I was unprepared for so many things in regards to motherhood. I think what caught me off guard the most was the mommy guilt. It came crashing down like waves all day long.
I felt guilty for going back to work.
I felt guilty for wanting to scroll through my Instagram feed.
I felt guilty for getting angry that we could not directly breastfeed.
I felt guilty for selling our house the week she was born.
I felt guilty for wanting to sleep.
I felt guilty for resenting everyone in the house because I knew she and I would be the only ones up at 2am.
I felt guilty for wanting to take a shower.
I felt guilty for getting angry that I couldn't have a conversation with anyone about anything without it becoming a conversation about her, or her crying.
I felt guilty for not being able to breastfeed.
I felt guilty for not having the energy to run her all over God's creation to see family.
I felt guilty for not working out.
I felt guilty for the house being a mess.
I felt guilty because I was not a hostess to anyone in my house.
I felt guilty for wanting to do anything besides hold her and stare at her.
Seriously, you name it, I felt guilty over it. I'm the type of person who will set myself on fire to keep everyone else warm. And it doesn't have to be like that.
What I've learned:
It's okay to ask for help.
You aren't a crappy mom if you do ask for help.
It's okay to be a complete mess.
It's okay to wear whatever you're comfortable in, even if you've worn it for 3 days straight (Although, let's be honest. If you've worn it more than 6 hours it's probably covered in vomit, milk, or poop. So on second thought, you might want to change.)
It's not okay to bottle it all up and assume that people know how you're feeling.
One person shouldn't be the only person doing all the night feedings.
Don't think you have to carry everything on your shoulders alone.
You don't have to prove anything to anyone.
If you (like me) feel guilty having to ask to do anything for yourself, make that known to your spouse. Tell them to encourage you to do things on your own every once in a while.
Try to keep up something that's important to you. Maybe not ALL THE THINGS (for instance, this blog had to go on the back burner), but some of the things. Or at least ONE THING. For me it was the gym. My friend encouraged me to join the YMCA. They have excellent childcare and they will watch her for up to 2 hours a day. Take that time as mental health time.
Don't feel guilty about wanting time away from your baby. It doesn't mean you don't love and cherish them. If you need it, take it. The time you're actually with them will be that much sweeter and they'll get a better version of you.
Don't put unrealistic expectations on yourself.
It's okay to enjoy your job and want to continue working.
It's okay to say you need someone to hold your child so you can go sleep.
Motherhood is different for every mother. Infancy was hard for me. But just because it didn't come easy to me, doesn't make me a bad mom.