Hormones, man. They’re really something. They make us laugh, they make us cry (sometimes within the same 5 minutes). Sometimes they make us throw our blow dryers into the bath tub after they convince us to cut all our hair off and dye it a color that’s too dark for our skin tone (or so I’ve heard). If you think about it, hormones are very disrespectful.
But hormones after a baby? Oh my, now those little guys are downright awful. What’s even worse is they come with friends. The bad influence type of friends, like mood swings, intrusive thoughts, acne (and bacne!?) and even hot flashes. Oh yes, the hot flashes. Just the other day I somehow worked up the motivation to vacuum my staircase and by the end of that little adventure, the warmth radiating off my boobs and out of my shirt would have been powerful enough to heat one of those one-roomed school houses that my Great Grandma used to teach in. You’re picturing it, aren’t you? Not so hot flashes, am I right? On the bright side, I found a new way to save us a little on our utilities bill this month.
But, hormones, just like accidentally flashing your neighbor your entire nipple after a mid-afternoon pump session (sorry, Greg!), are just a natural part of becoming a mother. And perfectly normal. It’s TOTALLY normal to cry at the grocery store when the lady behind the deli counter gives you two stamps on your rewards card “because it’s cold out”. It’s PERFECTLY FINE to weep in your vehicle after seeing yourself in the self-checkout camera at Target. It’s actually natural to think about your two very young children graduating from high school and then promptly sob into the quart of ice cream you’re eating. It’s fine. I’m fine.
I really am fine, but, I do get so emotional, baby! Since I had done this less than two years ago, I was pretty positive I was prepared for anything the second time around might throw my way. Spoiler alert, I was wrong. Completely wrong. I mean, really, so far, everything except the way my boobs look (not great, Bob), has been completely different. All of the “stuff” I dodged the first time, from weird body stuff to confusing emotional stuff, found me, even with all of the “preparing” I thought I had done. It’s all very overwhelming, kind of like being in downtown Chicago without a GPS, and no natural sense of direction, with HUGE boobs that hurt and the unrelenting urge to sob and call my mom. So, where to begin?! First, I thought I had a handle on breastfeeding, because how hard would that be with these ol’ udders? Just look at them! It certainly isn’t their first rodeo. Well, it turns out, it’s very difficult, especially when a little bitch named mastitis comes a knockin’. Mastitis, as it turns out, stands for:
M – Misery
A – Accompanied by
S – Shit, I ran out of words, but it doesn’t really matter because it’s just actually the worst – TITIS.
If you haven’t experienced this for yourself, consider yourself lucky. If you have, God bless you, and God bless antibiotics and heating pads and ibuprofen and your cousin who assures you that even though you feel like dying, you WILL survive!
This second go ’round has also brought on some mind games that for some silly reason, I thought I was somehow exempt from. I definitely knew better to think that the hard part was over once I had this precious baby of mine, but to have my body and mind gang up on me like a pack of 8th grade bullies? Nah, bro, hard pass. But alas, as the anxiety started to grow and the intrusive thoughts started to creep in, I realized that nobody, not even ya girl, is safe from what hormones and chemicals and the human body can conjure up. I have no real advice on how to navigate this messy topic, other than to have a solid support system, and a trusted sounding board that will hear you out, no matter how “crazy” you might think you sound, be it a professional or someone who’s maybe been through something similar. P.S., you don’t sound crazy, promise.
So, you may be feeling like this took a turn. And you’re right, it did! Right onto Real Life Blvd…(you’ve maybe been there, it has an Applebee’s and the carwash with the cool lights inside). This is real life and real life stuff happens and that stuff should be addressed right along with all the funny business. Nobody has this parenting thing figured out, especially me. All parents, from new ones to old ones, are in a constant state of learning. I thought I knew what I was doing after one child, which is hilarious because I didn’t even learn how to tie my shoes correctly until middle school.
So, since it’s clear I know nothing, I’ve decided to really lean into this learning thing, and I’m happy to say I’ve learned a lot! For example, I’ve learned there’s a huge difference between real Goldfish crackers and the generic version the grocery store has on sale, just ask Hayes. I’ve learned that I like the Nose Frida a little too much, and it shouldn’t be used as a toy, just ask Cash. I’ve learned that my emotions aren’t something to feel ashamed of or embarrassed by, and I’ve earned the right to have a quick cry in a dressing room at the mall if I need to. Most importantly, though, I’ve learned that Miss Piggy from Muppet Babies is a little bitch and Kermit is a kiss-ass. Gotta teach your children to catch those character flaws early, am I right?
Learning is fun, and so helpful, especially when I start to feel overwhelmed. I wish I would have known that when I was in college instead of learning how many shots of UV Blue I could do in my dorm room in one night (sorry mom). I encourage you to learn, too. Learn from your mom, your dad, your grandma, your friends with kids, your friends without kids. Hell, learn from your friend’s kids. It doesn’t matter what you’re learning as long as you’re doing it. So, learn some new stuff and report back, because sharing is caring.
Well, I better go. I hear sirens and I’m afraid my neighbor may have caught another glance at “the girls” and called the cops on me.
Til next time, xoxo!