My very first blog post. What do I say?! I have so many ideas, but I’m not sure what to say first. I guess I’ll start with an introduction and then lead right into a massive overshare of my motherhood experience so far.
My name is Kimberly and I am married to a wonderful man named Mitchel. We have two kids together, but basically three if you count our dog, which I definitely do. Douglas, our five year old German Shorthaired Pointer, is an absolute maniac and lives up to every GSP stereotype there is. In his five short years on this earth, he has managed to dig up nearly every plant in our yard, completely destroy our couch, eat more shoes than there are stars in the sky, tear a hole in quite literally every blanket we own, eat 17 dog beds, wake us up at 5 am every day, and help “train” us to be parents with all of his shenanigans and huge personality. Truly though, he is the best and we love him so much. He is so, so patient with our kiddos, which brings me to my next point. We also have two human children! Max, our two year old, is our sweet, sensitive, stubborn, imaginative, hilarious, daring, crazy boy. He is 100% boy and I freakin love it. Harlee, our ALMOST one year old (insert crying in disbelief face here), is our happy, independent, tough, mischievous, curious, crazy girl. They are the best things to ever happen to me, and I thank God for them every single day. Being a mother was my biggest goal in life, but is it always easy? That’s a HECK NO. Overshare starting in 3..2..1
Pregnancy with Max was honestly a breeze. I was in shape, worked out throughout my entire pregnancy, and had a fairly quick and “easy” labor and delivery. But then shit got real. I was never officially diagnosed, but I am certain I had postpartum anxiety (PPA) with Max. We never co-slept (and no judgement whatsoever if you do!) because I was too nervous about squishing him in our sleep. But I would wake up multiple times per week in a legitimate panic, frantically searching for him in our bed for several minutes. I thought he was tangled up in our comforter somewhere and I couldn’t find him. This was absolutely terrifying and felt so real. It would take me a few minutes to actually wake up and realize that he was safe in his own crib. My PPA also involved extremely intrusive thoughts. I couldn’t drive anywhere without drifting off into a daydream, imagining something horrible happening to him and testing myself over and over to see if I could save him in whichever situation I had imagined. I couldn’t get over the intrusive thought until I figured out a way to save him in case this ever happened in real life. I would end up in tears, having to literally shake my head to try to get the thoughts out of my head. I’ve always been an anxious person and have self-diagnosed myself with OCD, but postpartum really just kicked these things into overdrive. I checked his breathing over and over, bought the owlet sock to monitor his oxygen levels and heart rate, checked his carseat straps 12 times to make sure they were tight enough and in the perfect spot on his chest before driving anywhere. I googled every bump, rash, mark, or noise he made to make sure he was okay. I joined a due date group on Facebook and would obsessively read through comments for signs or symptoms of anything that could possibly happen to him. Postpartum anxiety is real, and it is HARD.
You know what else is hard? Breastfeeding. Holy moly. Max latched really well from the start, and I never really had any pain with breastfeeding, so that was a blessing. But my supply. Ohhhh my supply. Max was a tiny babe from the start. 6 lbs 13 oz at birth and even now, just 27 pounds at nearly three years old. But when he was a baby, I would compare him to all my friends who happened to have bigger babies, mostly all boys. He was always pretty much around the 10th percentile for weight, and even though the doctors were never concerned, I was. I felt like maybe I wasn’t feeding him enough, so I began exclusively pumping so I could monitor how much he was eating. Let me tell you, exclusively pumping is NOT the bees knees. Fuck that shit. Pumping every three hours around the clock, feeding babe, changing babe, washing parts, storing any extra milk, just to do it again two hours later. I hated pumping with every ounce of my soul, but I wanted to be “successful” and feed my baby MY milk. Whew, I learned the whole “fed is best” lesson real hard with Max. I don’t know why, but I absolutely refused to buy formula. I was always a “just enougher” and produced just enough to feed him, barely getting to store any extra. I tried everything under the sun to increase my supply- coconut water, oatmeal, brewers yeast, so much water, gatorade, mother’s tea, extra protein, etc. etc. etc. But nothing really worked. The day came when daycare let me know that they had to dip into my frozen supply because I hadn’t provided enough milk for him for the day. When I tell you I cried, I CRIED. I felt like the worst mother on this planet. How could I send my son to daycare without enough food for the day?! I cried when I told my husband we needed to start supplementing with formula. But you know what? The day we started supplementing, it felt like a million pound weight was lifted off my shoulders. I didn’t realize how incredibly stressed out I was every day, trying my best to pump enough to keep my baby healthy. With formula, it was no longer solely my responsibility to provide enough food for my son. I didn’t have to think about what I was eating or drinking and how it would affect my milk supply every second of the day anymore. I could finally RELAX and it was amazing. I could simply enjoy my son and watch him grow into his own little person. I used to think I wanted kids back to back and when Max was six months old, I swore I would be totally okay with getting pregnant again. But then he got a little older, started walking and talking, and was just so much fun! I wanted to enjoy this special time with him a little longer before having to split my time with another child. And then, SURPRISE, we were pregnant with Harlee. Remember when I said pregnancy with Max was a breeze? Pregnancy with Harlee was absolutely NOT a breeze. If you ever want to know what Hell is like, it’s being pregnant with a toddler, a crazy dog, and a husband who works long hours. Add a full time teaching job and part time photography gig on top of that. Oh. My. Gosh. I have never been more exhausted in my life. I remember one day, I was so sick and exhausted that I gave Max markers and let him draw all over my back just so I could just lay down for five minutes. The struggle was REAL. And I never got that magical second trimester energy. I was just completely and utterly miserable the entire time. I ended up asking my doctor to schedule an induction on her due date because I wanted her out as soon as possible. And then she was born and she was absolutely perfect. And yes, I’d do it again in a heartbeat because she is 100% worth every second of discomfort throughout those long nine months.
I haven’t been as anxious with her. I’m not sure if it is just “second child syndrome” or that I somehow didn’t have PPA with her, but I have been much more relaxed with her. It has been so nice to not have constant anxiety eating away at me every second of the day. Don’t get me wrong, I still have regular anxiety, but that’s manageable compared to what I experienced with PPA. My breastfeeding journey didn’t last nearly as long as it did with Max, and I am completely okay with that. My mental health was important to me this time around, and it has been such a blessing. She is healthy, happy, and thriving.
Raising my kids has been my greatest accomplishment. It is just so incredible to be able to watch your child grow, learn, talk, and explore the world around them. To view life through a child’s eyes is something I wish everyone had the opportunity to experience. It is pure magic. I feel like every month I say, THIS is my favorite age. But then it just keeps getting better and better. Don’t get me wrong, there are days I want to rip my hair out and drown myself in a bathtub full of wine, but 99% of the time, I can’t imagine a better life. All of the struggles of motherhood are worth it when your child smiles at you for the first time, laughs with you for the first time, or tells you they love you for the first time. I could go on another tangent of the beautiful chaos that is being a mom of two for me so far, but I think I’ll save that for another blog post. Stay tuned and WELCOME! I’m so happy you’re here!
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Love your raw emotional expression of your feelings. Great post and never forget we’re here for you ❤️❤️
Thank you! I don’t know how I would survive without you guys!