parenting

My Postpartum Journey

This is a hard post to write. My youngest is just over a year old, and I’m feeling some sense of normality in my life. I’m actually feeling some of the enthusiasm that I forgot I had for life. In fact, in the thick of it, I didn’t know anything was wrong or off, but now looking back over the last year, I lost it to the void that was our postpartum period.

All I knew was exhaustion. Deep exhaustion that I couldn’t shake. No energy supplement, dose of vitamins, herbs, or oils truly touched the exhaustion. It was always there. Some day, I couldn’t drag myself out of bed. I just laid with my nursing baby and it is kind of a blur to think back on.

I was struggling in a way I didn’t have words for, couldn’t ask for help with, and I couldn’t answer anyone very honestly when they asked how things were. The closest I came to an honest answer was, “I’m tired.”

Pa W and I were on the rocks, so I didn’t know how to tell him that things felt so dreary. On top of the exhaustion, I felt like I was failing at everything – parenting, homeschooling, work/business ownership, marriage.

I chalked it up to being worn out from 3 back to back pregnancies/nursing periods, 7 kids, a business, and a busy life. It’s hard to ask for help if you can’t even identify that something is actually wrong. I regret not recognizing that it was more than normal exhaustion.

It’s weird on this side of it – realizing that more days than not, I’m ready to get out of bed. I’m excited to see the boys off to school, to feed the goats, to play with my three busy toddlers, do my work, clean my house. I have energy and enthusiasm more than not. And on the days that I’m drained, it’s different. It’s less drained, it’s more identifiable (I stayed up until 2 am working and got back up at 6 am, of course I’m dragging). But it’s not every waking moment of the day.

It’s not smiling and saying we’re doing alright, a little tired though. It’s not turning the ringer off on my phone and closing the blinds and my bedroom door – letting the big kids care for the little kids because I’m just too tired. I’m not avoiding the grocery store at all costs anymore.

It’s weird that it is clearer looking back that something wasn’t right than it was in the middle of it. I first noticed things improving after returning from our first trip away from the kids since the baby was born. Pa W and I got a few days to ourselves, and I really enjoyed myself. Upon returning, Baby W let me know she would not continue nursing at all, whatsoever. I was devastated for the first couple of weeks, but then I realized I was getting more sleep and generally starting to feel better – physically and emotionally.

Feeling better brought some mom guilt – how can I feel better with her not nursing? I wasn’t ready for her to wean. But all nursing journeys come to an end, and ours was a good nursing journey. I’m thankful for the time I got to spend nursing her.

Can I just take a moment and say that if you’ve had a baby sometime in the last year, and you are extremely exhausted, talk to your midwife, doctor, a friend. Tell someone that it’s the kind of exhaustion that inhibits your ability to live.

Did you struggle after having your baby? Did you recognize it while it was happening, or when looking back?

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