6 months as a mom.
Lately my mantra for motherhood has been don’t push away the responsibility of motherhood, which I heard Sally Clarkson say on a podcast. The first 4 1/2 months (before we sleep trained) were just insane and so much of that time felt like a struggle. Now I’m finally getting to this place where I want to find a way to share the struggles that are part of motherhood, but be sure I’m being grateful and joyful for this gift of a daughter I’ve been given. I found this podcast/IG account called Moms Struggling Well that I’ve really been enjoying following.
So here’s a 6 months as a mom update!
Weight loss from breastfeeding
After talking with some of my mom friends about body changes in postpartum a few of them mentioned that they didn’t feel like their body changed until after they stopped breastfeeding. I’m not trying to be all weight focused, but I chose to bring this up because we hear EVERYWHERE how breastfeeding helps you “lose the baby weight,” including (for me) at 2am when Joanna was less than 48 hours old and a lactation consultant came in to our hospital room and started telling me how breastfeeding is gonna help me lose the weight so fast. I remember wanting to yell how dare you! How dare you come into this room and tell me my body that just grew and pushed out a baby isn’t okay just as it is. But I was all sunshine and roses because Jo was finally in the world and no one could’ve brought me down.
I’ve seen it said that breastfeeding is nature’s way of helping new moms lose weight. And I just have to laugh at that because it’s such a fatphobic statement! Why would nature care about making women as thin as possible? Moms being told they need to lose weight is a product of our broken, image-obsessed world. I just don’t see from a biological standpoint why the female body would want you to lose fat if you are a food supply for another human. Wouldn’t your body want to hold on to fat so it could be sure it would have stores to pull from when creating milk?
Just like my body knew what size it needed to be all throughout pregnancy without me controlling it, my body knows what size it needs to be now as I’m breastfeeding. And, my body will find what size it’s supposed to be when I stop breastfeeding, if that’s different from the size it is now. My postpartum body is different than it was before and may take some getting used to in some moments, but (something I heard Lindsay Stenovec say that stuck with me is that) different isn’t bad. It’s still a body worthy of love and care, as all bodies are.
And one more thing related to boobs. One of my past clients told me that post baby your boobs end up looking like 2 tube socks and I now realize a truer statement has never been uttered lol (if this was you who told me this I hope you’re reading this right now haha).
Joanna rolled off the couch
Around 5 1/2 months Jojo was on the couch and she ended up rolling off. Our Pediatrician had told me the day before to be careful of Jo rolling off things as she starts to roll more on her own and sure enough…
When it happened I didn’t cry, but then 6 hours later I cried about not crying (probably one of the biggest motherhood meltdowns) with the whole internal dialogue of what kind of mother doesn’t cry when her baby falls off something and hits her head?!! Joanna was/is fine. It was just the first time she had bumped herself and cried in response. She calmed down quickly once I scooped her up. Andrew, the forever optimist, pointed out we made it nearly 6 months without her hitting her head on anything and that is an accomplishment! And I know that the head is made with a skull to protect to brain during instances like this. But still it all just sucked.
I ended up reaching out to 3 of my mom friends for support. One’s husband is an ER doctor who told me they don’t even keep babies who fall the distance from the couch to the floor for imaging/observation. Another friend told me all the things her baby had rolled off of/accidentally got injured on. The third friend said (in response to how I was feeling guilty because I didn’t cry when Jo fell) that sometimes in motherhood you just get so overwhelmed and exhausted that you just don’t have anything left to give…like there is no energy to cry. At a little over 6 months we are settling into a much more manageable routine and a lot of that is due to all of us getting more sleep, but there are still those intensely overwhelming moments when I honestly almost feel numb due to exhaustion. You single moms (or dads) out there, I don’t know how you do it. You have a level of strength I can not imagine.
Eliminating food groups while breastfeeding
This is something I’ve wanted to address on the blog for awhile now because it’s something that really took a toll on me. Joanna was a super fussy baby. I kept being told by well-meaning onlookers (family, friends, internet people) that I should eliminate dairy from my diet to see if that would help with Joanna’s fussiness. That recommendation to oh just start eliminating foods to see which one is harming your baby is so pervasive and toxic for someone who has had an eating disorder or history with disordered eating. Any mom’s group on facebook will be filled with (well-meaning) moms with recommendations to just eliminate dairy, gluten, cruciferous vegetables, etc., etc., etc. from your diet.
If you have had an eating disorder, the early days of motherhood are not the time to eliminate a food from your diet. I highly recommend you be open with your pediatrician about how eliminating a food group could potentially affect you before you eliminate any food. Moms deserve to be okay to. The “oh just eliminate dairy and your baby will suddenly sleep though the night and never be fussy” recommendation is dangerous for those with ED histories. I think a lot of reasons people follow this recommendation is because they think, “oh well at least I’m doing something” and it gives them a sense of control over the chaos of those early motherhood days. And I get wanting that sense of control when everything is nuts early on and you are so desperate for sleep, but that is not a reason for you to go back into your eating disorder behaviors even if your intentions are good. The research I found does not support eliminating foods when you are breastfeeding and if you need support, discuss this with your Pediatrician to determine what is best for your kiddo, but be sure to tell them why eliminating foods could be a slippery slope for you and dangerous for your family. Having a baby is a huge transition and ED relapses tend to happen around transitions. Be aware that eliminating any foods may not be an option for you. I think it can be dangerous because some moms talk about going on an elimination diets to fix colic/gassiness like it’s no big deal, when they are incredibly restrictive eating patterns that could do harm to mom’s mental and physical health.
Joanna sleeps now and isn’t as fussy and I think that is all due to sleep training, bc I’m still eating dairy and all foods and feeding her from my boobs. I believe for the first 4 months of her life we got to this place where she was chronically overtired and we couldn’t get out of it and we just had to power thru until it was time to sleep train so she could finally start getting enough sleep.
The LetDown on Netflix
Have you watched any of it? If you haven’t, I don’t recommend it. It’s just too real and I didn’t find it entertaining because I’m so in that life right now. But there was this one part where the mom on the show is crying about something and then she looks down at her baby and smiles but is still crying and I was just like yes. That is motherhood. Overwhelm and crying and non-stop, heart-exploding love. It is so much work that you don’t receive a lot of positive validation for. I told Andrew I need more praise that I’m doing something right because I don’t feel good at motherhood some days. Words of affirmation are a big love language for me and are helpful self-esteem boosters that I so need as I’m figuring out motherhood so Andrew has been upping his affirmation game for me through texts and in-person encouragement, which is helpful.
Mole on Joanna’s back
I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned this, but Jojo and Andrew have a mole in the same place on their back. When Jojo came out we were like oh my gosh DNA was just like put dot here haha. The below photo was after a poo-nami that required an outfit change while we were visiting my grandma.
Favorite part of the day
Jojo gets up at 6am-ish most mornings, so Andrew goes and scoops her up and brings her to me in bed and I feed her in the side lying nursing position and it’s just so sweet. So sweet. I know I’m going to miss this. I catch myself saying I’m going to miss this more and more lately, while from months 1 to months 4 1/2 I didn’t say that once lol. IT WAS SO HARD! We want more kids and I’m excited to do labor and birth again, but those first couple of months were rough.
So that’s the update! See you guys back here again later this week with a recipe (if it turns out haha)!