When my son was born another mom who had their child the same time as us posted something about celebrating "one month of absolute bliss" with their newborn. I remember reading that and looking around the room, even a full month later still in the fog and chaos and sheer constant anxiety what was new motherhood for me, and thinking this experience is not bliss for me. It honestly gutted me a bit to read. Those words ignited a sense of guilt through my core like I had never experienced.
This was supposed to feel like bliss: perfect. happiness. Were there moments of bliss? 1000% The instant their little hand wrapped around your finger. The utter amazement and awe that you created this little perfect human in your arms. The gratitude so deep that life has given you this miracle. Those moments were undoubtedly bliss.
But my bliss was also checkered with so much fear and uncertainty those first weeks...and months. I felt like my body wasn't healing quick enough. I couldn't move as efficiently as I thought was necessary. I was relying too much on my husband. I should be able to do this all myself. I can do this all myself. The words the nurses and doctors at the hospital recited about "safe sleep" and "no blankets" and "don't let the baby fall asleep in your arms" repeated over and over, constant warnings in my head, and I could not sleep. I needed to make sure he was breathing at all times. What if he just stopped breathing and I wasn't awake to notice and it was too late?
Over and over and over these thoughts played in my head. I would doze off and jump to attention, heart racing. These awful images would pop into my head of what could happen if I fell asleep, if I stopped worrying and playing out every what-if scenario. If I let myself put my guard down, what terrible thing was I welcoming to happen... I didn't care if I needed sleep, this was my job now. Being a mother was my job and I was not taking this lightly. He comes first. That's that.
I was in an endless loop of anxiety and fear and sleep deprivation and guilt. My body couldn't heal because I couldn't let myself rest. And, I couldn't let myself rest because my baby needed me. That was my expectation of myself and it lasted longer than I care to admit.
I wasn't out strolling on walks with my newborn. I wasn't taking him on brewery trips or toasting that first glass of wine in the sun with my husband. And, I certainly wasn't at the beach snapping pictures of my new little baby propped up in the sand.
I was home. I was fighting through a lot of tears and trying to navigate my way out of what felt like a very heavy cloud around me. I write this all to say, that I am sure I am not alone in this. That sometimes the start of motherhood and motherhood in general is not simply bliss. Sometimes it's the mix of hormones and anxiety and a sense of duty as a new mom that drive you those first months more than joy does.
I am happy that other mom felt bliss, I am. But, I know there are many who struggle, who look back on those early postpartum days and think that was something they survived with gratitude and grit, because as a mother, sometimes that is what it takes.
And, to the moms who might be going through that right now...I promise, your bliss will come.