Sitting with the edge of darkness: I watch and Learn

Hey out there! It’s me again! I know, it’s been some time (again) right? Whenever I share on this blog my intention is to share with purpose. Not to share just because I enjoy talking (or writing) about myself. So here I am writing this out in the notes section of my phone because I think others may need to read it. Hopefully it’s helpful.

Some of you know I’m a new first time mom. I had a beautiful baby boy under some pretty chaotic circumstances on 8/23/19. Since then, I got a new job title that involves some serious work in a way I could not have understood until I was in it. Yeah, that’s right-MOM.

People of course always ask me how I am doing, how is the baby, how is #momlife?!

My answer so far has been the same. “It’s really effing hard”. Some people laugh (maybe they think I’m joking). Some people say it gets better. Some people tell me how rewarding it is…for me. Like tell me how I should feel I guess. I so appreciate the ones who just nod and agree, “it’s SO hard isn’t it?”.

What I’ve learned so far is that having a new baby comes with extremely high levels (for me) of fear, uncertainty, and deep exhaustion. I mentioned that my delivery was chaotic, so add the vulnerabilities that came before stepping into mom life, and to say we (my husband and I) are tired, is a wild understatement.

Here’s a little breakdown:

The fear-Is he breathing? What is wrong? Why is he screaming like that? Why don’t I know how to make him feel better? He can sense my fear I know this, what is that doing to him? Is my husband ok? Will we be ok?

The uncertainty-will it really ever get better? Once something changes, I’ll just be worried about something else. How will this change me? How will this change us? What if mom-ing isn’t my thing? Will he turn out ok? The second guessing myself-this is endless! Is it the breastmilk? Is it the formula? Maybe try different bottles. I googled and googled and googled.

The exhaustion-Coming into motherhood without having slept well or having felt physically well in a few months. Bringing a newborn home and not getting more than a 2 hour stretch of sleep (if that) at any given time. The struggle of breastfeeding. The three hours a day of pumping and the time it takes to make bottles, wash bottles, the attention to how much time that bottle has left before it goes, the questioning of my diet and how it impacts him-more googling. More texting. The emotional toll of not knowing how to console a screaming baby for hours at night. Watching my husbands exhaustion settle in as well, and the feeling of guilt (unjustified I know) that as the mom, I should know how to better take care of him and everyone would feel better.

I sat in the baby’s room one night as he cried and cried and took my attempt at soothing him. It didn’t work and it went on for some time. I cried to myself and looked out the window. It was so dark out, and somehow the quiet state outside seemed to match what I was coming up against on the inside. The mix of these emotions settling in.

I’m so insanely grateful that my husband has been home with me for all of this so far. I remember thinking that night “if he weren’t here, I would be REALLY having a hard time”. I could feel the edge of darkness just enough to know it was around in that moment. To be honest, just that in itself freaked me out. And it made me feel sad. Why am I feeling this way given this beautiful boy in front of me?

Now, I know what I would say to my mom friends if they were questioning these feelings. I know what I would say to you. It’s normal. It’s ok. You feel what you feel. Notice it, don’t push it away. It’s only a feeling Watch and learn. Observe.

Motherhood isn’t all cute Instagram pics and adorable onesies. It’s hard. But I do know it’ll get easier and those really awesome, precious moments definitely keep me grounded and grateful.

This isn’t the first time I have noticed the sting of that dark feeling, and I’m sure many of you know what I’m talking about. I also know it won’t be the last time. I believe that really hard and scary times is what makes the light times more beautiful and sacred. When the feeling does start to creep up again, I’ll practice observing.

I will feel the sensations.

I will accept, open and welcome.

I will be curious.

I will not judge it or compare it.

I will ride the wave of it, knowing it is temporary.

I will watch it, separating myself from emotion.

I will listen for a signal as to what I need in that moment.

I will listen, watch and learn from this moment.

Consider this practice for yourself, with any emotion showing up. Notice how mindfulness helps to change the relationship you have with emotions, particularly the tough ones.

Picture of me and my little teacher.

DBT of South Jersey media

Stay In The DBT SJ Loop!

Get all our updates, free events and workshops and DBT Tips in one beautifully curated place by subscribing to our email list!

We only send about once a month, so we don’t overwhelm your inbox! 😉

Welcome to DBT of South Jersey – we’re glad you’re here.

Subscription Form