The Postpartum Fog, and why it’s totally okay to cry more than your newborn in the first few weeks.

16.04

Cider-with-Rosie-postpartum

A few weeks ago I finally got round to printing out a load of photos from the past 7 months (Ottilie is SEVEN MONTHS. When did that happen?!) , and putting them all into an album. Doing it brought back so many memories of the early weeks of motherhood, when day blurred into night and I felt like I was falling bleary-eyed through an endless cycle of three hourly feeds, nappy changes, and sleepy cuddles. I have so many fond memories of that time- of snuggling a teeny tiny Ottilie with her tufts of dark fluffy hair soft against my cheeks, of the way her breath smelled so sweet and milky and delicious (I used to take great deep breaths of it with my nose pressed up to her lips!), of the funny little squeaks and chirrups she used to make whilst awake.

But I also have found those first few weeks totally overwhelming! I remember crying literally all day, the day before Jason went back to work after paternity leave. Being left alone with Ottilie felt so incredibly daunting, and I didn’t want to leave the lovely little bubble the three of us were in together. My mother in law, Jason’s sister and my niece and nephew came to the rescue for me that day. I drove Ottilie and I over to see them, and they fed me biscuits and cuddled Ottie whilst I attempted to chill out! <3)

Looking back a few months down the line, I can completely see why so many women talk about a ‘postpartum fog’ and say that it took them the best part of a year to start feeling like themselves again. It’s only been in the last couple of months that I’ve begun to feel confidence again in how I look (more on that later), Ottilie’s recently settled into a routine that’s given me back some ‘me’ time during the days, and I feel like I’m back to pre-pregnancy levels of energy and vigour.

~

There’s so much pressure to ‘bounce back’ from having a baby, and I wanted to say in writing, here and now, that I did *not* bounce back! I do remember comparing myself a few times to friends of mine with babies, and to mothers I saw on social media who seemed to have it all together and wonder why it seemed like I was the only one finding some days so tricky. And then it occurred to me ┬áthat judging by my Instagram account, noone would ever, ever have known that I wasn’t spending all day every day swanning around town, dressed immaculately and with an equally immaculately dressed baby sleeping peacefully in her pushchair!

And, since I’m keen for Cider with Rosie to be a place of honesty, and sharing, and kindness and kindred spirits, I wanted to share a few of my ‘postpartum truths’.

- My shape is different. So different! I’ve gone from a size 6 to a size 8/10, and though my tone is coming back and I’m gradually shifting the last of the softness I gained during pregnancy, it’s slow progress. My hips are broader, my thighs are wider, my boobs are GINORMOUS (I must have gone up at least three sizes, honestly!!) and my stomach isn’t taut and toned in the same way any more. I have days where I’m okay with it and days where it makes me sad and I don’t feel particularly self confident, but in general I’ve actually found it less of a concern than I thought I might do before I had Ottilie.

- We have easy days, and tricky days. Days where Ottie is happy and playful and naps like a champ and I have endless patience and don’t feel tired and motherhood honestly feels like growing your own mini best friend! In fact, most of our days now are like that, and it’s incredible! The love I feel now on a daily basis is overwhelming. But during the four month sleep regression when for two months straight Ottilie would wake up every hour during the night, I felt like I might pass out from the tiredness. I pranged my car twice because I was so exhausted and barely functioning, and my patience was tested to its absolute limits. What got us through was co-sleeping, not listening to anyone else’s advice about having to do sleep training/crying it out/getting tough, and holding onto the ‘this too shall pass’ mantra.

- Comparison is the thief of joy, and this is SO true of motherhood! I’ve had to learn not to compare myself, or how I parent to anyone else, because all babies are different. For months I couldn’t for love nor money get Ottilie into any kind of routine or to nap in her cot, and I tied myself in knots agonising over it. I was convinced it made me a crap Mum. But guess what? Ottie just wasn’t ready for a routine, and about a three weeks ago she finally slotted herself into one with absolutely no input from me whatsoever! I’ve learnt that babies basically eat when they want, sleep when they want, and behave how they want to, and there’s very little we do as mothers that affects that!

- Getting out and about and having company kept me sane. When I was just about to give birth, I lost count of the amount of times I was told not to bother getting dressed during the early days and weeks of motherhood and to just camp out at home in my PJs. In reality? That drove me NUTS. I absolutely had to get out every day just to feel like I was coping with the challenges of having a young baby, and meeting up with other new Mums at baby classes and popping out for coffee with my NCT friends was a lifesaver. It’s much easier to cope with a wailing baby when you’ve got a friend there for moral support and a slice of cake in front of you, after all! Advice is there to be taken with a pinch of salt- use what applies to you, and ignore the rest.

~

In short, the moral of this mammoth post is this: It gets easier. And harder. And then easier again. The fog lifts, and you’ll find yourself again. You’re the best Mum for your baby, and noone’s ‘coping’ any better than you are, I promise…<3

{Picture taken a week post-partum!}

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13 Comments
Posted in BABY
  • https://millymayamelia.wordpress.com/ amelia may

    I found this so touching. I’ve seen your journey into motherhood evolve and it’s lovely to read and witness your experiences, both joyful and full of learning curves. You’re doing a truly wonderful job with your little one. Xx very best wishes xx

    Bridie’s meadow –
    http://www.millymayamelia.wordpress.com

    Xxx

  • http://lizziedailyblog.blogspot.co.uk/ Elizabeth Rebecca

    Thanks for the honesty – I haven’t had a baby but know the postpartum fog affects women in my family quite badly – does make me nervous sometimes but good to know it affects everyone!

    http://lizziedailyblog.blogspot.co.uk/

  • http://www.daisybutter.com Michelle | Daisybutter

    Look after yourself Rosie! So lovely to hear you’re getting back on your feet and in some sort of routine. Ottilie seems to be developing in such leaps and bounds so you’re definitely doing things right! x

  • http://www.sarahrooftops.co.uk Sarah Rooftops

    Ah, the 7/8 month mark is amazing, isn’t it? Suddenly you’re through the fug and your baby’s smiling and laughing and sleeping and needing a lot less milk feeds and life feels manageable again – I think every mother I know went through a really broody spell right about that point!

    You’re absolutely right about finding your own way. I remember seeing an Instagram post from you early on in which you seemed upset about Ottilie not falling into a nap schedule – it took all my willpower not to wade in with my own (negative) opinions about routines because I know other people’s firmly held parenting beliefs are so rarely helpful. I’ve been given so much unasked for advice and very little of it has done anything but irritate me! Sounds like you’ve got this, though. :-)

  • Steph Bromley

    As somebody who is 27 weeks with their first baby I really appreciated your honesty in this post! Thank you Rosie xx

  • http://www.immymay.com/ Immy May

    This was so lovely to read Rosie! You are such an inspiration, I will look to you when seeking advice as a mumma. I am worried that my self confidence will plummet after having a baby, but in reality I don’t think it will affect me much at all. Having grown a human is way more impressive than abs! Immy x

    http://www.immymay.com

  • http://www.brittonloves.co.uk Lauren S

    Really appreciate the honesty of this Rosie, I’ve been following yours and Otillie’s journey for these last 7 months and she is cute dot, can see you’re doing your own best work possible to be a great mum!

    Lauren x
    Britton Loves | Lifestyle Beauty Wellbeing

  • http://theinspirationhighway.com Samm -The Inspiration Highway

    Thank goodness for your honesty as quite often it appears although everyone finds it all so easy. I’m on the journey to motherhood myself and all of these things play on my mind – I hope I’ll take it all in my stride but worry that I might not. I wonder where my support network might come from. In all honesty I’ve experienced some of these anxieties during my pregnancy, which although joyful hasn’t been all plain sailing. I’ve never felt more alien from my sense of self. We have a tough but amazing job to do us ladies. Keep up the good work!

  • Yolandie Loots

    Thank you for being honest Rosie. My baby turned 4 months last week. I felt exactly like you during the newborn phase.. or worse. It was terrible time for me. And like you said it does get better. I now love my baby to the moon and back, and I cannot imagine how I felt back then.
    I realized that all mommies suffer during the newborn phase, but as baby gets older one “forget” how difficult it was. Happiness overshadow all the bad.
    Enjoy your beautiful girl xxxx

  • https://www.woodenwindowsills.co.uk woodenwindowsills

    Such a lovely honest post Rosie, and I’m so glad you’re feeling back to normal a bit, I just can’t get over how Ottilie is now seven months, that time has just flown by!! Alice xxx

    http://www.woodenwindowsills.co.uk

  • Louise Wemyss

    My little lady is the same age! It’s lovely watching them experience all the new things around them!

  • http://bunniesaremagic.com Aleksandra // bunniesaremagic

    Everyone hits their lows from time to time and it is insane to thing that some people assume mothers are these sacred creatures that don’t. This being said, Ottie is so cute, she puts a smile on my face every time I see her photo :)

  • http://www.letterrsofelan.com Lena Chernous Onate

    I love how honest you are Rosie. Little Ottillie is beautiful:) I love seeing your Instastories and how quickly she is growing up and soon she’ll be walking!

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