Lifestyle blogger, photographer, mother to my son Boden and frenchie Smalls, wife to my hubs Trevor. I built this space in an attempt to inspire you to find your edit and empower you to create the life you desire. Through digital content and honest storytelling, I hope to guide you along the way. Because everyone has an edit, and I'm here to help you find yours.
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Whoa mama. It’s been a hot minute since I’ve come on here to write a post about life thus far with Baby B. Months to be exact — almost three! Becoming a new mom has been an incredibly special, yet incredibly tiring and self-reflecting adventure. There have been many highs amidst many lows. So today I’m hoping to get real with you all — sharing my journey throughout the fourth trimester, also known as the great unknown of postpartum. I’ll cover my experience over the last 12 weeks, the surprises I’ve encountered and the necessities you need to make it through.
I won’t lie. I’ve been told I’m a bit of a Pollyanna. Well, I at least learned this was my “basement” or downside to having “positivity” as one of my top 5 strengths. So as I entered into motherhood, I told myself I wasn’t going to sugar coat. I would keep it honest — both with myself and to my community of supporters. Well here I am at week 12 of life post-delivery of Boden and I have to say the majority of my journey has been pretty positive… until as of late.
With regards to health and body, I’m thankful I was able to get back to feeling like my old self after a good 1-2 week period. The fitness regimen I stuck to during pregnancy in order to keep my sanity ended up working in my favor. Through a mix of getting outside for walks and breastfeeding, I got within 5 pounds of my starting weight. Still, I’m working to tone it all up, but the waist-shrinking overall has blown my mind. Women are amazing creatures. The “bounceback” can be a real thing.
Adjusting to the new life has been the crazy part — as there are so many changes all around, but most of all minimal “me time”. No longer am I able to wake up and ease into my morning routine, then tackle my daily to-do list. Instead, I’m getting woken up in the middle of the night (thankfully only once now) to the most innocent little creature I birthed, wanting my comfort. Instead of scheduling my days around utmost productivity, I’m walking around my house, tits out, feeding my son and working around his schedule of when I can shower, tidy up and maybe make myself a snack.
Then there’s the mind. Over the last 2-3 months, I’ve had a handful of breakdowns, but nothing like the most recent set. And I’m pretty sure that’s due to the true realization that whoa, life has reallyyy changed. Permanently. We’ve been lucky to have our family offer to watch Bo and give us a date night or a full night out with friends. And this has been awesome. But the reality for me has hit amidst being out — boobs engorged, leaking at the most inconvenient times, needing to pump or just straight get back to my baby. The fact that I should not and can not leave my baby alone as he needs me and all I’m producing for basic survival, is wild. And overall, that the days of Trev and I living carefree and by the seat of our pants are long gone. Call it postpartum anxiety… call it hormones… or hey, call it the new reality.
If you can’t tell, breastfeeding has been the hardest part for me. Not because I’ve had problems with producing milk or latching (thankfully, as I know many women struggle with this and I can’t even imagine how hard this must be). But more so, because of the time commitment. And how major of a realization that is for me to swallow. Every three hours for anywhere from 20-40 minutes at a time is a lot of time, friends. Especially when you’re holding a small child. You can’t really multitask — I swear Little Bo knows when I try to get something done on my phone or computer. So normally, I’m just staring at the wall thinking, wondering (to be perfectly frank) oftentimes to myself… “am I getting dumber?”.
On top of this, I’m going on my third month of “maternity leave” and I’m straight itching to get back to work. Not because I want to be away from my baby, but because I’ve been “working from home” since taking the leap from my corporate job over a year ago now trying to make it as an entrepreneur. Doubt fills my mind every time I think about how long it’s been. Can I really do what I set out to do? Am I bringing down our family by not working at a 9-5?
All of this inner dialogue can drive a woman insane — and feel some major guilt. Because the fact of the matter is that this little soul could use me here at home, with him, for as long as I can give him. These moments, at home, watching him grow — I can never get back. So it becomes apparent that there’s some unfinished business I left open before having a child. And though there’s more time than ever to accomplish my goals, I’m having a bit of a panic wishing I would have tackled them earlier on.
I could go on about the stress and pressure I feel inside. But to be honest, it often comes but then quickly goes. And I know I’ll probably look back on this post and either roll my eyes or laugh. So if I can relay one set of advice, it’s the best I’ve heard from a fellow mom who empowers me on the daily. It’s to remember “this too, shall pass”. Saying that out loud even just feels good. And I know this rings true based on every morning I’ve had here as a mom. Because after a sleepless night, full of cries, and off-schedule feedings with hair/clothes all array… when the morning comes and our Little Bo coos innocently, admiring the sunbeams all around him, waiting for his loving caretakers to come greet him with love — it all resets. The past struggles are quickly forgotten. The sadness is melted and molded into happiness. And the day ahead is looked at with hope. New reasons to smile and new experiences with this little being that was created out of more love than you could have ever imagined. It’s an amazing thing.
Because the thing is, I wouldn’t change this new life for the world. It’s hard, but I’m figuring it out on the daily. And along the way, Boden’s smiles and laughs get me through.
Now, as the above was compiled in the present, the below list has been curated since Boden’s birth. I’d be doing you a disservice of not being transparent, so here’s the raw list of surprises I’ve learned during postpartum in hopes to prepare you for the unknown (note, these are mostly curated for post vaginal birth):
ADULT DIAPERS ARE YOUR NEW NORMAL // legit saved my life when I couldn’t make it to the bathroom in time during breastfeeding…
SAY GOODBYE TO CONTROL OF BODILY FUNCTIONS // tacking onto the above — be prepared that during the healing process, you might lose control. Don’t worry, you’re not alone.
YOUR FREEZER NEEDS TO BE STOCKED WITH PADCICLES // you just pushed a baby out of your hoo-ha. You’ll need to ice your poor baby back to health so you can tend to your new baby and, eventually, husband baby.
BREASTFEEDING MAKES YOU RAVENOUS // legit starving all the time. I had no idea the cravings would last post-pregnancy but girl, you’re now sharing all your eats with another growing being. SO eat up. And try to eat well.
HELLO, BOOBIES // my mother always told me I’d get my real boobs when I had a baby. Well, it’s true. But what’s surprising is how much they deflate post-feeding. So can’t wait to see how they reduce once the baby moves off the teet..!
FROZEN MEALS AND TAKEOUT NEVER TASTED SO GOOD // you’ll want to say yes to every friend who offers to bring you food and take advantage of the hubby running out for takeout. You’re both so consumed with trying to figure out this new realm of parenthood that you won’t want to spend time in the kitchen.
YOU’LL GO STIR CRAZY IN YOUR HOUSE // this probably hit me a bit harder given my previous year of working from home, but the house gets redundant. So try to get out if you can. Walks were my savior after I could do so. And if the weather isn’t perfect, just try to get some fresh air even if you have to bundle up or bring an umbrella.
YOUR DREAMS AND THOUGHTS MIGHT BE WILD (AND DARK) // I was afraid to admit this until I recently heard another mom share her story on a podcast. I’ve had some pretty dark, apocalyptic dreams and crazy thoughts. But apparently this is natural and stems from the inner anxiety and stress that you now have the responsibility of keeping something alive. So if you find yourself anticipating car accidents or the world ending, know you’re not a twisted soul.
YOU’LL SEE YOUR PARTNER IN A DIFFERENT LIGHT // words cannot describe the feelings you’ll get when your baby holds your baby. As they evolve and figure out how to “dad”, the love you have for them will be even more ridiculous.
YOUR SEX DRIVE MIGHT BE GONE FOR A BIT // but as sexy as the above is, you might not be ready for mounting. You might be scared, nervous or the though might not even cross your mind. You’re healing, so let yourself heal. Talk to your partner openly so you don’t feel unnecessary pressure — and get creative in the meantime with how to care for each other’s needs.
YOU’LL BECOME A MASTER OF ONE-HANDED ANYTHING // your baby will be tied to you, literally. Especially if you’re breastfeeding. So get excited, you’ll get to make your coffee one-handed, your bed one-handed, tidy up one-handed. But if your partner is there, ask for help. You can’t do it all.
GET A SHOWER IN WHEN YOU CAN // before I realized that Boden loves to sit in his bouncer while I shower, I was scrambling. Try to get a shower in when you can — to feel human. You don’t have to wash your hair (use your Shhhowercap, duh), just shower your body while they nap and bring in the monitor.
SCHEDULES ARE YOUR NEW BEST FRIEND // sleep schedules, feeding schedules, family schedules. If you want to feel more like an adult than ever, have a baby. It will force you to get your shit together. The scheduling, however, makes it easier to make it through the day and week.
LEAVING YOUR BABY FOR MORE THAN A FEW HOURS IS PRETTY IMPOSSIBLE // if you’re breastfeeding, you may be able to get out — but you’ll have to ensure you have milk for your baby to survive and are pumping on the go. This is doable but to be quite frank, is hard and trying. I truly believe it’s worth it for the benefits your baby gets, but just be prepared. My goal of doing this for a year has quickly reduced to six months (if I can make it) for my sanity.
VENTING IS PERFECTLY OKAY AND NEEDED // to tack onto the above, adjusting to this new life can be really hard, so be sure you have a good support system. Have your partner check in regularly. Set up lunches and happy hours with friends. Write in a journal. See a therapist. Just be sure you’re getting it out somehow for positive mental health.
I purposefully didn’t do research on the ish I was going to need during postpartum. We already had SO much for the baby that it seemed overwhelming for me at the time. Now, after going through it, here are the things I believe you’ll need to make it through postpartum healing:
TUCKS PADS // for added layering on the above. I used these.
ADULT DIAPERS // ain’t no shame in this mama game. You won’t find any cute ones, so just get these.
HIGH WAISTED GRANNY PANTIES // put your thongs aside for some time. They won’t fit your pad sitch. I just got this pack — you can burn later, don’t worry.
PERINEAL SPRAY // I know, what’s a perineal? Haha. Just be sure to have this.
SITZ BATH FORMULA // you’ll want to take multiple healing baths a day. Try to get in at least one though and soak after putting this mix in for 10-15 minutes.
NURSING BRAS // as I used to live in bralettes before baby, I am not one for the heavy, material-ly uncomfortable nursing bras out there. So I swear by this bralette and bodysuit. PS If you’re new to trying Lively, use my code AMB-thegreyedit for $10 your order!
SLEEPING BRAS // it’s inevitable that you’ll leak in the middle of the night once your little starts sleeping through and you aren’t getting up to pump. So a bra to house pads is essential. I hate sleeping in bras so I’ve found these were the most comfortable and they’re good for nursing too. Again, throwaways.
SOOTHING GEL NURSING PADS // the first week or so is rough… on the nips. Be sure you’re applying coconut oil and soothing with these hot/cold lifesavers when you’re not feeding.
HANDS-FREE PUMP BRA // unless you’re making the leap to the Willow pump, which looking back I wish I would have done, you’ll need this.
LIVE IN LEGGINGS // I swore by these during pregnancy, and I’ll swear by them still for after. The high waist stretches with your once big, now flabby slowly getting small tummy. I own five pairs.
So what did I miss? I know there’s probably a lot, considering every woman’s experience with postpartum is different. Nonetheless, I hope this post resonated and was of use to some of you. If I’ve learned anything from this whole experience, it’s that talking about it with other moms has been therapeutic and extremely helpful. So drop a line below to continue the conversation — and please share with anyone who might benefit.
To moms and all the badassery we possess —
// cb ✌????
Lifestyle blogger, photographer, mother to my son Boden and frenchie Smalls, wife to my hubs Trevor.
I built this space in an attempt to inspire you to find your edit and empower you to create the life you desire. Through digital content and honest storytelling, I hope to guide you along the way. Because everyone has an edit, and I'm here to help you find yours.
Get To Know Me
Mother. Wife. Blogger. Photographer. I built this space in an attempt to inspire you to find your edit and empower you to create the life you desire. Through digital content and honest storytelling, I hope to guide you along the way. Because everyone has an edit, and I'm here to help you find yours.
Hi, I'm Cortney
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