I Don’t Enjoy Every Moment

The day your baby is born, you’ll start to hear it “Enjoy every moment” Everyone will tell you this. They’ll tell you how fast it goes and how each moment should be cherished, and every second is to be savored. I’m here to tell you that just isn’t true. And, it’s ok.

There will be moments that suck.  Some will REALLY suck! Some will ruin your entire day! And that is normal!

The first two weeks after Avery was born were not at all what I’d expected. I was depressed and had anxiety that I never thought possible. While Dave was at work I’d be sitting home, crying and imagining every possible thing that could kill him. I just KNEW that he’d die in an accident and Id be a widow, with a brand new baby.  If he took the dog for a walk I’d have a panic attack, checking the local news for reports of a “pedestrian and dog, struck and killed in Warwick” And then Avery would cry, and I’d think about what an awful mother I was. Dave would always come home safely, and I’d show my joy by starting a fight (I completely understand why marriages can end right after a baby is born.  I wouldn’t have blamed him for leaving, in fact I’d have left myself if I could) A lot of people think postpartum depression means you want to drive your car into a lake with your baby in the back seat. I can honestly tell you, I never had a thought of harming Avery (though I do know women who have had those feelings, and it is very important to tell someone, and seek help if you DO feel that way) In fact holding and taking care of Avery was the only thing that made me feel “ok”  I didn’t want to hurt her, I wanted to curl up in a ball, and never stop holding her. In fact I was terrified to let other people hold her. Dave included. I’d be overwhelmed from the day of screaming, dirty diapers, lack of sleep, but if I handed her off to him I was immediately sick to my stomach, sweaty, and screaming inside. I felt so out of control. But, I didn’t know what to do. I told him how I was feeling, but it is very hard for other people to understand these wild changes in personality. Especially for men, who really have no concept of these hormonal shifts.

Then I’d get a message from someone about how this was supposed to the most magical time in my life and that I’d better be enjoying every moment. I knew they meant well, but when you’re in the midst of postpartum depression, and dealing with emotions that you have never had before, and have no way to control, those words make you feel like a total failure.  Why?  Why wasn’t I enjoying this?  What was wrong with me?

I think this is why so many women are afraid to come forward and talk about their postpartum depression and anxiety.  We’re not supposed to feel this way. Society tells us that we have to be happy and enjoy. every. moment.  We don’t hear enough about the NORMAL postpartum emotions that 80% of women feel.  The first two weeks are a huge rush of hormones that our body and mind can’t handle.  This often comes out as depression and anxiety,feelings of anger, questioning ourselves, and mood swings.

While struggling with these “Baby Blues” (sounds so cute, doesn’t it?) I received a message from a friend who told me that not every moment would be enjoyable, and that it was ok if I didn’t enjoy everything all the time. She had also gone through bouts of postpartum depression, and was passing on her wisdom to me. Her message was just what I needed to hear. It was a real turning point for me. It was ok to feel the way I felt, I wasn’t a failure. I was a normal new mom.

I started to feel better, my hormones leveled out and I was happy again. I was able to let other people hold Avery. In fact I was able to leave the room, and eventually the house with her in the care of someone else.  My mind stopped spinning, and the anxiety went away. I was able to enjoy more moments.

But some moments still suck! When Avery pees all over me and the bed at 11pm. When shes screaming for an hour and a half, and working herself into a lather while driving home.  When we’re about to leave for dinner and she spits up, exorcist style, all over my new shirt. I don’t enjoy those moments.  But I do enjoy most moments. Like when she smiles and coos while I sing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” or when she is soundly asleep in my arms. Watching Dave hold her and talk to her about the Red Sox, or give her a bottle. Those moments make all the sucky moments worth it.

New moms, you will NOT enjoy every moment. Some will be downright terrible. But, I promise the good moments will outweigh the bad ones. And, you are not alone.

If you think you are experiencing postpartum depression, do not be ashamed. Get help, talk to someone–a loved one, a counselor, a nurse, anyone. Let someone know how you are feeling. Don’t let it go beyond the “Baby Blues”  While it is normal to feel some sadness and anxiety, if you feel that you want to harm yourself or your baby or if the sadness and negative feelings last longer than a few weeks after the baby is born, you need to reach out for help.

13 comments

  1. melissa says:

    FANTASTIC post, Sarah. I 100% agree with you that not everything is puppies and rainbows, and the first weeks can absolutely be hell. No one told me I would cry every day, feel like a failure all the time, or be constantly overwhelmed. Everyone made it seem like it would be beautiful and magical. It wasn’t until AFTER he was born that people told me, “Oh I cried every day for 6 weeks” or “Breast feeding was hell for me.” And I remember being so mad at them!! Why didn’t they warn me!?

    So now I talk candidly about how I felt. About my struggle with PPD and later a depression disorder diagnosis. I think it is important to let other women know that they are NOT alone. That things WILL:get better. That this is NOT something to be ashamed of and that they SHOULD speak up about how they feel. And that it is totally normal to feel this way!! I refuse to pretend that life was perfect at first. Hopefully I don’t scare people with my truth TOO much. 😉

  2. Kameron says:

    I don’t know if I had postpartum depression, but I sure had a little bit of the baby blues. My friends must think I am a downer becaus eI have tried to prepare them a little bit before they have their kids. I never pretend it is all rosey and happy. It is hard, and it is ok to admit that! I’m glad you are feeling more like yourself!

  3. Stephanie (@stephmommybrain) says:

    It’s so true. Not every moment of mothering is enjoyable or worth remembering. I think folks say this because they’ve forgotten the exhaustion, frustration, and just plain hard work of mothering infants, toddlers and preschoolers.

    As a mom of a 9 yr old (how did THAT happen?!) I feel what they are saying more every day. I’d give anything to go back in time to sit and rock that sweet baby boy for an hour. But since I’m also the mom of a 3 yr old, I’d also give anything to sleep 8 hours uninterrupted and to have someone else clean up pee puddles.

  4. MamaLuvsBooks says:

    Great post!!! And this is why I am not allowed to have baby #3!! The first few weeks can be AWFUL!!! I had the “baby blues” with my first one as well. It can be so tough. You are doing great!!! It’s nice to know that you KNOW that it’s normal and it’s okay!!! LOVE that!!! Stay strong Mama!!!

  5. Karen Cimino Wilmes says:

    I couldn’t wait to be a mom… and then it happened and it was nothing like I thought. I was so tired, my daughter wanted to be held 24/7 and my husband figured I was best at doing it all, myself. I was so jealous of him going to bed at night while I was up until 2am every single night, that I would sit in the room next to our bedroom he was in and cry, louder and louder until I woke him up and we were fighting. I’d call him during the day crying that I was so tired and she wouldn’t let me put her down and we would start to fight over the phone. He would ask me “what am I supposed to do when I’m at work”. This went on for about 2 months which felt like an eternity to me.

    One night my husband said to me “this is supposed to be the happiest time of our lives? We just ruined the next 18 years of our lives!!!!” and we cried together. Shortly after that my doctor diagnosed me with postpartum depression and of course I was sleep deprived as well. It got better every month after that and I learned how to sooth her enough to sleep but she never slept for long periods of time for a long time. I just accepted it as my “job” at the time, to live on little sleep.

    She is 7 years old right now and we did have a second one, who I must say slept better and was the perfect baby, but the 7 year old is a champion sleeper now, however still challenges mommy at times. Its part of her personality.

    And my husband and I both agree now that we “did not ruin 18 years of our lives by having a baby”.

    No one can explain to you how hard it is adding a baby to the family. NO ONE. And even if you tried, they won’t believe it, they have to live it for themselves. But having a baby is not all that much fun. The cute baby cries, spits up, poops – a lot, pees on you, poops in the bathtub, pukes in the car seat, cries (a lot), doesn’t sleep, screams bloody murder and so much more. And the toddler stages have their own challenges!!

    I miss the ‘baby’ stage but I am so glad it’s done. Looking back it was a very hard and trying time in our marriage and I didn’t think at the time we would make it. But after 11 years of marriage I’ve learned that there are a lot of trying times in a marriage, not just having babies and as long as we keep going back to the core of why we are together (we fell in love at one point) then we can get through anything. (I hope!)

    Sorry for the long comment.

    Thanks for sharing your story. Even 7 years later, it’s nice to hear that what I experienced, and how I felt, was very normal, natural and common!

  6. Sarah {Soxys Diamond} says:

    Thanks so much for sharing your story. While I don’t have a baby of my own, I’ve battled depression and hormonal issues and know what a toll they can take on you. Add in lack of sleep and a brand new baby, I can’t even imagine how you do it! It’s comforting to know women are more willing to talk about their struggles now. I believe a lot of stress comes from people who believe everyone else’s life (new baby, etc) is perfect and they are the only ones having a hard time. You all sharing this information is helping new moms everywhere!

  7. Megan says:

    Thanks for writing this Sarah! I just share it on the Baby Makes Four facebook page. People love to paint motherhood as this idyllic thing, and it’s not! It’s hard, it’s gross, and nobody ever enjoys every second.

  8. Laura says:

    Thank you for sharing this. I work in a social work setting with young children and often new mom’s and I wish PPD was focused on more so that there was more awareness. Keep sharing your story…I’m sure you’re helping more people than you realize.

  9. Sarah says:

    Thank you everyone!! That you all for sharing YOUR stories! I think it’s so important that we let other moms with PPD and women with depression, in general, know that they are not alone!!

  10. Jules says:

    Thanks for writing this! As someone who is planning kids it is good to have information like this. I really don’t trust people who say it is kittens and rainbows every moment. I see you are going to Blogher! Me too! I am really looking forward to it.

    • Sarah says:

      Don’t trust those people! LOL Truly, the good outweighs the bad, and when I look at Avery and she laughs and smiles it makes me forget that I’m covered in pee and spit up 😉

      I’m looking forward to BlogHer too! Hope to meet you!

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