I think one of the things I most struggled with when Arlington was born, other than breastmilk and every single thing surrounding that, was social media. Being a blogger, the norm seems to be:
1) get baby home from hospital where you were perfectly poised, dolled up and delighted with the arrival of this new tiny human
2) immediately be back to your pre-baby body, okay maybe not immediately, but at least within two weeks
3) have said baby dressed in the cutest outfits imaginable
4) be up every day with a full face of makeup looking absolutely pristine and loving every minute of it
So many of my dear friends in the industry had babies around the same time as me which was so fun and so helpful being a first time mom (and I LOVE these gals and in no way mean what’s written below to be derogatory in any way). But after baby arrived it kept making me feel awful to see how well they were doing versus how I was doing post-baby.
As I sat practically bed ridden recovering from a C-section with post-op complications while trying to tend to a baby with horrific colic and running on maybe two hours of sleep a day, I was feeling essentially no sense of self or success in any part of my life. Seeing everyone looking gorgeous with their babies dressed to impress every time I logged on the ‘gram just made me feel really down and wonder what I had possibly done wrong to be in the condition I was in.
Not documented further than the above photo for numerous reasons, including but not limited to, self-disgust and a lack luster of energy to take photos, I wore my Mrs. Clause pajama pants (they were the only ones that went high enough to not sit on my C-section incision) and cropped Kurt Cobain T-shirt nearly every single day for about four weeks.
My baby cried all the time. I cried all the time. Over all, it was probably one of the most trying months of my life. Not to say I was not grateful, I am, will forever be, and would change nothing about it.
Regardless of everything going on, I did have a few contracts that I had to get dressed up for and shoot a couple of weeks after Arlington was born, for which I’m truly grateful as I otherwise would have remained a slug those days.
Just to give some perspective on the photos I did post after having baby…..
In this photo here, shame on me, but I edited out the hideous outbreak of shingles on my right leg. These photos were actually taken at the hospital just over a week after I had Arli. I had gotten rear ended at 36 weeks pregnant and needed to fax medical records to the car insurance company for my claim from an overnight stay I had in the hospital due to the incident. I was told on the phone with the hospital that the only way to release the records was to physically show up to the hospital and go through the process of having them released there. Naturally, when I arrived I was told that was absolutely unnecessary. Classic, isn’t it? But at least it got me out of the house!
Here, not pictured is an adult diaper and I have no bra on as I didn’t think about purchasing nursing bras for myself before I had Arli. In leu of a nursing bra I shoved leak pads under my tank top for the first three weeks I was home.
Also noted in this photo, I have been wearing and sleeping in this dress for roughly 4 days before I shot this. Amazing what a scarf and sunglasses can do for a look, really!
All that said, the influence of perfection and pure bliss from instagram that I set to expect for myself once I arrived home is just another factor in my reasoning to change the manner in which I’m blogging and sharing. I get so many comments on being such a “fab” mom or the “most fashionable” mom when in reality I look like crap more than 50% of my time, feel like crap 50% of the time, and wash my hair upwards of twice a week. BUT I try as best I can to get put together a few times a week.
I remember my doctor coming in a couple days after my surgery and telling me that she was going to REQUIRE that I put on makeup every day, shower every day, and physically step outside every day. I thought “hell no am I going to put on makeup everyday”, I’m not a big makeup person. Let me tell you though, she was so right. Even now, part of mine and Arlington’s morning routine is her playing in the bathroom with her bath toys while I take 2-3 minutes to brush my teeth, slap on a bit of tinted moisturizer, and if I’m feeling really balls-y, some mascara. Even if I stay in PJ’s all day, I at least have the “fresh face” to give me that boost of self-worth! It’s these little things that make such a difference.
Now that baby girl is 7 months out of my belly and we are beginning to get settled in at our new home in England things are starting to get a lot easier and I’m actually able to ENJOY the time I have with Arlington. Motherhood is everything and nothing like what I expected it to be, but every second of every minute with my baby is worth any pain or struggle that may come along with it.
What are some of your struggles as a mom? Any tips or advice? Let me know if comments here or on instagram 🙂