by Violet Gaynor, The Glow
Reconnecting with Romance
When it came time for me to have my first child, Plum, I was caught off guard by how much the dynamic of my relationship with my husband changed in those early months. Keeping a tiny human alive, while also recovering from pushing said tiny human out of my body, while simultaneously learning to feed that tiny human with my own body, despite the searing pain associated with doing so, felt like the farthest you could possibly get from romance. Yes, we were bonding over the birth of this perfect creature, but the complete and utter exhaustion we were experiencing and the instantaneous loss of our freedom threw us both for a major loop. The fact that I wasn’t feeling back to myself and wasn’t able to be the kind of wife and mother I thought I’d be from day one made me feel sad and alone. Over time, the connection does come back; it just needs to be nurtured, like the new baby.
Baby Blues in the Midst of Bliss
When Plum was born, I laid in the hospital with every blood vessel in my face popped and my eyes swollen shut, breathing through an oxygen mask. I felt far from natural as a new mom and, for a long time, I felt alone in this way. I felt like a bad mom for not feeling blissful from day one and that, surely, every other mama out there was dreamily staring into her baby’s eyes. Postpartum depression comes in many forms and it’s not always extreme, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less important to acknowledge. The first step is acceptance and sharing with someone who can be a sounding board and voice of reason. Support from and connection with other moms who understand you is key. There could not be more truth to the saying, it takes a village.
Adapting to New Skin
Most everyone knows about the more common postpartum afflictions — hair loss, nursing pain, physical exhaustion — but there’s so much left unsaid. For me, it was just the general feeling of not knowing who I am in those first months after the baby is born. During both of my pregnancies, I felt more powerful and protected than I have at any other time in my life, but from almost the second I gave birth both times, there was an immediate shift that occurred which I can only describe as disorienting. How is it possible that after being literally ripped open to bring my baby into the world, I don’t need to have a check-up for 6 whole weeks? My body felt soft and squishy and stretched out, like a discarded vessel, and altogether foreign to me, but I’ll be damned if I’m not abundantly, constantly, ceaselessly in awe of what it’s been through and what it accomplishes every single day, even when all I’m capable of is going from my bed to my couch. For any mamas out there who may be feeling lost, here’s one of my favorite quotes from my dear friend Rachelle Hruska MacPherson’s essay for The Glow: “Please know you are not alone. You are not weak. You are the most powerful and capable thing alive. You are a woman. You are a mother.”
Violet Gaynor’s background in digital fashion coverage ranges from elle.com & instyle.com to her own web-based endeavor. In 2015, she launched The Glow, an editorial motherhood website and brand, which has collaborated with Target, Madewell, J.Crew, and Coach. She lives on the Upper West Side with her film curator husband, David, five year old daughter, Plum, and newborn son, Rome.