MOTHERHOOD. Is. Hard.

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And then, in no time, I was pregnant. Yes, we still slept together enough to ensure that happened. We had only been married about a year and a half and here I was, in a really difficult marriage, pregnant for the very first time. I was excited, afraid and always nauseous. We didn’t educate ourselves about pregnancy, labor, post-partum; nothing. I went into the pregnancy completely blind, completely unprepared and completely sure that I could do it all on my own. If I could sum up the birth of my first child, it would look a little something like this:

9 months of misery

34 hours of hard labor

Me screaming

Epidural

Pitocin

Me screaming

Epidural

Pitocin

Me screaming

Nurse telling me to be quiet

Pushing for 4 hours

Episiotomy

Suction out the baby

Hold sweet baby girl

Nurses take baby girl away

Painful nursing attempt

Painful nursing attempt

Painful nursing attempt

Lucy, our sweet first child, was so beautiful, so perfect and yet so colicky. She cried all the time. We were sleep deprived, I struggled to breastfeed well, she would cry through the night and then through the day and then we would cry because we were so tired.

The trauma of my labor and the weight gain and the painful nursing and the lack of sleep and the poor diet…..all of these things resulted in (what I now know) was undiagnosed post-partum depression. At the time, I had no idea what was going on except for the fact that I was sad and angry and lazy and tired all the time.

A few months after Lucy was born, we received a call from a couple at the church we had been attending. The pastor of the church, the man who had married Ben and I on our wedding day and done all of our premarital counseling, the reason we even attended that church in the first place, was dead. He was only 50 years old. He had a wife and children and was one of the most incredible men I’ve ever met. He had committed suicide. We were shaken to the core. Ben worked at a funeral home at the time and he was the one who went to retrieve the body of our pastor from his home. He came home and told me how strange and surreal it was to see that tall, handsome, charming, kind, charismatic, dynamic, Godly man lying dead and lifeless on a gurney.

Nothing made sense anymore. Not only was our marriage in the midst of stress and tension, but we had this perfect new little life that we loved more than anything in the world and we had no idea what we were doing.

When my sweet Lucy was only 2 years old, the last 4 years of Ben and I’s dysfunctional marriage finally caught up with us. I hadn’t fully recovered from my post-partum depression, in fact, it morphed into an eating disorder that left me so thin, so unhealthy and so obsessed with the way I looked. After 9 months of pregnancy, a time when I weighed almost 200 pounds and 2 years of breastfeeding, a time when my body didn’t belong to me whatsoever, I finally felt some semblance of normalcy.

Even though I finally felt attractive and feminine again (and not just like a hot mess of a mom with breastmilk stains all over my shirt and 30 extra pounds in my hips), Ben and I still hadn’t dealt with our sexual intimacy issues and even with a brand new little life in my arms, everything seemed a bit hopeless.

 

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