series

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Super excited to announce that I have a blog post from Amanda. She’s a mama to four beautiful girls and definitely knows motherhood realities. I love how real she is but then reminds us how perfect every single bit of it is. Please read her postpartum journey below because I know you’ll find great help. And don’t forget to leave Amanda some love in the comments. Thanks ladies!

Postpartum Journey-Amanda

I don’t know what I expected my postpartum experience to look like this time around. This is my fourth baby, so it should be fairly easy, right? I mean, I’ve done this 3 times already. All four are girls, so there are no new curve balls there. Surely, I’ve got this.

Yet here I am, standing in front of an open window in winter because I suddenly felt claustrophobic. Again.

That’s what my postpartum experience has been every time, really–a case of claustrophobia.

 

“Because you suddenly have this tiny person who needs you to do

e v e r y t h i n g for them, all day and all night long.”

Day after day, they are demanding things from you. Oh, and you also have to take care of all the household chores. And make dinner every night. And don’t forget to feed and water the dog either, otherwise he’ll scratch up your door. And if you have more than one kid, you have to meet the demands of those tiny tyrants as well. All day and all night long. Day after day.

You work tirelessly, striving and striving for the day when you finally catch up. The day when the laundry is actually done, instead of clean but unfolded on the couch. The day when you don’t have to do dishes for 30 minutes before you can even start dinner. The day when you get to brush your teeth before noon.

But that day where you have your ish together never comes. Instead, you are stuck in your own version of Groundhog Day where every day is exactly the same, and no matter how hard you work, there is still always laundry, there are still always dirty dishes clogging the sink, and you still don’t get to shower on any kind of regular basis.

Then you start feeling sad and unfulfilled because it seems you just can’t get it right. How the hell do all the other moms do it, but I’m floundering? Why is this so hard for me? Why can’t I just enjoy being a mom instead of feeling burdened? Then you feel guilty for even thinking any of this, and suddenly it feels awfully warm in your house and if you don’t get some fresh air, you might actually not be able to breathe.

No one really prepares you for life after pregnancy. It seems so easy: get the baby out, you’ll feel comfortable again and have your body back, then you just take care of the baby and life is great.

Except you aren’t comfortable because pushing a baby out rips your insides up and leaves you sore and hurting for weeks. Oh, and you continue to have contractions EVERY TIME YOU NURSE for about 5 days. And you don’t get your body back– your body is completely different. A total stranger. And it turns out that taking care of a baby is really hard.

Five Postpartum Realities

  1. No one tells you that you’re going to have to learn to get stuff accomplished in 20 minute spurts, because that’s realistically all you get in between feedings. (They also don’t mention all the stuff you’ll learn to do while nursing, including, but not limited to: doing puzzles with your other kids, wiping your other kid’s butt after they go potty, making dinner, pushing a shopping cart, etc.
  2.  No one tells you that you’re still going to look pregnant for a good month (or longer), because it takes time for your uterus to shrink back down.
  3. No one tells you how much you’ll cry from sheer sleep deprivation.
  4. No one tells you that your diet will consist of easy-to-eat-while-nursing foods (IE trail mix, granola bars, and bananas).
  5. No one prepares you for the daily wrestling match against your own self as you battle the thought that you are wasting your life.

If any of this sounds familiar, please know that you are not alone. Having a baby changes everything about your life. Becoming a mother strips you down to your core, and it’s only natural to feel exposed and vulnerable. It’s hard to lose yourself and have the rug pulled out from underneath you. It’s okay to not love every single moment. It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to feel completely overwhelmed, because it is a lot.

But also know this: it won’t always be this hard.

It may not feel like it right now, but you will find your rhythm. And in that rhythm, you will find yourself. Your new self. Your stronger self. The self that can operate on stupid small amounts of sleep. The self that can accomplish so very much in 20 minute spurts. The self that loves so fiercely that it has become a superpower. And then you will realize that losing yourself was the best thing that has ever happened to you. Because the self you have become is pretty freaking incredible.

Like a piece of coal thriving under immense pressure, motherhood makes us into the most spectacular diamonds.

I am so proud of all of you, mamas. You are braver than you think and stronger than you know. Stay strong, and mother on.

—————

I am a wife, a mama to 4 awesome girls, and a daughter of the most High King. I love to bake. I love all things “Doctor Who” and “Outlander”. Lover of books, coffee, and wine. I believe that life is full of adventures disguised as ordinary; you just have to think outside of the small box the world gives you in order to see it. So grab a cup of coffee (or wine, if it’s been one of those days) and join me on my journey!

Amanda can be followed on Facebook, Instagram, and at her personal site.

Also check out last week’s post in the series. I think you might enjoy it!

8 thoughts on “Postpartum Claustrophobia: The Postpartum Series

  1. Thanks for keeping it real, Amanda! I am always thankful when I can “end the day well” even if the rest of the day was crazy bad. Also thankful for many friends who remind me to “give myself grace”. Motherhood is not easy, but it’s worth it.

  2. I had a terrible experience directly after giving birth. I had bad PPD and just couldn’t figure out how I belonged in my child’s life. You realize so much after you give birth that you never knew you would realize.

  3. This is so important to share! Thank you for sharing it. I’m about to have number two and articles like these are a good reminder of what we so easily forget the first time.

    1. I just had my second baby, Adriana and I know exactly what you feel right now. I recently wrote a post on postpartum truths and things no one tells you about! Wishing you the very best!! <3

  4. I hadn’t really thought of the term claustrophobia to explain some of my postpartum feelings… but this is spot on for me. Even to this day I have moments where I just want to escape it all. 🙁

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