How I’ve Mastered 3 of the Hardest Emotional Challenges of Motherhood
Being a mother is the most awesome thing I have experienced so far in my life. I love being needed by my little girl for everything, providing for her, giving her comfort. She has given me a new sense of purpose in my life.
Sure there are many rewards of motherhood. There are also some crazy times and sleepless nights. There has definitely been some hard times and heartaches. Three of the hardest emotional challenges of motherhood so far stand out for me in particular.
First, one of the hardest things was having to supplement breast milk with formula on the first night home with my little one.
As sore as I was, I was fully committed to breastfeeding when I got home from the hospital. I had already spent three long days awake almost 24/7 as baby had to feed constantly since my milk wasn’t in yet.
The first night home with my little one was the hardest night hubby and I have ever gone through. I remember the baby crying and hubby started complaining that he had to be up early for work. I was trying everything I could think of to help the baby stop crying but nothing was working.
I wasn’t producing enough milk breastfeeding. She had been feeding for five hours straight that night, from one breast to the next, and still being hungry. I was tired, stressed, and an emotional wreck.
Hubby kept telling me to give her a bottle of formula and I was against it. A million thoughts ran through my head about breastfeeding and giving her formula. I hadn’t done any research and didn’t know you could supplement breast milk with formula. All I knew was that baby’s tummy expanded at the same rate as my milk being produced. Would giving her formula mess this symbiotic relationship up?
I had this crippling feeling that I couldn’t provide for my baby. I broke down.
Not only was baby crying but now mommy was crying. Feeling helpless and not being able to feed her, I gave in and let her have a bottle of formula. This helped her hunger and afterward she was satisfied, but I was not. I felt like I had given up. I felt like the mix of formula and breast milk was detrimental. I felt like I had stolen from my baby the nutrients provided in breast milk. Most of all, I felt unneeded.
That feeling of not being needed was the hardest feeling to get through. It struck deep into my heart. I was caught up in the moment. I knew my baby would need me again, many times, I just couldn’t provide for her and felt helpless.
The second hardest thing has been staying up all night with my little one.
Hubby has to get his sleep for work in the morning and I can sleep at any time during the day so I’m the natural candidate for getting up in the middle of the night to soothe her.
She has been very good in the daytime, sleeping most of the day, up at intervals to feed, but for some reason when it’s nighttime she likes to stay up wide awake. She asks for food every 2 hours on the dot and sometimes when she is not hungry which will cause her to throw it up.
I have been up all night through multiple times where she was throwing up in one night. I have been up through the fussiness and crying and screams with no remorse and no relief.
Hubby is sometimes more fussy than she is, cranky he’s been woken up by a scream that I couldn’t get to fast enough. I never get a “good job” from him, only a “you’re doing it wrong” and “can’t you see what she needs?” and “leave the room if she is screaming.”
My emotions and sanity have been stretched to their limit. I’ve poured tears over it.
The third hardest thing has been relying on him to take care of the house financially.
I know it’s a little different, but I have been the main breadwinner for the household. I take care of the bills and the groceries. I’ve always been the saver, thinking about bills that are months ahead, and he has always been the spender, thinking in the now.
He works on commission only so I have always prepared myself in making sure I had enough if he had a bad month. Anything he makes is just extra that can help pay down credit cards.
Sometimes I wish I could handle everything. I wish I could take care of my baby and be making enough to support the household. I’ve had to loosen my control when it comes to finances so I can spend time home with my baby. I’ve had to trust that he can pull the weight for the both of us and it’s hard not being in control.
After the 6 weeks of maternity leave, I won’t have an income and that scares me. My worst fear is running out of money and having to return to work full time before I’m ready to leave my baby with some stranger.
The take-away of this story is me realizing that this won’t be the first time I won’t feel needed anymore, or be stressed and stretched to my limit, or worry about being in control of finances. I’m starting to realize I just need to roll with the punches and take life as it comes one day at a time.
Since my experiences, I have realized that my baby will always need me, of course, I’m her Mom!
Hubby and I have worked on a routine with baby and she only wakes up once now at 3am. Her sleeping routine has been getting better with time and hubby and I talk about our how we feel and reconfirm almost daily that we can work anything out. Communication is definitely important!
Also I’ve talked to him about finances and he is on board, making sure he does what he needs to do to support this family. I trust him and have released my tight controlling grip on my need to plan ahead. I now take one day at a time.
To any new mother who is feeling what I have felt, just know that these feelings will pass and you can make it through any storm.
- Calm down and take each day as it comes
- Talk to someone about the emotions you are feeling
- Get on the same page with your partner – Communication is key
- Enjoy this time with your baby, the good and bad
- Learn from these challenges so you can be prepared for next time
I would love to hear from you. What is your hardest moment of motherhood and how did you overcome it?
You may also want to check out my free ebook, Easy Stress-Eliminating Methods for Everyday Life where I share some of my personal methods to help relieve stress.