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To the new mom who's struggling: There is nothing wrong with you.


To the new mom who's struggling: There is nothing wrong with you.

My first birth was traumatic. I fell into new motherhood lost and confused and hurt in all the ways a person can be hurt: physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. Every part of me had been ransacked. I felt robbed and people kept telling me I was a rockstar.


My baby had some issues. Shoulder dystocia (a left arm that wasn't moving properly) from birth set us up for appointment after appointment.


At 3 weeks I had mastitis.... on a day I had two different appointments to attend and I actually tried to get to, only to have a pediatrician tell me she was more concerned about me than my baby. I nearly collapsed at their office and let my husband take our baby to the next appointment while I cried in bed feeling like a useless mom.


At 6 weeks our son developed a massive lump on his throat. More appointments. It was a very swollen lymph node. Nothing of great concern.... but "something to keep an eye on". More appointments in the calendar.


The efforts of others offering professional advice piled up and I couldn't take it. I felt like I had no time with my baby. I felt like everyone said some different form of "your baby should be okay, but we'll monitor this/that just to be sure". That doom. That doubt. That open ended concern always left me feeling like there WAS something wrong.


All of those well-intentioned and highly educated medical professionals took something away from me: my power. They made me feel like I needed them. They made me feel like they were the ones who knew how to take care of my son. They made me feel like I was failing... even when they were kind, even when they were optimistic.


That's what trauma does. It leaves you with an open wound and until it's healed, everything hurts.


So, I cancelled everything and I sat on my couch, I breastfed on demand, I let my baby sleep when he wanted to sleep. It wasn't seamless. It wasn't a quick cure. At 3 months, I had a huge breakdown. I felt empty. I felt lost. I had no idea what I was doing and I did not in any way recognize the person I was. I wasn't a person, I was a shell. That's what trauma does. It takes everything from you. It takes away safety and certainty and trust.


I didn't make all the right choices in those early months or years. Most of the time I was in survival mode and it often felt like I was choosing me or I was choosing him. We were so dysregulated, so disconnected. He's almost 4 now and when he asks me to sleep with him my heart leaps, because now we have safety and trust.... Certainty is still a mystery.


However, I am certain that I am doing my best. Even in being my best, I am certain I have hurt my son. I am certain I will apologize over and over again as often as it takes for him to feel heard and for us to heal.


If you are a new mom and you have amazing people telling you a whole bunch of things about you and/or your baby and somewhere in the back of your mind you know, it doesn't feel right OR it feels disempowering (like someone outside of you has the answers), I am here to remind you that YOU matter and YOUR intuition carries unmatched, unbridled wisdom.


If there are well-intentioned and highly educated people "supporting" you, and it feels like it's creating a barrier between you and your baby, is it really support? Maybe cancelling an appointment, changing practitioners, or laying on the couch for three months could help. You matter. Professionals are there to help, but if you feel more lost or you feel like there is something wrong with you... they aren't helping, they are hurting.


If there is any chance you have experienced birth trauma or are experiencing post-partum anxiety, please work with a professional who is trauma informed. That means a person who speaks from their heart, not from their highly educated brain. There is a time and place for those people. They save lives in their own wonderful ways. Maybe saving your life doesn't need reason and logic and 5 degrees... maybe it just needs someone to say: always trust your Mama wisdom, no one else will EVER know what your child needs more than you.


Professionals are here to offer information, choices, considerations. You always get to make decisions around what's right for you and your baby.


Hold your baby. Be with them. Feel your hearts connect. Take your time deciding what a next step might be.


If you have no idea what that step could be, place your hand on your heart, take a breath and say something honest to yourself. It could be "I don't know what I'm doing", "I'm feeling really scared", "I feel lost and unloved", "I'm empty", "I need help".


When you're ready, say those exact same words to someone else. I can't promise the help you need will come right away, I can promise that over time, the more honestly you speak with yourself and others, the more healing will happen.


From one Mom to another, I love you. I love you. I love you. ALWAYS trust your Mama wisdom, no one else will EVER know what your child needs more than you.


Written by Rebecca.O





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