At first I felt like an utter failure and disappointment from A's birth. I was also incredibly happy he was here safe and sound. He was/is so wonderful and beautiful. On the drive home from the hospital I was in so much pain. I broke down sobbing. I don't know what I would have done without the amazing support system that I had. So many wonderful people came to my rescue.
Gretchen | Phoenix, AZ | Mama to one
PP was so hard for me too. Not having the delivery I wanted, especially not getting to see him be born. I was afraid milk wasn't going to come in, my nipples hurt so bad. I didn't know how to ask for help. Luckily my sister made me some meals, which lasted a week. Things started to become easier, but I really didn't feel like myself until after he was one.
Tiffany Shillingburg | Goodyear, AZ | Mama to one son
PP has been a growing journey for me bc it was so very different for all 4 of my babies. Surprisingly, I've had less and less PP support with each baby. No less magical in terms of how in love and in awe I've been with my baby but really so exhausting physically and emotionally with such little support.
Sarah Currier | Capistrano Beach, CA | Mama to 4, all born at home
I just brought Levi home after 5 days in the NICU. I was going through a divorce, living alone for the first time. I had no job. Levi didn't want anything to do with nursing so I pumped. I didn't have a support system of women to help me. I had my Mom who helped me through a deep depression but was basically alone to figure this all out. I felt like a failure even though I was doing what was the absolute best and safest thing to do for my baby. The thought of eating was repulsive. That lasted a month which caused my milk to dry up. Not knowing one thing about welfare I got a job when he was a month old. That guilt still haunts me 16 years later.
My postpartum was difficult at first. I felt like I had failed since my birth was nothing as planned. I felt like everyone came to see my baby one time and then... I was completely alone. I knew I should've reached out to other women, but I didn't really have anyone I felt close enough to, to ask. Next time I will definitely keep more women around me and I never pass up the opportunity to help a mother during postpartum because I hated the isolating feeling during postpartum although I loved every minute with my baby.
Monica Kurtz | Peoria, AZ | Mama to Addison, 7 and Elise, 1
I remember about 3 days pp when my milk came in fully and suddenly in the middle of the night. I took Xander out of bed and with me to the living room couch to nurse him with out waking my ex. I was spaying so much he couldn't latch and was choking on the milk. My whole robe was soaked and dripping on the floor and I was so emotional and over whelmed I sobbed. I sat there with Xander laying beside me and tried to express the excess enough for him to be able to latch. It was such a mess! Milk, tears and blood and pain from delivery still abound. I looked down, dried myself as best I could with the last dry bits of my robe, the flow slowed to a steady drip from an out of control spray and he was able to latch. I laid on the carpet in a wet robe in the wee hours before dawn nursing Xander till we both fell asleep with tear and milk stained faces. I'll never forget it.
Renee Powers | Cottonwood, AZ | Mama to Jack & Alexander
Each of my 3 different children have had very different births, and also I've had very different PP times. With my oldest as you can imagine it was awash in grief. I actually remember crying hysterically when I stopped bleeding, because somehow it felt like the last vestiges of my baby were gone from me. I dont think I will ever really recover from missing him, and so PP was much harder because of that. I felt so much joy when Cassie was born, and barely had any struggles with PPD. I did have other struggles but I know I felt so complete having her with me, and when I had to go back to work it was so hard. This last time was different too, I felt so loved and cherished and cared for because of Albert and all of you ladies. I also was much more sleep deprived (still am) and so I struggled with some depression and feelings of inadequacy. Each time I've learned something new about myself, and I dont know if I would change even the hard parts because they've shaped me as a human, and I love those rough parts of myself just as much as the polished parts.
If there was a moment of struggle during any of my postpartum moments, I can't remember. I was surrounded by so much love, celebration and good food that all I remember is total bliss. They were some of the best days of my life, even after the hard births. I usually didn't leave my home for a full 40 days, and mostly stayed in bed when not siting or swinging under a tree or lazing in the sunshine. I spent my days massaging my baby, taking photos, taking herbal baths, listing to music and relishing the sensations of motherhood. I LOVED it. Gah- oh to spend a month with nothing to do but hold and care for a newborn bustle of miracle. Here is a photo taken a day or two postpartum.
Birth opens you up to so many new thoughts and experiences. The first year postpartum was the hardest time of my life ... all 3 times. My ex kinda kept me and my first born prisoner so that had many layers of dysfunction along with my hormones never really stabilizing after that. Not for many years anyway. Then with Eldon, I had pretty bad PPD, and adjusting to being a mom after a 14 year gap between babies was just hard. And then grieving my mom, plus balancing a 5 year old and a new baby when I was so sick with mastitis on and off ... and then eventually recovering from breast abscess surgery after Rainy was born. All of it ... it was just a lot to deal with. At 18 months PP, I am still nurturing myself a lot after all that. My PP support was not strong after any of my births. I would like to work more to serve moms postpartum, as both a PP doula and a mother roaster. I do a little of it now, but I'd like to put more into it. It is just so needed.
Kandy Naylor | Scottsdale, AZ | Mama to 3
The fourth was the hardest one yet. I believe I was as in between worlds as the baby was. Ariana Hill came with stories of her family and held my baby. Sarah Carter also came to feed me. Nina Smith came as well with words of a magic rattle she had made. Karly Eve Stein about saved my life by organizing it and my house. I was so obliterated and not sure where all the pieces of me went. Ari and I have been finding them over the weeks she has been here on this journey back into the heart of motherhood. Every time it's different kind of crazy beautiful.
Danielle Love | Phoenix, AZ | Mama to 4
So much rushes out of your body so fast (a human, placenta, fluid, blood...) and birthing is so intense and wild in itself and then there you are, just blown wide open, forever changed, with this person that was inside now outside and in your care round-the-clock. It kicked my ass both times. And it is so raw and so precious.
Kewal | Phoenix, AZ | Mama to 2
I knew my life would change after I had my first baby, and as much as I prepared and anticipated her arrival I didn't understand how hard, how different, how difficult it was actually going to be. Yet I couldn't pull myself away from her. I and my ex-husband lived with my family at the time and I wanted my mother, who only wanted to offer her assistance and help me, to keep her distance. I was overly *perhaps* crazy possessive. I wanted to be the one to do everything, i didn't want any help- I think I was trying to convince and prove to myself I could be a good mother. My milk came in around day 3 or 4 and I wasn't ready for the engorgement. I cried and felt helpless when all I wanted was to have some sort of picturesque control. The one who could do it all. My body was unrecognizable to me. I became a slave to my own unrealistic expectations... I didn't turn to any friends because - they couldn't relate, or didn't want to, we were so young...I was so tired but couldn't sleep I couldn't fathom how on earth I was going to this day in and day out. It was so hard during that time.
Merihelen Diaz Nunez | Glendale, AZ | Mama to 4
Thank you for this!!! You look incredibly beautiful in a multitude of ways here, I love this picture so much! I was in hard labor for 3 days the entire time at home with my daughter, so I was severely exhausted. My mom saved me, literally wiped my ass and gave me sponge baths. I was disconnected emotionally for the first 2-3 months, although I wasn't depressed. It took us 3 weeks to learn to nurse properly, even though I had already attended 17 births before that point and had helped everyone else learn. It hurt so bad to nurse! I had a million tiny blisters, but I'm so glad that I didn't give up and that I ended up nursing for 3 years. Many friends brought food during and after. I don't know if I could have survived without the help of my mom, Lupe Taylor. She went above and beyond... Further than I could ever express. I'm ever grateful and will always remember!!!
Winter's first few days were a disaster of bruised nipples and trying to get her latch figured out. Jamie was over so often, and you were by a couple times as well. She was born two days before Christmas, so there was a whole lot of up and around before I was ready to see people. Thorin was better because I was on bed rest for the first three days. It was more painful though, and his latch was at least as bad as Winter's had been. I had hoped that his birth would help me heal from the first time, but it was bad as well, just for different reasons. I knew immediately postpartum that I was done having kids, and that made me sad. Not because I necessarily wanted to have more kids, just because I had such awful experiences that I'd never do it again. I am extremely lucky that I had amazing support both times, in my midwife and family. I don't remember feeling beautiful, I just remember feeling sore and completely stressed out over nursing. I loved watching my kids bond though, that was the best part, and what sticks out for me the most
Raw open and beautifully crazy. I didn't even recognize myself pp. Then I had to get to know not only my baby but myself.
SG | Mama to 3
I felt like one day melded into the next, and I had no time to care for my most basic needs. My sister in law (who I love) stayed with us for a week, and it made all the difference!
Jennifer | Chandler, AZ | Mama to one son
I feel a little less crazy in some areas but so much more in others the more babies I have. I still feel a bit like haven't quit gotten past it. I forget how to get home a few times a months. Thank you for opening wide up and sharing yourself. My vagina would go numb from sitting on it. I didn't lay down to sleep for almost 2 weeks because we were at my moms and there wasn't enough beds. That was crazy! Happy that everything worked out during that period. I was feeling completely lost and living off of coffee. Then we moved to a house with no kitchen and in the middle of being remodeled! Lol, we are crazy.... Divine timing
I had a very unique postpartum, apparently. All of it was pretty blissful. I remember my doula asking me about my stress level at one point and I just giggled and said "zero?"! Those first three days were the best days of my life! I didn't, I couldn't get out of bed. Not even to pee. I just scooted to the side with my partners assistance and peed in a bucket which he then took care of. Each meal was spoon fed to me, every sip came from a bendy straw. For three days I was pampered like royalty while sisters came and sat by my side to hear my story and take care of the mess. All I had to do was lay there and stare at my baby while he nursed. We slept a lot and basked in our love. That time in my life woke up the spirit of selfless service within me, and I am grateful.
Lorna | Phoenix, AZ | Mama to one
My mom calls it "hitting the wall." You work hard, lose blood, you're exhausted, milk comes rushing in, and hormones with it. It just hits you. Tears can be so healing though, I wish more people knew to expect that part of birthing, instead of pushing it down. With my first birth, my milk didn't come in until day 5. By then he was starving but the engorgement made it hard for him to latch, and I didn't know what was wrong. My mom told me to express a little milk first to make it comfortable for both of us to nurse. I remember walking into the store to buy a pump and thinking "How in the world do people do this everyday?!" I felt like I'd been hit by a Mack truck, so sore and swollen and tired and high. With my daughters I learned my lesson and had them at home instead of the hospital. I knew when to expect my "wall" of emotions so it was a lot easier. I healed so much faster. I also learned that nothing lasts forever so just ride the wave and let it pass.
Leah Crespin | Mama to 3
I wish more people talked about it because it's so unexpected. You feel so guilty for thinking, "what have I done?" even though you love that baby so hard. And yes to the nether regions and the tears and the mom angst.
Julia | Mama to one