Giving birth is hard, but I found raising the actual child harder. I had certain expectations.
The reality was a little different–especially in the beginning. In the first few weeks, many people come by your house to coo at your baby. This usually happens when you’ve just begun nursing. It’s typically your father-in-law or father. These are the fun moments.
You change a lot of diapers. You cannot believe someone so small can produce the waste of an entire elementary school on a single day. You keep track. Since you’re breastfeeding you have no idea if the baby is getting enough to eat. You begin to realize that you have one hour and 20 minutes between each 40-minute-bouts of nursing when you can be something other than a food source. These are the even funner moments.
I think I suffered from postpartum depression the first two months of my son’s life. My therapist at the time said I had adjustment disorder in order for me to submit my visits to my insurance provider. It was a very lonely time. I remember distinctly my mother showing me an picture of my baby on her iPhone and me just wanting to be left alone so I could watch Dancing with the Stars. In my defense, it was the episode where Kate Gosselin stomped around to the song “Paparazzi.”
It was in these profoundly sad moments that I turned to tabloid magazines for support. And wouldn’t you know, a “celebrity” could articulate exactly what I was experiencing.
Kendra Wilkinson, a former Playboy bunny whose claim to fame was dating the host of Tales from the Crypt, recently had become a mother herself. She now peered at me from the magazine covers, exclusively sharing her new mom confessions with Us Weekly and exclusively sharing her new mom worries with In Touch and exclusively sharing her new mom anxieties with Life & Style. To use the parlance of reality television, I felt a connection.
It was like she had a window into my brain when she discussed her decision to breastfeed. Anyone who says this is a natural, beautiful process has blocked out the first two months when neither participant knows what the hell to do, and where you wish you could do something gentler to yourself, like rub sandpaper on your nipples and coat them with lemon juice.
Kendra, like many mothers, worried about her ability to nurse with Triple D implants. It was like Kendra channeled my own thoughts when she said: “Right up until I went into labor, I was like, I don’t want to breastfeed! Then the baby came, and I was like, Ooh! I want to breastfeed!” I might have even said those exact words.
In two sentences, Kendra perfectly encapsulated the internal struggle of nursing vs. formula.
And as difficult as the decision to nurse was, it was nothing compared to the sadness Kendra felt. I, too, felt trapped and overburdened. I felt like I had nothing to look forward to, that my life would forever be an endless cycle of diaper-changing, feedings and CNN-watching. Kendra recounted the story of a visit by friends a few weeks after giving birth. Her words were like a lifeline:
“It was bad timing. They were really hot and had really nice bodies.”
Thank you, Kendra, for explaining why I was feeling so hopeless and forlorn.
And the story ends well for both of us….I no longer want to get in the car and drive as far away as possible from my son…and Kendra consumed Abdominal Cuts, a weightloss supplement filled with conjugated linoleic acid, to get her body back in shape. Win-win.