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The Hard Truth of Having a New Baby
Having a baby is hard.
It’s so wonderful. It’s so fulfilling. It’s so meaningful. But it is also REALLY, REALLY hard.
One of the reasons why dieting is so alluring, is because it very neatly fits into our human need for black and white. Good and bad. But, my friends, what I am here to tell you is that life is all about the gray. The messy in between. The rainbow colors splashing all about, making a big messy non black and white world.
I know, I know, that’s pretty disappointing.
So many of us, including myself, we want the formula. The magic pill or key. “Just tell me what to do and I’ll do it,” say most of my clients.
I think you see where this is going.
Just a few short months ago, I was blessed with the cutest little baby boy. I felt so incredibly blessed. My heart swelled with love. Each time I am pregnant with a new baby, I wonder how I will love my new baby like my other kids. How will there be room in my heart? But your heart is divided into chambers and each child somehow gets your entire heart.
I never understood it as a kid. The fourth of nine, I scratched my head each time I heard my mother was pregnant. “You’re pregnant again? But why? Aren’t we enough for you? Isn’t this enough?” Only now – at age 31, can I wrap my head around it.
Each child is an entire world.
A blessing like no other. But also, a lifetime of a commitment to responsibility. That duality again. I am so in love with my baby and at the same time I feel like my world has turned upside down.
This birth was 1 bajillion times easier than my last birth, considering I entered the hospital for my scheduled c -section, just 3 days after my mothers sudden death. As we prepared to leave the hospital with this baby, Akiva, I said to my husband “I am so relieved we do not have any funerals.” I know, what a morbid thing to say, but honestly, that was and is the truth.
So what am I getting at? I guess I am making space for multiple emotions here.
I am giving myself permission to feel all the emotions. On the one hand, I just finished reading an incredible holocaust book called “The Redhead of Auschwitz,” which I highly, highly recommend! The whole time I am reading it – I am overcome with feelings of guilt. “How can I be complaining about my sadness, my petty inconveniences when this woman literally didn’t have food. She was dressed in lice infested clothing. She had to do back breaking labor???”
Yet, I sit in my room, flooded with all sorts of postpartum hormones and I cry.
I feel the world shutting in on me. I crave the ability to fall asleep, but sleep does not come. My racing mind cannot be set to ease. And all the while, my guilt hovers over these feelings, telling me I don’t deserve to feel such things.
Which brings me right back to the beginning of this blog post.
Babies are such a blessing AND they are so hard. Can 2 things exist at the same time? Can I feel unbelievably grateful with all my heart AND at the same time feel so depleted of everything?
The only thing I can think of to answer is a resounding “yes,” because that is how I feel.
We are taught that we do have the power over our thoughts and feelings.
And of course we do. But when we get that initial reaction, that initial rush of feelings, we are obligated to sit in that feeling for as long as we can. Let it move through you as the wind sways, back and forth, until it passes.
Feelings aren’t dangerous. They are strong and powerful, yes, but they are not dangerous.
Our emotions are meant to get us into motion. We are living beings, always moving – represented by our beating hearts. We are meant to move and grow and change.
These strong emotions that we want to hide from and push away, they are our teacher. They move us through the world, helping us evolve into the people Hashem knows we can become.
So yes, you can be totally grateful and falling apart in the same breath. You can feel a deep sense of pain and heartbreak EVEN THOUGH you have all of your needs met. Congratulations, you are a human.
You can complain about something and still feel grateful for it.
This is just my opinion based on my world and my life. This is what I have come to realize works for me. Belief systems are often made up of things we learned along the way, but they are not always our truths. I ask myself “does this belief system serve me,” and if it doesn’t – can I let it float away on a leaf down a beautiful stream. (Easier said than done but it can be done – yes!)
If I can allow myself to feel all the feelings. To validate the human experience. To complain for a bit when I feel it helps. To fully own how I feel about something, then, and only then, can I let it go. Why should I then deny all my hard feelings if they seem to resurface anyways and smack me in the face.
I am here 3 months postpartum, on the major struggle bus.
Going through a lot of emotional ups and downs. Letting go of the shame and stigma that comes along with it. Allowing myself to get the help I need. Making space for my pain even in one of the happiest times of my life. Why? Because I want to accept that I am a human. I want to give permission to the people around me – to be human too.
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If you are ready to make peace with food and never say diet again, check out my website https://gilaglassberg.com and apply for a free 20 minute clarity call. I look forward to hearing from you!
Gila Glassberg is a Master's level registered dietitian and a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor. As a teenager, she was faced with constant diet talk, body shaming and obsessive guilt around food. She struggled with disordered eating. This is what propelled her into the field of nutrition. She uses a non-diet, weight-neutral approach called Intuitive Eating. She helps growth oriented women break out of chronic dieting, and regain clarity into what is really important to them.
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