My Muddled New-Mommy Feelings
I don’t know when it all began.
For the past couple of weeks, I feel like I’ve been in an emotional pendulum. High and in love one moment, angry and frustrated the next. Jealous, unsure, confused. Repentant, delighted, disappointed. Fulfilled. Sad. There were days when all I wanted was to cry, times when I actually did cry. Nights when my back hurt as I fed my baby, hoping she would nurse fast so I can go back to sleep. Moments when Lilibubs would look up and smile at me as she feeds and I would feel all sorts of wonderful, but then on the very same day I would lose my patience with her when she would fuss.
The only thing constant is how tired I feel all the time.
Maybe my first-time-mom energy and euphoria came crashing down when our whole household got sick with the flu and it was only me who was well enough to take care of Lilibubs. Maybe it was during that hellish week of nonstop crying when we had her lip and tongue tie released. Maybe it was during that whole month of February when I plunged into work, accepting two out-of-town shows, doing full hour-long ones while still never getting more than three hours of straight sleep, feeding my baby before I left and rushing to her side after every show, worrying and thinking about her in between.
Maybe it was the strain of wanting to do and be more as a wife and mother and finding that I was just physically and mentally unable to do so. Maybe it was when my husband started to get sick and I felt I was somehow to blame because I had not been taking care of him like I should, as all my energies have shifted to caring for our newborn and there was little to none left for him..
Maybe it was the added worry of having a sick mother, of wanting to make ends meet given our current and projected medical expenses. Maybe it was when our newly-hired yaya arrived, an added variable to our household mix (not to mention, our sleeping space), a new personality to adjust to. Maybe it was when I relinquished some of my Lilibubs time to her so I can rest, and then regretting when there were instances when my daughter can only be comforted in her arms, not in mine. Maybe it started then.
Maybe it was when I started to pray less because my mind was just blank all the time, tired all the time..
Or maybe it came as more strands of my hair started to fall after every shower and every brush. Maybe it was connected to my hormones surging and dipping.
Maybe it was then.
Or maybe it was on all that I’ve mentioned above, plus other heretofore undetermined and unstated instances.
Or maybe I’m just tired.
I expected motherhood to be difficult. I expected it to be life-changing. But I suppose I didn’t expect to feel so many feelings all at once, all at the same time. I didn’t/don’t know how to deal. I didn’t expect to feel like a rubber band being pulled in two, even three different directions, that wasn’t the motherhood I thought I would experience. My emotions feel like this gigantic knot of yarn that’ll take months of untangling. It is as if I have to extricate each piece of yarn, examine it, process it, accept that it is there, and chuck it out as soon as possible.
The negative feelings that is.
When I started this entry the other day, I was tired and downhearted. Yesterday as I continued it, I was happy, having just played with Lilibubs and looking forward to going on a date with my husband. The other day I was dramatic, yesterday I felt more assured, more hopeful, more resolved. But as I returned to my writing this afternoon, I felt confused again, triggered by seeing Lilibubs sleeping beside her nanny. A swinging emotional pendulum.. high, low, high again, low again.. Reminds me of just how fickle the heart truly is, and how it cannot be trusted. Heard, perhaps, acknowledged, yes, but to act on what the heart says requires the mind’s objectivity to take over.
The heart is deceitful above all things,
and desperately sick;
who can understand it?
How I wish it were that easy, though.
A few days after our nanny arrived, I shared on my IG story how I had mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, I was grateful for the help as I can now devote more time to my husband and more me-time as well. But on the other, as I observed how close my baby was becoming to our nanny, and how (as I have mentioned above) there were times when it seemed like I didn’t know how to comfort her anymore despite being hands-on for her first four months, my possessive heart didn’t like it. I didn’t want to share Lilibubs, her precious awake time, getting to hold her, I didn’t want to share her with anyone else. I wanted to be the only one to provide for her every need even if I was so bone-tired already. I got angry with myself when I couldn’t get her to stop crying. One time in public when it happened, and only yaya was able to quiet her, I inwardly felt ashamed - I’ve suddenly become THAT parent who couldn’t deal with her own child :(.
That’s MY baby, my heart would cry. I want her to want ONLY ME, to need ONLY ME.
How truly selfish I am. (Hello, stubborn sin.)
I have forgotten that it takes a village to raise a child, that one mother is not meant to raise her children alone, that since the earliest of days children have been raised by a close-knit community of nurturing females. I have forgotten to be appreciative of the fact that Lilibubs has taken well to her yaya, that our yaya has her own son, that she is a mother too and therefore most likely knows well how to raise a child. I have neglected to give thanks for this, and also for the fact that nowadays it is extremely hard to come by a good yaya. I have been looking inwards again. It was me, me, me all over again.
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thessalonians 5:18
I truly appreciate other mothers’ words of comfort. @goddessofliberty in particular shared uplifting thoughts.. “About being hands-on, you still are, every time you are home. Do not frown when you’re holding the baby. Just give her your warmest hug and sweetest smile. She had a long day too without you next to her. And vice versa. Stay positive! You don’t wanna entertain sadness/loneliness that may lead to postpartum depression. We are always here to listen. Cheer up!”
@bellevelasco shared that she “felt the same way when our yaya arrived. She was such a natural with babies because she’s a midwife. I did have a good cry :’( This indeed is motherhood! We’re being prepared for bigger heartaches or bittersweet moments in the future!”
@monayngdalawa said that she “experienced and felt the same. This too shall pass. But you’ll always stay her mom no matter what. I’m a little less hormonal this time on my second baby. Maybe it really is a first time mom’s normal phase.”
And lastly, from @kirstenhabawel : “I felt the same way!!!! But I learned to trust the yaya too because I needed to get back on track with my life too, it’s not easy but know that literally at the end of the day, your baby will sleep beside you again. :)”
I am sharing their words so it could comfort those who are going through the same thing, just as they have comforted me.
Am I experiencing postpartum depression? I honestly don’t know and have yet to research more on that.. but definitely, this feeling so many emotions and not knowing what to do about them is part of my postpartum experience, a confounding chapter in the book of my being a first-time-mom. I am really really hoping all my issues would get resolved soon. It gives me comfort knowing that after every trial, there is sure to be a lesson learned. Hopefully, I’ll be a better and wiser person after I’ve sorted through all my muddle.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
I also had mixed feelings about leaving Lilibubs for work. For a few days we searched for the one bottle I was sure she would feed from, and when we found that elusive bottle, still I had qualms about leaving her at home. I would often wonder how she is, if she’s hungry, if she was able to finish the milk I left. What this made me realise is, as much as I eventually would have to wean Lilibubs off my breast when my desired year of breastfeeding is up, as early as now I would also need to wean myself from her, allowing her the space she needs as she begins to come into her own person. That this motherhood gig is paradoxical - we were given these beautiful children to raise up, take care of, and wholeheartedly love, only to release them at strategic points in their lives. That all of mommyhood is a cycle of caring, preparing, and releasing.
Lastly, I have let my prayer life down, too. I have forgotten that much of what happens in life is a spiritual battle, and that if I plunged headlong into my day-to-day activities without asking for help and grace from the Lord, I will never succeed. I have forgotten to never let the devil gain so much as a pinkie of a foothold, that I must guard my heart at all cost.
Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere. (Ephesians 6:18)
Give no opportunity to the devil. (Ephesians 4:27)
Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. (Proverbs 4:23)
And maybe perhaps, I have forgotten that I needed to rest, too. That it’s okay not to be okay. That I needed to take good care of myself so I could take good care of my family as well. And that to get help in taking care of my baby doesn’t make me any less of a mother.
I have forgotten.. as I write this I pray that I will not forget again.
To those of you who are in the same situation as me, I pray that we will all be able to manage better soon.
God bless you, my fellow mommas.
Thank you for reading.