Feeling Supported and Un-supported
This week on Sh** Noone Tells You About Motherhood, is the topic of Support!
*dying at the frame this video decided to start with!!
We could go on and on about this topic, and honestly, we just might. Support could be a three-week series featuring guest mom-bloggers from around the world. We have all had moments of feeling so desperately alone and unsupported on this journey.
For now, though, we will zoom in on support immediately following Baby's birth.
If you are reading this while you are still pregnant, great! That is the best time to start thinking about how you want to be supported post-birth. Once Baby is here, you will have SO many emotions, so little sleep, and so many people reaching out to ask you how you are, how Baby is, and how they can help. The best possible time to organize is right now!
If Baby is already here, mama, don't sweat! Organizing support can still be done. It is just going to take a little bit more planning and someone to take Baby off of your hands for twenty minutes. Ten minutes to close your eyes and ten to do a little planning.
The steps that I will offer come with a disclaimer, and that is, there really is no way to know how you will feel or what support will look like until you are in it. You may come up with the most fantastical plan where you are able to get massages once a week and yoga classes every day and that still may not work for you! That is very likely to happen
4 Steps for Support
1. Communicate with your partner
Yes, you are in this together and yes, your partner is the best mom or dad in the whole wide world, but the fact is, they are not you and they have not just birthed. The only person that can possibly know how you are feeling and what you need is you! Start the communication now. Don't be a martyr. Don't take one for a team. Who gives a shit if he tells his mother you have it all together or you are really struggling. Be open. Be honest and be specific. When he asks how you are doing, tell him! My vagina hurts. My eyes are so tired they feel like they are bleeding. I cried six and a half times today. I don't want to stay at home. I don't want to go back to work. Your partner will either 1. Be so overwhelmed, they raise the limit on the credit card and send you on a weekend-long spa retreat or 2. Will be surprised by how much is going on for you and grateful that you shared it with them. They want to help. They just don't know how if they don't know how you are feeling, and if you find that your partner is unsupportive, look into a counselor or someone who is open to listening without an inkling of judgment!
2. Set up a Meal Train
Do this before Baby is born if possible. If not, ask your BFF or mother or even a coworker. Once Baby arrives, your job is to take care of them and yourself and, alas, you must eat. But who will cook? Bless your partner's soul if they love to cook. Bless them and praise them and put them to work.
For the rest of us, leaning on our community is the best we can do. Have people committed and sign up before baby so you don't even have to think about warm, nourishing, healthy and dense foods. Don't even think about reaching for that bag of chips or raw carrots. Mama, you need full meals to nourish your body and keep your milk supply up!
3. Get Off of Social Media
Yes, you! Reading a blog is fine, I guess. Put down your phone, cancel your Instagram account... or at least put it on pause. Social media does very little to nourish you and make you feel supported during the post-partum time. You see those beautiful mamas who are wearing real clothes again and throwing their three children in the air, all smiling, at the same time, while the stove bubbles behind them with a homecooked meal on it. They are wonderful and amazing and have their own shit to deal with that they're not picturing. If they share their shit with you, good on them for being real. If they don't, that's their choice, but know that just because you are wearing the same underwear for the second day in a row and that spot in the sink may or may not be mold, that's okay. You're not a bad mom. Let me repeat. YOU'RE. NOT. A. BAD. MOM!
You're a great mom. The best mom in the whole entire world!
Rather, send a text to a couple friends. Join a mom's group. Go to the library. Call your grandma. Pick up a book. On the toilet? Place a different book in each bathroom. Do something that actually makes you feel connected. Hear someone's voice, someone that will let you speak. When your partner gets home from work, do not turn on the television then zone out on your phones. Sit in front of each other and talk about your day.
4. Join a Mom's Group
This will always be my #1. Look up local New Moms groups, ECFE, Community Ed sites, etc. Even your dear mother with the best intentions and biggest heart in the world, cannot truly relate to where you are right now. Even if she does remember the grueling nights and the heartwrenching days, she is not in it. Her eyes are not glazed over. She does not alternate between crying because she is so in love and so at a loss for herself.
You know who does understand that right now? Other new moms.
There is nothing better in the world than sitting in a new room with other brand new mamas, your boobs out, your babies crying, and you laughing and crying and chatting together about all of the highs and lows. It is very simply the best. You must do it! Sign up now while you are still in a clear-ish frame of mind.
As I wrote above, we will expand on this topic because there is SO much when it comes to the realm of support. Support mentally, physically, emotionally. For baby, for your relationship, for your lady parts that have just been rocked! This is a great place to start, Mama.
-Brookelynn and the Booboos Team