There have always been ups and downs in life - but never have they felt so acute for me as immediately postpartum with both of my children and continuing into parenthood.
In the span of 30 seconds I can be grateful for our health, completely overwhelmed by the state of the world (and the state of my house), in love with my kids' yogurt-covered faces, and desperate for a minute to myself. My feelings are amplified and contradictory.
I want to share a combined lesson I learned at a young age: everyone's struggle is real and there is enough empathy in the world to go around.
Those of you who have had children know that so much of the transformation to motherhood happens behind closed doors. It is largely invisible to the world. It is also a monumental shift. It’s real work.
In a newborn group this week, several new moms spoke about how guilty they’ve felt that they are sitting around feeding babies while partners do everything (or don’t do everything and there’s conflict!).
Some women really enjoy pregnancy. I didn’t. In fact, I hated every moment of those 27-months. I can’t believe I did it, on purpose, three times. For me and others, the debilitating nausea, exhaustion and physical pain leaves us feeling out of control of our bodies and our lives. Even if we’re well through pregnancy, there still comes a time when we have lost the ability to do something we have taken for granted - like tying our shoes, going for a run, or just getting up off the floor unassisted. As the baby bump gets bigger, we can’t control the unwelcome comments everyone, even strangers, feel entitled to direct at us. We lose even more control during labor. Contractions begin, become more intense, and then with a final push, a new life comes into being. And our lives are irrevocably changed.
Art and words by Morgan Harper Nichols.
Thoughts on pregnancy, birth and motherhood.