Having a Baby Changes You: The Cool Mom is Dead

I wanted to have a baby and still leave the house and still see my friends and still do everything I did before the baby.

So I did.

I had the baby. She stayed in NICU for 4 days, then she came home, and the whirlwind began.

Family came to the house to stay and help us out.

Extra people in the house means extra cleaning, extra bed-making, extra sheet-washing, extra food-buying, extra food-making, extra communication and doesn’t allow for a routine to be built as a family; because each new family member that arrived to help arrived with different methods of communication, different areas of helping out (some walked the dog; some did dishes; some loved baby snuggles on the couch), and each week was different.

And that was so great and so wonderful and so nice and we are eternally grateful for the army of family that arrived week after week to help out- but all those extra things are one more extra thing on top of the original thing- which is navigating how to all of a sudden snap your fingers and become someone’s Mom.

So I was managing all those house guests.

And trying to be nice. And friendly. And polite.

To everyone that came through my door.

With throbbing nerve pain resounding through my clitoris, a newborn baby squawlering on my hip, and running on three hours of sleep.

I wanted to please everyone. Be a nice mom. A mom that had it all together, never lost her temper, was never demanding or bitchy, pleased everyone and had a perfect home.

Also in those first six weeks were a plethora of necessary appointments.

Between Sadie and I, we had weekly appointments at: the midwife’s, the obstetrician’s, the chiropractor’s, Calgary Lab Services for lithium testing, the psychiatrist for mental health check-in’s, and the family doctor’s. They weren’t all in one week, but it usually worked out to be about 4 out of home appointments per week- with a revolving door of guests in my home, throbbing nerve pain resounding through my clitoris, a newborn baby screaming on my hip, and running on three hours of sleep.

So I bundled the baby and I up and went to all those appointments.

I wanted to do it all.

I had made the decision to stay for the first 6 weeks with the family doctor’s clinic that had supported me throughout my pregnancy. The catch was- they were located in Canmore, where I had moved from at 34 weeks pregnant, and now the drive to see the doctor was an hour and 15 minutes away.

My reasons for this were twofold- Canmore had been my home, and as such, my core group of girlfriends that had been with me through all the stages of my pregnancy was still located out there and if I drove out there, I could pop in and visit them- and also, I wanted the doctors and nurses who had been so kind to me during those first 34 weeks to see the fruits of my labor.

So three (or even four times- I can’t remember), I bundled up my very newborn baby and drove an hour and 15 minutes one way to go to Canmore.

One of the times I was there, I popped into my old workplace and surprised one of my closest friends with her first Sadie-hug as she had yet to come out to Crossfield to see us and I thought she might like that.

That day was a hard day for us; Sadie, Ryan and I were all exhausted, in a rush, sick of spending all our day stuck in the jeep and rushing around like chickens with our heads cut off- but I demanded that we stop at my old workplace to give that friend a nice surprise.

I wanted to be the cool mom. I wanted to do it all.

The other three or four times I went out to Canmore, I would always visit my old friends at my old workplace, or send out a group message saying ‘Hey, Sadie and I will be in town this Friday- does anyone want to hang out?’. If the answer was no, I tried to invite them for fun events in my new neck of the woods. Boozy Stampede party? Group sleepover at my house after?

I wanted to be a cool mom. I wanted to be a good friend. I wanted to do it all.

This week- it all kind of hit me at once.

I had a friend come over to help me at my house for the week because my husband was away for work again. Because, oh yes, in the midst of all this- my husband took a new job wherein which he is pretty much gone for the first 6 weeks of his new job training, so that’s been fun…

I’m not a diva- I’m not a princess- I need to make it clear here that I don’t have a revolving door of people coming to stay with me because I’m demanding or selfish or incapable of operating as a mother of a newborn-

I have a revolving door of people coming to stay with me because I have bipolar type 1. And as someone with bipolar type 1, I have a medically necessary requirement to sleep at least 5 hours straight for at least every 1 in 3 nights, or for lack of a better word, I will go psycho and need to be committed to a mental hospital for 14-30 days.

It sucks, and it’s embarrassing (even though that’s dumb to feel, because its not like I asked for bipolar- its just a shitty life card I’ve been dealt)- but it sucks and it’s embarrassing to need these people in my home as an otherwise capable grownass woman of 33 years of age. It sucks to have to beg people to come stay with me so I don’t go crazy.

So my friend came to stay with me this week and I was trying be nice, and polite, and perfect, and happy, and not demanding, and not bitchy, and not short-tempered.

And I failed.

Four days into her stay, I yelled at her to move her stuff away from my child’s closet doors so I could put my child’s laundry away.

A fight ensued; I ran away into my bedroom, shut the door and cried, and my friend left my home shortly thereafter.

I spent the whole rest of the day crying intermittently while trying to get shit done, like clean the house and feed myself and my child.

The fight with my friend made me so upset that I started thinking of some other friends with whom I had recently fallen out of touch, so I reached out to them by text and basically said ‘Hey, have I done something wrong? I don’t hear from you anymore and it makes me sad.’

And within four hours, the two friends basically wrote back what I feared they might, which was something along the lines of ‘this relationship is one-sided’ and ‘you’ve changed, so you’re not worth my time anymore.’

And I bawled my eyes out.

I had tried so hard. I drove out to Canmore 3-4 times in the first 7 weeks of my baby’s life. I had texted. I had tried to make plans. I had tried to maintain those friendships. I had wanted to do it all, and to do it all well.

Be a Mom. Be a Cool Mom. Not let it change me. Have a clean home. Have a Perfect home. Have people over. Entertain them. Feed them delicious meals fresh out of my oven. Be fun. Be gracious to those who came to stay in my home. Maintain all my old relationships. Keep my head up.

And yesterday was my final straw.

Who am I kidding??? I can barely f*cking meet my Own basic needs on the daily- why am I power cleaning the house and whipping homemade meals out of the oven for guests when all I ate yesterday was a chocolate bar and a bag of corn chips I found stuffed in my couch???

Why am I trying to be gracious to those who enter my home and know that they are here to help me sleep- why can’t I just tell them my life is a mess, I am exhausted and I need them to shut up so I can go the Eff to sleep?

Why am I driving multiple times over hell’s half acre to try and maintain friendships with people that haven’t come to see me or my daughter once since my baby was born?

Why am I trying to hard to be the Cool Mom and to please Everyone Else??

So I’m done.

The Cool Mom is dead. I did away with her yesterday.

Whoever doesn’t like me now that I’m just a boring old Mom can continue not liking me- and I’m no longer going to shed tears for those losses.

I’m going to lean into my loving husband, tuck my child into my armpit and gaze at her big blue eyes, and hunker down in my beautiful home.

As my Mom always says: “You can’t please all of the people all of the time. Only some people, some of the time.”

I’m going to start trying to live that way, and letting it be okay to not be okay.

XO, Em

Sh*t New Moms Actually Say

As a new mom, I have SO many things I want to blog about. And as a new mom, I have NO time to expand upon any of them.

So until I have the time to actually flesh out any of these quotes into full blog posts, here is a compendium of sh*t that has actually come out of my mouth as a new mom over the past 7 weeks. (These are copy and pasted from various FB messenger and text conversations I’ve had with friends.)

  • I’m so excited for you to meet my crotch fruit!!!! Eeeee!! Text me when you’ve finished parking and I’ll meet you at the elevator doors of the 6th floor. 
  • If you wanna meet the baby, it’ll cost ya! Large dark Americano for Ryan, medium tazo passionfruit lemonade tea for me ;)-
  • Picture the bottom of your vagina hole closest to your butt part. Get a knife. Slit from that part of your vagina and drag the knife from the vagina bit alllllmost to the start of the asshole. (Yeesh! Don’t know who I said that to- but I spared no expense with the description of my episiotomy!!)
  • It feels like a gaping wound, leaving the hospital without her. And it is. A literal and figurative wound. I carried her for 40 weeks and now I drive away from her. It is harder than I thought. I know rationally she comes home with us on Friday, but my emotions tether me to her like tightly-wound string and the further I drive away from her in that little blue bed in NICU, the tighter and tighter that string cuts into my heart.
  • I am not a Breast Feeder- but I AM a Milk Maker. I am not a milk Dud. 
  • Having a newborn baby is like having a constant hangover. The only difference is that when you look down at the evidence (empty bottles, your poor decisions, vomit…), you look down at the evidence (a human child, created in love, born in pain, and now All Yours to protect) and you don’t feel bad anymore. You feel exhausted, but overjoyed.
  • I want people to bring us food, or a baked treat or something. I want people to put it on our doorstep and give us a hug and then drive away. Does such a thing happen? We need a pick-me-up, but we’re too tired to talk or to even say what it is we need. Help? Did you guys feel this way too? Everything is a blur- a big happy overwhelming blur and you forget to eat. You both know that she had 110 ml of formula at 6:30 am and that she needs 100 ml more at 10:30 am but you yourself haven’t eaten anything since yesterday.
  • Honestly, the amount of strength that Ryan and I have had as a couple through this first week of postpartum is the Singlemost reason if I could go back and do this differently- I wouldn’t. It has deepened, tested and strengthened our love and commitment to each other more than anything I could have Ever imagined.
  • I am SO glad that first week is over. Today feels almost normal. Like the reset button has been pushed. Our new normal began at 6:30 this morning. 
  • Oops- gotta go. Trusted a fart.
  • Everything we do is one tiny win, dangling by a tiny little thread, over a pit of insanity.
  • The best part about yesterday was we were so frickin busy all day and so friggin exhausted that when I got out of the shower, I was like ‘something’s different- but I don’t know what…’ And then I realized it was my tits!!!! The Milk is GONE!!!!! I got my little, tiny, floppy titties back and I’m Soooo happy!!!!
  • If it weren’t for you, I would be in the hospital right now on a locked unit. I have NO idea why women don’t talk about this shit- it literally Floors me that postpartum is This hard and Nobody warns you. I thought miscarriage was a highly guarded topic- It doesn’t hold a candle to postpartum. You can at least get one or two women friends/colleagues to open up about miscarriage if you say the right things and ask the right questions. But WHY aren’t more women warning OTHER women about Postpartum!!!???
  • Oh mannnnn- this blog is going to be Heavier than a toddler’s diaper after a Chuck E Cheeze birthday party.
  • So- in answer to your hormones/emotions/meds/feelings question- It’s been Really, Really hard for me, and having Sadie in a hospital/NICU setting has re-opened pretty much every trauma I’ve ever had. 
  • Hahaha funny you say that!!! An East Indian woman saw me with my EIGHT DAY OLD in my arms at Toys R Us buying newborn pants with my midwife holding my car seat in her hand and tapping my debit with the other and she goes: ‘How old!?’ And I beam and say: ‘8 Days’ and she drops her jaw, widens her eyes and goes ‘And you are Here, at a mall? Looking this good??!!’ I laughed and said ‘Well, the other 7 days I’ve been a mess! But today I felt not like a mess, so I’m here.’ And her and her husband smiled at me, kind of like tipping their hat, and walked away, speechless. (Canadian postpartum culture is Crazy. I’ve since heard that almost every other culture has like a family sit-in type of postpartum rite of passage, where it is expected that Mom and baby stay in bed and family brings food and necessities to them. In Canada, it’s like, ‘Oh, you just had a baby? Cool- put your adult diapers on and go to Walmart. Your fridge is empty and it’s not going to fix itself.’)
  • Let me call you back; I just sneezed and peed myself.
  • I had a dream last night that I was on my hands and knees swaddling Sadie underneath me and Mika latched onto me and started humping me doggie-style and I couldn’t fu*king pry her off of me for the life of me. (Postartum sleep deprivation dreams are really twisted and vivid!)
  • The moment Kate and Bob walked through my door, validated my emotions, validated my vagina pain, told me that everything I was experiencing postpartum was NORMAL, I no longer had anxious thoughts. They spoke normally, acted normally, let me sit in a chair where I was comfortable, told me my baby was beautiful, and they LET me be in pain, and they honoured my need to rest. 
  • Sadie Loves the bottle. Loves the soother. Shits like a bear. Pees like a firehose. Eats 100 ml every four hours like clockwork. Doesn’t fuss. Smiles when she sleeps.
  • My girl is constipated- the love I have for this child is Unbelievable. Just to lay beside her and hold her hand and let her rest her other hand on my face and pray that she poops is an honour. 
  • P.S. I’m texting you with Sadie on my lap waiting for her to finish filling her pants with shit so that I can change her diaper and start my day hahah. Mom life is so glorious!!
  • Today she was hungry every 2 hours and every waking minute wanted alllll the snuggles. I barely got a single thing I wanted done, and I had to do everything with one hand cuz the other hand was holding her all day, and she puked and shit on me at the same time this morning, and I didn’t get a meal in me until 7 pm, and when Ryan came home I was climbing the walls, I just needed to get out of the house So bad.
  • My day is so great!!! I got to blow-dry my hair and put on real clothes! I’m wearing Real Pants with a Zipper!!! First time since 20 weeks pregnant!!! Wheee!!
  • I am Beyond lucky. I hate the word ‘blessed’. But I feel it.

And there you have it, a full range of feelings, all captured right here on this page. And on any given day of postpartum, you can feel any and/or allll of those things. Let me know if any of these quotes resonated with you- I Love hearing other Mom’s experiences. And if there’s any thought you think I should flesh out into a bigger blog post as a topic, let me know that too. It would help me funnel my thoughts so that the next time I get 2 golden hours of quiet to myself, I can hit the ground running.

XO, Em