The Trenches

by Julie

soldiers in the trenches

When Will was two weeks old, our good friends, Jen and Katie, stopped by for a visit.

“How are things going?” Katie asked.

“We’re in the trenches,” Billy replied.

They laughed, but we were serious. Things were really tough that first month, but we eventually dug ourselves out. The LA Times article, “Be Prepared for the Reality of Postpartum,” brought me back to that difficult month as new parents, and some of those old emotions started to rise up again.

One woman in the article describes feeling, “incompetent as a mother,” because she felt like she wasn’t good at the one job she was supposed to be good at. I think we can all relate to her sentiments.

One night, when Will was just two weeks old, we noticed his lips were chapped. “He’s dehydrated!” I said with panic. “His soft spot is sunken in! Call the doctor!” The tears started to fall. There was no one else to blame for this problem, but myself. Breastfeeding was SO HARD, and I wanted to give up right then and there. We took him to the doctor’s office the next day, and he had gained 2 lbs. Phew. I was being so tough on myself, but it was actually working.

Another section in the article talks about a mother with a 6-day-old baby, who can’t hold back the tears when she attends a new mommy support group. She says, “I wish I was back in the hospital […]You feel so safe there.” Reading her story, reminds me of the many nights I spent crying at the dinner table. “Why am I so emotional?” I would cry to my mom. I kept telling myself, if we can just get through this week, it’s going to get better. Of course, it did, and now that first month feels like a dream. Hopefully, “the trenches,” will be easier the next time around.

Were you fully prepared for the realities of postpartum life? How did you dig yourself out of  “the trenches”?