Life With A Baby is turning 10. To celebrate, we are excited to share with you insights from 10 different Moms, answering 10 questions honestly. #
Susan is a mother of
two boys (2.5 and 4 months) from Guelph. She loves red wine, pizza,
reminiscing about sleep and avoiding housework.
How would you describe yourself before having a baby?
I would have described myself as very free-spirited, a little impulsive, but
very career driven and passionate about things that were important to me. My
husband and I were the last of all of our friends to have kids, and I loved
that we were able to pick up and do whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted. We
moved across the country twice in 3 years, with very little planning and
with very little belongings and there's something very liberating about the
ability to do that.
How would you describe yourself after having a baby?
Oh boy. I honestly don't know how to describe myself now. I've had 2
babies in 2 years and had very severe PPMD after my first son, and
that is something that truly changed me. I'm definitely more guarded, more
anxious, more self-conscious. I am also still really passionate about things
that are important to me, although the causes have changed. I'm super
passionate about being open and honest about my PPMD and have become a
workplace ambassador for mental health. I wrote an article about my experience
with PPMD and found that giving myself a voice really created a sense of pride and was also very freeing.
3. What is one thing you miss about your pre-baby life?
So much. I miss being able to do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. I miss
going to Starbucks alone. I miss going grocery shopping alone. I miss getting
my nails done every 3 weeks and my roots and highlights done every 8 weeks. More than anything though, I miss sleep. I have
not had more than 4 straight hours of sleep in 3 years. I consistently say
that my greatest fantasy is 24 hours alone in a hotel room, with a king sized
bed, black out blinds, a hot-tub and an
Ambien. That sounds like pure heaven.
4. What is one thing you wish someone prepared you for when it comes to Motherhood?
I'm not sure anyone could have realistically
prepared me for Motherhood. I have very honest friends, and they shared the
brutal truths with me, but until you are in the thick of it... nothing can
really prepare you for that. The one thing that really surprised me was the
love I felt for my second son when he was born. I loved my first son with every
shred of my being and while pregnant with my second, I couldn't fathom how I
could possibly love another one as much. And then he was born, and I just...
did. Somehow, your heart has room.
How has Motherhood changed you?
Besides the fact that I currently have 4 inches of grey roots showing and my
nails are disgusting... I am a very different person that I was 3 years ago. I
am less tolerant of peoples bullshit. I don't have the time or energy or
interest in dealing with toxic relationships and one-way relationships. I've really learned to prioritize the things
that are really important to me. I used to be that friend that everyone would
come and dump their problems on and I don't do that anymore. It has definitely
caused the end of some relationships, but at the end of the day, that just says
to me that I wasn't that important to them.
6. Do you feel like you have “balance” in your life and why?
No. Right now there is zero balance in my life. With a 2.5-year-old and a 4-month-old,
I am purely in survival mode. I started my baby on formula just last week so that I could get some alone time every
so often. I felt tremendous guilt about that, but I realized that I needed some
sort of balance to keep my sanity. If someone has an answer on how to achieve
balance during these early years, I would love to hear it!!
7. What helped get you through the postpartum transition into Motherhood?
I've gained some serious warrior beast mama friends, who were there for me in
the darkest days of new motherhood. They watched my son while I went to
therapy. They brought me wine when I felt I just couldn't leave the house. They
forced me to go out for lunch with my new baby, to show me that I could still
have some semblance of an adult life. So, I've learned to cherish those friends
8. Motherhood is hard. What gets you through each day, day after day?
Wine. Lots and lots of wine. I'm only half kidding about that. I do actually
live for a glass of wine in the evenings when the kids are sleeping. Yes, it's
a large glass, and I don't care. I'm a 41-year-old
grown ass woman. I think I've earned the right to enjoy my wine. I guess I
should mention my kids. Because just when I feel defeated and like I am the
worst mother on earth, because I yelled "I cannot watch Super Why
anymore!", my oldest will do something adorable and amazing and tell me he
loves me, and my youngest will look at me with a smile that could swallow his
face. It's almost enough to make me forget that they are jerks 75% of the time.
9. What makes you grateful about motherhood?
I'm grateful for a lot of things. For the way,
my husband plays with my boys and how he looks at me in amazement when I calm a
crying baby by simply shoving my boob in his mouth. For the concrete examples
of seeing my kids learn and grow and knowing that I made them. For the enormous
tribe of warrior mamas who truly understand that it takes a village. For allowing
me to find a voice for myself and my family.
10. What is one thing you would tell
a new or expecting Mother?
Don't get caught up in judgment or what you thought you were going to be like
as a mother. When I was pregnant with my first, I said there was no way I would
have my baby sleep in our bed. I would breastfeed for 2 years minimum. I was
going to make all sorts of beautiful, organic foods for my baby. I was going to
be outside as much as possible. My kids wouldn't watch TV until they were 30.
Reality: My first slept in our bed until he was 8 months old and my 4-month-old is still in our bed. I breastfed
until 16 months and introduced formula at 5 months. I bought store bought,
pre-packaged processed food (not all the time, but come on - puffs and mum-mums are soooo
easy!). I was pretty much glued to Netflix for the first 7 months. I rely on
Treehouse to babysit my oldest more than I care to admit. But you know what, I
survive, my kids survive and you will too. You've got this mama, even when you
don't think you do. You will get through it. Most importantly though - if you
are feeling ANY signs of PPMD (depression, rage, anxiety, etc), please talk to
your Dr and ask for help. I PROMISE you, nobody will take your baby away and
you will feel a million times better once you get help. And don't forget about the wine. Just
skip the bottle and go straight for the box.
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