having a baby: what they don't tell you.

*warning: this is really long. that's all.*

i posted addi's birth story a couple weeks ago and mentioned that i wanted to cry every time i thought about it in the beginning. here's where i tell you why. to some, this blog post may seem a little uncomfortable. it's going to be honest and blunt, but if there is just one mama out there that feels the same way that i did and can know that they aren't alone, then my mission will be complete.

things were rocky from the start. i tried to get adelaide to breastfeed  right after she was born, but she wouldn't. the nurses told me she must not be hungry, so we snuggled her and cuddled her and soaked in every skin fold and tiny finger and toe that we could. we tried a couple times over the next twelve hours, but nothing worked. twelve hours my baby went without food. i'd like to believe that the nurses were right in saying that this was okay, but looking back now, i wish they had helped me try harder. i told one nurse that i thought babies came out just knowing how to breastfeed and she looked at me and said, matter-of-factly, "they know how to suck, they don't know how to latch." i was a little dumbfounded and wondered why the crap nobody told me that before i had this little rugrat in my arms that i was supposed to take care of!

anyway, that was just the prelude to what would be the worst week of my entire life. two days in the hospital, being checked on every couple hours, having every meal prepared nice and hot for us, and the next thing we know, we're loading up a 7 pound human into her car seat and taking her home. where it would be just us three. at that moment, i was excited, not terrified like i've heard a lot of moms say. that didn't last long.

i don't remember very well what even went down that day. all i know is it ended in tears. and so did the next day. and the next day. and pretty much every day that entire week.

i still had problems breastfeeding. so much so, that i finally broke down and got a pump. that right there, made me cry. hard. i was so envious of my mom friends that were breastfeeding without a problem and could have that "special bond" that everyone talked about. instead, i felt like a milking cow. every feed, i would pump while zach gave her the bottle. that was until she stopped taking a bottle. we were feeling hopeless and desperate. we knew she was starving, but she would suck a few times and then push it out and scream. this went on for about an hour. we were at our wits end, all three of us crying, and then as i grabbed the bottle, i realized after all the sucking she had done, none of it had been eaten. come to find out, the stupid nipple didn't have a hole in it! this didn't happen just one, but two times. note to self: check all nipples before using.

night time made me anxious. when about 5 o'clock rolled around, i would be a nervous wreck and just cry and cry. all i could think about was the sleep i would lose due to the baby that i didn't know how to console. day time was spent mourning the life i would never have again - zachary and i doing whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted. being able to cuddle up and watch a movie. taking spontaneous trips to denver. sleeping in on the weekends. the idea of having to take care of a human all day, every day, with no appreciation for my sacrifice was daunting. to say the least.

i don't know what it's like for most new moms, but i do know that there was so. much. screaming. adelaide seemed livid all the time. if she didn't like something, she wasn't afraid to let us know. i was convinced that she just plain hated being a baby and that we were going to have to deal with this for the rest of our life.

when i really sat back and thought about it, i realized - i hated my baby. i know. that sounds awful. i cringed even typing it up just now. no mom was ever supposed to feel this way. i didn't want to be around her. i didn't feel any sort of connection to her. i'd fantasize about going to the hospital and convincing them to take her back. i'd tell them that i was crazy and wasn't fit to take care of a baby, so they'd lock me up in an insane asylum and that's where i would live out my days, but at least i wouldn't have to be responsible for someone that i was almost certain hated me back. pretty extreme, right? what happened to the feelings of euphoria that moms feel when they bring a baby home? what happened to being overcome with love for someone that i had just met? why didn't anyone tell me how truly hard being a parent is? all i ever heard was how rewarding it is and how there's nothing like it and blah blah blah. i wish someone had told it to me straight. things felt so unfair.

funny enough, i remember zachary asking his brother early on when he felt like things got worth it. {because at that point, they didn't feel worth it at all. we were cursing ourselves for making the biggest mistake of our lives.} his brother said that at about the six week mark is when things start paying off. was he ever right. in fact, i can honestly say that on addi's six week birthday is when i felt like i could actually do this whole mom thing. what a relief it was.

i think my biggest mistake in all of this, was thinking that the struggles we were having were going to be there forever. that's what brought the most feelings of hopelessness - thinking about the future and feeling like i would rather die than have to do what we had been doing those first few days for another month or longer.

umm, hello? do you have any idea how much a baby changes in a month? adelaide was nowhere near the same baby in a month as she was during that first week. were things still new? yes. would she scream and i still didn't know how to help her? yes. did i want to curl up in the fetal position in the corner of my bedroom and cry some days? yes. but i can't even tell you how different i felt. every day brought just a little bit more confidence in my abilities to be a mom.

now that things have slowed down a bit, i realized that all of these feelings of absolute helplessness were probably due to an extreme lack of sleep. that and my total resistance to being a parent. is life different than it used to be? you betcha. but now, after three months of this little beauty in our lives, it's hard to imagine what it would be without her.

i would give anything to have known what i know now in those early stages of parenthood. oh, what a difference it would have made in my life! because of this, i'd like to share 9 of the most important things that i think every new mom should know. take it for what it's worth. if for nothing else, i'll be able to show this to adelaide one day when she becomes a first time mom. :)

1. breastfeeding is hard. really hard. you may not have the experience i have had, but i haven't talked to one mama that hasn't had some kind of pain with it. be ready. read up on it. know how to breastfeed. even if it means looking up pictures and videos of other random people feeding their kid. don't be afraid of seeing boob! the more you know, the smoother it will be.

2. have your baby checked for a lip/tongue tie. i hope i didn't give off the impression that once your baby is three months old, everything is rainbows and unicorns. it might be for some parents, but not for us. it still hurts every time adelaide latches. trust me though, this is not the norm. early on, i wrote in a breastfeeding support group that nursing was still super painful and a few people suggested that addi might have a lip or a tongue tie. i kind of cast it off because that seemed to be the first thing people turned to in this group and it was kind of annoying. so finally, last week we had her checked and it turns out she has both. her lip tie is pretty severe actually and we are hoping to get both of them clipped as soon as our insurance situation is figured out. everyone with a lip/tongue tied baby swears that it makes a heck of a difference getting it fixed, so i'm crossing my fingers that it will do the same for us! just do me a favor and make sure early on, so you don't have to go through what i've had to!

3. invest in the book, 'secrets of the baby whisperer'. i read 'baby wise', which i really liked, but then my sister-in-law, carli, suggested this one. i got it in the mail one day from what i thought was my little brother, but it turns out it was from my high school soccer coach. yeah. she's a gem. and i can't tell you how much this book has changed my life. i don't know what i'm doing as a mom, but this book has at least given me some kind of grip on things and made me feel like i might actually be able to do this whole being a parent thing. if i can suggest one book to read your entire pregnancy, this would be it. i bought a lot of birthing and pregnancy books, but let's be honest - that's all the easy part. the hard part is knowing what to do with the baby after it's here, which is what this book helps with. buy it. use it. love it.

4. do not, and i repeat, do not wake your sleeping baby at night. i don't care how many books you've read that say you need to wake them up to eat every four hours, don't believe them. your baby will be fine and honestly? they'll probably end up sleeping longer sooner. after all, why would you want to put your baby on a schedule to wake up at night when your end goal is to get them to sleep? it doesn't make sense. i know. just let them sleep. i promise, you will thank yourself later for this.

5. when your baby does start sleeping for 8 hours at night, don't go bragging about it. because the next thing you know, she'll only want to sleep four hours at a time again. trust me. i know from experience. i wasn't intentionally trying to brag. i was just excited. and then we had two weeks of interrupted sleep. every. single. night. it was awful knowing what a full night's sleep was and then having to go back to that. but on a good note, she slept for 11 hours last night! hooray! {is that bragging?}

6. give your baby a freaking binky! i don't believe in the whole nipple confusion crap. every nurse and lactation consultant will tell you that giving a baby a binky is bad juju, but if i could go back, i would have given adelaide the first moment i could. babies need to suck, that's all there is to it. they suck for comfort and if your baby is anything like mine, they won't want to use their hands to remedy that problem. instead, the nurses had zachary give addi his finger and that's all she will take now. i will literally have my finger in her mouth and quickly switch it for a binky and she will spit it out like it's poison. so weird. i know a lot of parents that complain about having to break their child from a binky, but if it can save your sanity just a little bit, then i say it's worth it.

7. don't compare. i can't tell you how many times in these short three months that i've worried there's something wrong with my baby because someone else's baby was doing things quicker. rolling over, holding up their head, babbling your ear off. all of it has caused some kind of insecurity inside of me. take it from someone who knows - don't compare. it'll make you miserable and after all, every baby learns and grows at their own pace. just because your baby is slower at something doesn't make them any less capable.

8. shower every single day. my friend, whitney, shared this little piece of advice and what a difference it has made! don't judge me, but i used to shower every other day. i didn't like washing my hair every day, so this was my solution. that was until i discovered shower caps. oh, and dry shampoo. best. invention. ever. since having adelaide, i still only wash my hair every other day, but i shower every day and what a difference it makes! you'll feel better, more motivated to get things done, and the obvious? cleaner. much cleaner.

9. snuggle the crap outta that baby. soak up every smell, giggle, and wrinkle. just about every baby book you read will frown against rocking your baby to sleep, but i usually take one naptime out of the day to rock adelaide to sleep. there is nothing more tender than a sleeping baby and it gives me time to appreciate her sweetness. take in as much of their littleness as possible. they grow up so fast.

maybe you see all of this as a bunch a poppycock and that's okay. it's been therapeutic for me to write it. just do the best that you can as a mama and whatever that is, is great. keep calm and mother on, friends.

-the mrs.


  1. Oh honey, I had no idea it was so hard for you at the start. You are so brave to share this, it's exactly the kind of the thing new (and not so new mums) need to read. I went through the exact same thing with Lincoln, and I can honestly say it was the worst 6 weeks of my entire life. Everything we did made him scream and scream and scream. I also fantasized about giving him back. I think it hit me even harder because we already had Max and I thought that second time round I should know exactly what to do. Six weeks was a turning point for us too and over the last 10 months things have just gotten better and better. Now when I look at Link all I see is love.

    1. I don't know whether to feel happy that you felt the same way even with your second or if I should be scared because I might be in for the same thing. Haha Either way, I am so relieved to know that you've been through it and have come out alive still loving your baby!!

  2. How great to have written this all down. You are right, nursing is hard. It doesn't always stay hard but sometimes. It stopped hurting for me when I became numb. The area was numb and then it didn't hurt :) I too remember with my firstborn thinking 'I'm supposed to automatically love this child', and I didn't. This child had been a big source of pain. I told Mike that I would never have another child. I decided when he was 3 months old that I could have another child and at six months I got pregnant again. With labor and with nursing the worst way to think is that it will go on forever. Rather think, I can handle this one moment. Comparing is really bad, with your baby and with other moms. We all need to do what works for us and our families and all children are different even within the same family. Parenting is what the Lord uses to teach us how to be like Him. We make lots of mistakes along the way but the process changes us and our kids survive and go on to make their own mistakes. We were better parents to our later children than our first in some ways but in other ways maybe the opposite was true. There are no controlled experiments because all the children are also different. Welcome to the wonderful world of parenting where none of us know exactly what we're doing but we just try our best and that changes everyday. Just love them. It's a choice not an automatic feeling. -Lynne Terrazas

  3. I've heard a lot of parents say the 6 week mark was a game changer.
    At the risk of being inappropriate (let's be honest, I'm almost always inappropriate) isn't 6 weeks when you can start doing the deed again with your spouse? I wonder if that is just a coincidence....

    1. Haha I'd like to say yes, but that would be a lie. I'd suggest waiting until 8 or 9 weeks at least unless you want to feel like you're being stabbed with knives and steak forks up in your hoohah. ;)

  4. Love it. Can I tell you that my worth it point was about 9 months? It was a unique situation, one that I never hope to relive nor wish on anyone else, but it was 9 months for me. :( I feel bad for my old self just thinking back. I had two friends who had babies within 2 weeks of me and they would go on and on about being a mother was the best thing ever, and she loved it so much and it was love at first sight and blah blah blah… I thought I was broken. Turns out, it's just hard, and it takes a lot of love and support from others and learning along the way. Oh Sarah, if only you had moved down here sooner. :) I would have totally cried with you that first week… or 6. :)

    1. Oh Heather, I really don't know how you did that for 9 months. I don't think I could have lasted that long! Apparently God knows you're a LOT stronger than me! Haha If only we could have been there to support each other as new mamas. So glad I have y

  5. Sarah, this post was brilliant. I felt exactly the same way from the start when I had Kacey 10-1/2 years ago! When we brought her home I had a serious moment of panic when it really hit me that she was mine forever and there was no one else to meet her needs and keep her alive! She woke up every 2 hours on the dot to nurse for the first 6 months of her life. I really felt like I was losing my mind in the beginning, and it took a good 8 weeks to feel a little better. I had bad postpartum but I didn't recognize it as such, so I'm ashamed to admit that for the first 2-1/2 years of her life I felt disconnected and like I was just going through the motions of meeting her physical needs.
    This was really good for me to read. I feel like I'm doing the new mom thing all over again and I needed those reminders. And you better believe I will be putting that pacifier in this baby girl's mouth the minute she is born! Kacey loved her binky and it saved me!

  6. Wow. I love your post!! I struggled with breastfeeding too and for the first few days I just cried I didn't want to feed my baby so I got a pump and had her checked. (Since my mom was a midwife, luckily she could give me insight). Adalynne had tongue tied REALLY bad. She wouldn't take a pacifier or nurse well. I pumped for 7 weeks and then just switched to formula because I still couldn't get her to latch and didn't want to do the surgery.. and due to pumping got mastitis 3 times which made my supply drop to practically nothing. I'm so glad and proud you stayed with it! You are braver than me. Looking back I wish sometimes I had just done the surgery and breastfed her, but you live and you learn! I felt SO guilty that I couldn't feed my baby and even more that I was in so much pain I just wanted someone else to feed her. One thing that worked for us because she couldn't hold a binky at all was that we would rock her to sleep. I know they say don't? But we would rock her.. really hard sometimes and she loved that feeling so much. For the first 5-6 months of life we probably rocked her to sleep every night and nap time. It's time consuming and she did get used to the feeling... but it gave much needed snuggles that I loved. Although it was still hard. None of my girls take pacifiers and you learn to cope.. I guess Avery did for little bits at a time so just in the car we would give it to her so she'd stay happy, or in her swing. BTW, that was a LIFESAVER for Avery. She loved her swing to death. I also agree with showering. I'm super OCD about showers anyway I guess, but once I had my shower in I felt like I could take on the day. If I had to forgo one one day, I felt defeated.

    Super long post and I'm sure you didn't want to hear it all... but in short, I LOVED what you wrote and it is hard. SO hard. The second baby you tend to have a little more confidence so don't get discouraged! Pretty soon you'll be grateful for this because can it really get worse? lol. No but seriously we had the hardest time with Adalynne for practically everything... but once she was older I was actually really grateful that my first one was so hard because unless one of my babies have colic? I think she will be the hardest baby... and now I've learned so much about what I want and don't want to do with my other babies.

  7. you are amazing. seriously. love you girl! someday, hopefully, this is gonna be really great for me :)

  8. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this post. It was blunt and honest, but so perfect.

  9. Thank you for posting this, I LOVE you honesty. :)

  10. This is SO perfect. I am really scared to have a baby/be pregnant because I feel like I will feel that same way when the baby is born. Im not good with change and Im not experienced with babies since I was the youngest in my family. So this gives relief to me knowing that I'm not a crazy person for feeling that way. I get told daily by others that I need to start having kids cause I'm 24, but I am terrified to hate my baby and regret making the decision to have a baby until I feel ready to have one. So this helps make me not feel like a terrible person reading your post, and surprisingly makes me more comfortable having a baby sometime. I always felt like this bad terrible female listening to new moms tell me how amazing and wonderful it all is, because I know I will have a trying time with the adjustment and being a mom. So thanks for being honest and relatable!

  11. Oh man even with baby numb two is diffrent and breastfeeding I knew what to do but keep those magical pumps handy if needed. Beware of teeth matthew bit me so hard the other day 3 days later I was still sore. Nursing is amazing but not easy I always try and compliment friends for nursing 3 months 6 months 9 months and for the troopers that make it a year good work.

  12. So after having my little Corinne, and lets just say more than one rough day, I remembered your post and thought I should give it another read; I'm sure glad I did. :) The saying that keeps me going is, "it gets better, this is not forever." Thanks for this post, it has made me feel a lot better.


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