There’s a lot of things people tell you about when you announce that you’re pregnant.
THEY TELL YOU HOW WONDERFUL YOUR LITTLE BUNDLE OF JOY WILL BE.
THEY TELL YOU HOW RANK THAT FIRST DIAPER WILL BE.
THEY TELL YOU HOW EMOTIONAL YOU MIGHT BE POSTPARTUM.
BUT ONE THING THEY DON’T TELL YOU, IS HOW LONELY MOTHERHOOD CAN BE.
Not the kind of lonely where it’s as if you don’t have any friends to go hang out with, but the kind where even though you might be there, you’re not really there. You know? I have a lot of mommy friends. Many of whom I was friends with before I was pregnant. Only one mom ever mentioned the loneliness of motherhood to me. ONE.
At the time, I didn’t understand it. But, boy, do I get it now. So, can we be transparently honest for a second?
Kinsley was born in August, so she was quite little this year around the holidays. I’ve been around a lot of babies in my lifetime, the oldest of 5 and having worked at a daycare, as well as babysat numerous times, I know how terrible some babies can be. (I say terrible in the sense that they don’t sleep, ever. Cry non stop. Etc.)
Believe me when I say, I thank God that Kinsley has been a relatively easy baby. So easy, that at times, the idea of another is scary, just knowing that the likelihood of baby #2 not being as easy. None the less, she is still in fact a baby, so she is stillvery trying and tiring at times.
The first time I remember distinctly feeling this kind of loneliness was at Thanksgiving this past year. We celebrated Thanksgiving early with my side of the family and though I enjoyed getting to spend time with our families, it was exhausting for me, even more so for my little one.
Over stimulated babies are no joke and though she does good for the most part, Kinsley is not about to have 3 people gathered around her face telling her how cute she is, while she wears the frilly, little Thanksgiving outfit that yours truly put on her. (I pick my battles with the frills and uncomfortable clothing.)
→ QUE CRANKY BABY.
Four days later, we spent Thanksgiving Day with Wes’s side of the family. I’m really thankful that both sides of our family have set up special areas for Kinsley where she has a pack n play and quiet spaces so that I can nurse and put her to sleep.
However, it’s these moments of seclusion that are so special, yet so lonely to me.
I remember sitting there nursing her in the recliner in the back room, listening as grandparents made their way and welcomes were said in the living room. I could hear my father-in-law say the prayer for the food and my husband made his way back to ask if I would like a plate made.
This was the first real slight pang of this loneliness that I felt.
I usually opt out of having plates made for me, if I know I can get KB to lay down, which is what I did this time. Though I was the last to get a plate after everyone was well into eating, Kinsley did sleep just enough for me to get my plate made and sit down in my chair, waking moments later (typical right?), she did have a short window of happiness… I say short though, because it was soon followed by the crankiness of a baby who was out of her nap routine, surrounded by over stimulating, but abundantly loving family.
Fast forward to Christmas time. At almost 5 months old, she was working on her first tooth, as well as adjusting her sleep schedule (isn’t sleep regression fun?). After experiencing our first round of holidays with a baby, I came prepared for Christmas. Basically bathed in Stress Awayand Valor (Thank, Jesus, for oils!), I expected the worst of “cranky baby,” and hoped for the best. To my surprise, KB seemed to do much better traveling and spending time around large groups this go round. However, those times came in intervals, so a good majority of the time when we were at our family’s homes, you could find Kinsley and I secluded in our area. My father in law LOVES Yahtzee. Since I started dating Wes, Yahtzee has always been his go to. So as normal, I couldn’t help but smile, when he casually asked, “anyone up for some Yahtzee?”
At the moment, I was nursing and Kinsley decided she wanted to sleep. After the first few rolls of dice hitting the board though, she was not a happy camper. So, as normal, we resorted to our room.
I could hear my husband’s laughter through the walls, as the dice were rolled.
The loneliness filled me. Because, even when you’re there, you’re not really there.
We spent a lot of time together just the two of us, my baby and I. It can be just as mentally exhausting as it is physically at times.
Can I take a mental health day, please?
Do those even exist for moms? L O L
Don’t get me wrong, any of you who are momma’s know that although you might be feeling the loneliness, at the exact same moment, you’re also flooded with so much love, as you rock and soothe your precious little one to sleep or even just to calm them. In a way, it’s therapeutic to the loneliness. Ironic, I know.
SIDE NOTE ↓
YOU ALSO KNOW THAT NO MATTER HOW MANY FRIENDS AND FAMILY MAY OFFER TO TAKE LITTLE ONE, SOMETIMES IT’S MORE STRESSFUL TO HAVE THEM TAKE THE BABE, THAN IT IS TO JUST TEND TO LITTLE ONE YOURSELF.
NOTE TO FRIENDS AND FAMILY: WE KNOW YOU MEAN WELL, BUT FOR THE SAKE OF OUR SANITY, PLEASE JUST LET MOMMA TEND TO HER FUSSY BABY, I KNOW HER MOMMA IS ALL SHE REALLY WANTS RIGHT NOW ANYWAYS. ANYTHING OTHER AND SWEET LITTLE BABE JUST GOES INTO FULL MELT DOWN MODE. THANK YOU FOR THE OFFER THOUGH.
When we celebrated my 6 year old sister’s birthday recently, you could look around the house and see the love just as much as you could feel it. I had been going back and forth to the back area with Kinsley though, because the party started right about the time we normally prepare her for bedtime, so you can imagine she was a little moody.
For me, it’s like looking through a window. You’re watching everyone enjoy themselves, some watching the game on TV, cheering on your team, some chatting about the latest news, laughter from the kids as they chase each other around. It’s so beautiful to see, and yet so lonely to feel, all at the same time.
Because even though you’re there, you’re not really there.
I don’t write this to have pity taken on me, but instead I write it to encourage.
YOU’RE NOT ALONE, MOMMA. I SEE YOU. I FEEL YOU.
It’s tough. It’s bone chilling exhausting at times, no matter how good your babe(s) may be. And it is extremely lonely at times. But, it’s wonderfully, beautifully worth it. I’m so thankful for the support I have, not just from family, but from my mommy friends, too. Through these first 6 months postpartum, the most encouragement and comfort has come from simply talking with moms, knowing and hearing that I’m not alone in the everyday chaos and beauty and most of all loneliness, of motherhood.