Fourteens months with baby always looks the same for me. My babies begin to walk, my period returns and I just feel different and by different, I mean less like I just had a baby. Those good ole teenage, unpredictable emotions return. I find myself frantically searching the cabinets for even the smallest taste of chocolate and insanely angry out of nowhere and for no apparent reason.
It’s so difficult to explain what it feels like to be postpartum, especially when you are no longer in it. That feeling does return from time to time when you read about it or when you hold a brand new baby and look into their mother’s eyes, but really when it’s gone, it’s just gone. Nighttime isn’t as scary as it was those very early days after delivery and a curtain is lifted that allows you to see your life for exactly what it is. I do not wish to explain those postpartum feelings like they are all bad because I don’t believe that and they are feelings that do not always look the same. I guess if I had to put it into words now, I’d say I remember feeling stunned that this beautiful baby started from nothing inside of me and grew into this perfect little human. Just so stunned. I remember weeping with my entire body and soul and for so long. Like it was my body and mind’s way of officially birthing the baby I kept safe and sheltered for nine months. I remember feeling so afraid like I couldn’t do it or least wasn’t good enough to do it. I remember not ever wanting to be alone. Being alone in my house with the baby was the equivalent to floating in the middle of the ocean holding onto my baby for dear life. I remember missing my other kids so much and even if they were right next to me, I longed for them. The day we came home from the hospital I paced the floors waiting for my sister in law to bring my other three home. I kept looking out the window, waiting and waiting to hug them. Breathing felt so difficult and the tears just wouldn’t stop. I remember one specific night that first week with Agnes when desperation took over and I told my husband that she felt like a stranger to me. I didn’t want her to ever go away, but at the same I was afraid to hold her. I remember feeling so hungry. Starving all the time. And thirsty. So thirsty. I remember sweating a lot. Of course most of these feelings I described are more common the first few months after baby, but some tend to linger longer than others. For instance, I am no longer afraid to be alone, but I still don’t like to be alone for long, especially at home. Sometimes I feel more safe standing amongst strangers at target than I do being on my sofa at home when my kids aren’t there. Maybe this isn’t a common feeling, or maybe it is. I’m still stunned that I grew these beautiful babies from nothing and I know that’s a common, forever feeling. It’s such a miraculous thing. I guess the biggest emotional shift for me at fourteen months is that I no longer question if I can do it or if I’m good enough to do it. I know that I can and that I am. I love them with all of me and I know that’s all I need. I know that’s all they need.
After the boys I had one period and then on my next cycle I got pregnant again. It’s a strange thing knowing that won’t happen this time. That I’m back to a monthly cycle, back to those nagging cramps and stuffing tampax in the back pocket of my purse. I won’t lie and say I haven’t been mourning this change because I have, but I’m also okay. We are all finally here and ready to create a beautiful life together. I have found so much peace and contentment in knowing that.
The first photo was taken at four months. The second at fourteen. I see a beautiful, thriving baby and a Mom who looks a little less vulnerable and a little more sure that she’s gonna be okay.
If you are currently in the midst of postpartum feelings and are feeling too scared or too alone, please ask someone for help. If you ask and they do not hear you, ask again and again until they do. You do not have to be alone. You are worth a whole lot more than that. ❤️