When You Feel Your Lowest as a New Mom: Field Notes from the Battlefield of Motherhood

Let’s be honest for just a minute.

My hair is falling out.

Not just a little bit, but by the handfuls. If that wasn’t enough, after a bout of February-itis, I decided to cut my own bangs. Brilliant! I now have an inch between my eyebrows and my hairline.

My stomach is not good.

I’m not really talking about digestive issues. But, when I look at it, here’s the thing. In texture and appearance it is very much like a leftover chicken nugget.

And then there are my breasts.

Well, let’s not even go there, but they’re something along the lines of the vegetables you find in the bottom of the crisper: over the hill and a little oozy.

Yes, my friends…these are the days of post-partum.

I would dress myself up if anything fit or dab on some make-up if I thought it would cover up the black moons under my eyes, but there is no sense hiding the fact that life after birth is, well, frumpy.

I haven’t left the house in weeks. Heck! I haven’t even left the recliner in weeks! My life is a repetitive cycle of feeding and weeping – with occasional mad dashes to the kitchen or bathroom. I’m so tired that yesterday seems like it was weeks ago. Every day is a long week!

I vaguely remember my husband.

I passed my husband on one of those mad dashes to the kitchen. He pulled me in for a kiss. He pulled me in for a kiss even though I smelled like rotten milk and was wearing his jeans because none of mine fit and in general felt about as attractive as an overly ripe eggplant.

I dodged the kiss and laid my head on his chest. I heaved a big, frumpy sigh. “I’m sorry, honey. I just don’t feel very sexy.” My sweet husband took my face in his hands, looked down at me with his big blue eyes and said, “Honey, it doesn’t matter whether you feel sexy. I know you are sexy.” He then pecked me on the forehead and let me go.

People, I’m not sure what you need to hear at any given moment of your life, but in that moment, in that tired, frumpy, post-partum moment, my husband said exactly what I needed to hear. There is a division between feeling and knowing, and it is good to be reminded of the difference. I am loved and I am known even when I feel unlovable and lost.

The sweetest reminder.

I went back to the recliner in my dad-jeans, picked up my sweet baby and snuggled her a little closer. These moments are precious, and achingly short. I know that I’ll wake up tomorrow and she’ll be toddling away from me. Someday soon, she will be too busy for these whisper soft kisses and milky sighs that are part of the newborn life. It’s okay to feel frumpy for a minute.

There will be moments in your life that are long, so long that you think they will never end and you will feel lost in them, but the truth is, they are just moments, frumpy though they may be! In those moments, I hope someone pulls you in close and reminds you that how you feel doesn’t dictate who you are. In fact, feelings will come and go, so will the self-doubt and the exhaustion and all the confusing moments that come with this human life, but the part of you that is truth: the sexy, smart, generous, loving you, your feelings cannot change those things.

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One Response to When You Feel Your Lowest as a New Mom: Field Notes from the Battlefield of Motherhood

  1. Sarah Mae Carpenter
    Sarah Mae Carpenter April 19, 2018 at 2:14 pm #

    My favorite quote for these early months of motherhood is “The days are long, but the years are short.” 💛

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