Updated: Apr 11
Oh the Joys of motherhood... I don't think women are open enough about the pain and suffering they go through during pregnancy, and the first year of motherhood. Emotionally, physically and hormonally.
A Pictorial of my daughter's first year... well MY first year as a mom just trying to survive and figure it all out. Becoming a mom is exciting, overwhelming, frustrating, emotional, exhausting, and soooo soooo much more! Check out the ugly side of my first year as a mom.
It all became real when I heard Peyton's heartbeat for the first time. I didn't feel close or attached to her until I heard her heartbeat. And even then, I wasn't one of those pregnant ladies that was super attached or fell in love the instant I found out I was pregnant. So here comes the beginning of the guilt, HA!
Those last few months of pregnancy suck! I could feel my hips spreading and the pain was awful. You feel like a whale, everyone stares at you, oh and add extreme hormones into the mix. At this stage your prepping your house like a mad woman, Ordering all the things you think you need. Organizing gifts from baby showers, cleaning everything and making sure you have everything you need for the hospital... All while wadling around like a fat old lady.
When it comes to the actual delivery you have to choose whether to trust the nurses and do what they suggest, or make your own birth plan. Do you use drugs and pain meds? Do you go all natural and be the "tough woman" other women boast about. I didn't read any birth books or take any birthing classes. It overwhelmed me, so I just trusted that the doctors and nurses knew what they were doing and went with the flow. If you want to learn all about my labor & Delivery. Check it out here! In short, I did in fact get an epidural, pain meds and had a fairly easy delivery. But the first week as a mom was overwhelming as hell.
Peyton swallowed amniotic fluid during delivery and started chocking and vomiting trying to get it up. I was so out of it from sleep deprivation and pain meds I didn't react fast so she turned a little purple. The nurses took her to the NICU and pumped her stomach. That's when I started spacing out my pain meds and taking less. In return, that made me sleep worse so I was dealing with more sleep deprivation.
Since we're on the topic of pain, NOBODY and I mean NOBODY talks about the aftermath of having a vaginal birth. You basically push a bowling ball out of your body and hope for the best... Your body will heal extremely quickly, at least mine did, and after a few months you forget all about what happened and within a month everything should be back to normal. Still doesn't change the fact everything looks and feels disgusting for weeks after birth.
To add to the exhaustion and guilt, you have to try and master breastfeeding in a few short days. The nurses want you to track every feeding and bowel movement to make sure your baby is getting enough food. My milk didn't come in fast enough and breastfeeding was extremely painful for me. We kept trying because I was determined to breastfeed. Notice her chapped chin and lip. You can read all about my breastfeeding journey here.
I had no idea you couldn't give your baby a bath until their umbilical cord fell off.... EWW! So sponge baths it was for about a week. You also have to try and keep it as clean as possible so it can heal.
Nobody talks about how terrifying it is to give a newborn a bath. The nurses make it look sooo easy! I had to call my Aunt over to help me because I was afraid I was going to hurt Peyton. She was so tiny and fragile, not to mention slippery because of the water and baby wash. You can just see the look in her eye, poor baby looks so confused. I hope i'm not the only woman who felt like this!
I call this one the living Mombie (zombie mom). One night I was soo exhausted I put noise canceling headphones on and tried to sleep while Steven (my husband) took care of Peyton. Every night I would nurse for an hour or more just to wake up 2-3 hours later and do it all over again. It took me a while to fall back asleep after nursing because my nipples were cracked and bleeding. We found out after two nights of non stop screaming that I was starving Peyton. Her latch plus my milk supply just wasn't enough so I strictly pumped/bottle fed so I could track how much she was easting. Luckily the nurse forced me to take some formula samples home and Peyton sucked down 3 bottles and had her first full night of sleep. You can read about my whole breastfeeding journey here. That was a complete nightmare from day 1!
After endlessly researching how to up my milk supply (as naturally as possible) I finally found something that started working (Mother's milk tea). Pumping was NOT fun, you're basically a cow. literally hooked up to a machine that pulls on your nipples and milk squirts out... When I got too tired of....
1) washing, and sanitizing pump supplies
2) waking up in the middle of the night to thaw out frozen breast milk
3) pumping every few hours at night to make sure my boobs didn't become engorged and I didn't wake up to a pile of sticky milk in my bed.
4) pumping through cracked and bleeding nipples
5) and last but not least Trying to keep up with her appetite. That was the hardest
...I gave up and started introducing Formula
It was the week Hurricane Harvey hit Houston so I went to the store and grabbed formula just in case the power went out and I couldn't pump. I didn't want to be left with a starving baby and no way to feed her. This is when we found out about Milk protein allergies. This picture is her sucking down a bottle because she was so hungry and us washing her butt off because of her extreme diaper rash caused from the diarrhea from the formula. I couldn't use wipes anymore because she was so raw.
Baby acne may be a common thing, but I believe it is far from normal. Traditional Chinese medicine talks about how, the face is the map which decodes the mind, body, and soul's silent language. I whole heartedly believe this to be true, from personal experience, in my own acne Journey. Normally whatever is going on with your organs and intestines, will show on your face. Peyton's acne started shortly after I introduced new foods/dairy into my diet while breastfeeding and supplementing with formula.
As if acne wasn't bad enough, we had to throw in explosive diarrhea At least 3 times a week until we found the right foods and formula combination.
Then you have to do all this research or spend a bunch of money trying differnet diapers, to figure out which ones are best for you. OH! and bring on the mom shaming for choosing the "wrong diaper" for the environment. The big debate of Cloth VS disposable.
This one was, and still is hard for me. Getting the attention you want/need. Let me preface by saying im by no means a needy person. But after you spent 9+ months making a baby and getting all the attention, it shifts to the baby. It dosn't feel good, and your semi crazy because your hormones are all out of whack. So your EXTRA sensitive. Steven was good about making time for me and making me feel special during the first few months but it still didn't feel like enough. You progesterone hormone tanks while your estrogen levels remain high. Here is a great article about hormones after birth.
Then comes the pressure of "keeping up with the jones" You feel the need to pay for expensive photos of your baby because that's what everyone else does. But she is completely adorable and I'm glad I did it! Being a makeup artist I was able to trade a makeup lesson with a photographer friend of mine in return of adorable photos.
Then back to reality, you don't have time to pamper yourself or even take much care of yourself because you are too busy making sure your little one is taken care of.
Although this is an adorable photo, Peyton was still having major diarrhea issues and extreme diaper rash problems so we spent a lot of time outside naked after a fresh bath to let her heal.
Trying to find the right balance of when and how to feed was tough! I tried a bajillion different combination of bottles, ounces of formula and times of day to find what worked. My house and everything in it, including me, smelled like sour formula for months due to her projectile vomiting and spitting up everywhere.
Dr Browns was hands down the best bottle for her and they worked great, she only somewhat spit up with these but they were a huge pain in the ass the clean. Just look at all those parts.
Because of her constant spitting up/vomiting everywhere we had to leave her laying down of flat for 30 minutes after eating or she would spit everything up. this caused her to have a really flat head. We had to spend a couple thousand on a "Doc Band"to help round out her head. Here is all about her band and how it worked. It was worth every penny!
The first wasn't enough so we have do do it again. Doc band round 2!
Oh the controversial topics of what, when and how to start “real” food. I believe in using as natural as possible products and food in my home so I made Peytons food (most of the time) from scratch. It saved us tons of money and I knew what she was consuming. I didn’t have to worry about what chemicals or crazy amounts of sugar she was learning to become addicted to. If your a wanna be crunchy mom and make your babies food here's how I did it.
And Last but not least… how to take care of your child while they are sick!!! Do you go the natural route and use potatoes to pull out viruses, do you take them to the doctor to confirm every sickness and give them tons of medicine? Do you live in a realistic world where you do as much as naturally possible from home and take advantage of modern medicine when it’s necessary. I do both and understand modern medicine is there to help (when necessary)
This picture is from when Peyton got a stomach bug (I think, I’ve slept since them) and I read somewhere that putting potatoes in her socks overnight will pull the virus out of the body and help them heal fast. IT WORKED! She woke up fever free the next morning, back to herself.
If you can relate to anything in the post please share so other women can know they are not alone. Too many women are out there suffering in silence and thinking that their world is crashing down while everyone else has it all put together. Take a moment and share!
- Kaitee Villarreal -