When Motherhood is Hard

I so often like to write as if everything is sunshine and rainbows. Look at me, being crazy busy and making it all work! Look at me – if I’m doing it, you can too! I like my writing to be a source of positivity and inspiration. I am always trying to find the positive spin on everything I’m going through.

But the truth? The truth is that I’ve been having a hard time. Things have just been hard lately.

Sometimes motherhood is hard. Sometimes after having a baby, you lose yourself a little bit in the aftermath. It's not an easy transition, even when you've done it before...

I knew having a second baby would change things but had no idea just how much. We’re so much busier. I’m so much more tired. I forgot just how exhausting breastfeeding can be and just how much I loathe pumping. I forgot what it’s like to be woken up night after night and then get up and go to work the next day.

It feels like I never get more than 15 or 30 minutes to myself. Someone always needs me. Ella needs me to feed her, or rock her, or change her. She’s such a momma’s girl and looks for me constantly – sometimes I’m the only one who can calm her down, regardless of if she’s hungry. Abbie needs some love and attention from her momma, and it’s so hard not being able to give her as much as I used to. She wants me to play with her, to paint with her, to snuggle and watch movies with her. I want to give her more time but I just don’t have it. I feel incredibly guilty about that – she’s looking for me and needing me and I can’t do it all. Chris needs me – he needs me to be his rock and sounding board, he needs me to do my half in keeping our family running. He also needs me to be his wife, to be the same woman he fell in love with all those years ago. I have a hard time finding that person some days. I struggle to remember where she went, what she liked to do, and the things that were uniquely her. That girl is in here somewhere.

Work needs me, and coming back to work has been incredibly stressful. I came back to work into a bit of a mess – things not being finished while I was out and having to cover an additional position shortly after I came back. And then there’s the pumping – I pump 4 times a day, every day. That means leaving my desk and struggling to get through my workload. It means bringing my computer with me while I pump to attempt to get it all done. I feel like I spend my days at work either at my desk or in the mom’s room. I haven’t taken an actual lunch break since I’ve been back since there’s just no time. And pumping? It started out okay but lately, Ella’s been eating more than I pump. After working so hard to keep my supply up, it’s incredibly discouraging. At the same time, the thought of not pumping anymore is so appealing even though I know I’ll pump as long as I can. I truly have a love/hate relationship with the breast pump and hate that I can’t just nurse her all the time.

Sometimes I want a few minutes to just sit and be alone. Sometimes, well most times, I don’t want to be touched. I feel like someone is always trying to touch me and I just want to not be touched for a little while. I miss alone time. I miss going to bed and knowing I’ll sleep through the night. I miss having time to write.

As much as it hurts to admit it, some days I am incredibly lonely. I fear I will hurt Chris’ feelings by saying that, but it’s true. He is an amazing husband, but it just isn’t the same as a girlfriend. None of my close friends live near me, and there’s no time to make more. I miss having friends nearby. I long for the day that I can go over to a friend’s house on a random Tuesday night just for a hug and a talk. My mom is constantly busy with work or my sisters, and haven’t had any time with just her alone in ages. I miss having girl time.

I have moments where I am incredibly happy and content – I have an amazing husband and two amazing, healthy girls. I have moments where I worry about anything and everything, where I wonder if things are ever going to get easier. I have moments where I wonder if I have postpartum depression, and moments I’m sure I couldn’t. In short, life has been challenging for me in the past few months, in ways I never imagined.

I feel guilty all the time. Guilty that I have to (and want to) work and can’t be with my girls. Guilt that they drive me crazy sometimes and if Ella cries on the commute home again I might scream. Guilt that Abbie wants to run and play outside with neighborhood kids and I’m too stressed about her being in the parking lot and the cars to enjoy watching her play. Guilt that Chris and I get so little time together. Guilt that so much of my time is taking up with breastfeeding and pumping. Guilt that I want some time to myself, guilt that I spend too much money, guilt that I can’t take care of my body and lost the weight I’ve been trying to for years. Guilt that I don’t have any time or desire to exercise right now. Guilt that I can’t keep up at work right now no matter how hard I try. Guilt that I am working so hard at keeping everything together that I don’t really know where I land anymore.

So yeah. Things have been a bit hard lately, but I have always been honest here. I’m working through it the best I can. I’m trying to sleep more. I’m trying to connect with my family more. I’m desperately hoping for some time with girlfriends in the near future. I may try to find a counselor or a doctor to talk to. I may try to find a temple to get the spirituality I’ve been missing. I don’t know. I don’t know what my next steps are other than to keep going and try to be better. To try to get out of this hard place I’m in. To try to get back to being myself.

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14 Comments

  1. Theresa
    April 9, 2017 / 12:43 am

    Hang in there mama! You’re doing great and doing all that you can for your family right now! Roles in your house might need to look a bit different for a bit. Breastfeeding/pumping and waking with a newborn is a huge job so wanting to do 50% of house stuff means you’re carrying a heavy load. I think you’re doing it right, talk to your husband, talk to a counsellor… whatever you think will help. This is a season, (a crazy hard one with little ones) but it will pass eventually. Thanks for sharing your heart, your family is lucky to have you!

    • Jess
      Author
      April 10, 2017 / 12:29 pm

      Thank you so much for your sweet words! Thankfully he’s incredibly supportive and has been encouraging me to find something to do that’s just for myself.

  2. April 9, 2017 / 10:07 pm

    I wish I could just show up at your door and hug you. We’ve all been there (or are still there). You’ve got this, and I’m here for you!!!

    • Jess
      Author
      April 10, 2017 / 12:30 pm

      I wish you could show up and hug me too! We all need to live in one place, seriously. Thanks hon. <3

  3. April 10, 2017 / 12:20 pm

    Girl! I could have written this exact post. Motherhood is HARD. It’s crazy beautiful, but the first year with any baby, in my opinion, is a big, beautiful beast. You are so NOT alone. We all feel this way. We’ll get back to our sweet spot. You are doing an AMAZING job. Your girls love you and are happy. You’re doing it, friend! You care and give your all, and it is so okay to need and want to take care of YOURSELF, too. So much love, mama. I’m right there with you. Xoxo

    • Jess
      Author
      April 10, 2017 / 12:33 pm

      Thank you! I was thinking of your post just after I wrote this and that’s part of the reason I needed to share. I really wasn’t expecting all these feelings with baby two since I thought things went pretty smooth with Abbie, but just goes to show every baby is different. So glad to have you as a friend. <3

  4. April 10, 2017 / 8:30 pm

    Thank you for being so honest! It’s a season, just a season!! You can do it, and you’re working so hard and being the best mama for your girls! Don’t let guilt get you, your girls live every bit of you, and the world isn’t perfect, and you’re allowed to not be perfect too 😉

    • Jess
      Author
      April 14, 2017 / 2:12 pm

      Thank you so much! It’s so hard to keep that perspective when you’re in the thick of it, you know?

  5. April 11, 2017 / 9:40 am

    So I have tears in my eyes reading this (hello postpartum hormones!). I know how hard it is to go back to work, pump, feel stressed, and worry you aren’t doing enough. But you are, my friend. You are more than enough. And you are doing an amazing job. It’s HARD. I promise you life with 2 will get better. In the meantime I’m sending you a virtual hug…wish I could come over, hang out, drink wine, and commiserate with you!

    • Jess
      Author
      April 14, 2017 / 2:14 pm

      Oh gosh, good to hear it gets easier with two because OY, it has been an adjustment. Thank you for being there for me. <3

  6. April 11, 2017 / 1:55 pm

    Oh my! You almost wrote my life, lately, as a SAHGMa; so sans the breastfeeding and pumping. Trying to get my blog going and my two new DS businesses; that I would be a great WAH idea! It seems every time I try to do something a little becomes extremely needy! I keep saying “this too shall pass”.
    Best of luck to you; you too will make it through.

    • Jess
      Author
      April 14, 2017 / 2:29 pm

      Thank you so much – best of luck to you making it through too!

  7. April 11, 2017 / 2:04 pm

    Jess you are so not alone and I hope that writing these words out lifted a bit of the weight you have been feeling. Us mama’s put so much pressure on ourselves to do all the things! It’s completely normal to feel all the things you’re feeling. I assure you that girl you used to know (i.e.you!) is still very much in there. Everything is a season and it all passes – just remember that.

    Perhaps with pumping maybe it’s time to just let it go? Happy, healthy mama is most important to Ella, don’t put the added pressure on yourself. I also know that us Motherboard girls are all close proximal to one another but we are so very much here for you! Vent it out girl!

    Hugs to you – big, huge ones!!

    • Jess
      Author
      April 14, 2017 / 2:31 pm

      Thank you so much, sweet friend! I think I’m just going to have to take it a day at a time. Even letting it all out has made a huge difference already.

      As for pumping… for now I’m going to keep going, but not stress about it. Thankfully I have a little bit of a freezer stash so I’m okay if a day is not as good here and there… and solids are coming. Hopefully that helps!

      Also, wish I could hug you in person!

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