The first 100 days... the fourth trimester... the early days of postpartum. All of these refer to the first three months of life with a newborn who is adjusting to the world outside of the womb. (And a mama whose body is trying to find balance between pregnancy and normalcy.) This is a trying time... a bittersweet season of minimal sleep and a lot of questions. Yes, there are hours of gazing in admiration of your sweet babe and sharing this love with your family and friends. But, sometimes these three months are harder than you expect.
Having just walked through this season, my heart is especially sensitive to my friends and clients who are in the midst of the first 100 days post-birth. Because of this, I am starting a blog series focused on this time period and how to not only survive, but thrive!
I know we all have our own journeys through postpartum and they look different for each mama and each pregnancy. You may be mourning the loss of your pre-pregnancy body or missing some quality girl talk. Whatever it is, the fact that this season happens is what is leading me to start this series. I want to help encourage mamas to take care of themselves. I want to illustrate what that can look like for you. I have a lot of ideas of activities for new mamas, budget friendly relief, and simple practices that can help during this season. I can't wait to share them all with you!
But first I need to be honest with you. I feel led to share my personal journey and let me warn you, it's not pretty.
I have walked through this season twice now and, in retrospect, I hold pretty foggy memories of those months. Nights of holding a crying baby for 3+ hours, friends who wanted to "give space" to my extroverted self (out of the kindness of their hearts, truly), a husband who had to travel for work, and then myself fighting to surrender my hours and days to the needs of a teensy baby... these were not easy days for me. And I had friends whose infants were sick... acid reflux, allergies, colic, NICU stays. So I told myself that things could always be worse. But you know what, friends? Knowing things could be worse didn't make them any better. Perspective was not to be found in this season... not for me, anyway. I was still tired. I was still confused. My hormones were all over the place. I felt a little like I was swimming in the deep end of a pool... I knew how to stroke and keep my head above water... but I was so tired and I wasn't having fun at all. I cried a lot. But more than tears... I carried anger and frustration towards everyone around me. I mean... cursing like a sailor, mad. And I rarely curse.
During my postpartum season with Izzie, I had two big wake-up calls.
One morning I was sitting at the dining room table with Sunday. We were playing with her watercolor paints while Izzie napped. Sunday chimed up and said enthusiastically, "You're being so nice to me, mama! I like it!"
Ouch. Ouch ouch ouch.
As if that wasn't enough... less than a week later I was in a horrible mood and Tommy stopped what he was doing and looked at me and asked "Liz, why are you mad?"
I responded, "I have no idea. I don't know. I have no reason to be mad but I'm really, really pissed off. I'm kind of tired of feeling like this."
He agreed that he was tired of it, too.
Friends... this is hard to share. But I've had enough of people saying "it's hard" without explaining WHAT is hard. And WHY it is hard. It's hard because you may be mad all the time... or sad all the time... or mean to the people you love. You may feel like you can't control yourself or your emotions at all. And it seems crazy! Everyone talks about how this season is beautiful and how amazing it must be to enjoy a sweet new baby. That's the crazy part of it... there are high highs and low lows... good days and bad, bad days.
I know this is pretty bold and I am not assuming EVERYONE walks through this or feels this way. But it is more common than we think and I think at least one person reading this understands what I am saying. I'm sharing my truths because I want you to know that I also have had bad, bad days. And this is exactly what they have looked like. But you know what? I'm not a bad mom. Or a bad wife. And neither are you.
So that's my heart.
I wanted to introduce this series to you by sharing my story first. I promise there's a happy ending to it and I'll share that next time along with some tips for finding your own happy ending. However, I really want to end this post on a positive note... so...! I have one more thing to share!
An idea came to me the other day in the shower (#showerthoughts)... and for good reason. :) I recently worked with my friend Carrie on a photo shoot for the She For She Campaign. At the end of the shoot, she offered me one of the products we photographed as a small thank you gift. I gladly accepted the Juara Skin Care Invigorating Coffee Scrub and oh-em-gee... LADIES. I literally applied the scrub and immediately thought "this is so AMAZING! I am going to BLOG about it!" Yes, I seriously have ideas for blog posts pop into my head at all times of the day!
So something so simple has started adding so MUCH to my stay-at-home-mama days! I LOVE to use it during nap time showers. (If you're sensitive to caffeine definitely don't use it during a before-bed shower.) It gives me an invigorating jolt of energy and I feel happy, happy when I step out of the shower! My skin is extra smooth and my entire bathroom smells like freshly brewed coffee. Noms!!! It tricks my mind into believing I just experienced teeny little getaway for a few minutes. :)
Lucky for you all, Carrie is having a GIVEAWAY today for this product along with a few other Juara Skin Care products. So hop over to her blog and enter yourself into the giveaway! You won't be disappointed.
And mama... take the time to take care of you. More on HOW to do that next time. :)