Single Mom: The One Thing that Saved Me During My Transition into Motherhood
The messy hair, the sleepless nights, the shower-less days, the constant crying by you- not just your newborn, confusion, uncertainty, guilt, frustration, and the list of your new life for any new mom goes on. I can only speak to being a single mom. However, I imagine we all feel the same. Yes, fathers are great and can help a ton, but the emotions and hormones that rage through your body after pregnancy is unexplainable. It’s almost like temporary bi-polar disorder. (To put into words.) Some days (hours) are amazing and other days (hours) you feel lost, hurt, angry, disconnected from yourself, your loved ones, and your baby. The baby blues can turn into postpartum depression, but some of us don’t experience much of the blues. And that’s cool. But the feelings are the same, in most cases: the transition to being a mom isn’t easy.
Maybe you were like me and heard all the horror stories of deliveries and mom experiences. Moms always mentioned how amazing it was to be a mother and it was always worth it. None of these mothers explained what it’s like to transition into being a mother. I had no idea what to expect. I didn’t realize what I was in store for. Sometimes I didn’t even know if how I felt was normal. The moment I laid eyes on my child I was in love, but I was itching to have some normalcy back in my life.
My life had completely changed the moment I knew I was pregnant. No more countless wine nights, no doing whatever and going wherever, no more staying up all night writing blogs and creating things. Plus adjusting to gaining weight and learning to deal with my emotions when talking to my ex. I just wasn’t prepared for the emotions and the stress of being a new single mom.
I would be lying if I said I wasn’t still in transition, but there is something that has saved me from the endless crying and second guessing my choices.
How it all Started
When this journey of new mom started, I was at my baby daddy’s house for a week until I had to become a protective momma bear and get me and my 9- day old daughter out of his house. I’m sure you’re thinking: What happened?! Without getting into the dirty details: He went out of town for the weekend. When he got back, his behavior was erratic. He came home and slept for 6 hours, then was up all night waking the baby up every hour. I knew it was every hour because I was supposed to latch, feed, and pump. (I wasn’t producing enough milk.) Waking her up every hour completely hindered my ability to do any of that. I certainly couldn’t keep up with that schedule. Especially because she was normally sleeping 3 to 4 hours. Rarely was she up every hour. Even since she was born she was sleeping for 3 to 4 hours. I got us out of there before there was more damage and arguments. (Want more on the back story? Read this blog here.)
That’s when it all began. I went from a team to a single a player and the real transition began
The 4 Words that Saved Me
I would wake up countless nights and feed my daughter and go back to bed. For the first week or so at my house things were great she was sleeping every 3 to 4 hours and I was waking up and feeding her. Then her burping became a problem and most nights she was sleeping on me. Then her father was coming over to visit and it messed up her schedule. Before I knew it, I was hoping she would just sleep for 3 hours again. When she would cry I would get so frustrated, then I would feel guilty for getting frustrated and believed I was bad mom and cry for hours. I would say to myself: Do I deserve to be a mom? Can I really do this? Her father is so much better at this than I am. (Seriously? We all know the answers to those questions. Yet we always question ourselves like we aren’t worthy. Which is not true! I’m aware my feelings are totally connected to my past. Which you can dive into those blogs, here. As far as her father being better at than I, he only has her for a limited amount of time every week. It’s a lot easier to feel like everything is perfect all the time.)
Because her schedule had gotten so out of whack, I wasn’t doing much around the house. The dishes were piling up, and I was only doing the bare minimum to keep up. I could feel the control in me rise up and maybe a little OCD too. It was only a matter of time before I would go crazy.
The transition to motherhood has been hard for me. Because I’m so used to be single and living alone. I’ve gone to having alone time every single day to maybe getting an hour or two. It’s been a drastic change in my life. Let alone all the arguing and drama between me and my baby daddy. Every little thing would consume me all day long. It was stopping me from enjoying the moment and being with my daughter. I was constantly feeling lonely and questioned if I had made the right choice. It almost as if everything I learned and shared had gone out the window.
Most days I was in tears, wishing I had alone time, wishing her father wasn’t taking her off her schedule so bad so things would be normal. What could I possibly do? Her father and I aren’t together and she needs to bond with him.
Finally, after days of feeling defeated, I talked to my spiritual shaman, Johanna Burkhardt, and she told me the 4- word phrase that literally saved me and it has helped so much I had to share.
She said: Show yourself some grace.
This 4-word phrase changed everything for me. I started to remember my practices like Aware, Accept and Embrace. Don’t get me wrong, I still cry, I still argue with my ex, I still get frustrated but I don’t beat myself up over everything, or let it consume me and my time with my daughter. This is truly the ultimate learning curve. The ultimate transition and I’m doing it alone.
I learned it was okay the dishes weren’t getting done. I learned it was okay to feel like I wasn’t doing things right or her schedule wasn’t always perfect or spent countless hours holding my daughter while she slept because she needed to feel safe. I learned the most important thing that would get me through this transition wasn’t a schedule, wasn’t a man, wasn’t a community of people (even though they have been truly amazing.) It’s cutting myself some slack and accepting things will take time and things are never perfect, why would they be now?
Even at 2 months I’m still learning. Still having setbacks. I still wish I could get this baby weight off faster (40 more pounds to go! Oh yeah! I gained 70 pounds. I’m sure in no time I’ll have some blogs on that.) I wish my daughter’s schedule was perfect so I could figure out working out, doing chores and writing blogs. I wish I didn’t get frustrated or argue with my ex. But the truth is all of this will take time. And it’s only been 8 weeks. Everything will take time. This is what showing yourself grace is all about. Accepting things aren’t perfect and showing yourself some compassion.
Can you relate? Have a comment or a story? Leave a comment below. Let’s connect!