The first weeks of motherhood were not what I expected when expecting.  I never thought I’d be writing a post about how I weathered the baby blues and postpartum depression and how it changed me for the better in a billion ways.  I’m so grateful that this challenging journey has a very happy outcome.  It taught me more than any other period in my life.  But, 99% of me does not want to write the first part of this post.  It’s hard to write about a time you want to forget.  I just want to tell you, I went through a rough time and here’s what I learned...  I want to just skip to the good stuff.  But, there is this little voice – that 1% left over – that hopes writing this will help another new mom not feel like the only person on earth who experienced life with a newborn like I did.  So, the 1% wins.

Every new mother’s experience is different. There are lots of moms who have had a much harder time postpartum than I did and there are lots of moms who experience none of this.  No matter what you are feeling, if it doesn’t feel normal, talk to your doctor. Talk to your loved ones. Ask for help. This is just my experience and I hope and pray that sharing this will help you or someone else know that they are not alone. There is a great light at the end of the tunnel that smiles and coos and sleeps for six hours a night on occasion. As a wise friend once told me, motherhood does get better. A lot better.

I don’t remember a lot of the chronology, but I remember intense feelings. To list them all would take me the many weeks it took to get through them. So, this is just a very small collection of my experiences with some of my personal photos and a few from Nancy mixed in.  The pretty ones are Nancy’s; the blurry ones are from yours truly via my iPhone : )

Early in my pregnancy, I remember moms saying that they loved everything about being pregnant. I thought they were nuts when I was going through morning sickness. I just kept thinking, Never again! We’re adopting from now on. But, when I turned the morning sickness corner, I started to get it. I genuinely felt happy all the time. Joyful. Radiant. Hopeful and centered on what mattered most. I became one of those women. I loved being pregnant. Everything about it. Even despite any complaints I may have had about having to pee every 20 minutes round the clock. I felt great. I was in the gym every day until the day before Grace was born. I ate well and never really had any crazy cravings. Business was booming. Ari and I were closer than ever. I just felt very well and very grateful.

As Grace’s arrival grew closer, my deepest fear was postpartum depression. I went through a bout of depression early in college. I fought it hard with a great therapist and major changes in my thinking (i.e. learning how to become an “imperfectionist”). Over a long span of time, I kicked depression to the curb. I work hard to continue to build joy and focus in my life. It has not been easy. So, post-baby, I just didn’t want to go there. I feared losing the bliss of pregnancy I had come to be so grateful for. I feared things falling apart.  I tried to set myself up for success before Grace’s arrival. I pre-scheduled weekly therapy sessions again, got the house in as much order as I could, turned my email off, read every book I could find, etc. Well, it hit me like a Mack truck and no amount of preparation could have helped. God had a greater plan.

I remember those first days in the hospital, feeling like my strong healthy body was suddenly very fragile. The aftermath of my painful labor felt like recovering from major surgery and an emotional trauma at the same time. I couldn’t walk around well, I was dizzy, tired, dehydrated and I just felt off.  My center of gravity had completely changed. There was a bunch of loose tender skin where there used to be a kicking baby.  And I was sad.  It was an odd feeling. I kept thinking, This is supposed to be the most blissful time in our lives. This is supposed to be the happiest occasion ever! Why do I feel so off!? I tried to focus on the positive: my healthy baby, my caring husband, my wonderful family. God had blessed us immensely.

We would stay up all night watching Grace, making sure she was OK. She ate round the clock. Nurses would come in and out and, between that and the hospital PA system blaring pages all night, I think I got 20 minutes of [interrupted] sleep at a time. We both really wanted to go home, so we only stayed two nights. We were ready for Thanksgiving (Grace was born on November 22) at home with my family and our own bed.

The first days at home. Oh, those first days! We genuinely survived by the grace of God. I had a lot of really irrational thoughts, hormone drops and countless moments where I said to myself, “This is not normal.” People will tell you that feeling all of the “typical things” is normal. Normal? No. Common? Yes. Rarely discussed? Yes.

I remember just wanting my mom. She and my dad and brother had to fly back to Florida four days after Grace was born. The day they left, I felt like my life was over. Really, I did. While Ari took them to the airport, I sat in the living room with Grace in my arms and just cried and cried and cried. How am I going to do this by myself? I have no idea what I’m doing. What if I mess up!? I’m not cut out for this!!! Ari came home and tried to console me. He just kept reminding me that this was just my hormones changing (“baby blues”) and it would pass. When you are in the thick of it, it’s hard to believe it will pass.

Giving birth and all the emotions that followed left me feeling my most vulnerable ever. I wanted to be alone. I wanted to retreat. I wanted to protect Grace. I wanted to protect my very vulnerable heart.  I felt a strong sudden need for privacy. I didn’t want to share pictures of Grace at first or talk about her except to Ari and my mom and dad and close friends. I couldn’t write and I missed it terribly. I was really torn. I felt like I couldn’t share any of this at the time. I had a lot of social anxiety. Sweet friends would text me and I just had to ignore them all. I didn’t want to burden people with how I was feeling.  I kept hoping it was temporary – just the typical “baby blues” and it would pass in a day or so.

It didn’t pass.  I started to feel like I wasn’t meant to be a mom. When Grace cried, I felt like I was doing eternal damage to her because I didn’t know how to make her happy. I cried more than I ever have. I blamed myself. I felt helpless. I couldn’t just make it better. I couldn’t “fix” her. I remember feeling very protective. I didn’t trust anyone with her. The first weeks, I would stay up most of the night just watching her and making sure she was breathing. I’d be up every two hours or so to feed her, too. “Sleep deprived” is an understatement.

All of the “pretty” photos of me in the blue shirt were made possible by a lot of makeup and Ari watching Grace for two hours so I could shower and blow dry my hair for the first time. Grace cried for 90% of the session. I so badly wanted those cute newborn photos that everyone else had. I wanted the picture in my head of “normal”. But, I learned many weeks later that what I got was actually better. These are very real moments captured. Some of these are the “outtakes” that ended up being closer to my heart than the pretty ones. This is just how it was.

The first diaper I ever changed was Grace’s when she was three days old. I was scared I was going to do permanent emotional damage to her if I messed up her diaper. Seriously. I remember my hands shaking as I changed her for the first time. I was petrified of Pampers.

Just six days after giving birth, I was back in the gym. Before you call me crazy, I’ll do it for you! I didn’t need exercise. I just needed “normal”.  I pushed Grace around the track in her stroller at a snails pace. We could only go for about 25 minutes before she would have a meltdown and I’d be in the gym bathroom trying to nurse her to calm down. It was awful. I cried in the gym bathroom every time. I felt like I’d never ever get my life back.

It felt like my body deteriorated overnight.  The stretch marks were more like stretch gashes.  I cried over the loss of my “youth”.   I felt like I’d never be happy in my skin again. It made me feel hopeless. It ended up, like all of this, teaching me so very much. Letting go of my old self ended up giving me more true confidence than I’ve ever had.

Nursing was a huge challenge for me. It was so painful. And after my painful labor, you’d think I wouldn’t consider anything painful.  I cried when I nursed her. I was so desperate for relief. Ari took me to see the lactation consultant at the hospital, I read everything I could get my hands on and we bought everything under the sun to try to help me. Nothing helped.  I felt like a failure even though I knew I couldn’t do anything about it.  Rational thought didn’t matter to me at the time.  Being the perfect picture of what a mother is “supposed to be like” was all I focused on.  I felt weak and like I wasn’t meant to be a mom.

And then, just a week after Grace’s birth, in the thick of the worst part of the sleep deprivation and recovery, I got the flu.  Man, looking back on all of this, I am so grateful it’s over!!! I hadn’t been sick in years. And I got it bad. I didn’t get out of bed for two days. I couldn’t sit up to eat. Ari had to bring me food in bed.  I passed out in the shower.  I’m so grateful that Ari took such great care of me during that time. I don’t know what I would have done without him. Between the flu and everything else, nursing just became an impossibility in my mind. So, Ari rented me a hospital grade pump and Grace has been happily bottle-fed since. I felt such mommy guilt having stopped nursing so early, but it was the biggest blessing in disguise for so many reasons.

The day after my fever broke, Ari had to go back to work. He had paternity leave for just one week and we have no relatives near us, so I dreaded the day I’d be alone with Grace for the first time. I was so afraid to be alone I literally would not leave my bed except to get Luna Bars (because I could eat those in bed). I was afraid I was going to make her cry more or hurt her by putting her down somewhere to even take a 3 minute shower (which now terrified me having passed out there the day before). I would spend much of the day worrying and texting Ari about how hopeless I felt. Emily, Natalie and Gina were huge helps to me, too, during those weeks. Emily would text me encouraging verses every day to reassure me that this would pass. I am so grateful for that.

I would hear new moms talk about not having time to get dressed or eat or brush their teeth. I didn’t believe it. All the books say to prep easy food ahead of time and freeze it before you have a baby. I thought I had that in the bag. It only took me a couple minutes to fix some food for myself anyway, right? Well, showering became a luxury, Ari ended up having to make up huge batches of food for me and freeze it so I could eat during the day (my appetite was huge!!), I lived in my PJ’s and there were many days I didn’t get to brush my teeth till noon.

Grace looked just like daddy which was wonderful at first. I felt very connected to him. But, after a while, I started to wonder if this was really my child. I couldn’t connect with her. Newborns grunt and cry and eat and sleep. That’s about it. They say the first three months are the “Fourth Trimester”. They are. I felt like we suddenly had a little alien in our lives who couldn’t communicate with us. Every moment was like a crap shoot, trying to blindly guess what was going to make her happy. I always liked being a confident leader. I relished the ease I felt in business. There was no such confidence or ease for me in the early days of motherhood. No one really tells you that your child won’t show a whole lot of love for you until about three months. This was so hard for me. It was like loving a brick wall. A brick wall that cried a lot. But, then this thought kept creeping into my heart: that’s exactly how God feels about ME. He loves and gives and nurtures and soothes and sometimes I just don’t even acknowledge Him. But, He loves me unconditionally anyway. He gives and gives and gives, no matter what I do. That was a huge lesson that I am now really grateful for.

I wanted to be like all those moms I saw on Facebook (being on Facebook was my first mistake) who were posting pictures of their adorable little newborns and saying how grateful they all felt. I did not feel that way in the least. Those moms made me mad. Those moms would say to me, “Isn’t motherhood the greatest thing ever?!”  No.  It wasn’t at the time.  I was depressed and felt like I was the only mom on the planet with a baby I couldn’t connect with.

Truth be told, I was on Facebook because I felt alone. I was in bed all day long feeding Grace and trying not to make her cry. I desperately craved the comfort of friends and family. But, I didn’t call anyone for fear I’d wake her up or make her upset. I Googled everything under the sun to try to find help, including things like, “new mom blog when will I sleep again???”. That’s when I found this post entitled, You Will Sleep Again… Someday, and instantly wanted to high five this lady. Finally, someone felt like I did! And she had a sense of humor about it. Speaking of, I like to title the two photos below, “Yeah, Mommy Feels That Way Too” and “Lara vs. The Boppy”.

I am an INFP (introvert). I like writing because it’s just me and the computer. I work by myself most days in my office because I crave solitude.  Solitude is very different than feeling alone.  It’s a sense of peace.  Solitude, for me, is how I recharge. I need time to process thoughts. I need time to just be and let my guard down. The gym would give me this, too. I’ve always loved being there with my thoughts, headphones in, letting my mind unwind. Suddenly, there was no solitude. I had to learn to fight for it.

Marriage before Grace’s birthday was blissful. It had been our best year ever in a billion ways. Marriage in those early weeks with baby was a huge challenge. We were both sleep deprived and trying to figure out our new roles in life. Deciding what to call ourselves was weird, too. Suddenly you have new foreign titles: Mommy and Daddy. We started awkwardly referring to ourselves in the third person. Mommy is really tired and wishes that daddy could produce milk, too. It was just weird. In the desperate moments, in the wee hours of the night, completely exhausted, I remember wishing we could turn back time and go back to the pre-baby days of our marriage. I remember thinking that people who haven’t had babies would think we were insensitive or didn’t love our child for even thinking that. The moms and dads out there would get it. God sure had a plan here, though, friends. Our marriage is stronger than ever now. Imperfect but centered on what matters most… this beautiful little girl who now lights our hearts on fire.

I remember going to see my doctor for my five week postpartum checkup. Kathryn, the nurse, gave me an Edinburg postpartum assessment to fill out. As we waited for Dr. Evers to come into the exam room, Ari said, “Lara, you better be brutally honest filling that out.” Trust me, I planned to. Dr. Evers read it over and told me how surprised he was. “You are one of the happiest patients we’ve ever had. I’m surprised to read your answers.” Yes, I was surprised to be feeling those things, Doc. We talked for a while and I explained to him what I’d been feeling and that I was talking to a therapist weekly already. He thought I’d be fine with time as long as I also started to get more sleep. Agreed. Ari and I made some big changes after that. I had been staying up all night with Grace, feeding her every two hours AND pumping, so I was up for at least at hour at a time every two hours. I was miserable. The “sleep when the baby sleeps” advice didn’t work for me. I wish it had, but I am just not wired to take naps during the day. And I had to let go of feeling like I had to be up making sure she was OK every five minutes.  I had to put my trust in God 10000%. I made myself sleep with earplugs in again (I’d slept with ear plugs every single night for the last decade up until Grace was born) and we changed things so Ari was getting up to feed her and I was getting up to pump, cutting my time awake in half. This sounds like an obvious solution, but it was tough to implement. Ari had to be bright-eyed for work the next day and those early weeks took a toll on him, too. All of that left me feeling guilty that I wasn’t Super Woman. I just had to get over that. I couldn’t stay up all night with Grace without feeling like a basketcase the next day.

On top of all of this, lest I forget… I had a busy business to run. Yes, I was “on maternity leave” but, as any small business owner knows, you can’t just hang up your work hat completely and walk away for three months. As much as I worked my tail off to clear my plate 100% before Grace’s arrival and as much as my staff worked really really hard to handle things without me (they were awesome!), the realities of being the boss were still there. I took my work email off my phone, but I had to crack my laptop open a few times a week to make sure things were running smoothly. Even the tiniest work concern becomes a mountain when you are sleep deprived.  I tried to ignore it at first, but I found that tackling it made me feel better than just letting it go.

One thing I fervently avoided those first weeks though, was making big business decisions. I genuinely feel like that is one of the biggest benefits of taking maternity leave – to avoid making dumb decisions on two hours of sleep. I’m still on maternity leave and things have changed and grown beautifully. I’m still not checking business email except from the ladies in my office and I’m not taking meetings, but I am working very hard behind the scenes to streamline the business in powerful ways. I’ve never felt more sure of our path ahead. I’m so grateful for this time to be with Grace and build things from the ground up…. from a renewed place of focus and confidence.

There were, of course, miraculously beautiful moments in those first weeks. Those were the moments we relished because they somehow “erased” all the rest temporarily. I loved the way Grace smelled. Her little head smelled like Heaven. Her skin was so soft. That was one of the first things that struck me when she was born. Baby soft perfection. Grace was wonderful. She was healthy. I had nothing to complain about and everything to be grateful for when it came to her. The thing that is hardest to explain about all of this is that my depression really had nothing to do with the baby. It had everything to do with my expectations and control of my life before her. It had everything to do with my heart needing to change to be able to let her in.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God… – Ephesians 2:8

There’s a lot more to those first weeks, but it’s time for the good stuff now!   “The past is an anchor holding us back. You have to let go of who you are to become who you will be.” On to what I learned (and some happier pictures from just a couple weeks ago when Grace was 2.5 months old.):

I’ve learned that the stretch marks are badges of honor. This body is just my earthly tent anyway.

I learned through all of this that I need solitude to be happy and I have to fight to get it. It it means putting Grace in front of the TV for an hour to watch Baby Einstein, then that’s what I do. My image of the “perfect mom” whose child didn’t watch TV had to be tossed out the window. Taking time to reset my mind gives me the ability to be a mom the other 23 hours a day.

I’ve learned to be much more compassionate and aware of others. I want to hug every woman with a stroller that I see at Target. Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. - Plato  I also learned to be so much more compassionate with myself.  Done is better than perfect.

I learned that I need help. Therapy helped my thoughts settle. I’m so grateful for that. And I needed physical help, too. I needed to be able to take a shower every day. I needed to feel like a human again. I needed time to get our lives in order so I could transition to work well and be a great mommy. I needed to recover. So, I started searching for someone to help me a few days a week.  I wanted to find a nanny/assistant who could help me be the best mom possible. Financially, it was a huge decision for us and the thought of trusting Grace with anyone besides my mom and Ari (and even that was hard sometimes) seemed like an impossibility at first. I still struggle with this. But, I had to learn to face reality: Grace will not have permanent emotional damage if I leave her with Susan to take a shower or work on our family budget (so we can continue to afford said nanny) or lead my staff meetings so the business stays booming. I had to let go. Big time. I have kicked and screamed all the way there, but I have let go a lot. And I have a long way left to go, but I have become a happier more balanced confident mom in accepting the fact that I cannot do all of this alone.   Having help doesn’t solve everything though.  I still have anxiety on occasion and I fight the sleep deprivation and feeling like a failure when she cries. I get overwhelmed. I get tired of being a mom. I worry. I fight the mommy guilt off with a big stick. But, life is much much better. I am not depressed anymore.  Thank you, Lord! I am taking action even when I “fail” over and over. Fall down seven times, get up eight.  Every day as a mom holds a new challenge and a new joy.  I’m learning. I don’t feel like I have to just put on a happy face. I’ve become much more honest with myself and brutally honest with others and I feel less of a need to please people. My motto now: Honesty, Humility, God’s Peace. My happy is coming from within again and from a truly new place.  And everything is better because of it – business and life.

I learned that there are no shortcuts to any place worth going. A huge transition like this takes time to settle. Gaining mommy confidence takes time. It takes letting go every day, not just once. There are layers upon layers that have to unfold and, as much as I like fast change and quick results, I have learned that God’s timing is perfect. I just have to listen to Him and nothing else.

I learned I need community. Ari and I learned that we are not an island. We started getting involved in church more. We made new friends. We strengthened relationships. I worked hard to build support networks. Speaking of, new moms, feel free to join the New Moms group I started. Join even if you are just pregnant and want to have a supportive community around you! We even have women in the group who are just thinking about taking the leap into motherhood. I can only relate my own personal experience, but I would love to be a support to you if you need one. I’m so grateful for my dear close friends who helped me.

This is a big one. I’m learning how to say NO. And I have to say no a lot. Saying no to one thing is saying YES to another. I’ve been using the majority of maternity leave to simplify our lives so I can work less hours.  I’ve been on a warpath to simplify, streamline how we approach business and save money in radical ways (thank you, Dave Ramsey) so I can refocus my time and energy on my most important job: being a mom. This involves me saying no to a lot of opportunities and choosing my clients very carefully and setting very strong boundaries on my time with others and letting go of things I really do not need.  I’m fighting for my time. I’m on maternity leave which means I’m not answering business email or taking meetings.  (Side note: I don’t check Facebook email ever. People tell me they send me messages there and I never replied.  My “About” section has said “I don’t check Facebook email” since I first opened my account.  Between all the spam there, I just can’t keep up with it.  So, I choose not to let it distract me from using my time more wisely.  And I deleted Facebook from my phone.  Real life > Facebook.)  When I do start taking meetings again, I will not be working on Monday or Friday.  And as usual, I can’t spend time giving out free advice.  It’s not free. It costs me priceless time that I can’t get back.  I’ve also prayerfully made decisions about travel this year.  Travel is a major sacrifice now.  If an opportunity benefits Grace and our family, I’ll consider it. But, she is my non-negotiable. Time with her. Her happiness and mine so I can be the best mom to her.

I’ve learned that things that used to be important just aren’t important anymore. Goodbye fancy sports car, goodbye dinners out, goodbye working the hours I used to work, goodbye everything and anything that will make me have to work more and prevent me from spending more time with this sweet baby. In the past, my solution to needing more money was to work harder and just make more money. I’m good at that. But, that requires time and brain space, both of which I now want to give to this little munchkin. So, working more just isn’t an option.  Working smarter and simplifying is.  I’d rather make radical changes in our lifestyle and in how I approach business than miss moments I can’t buy back.  Will I be happier at the end of my days having worked more or having given my heart to her? So, hello new budget and hunting for a used car and only taking meetings one day a month and cooking every night and scaling back everything in our lives to simplify. While all of this would have felt very restrictive and confining to my pre-baby self, it has been the most liberating part of this journey.  Learning to live with less feels really really good, friends. It’s changing how I see the world and giving me so much more confidence as a mom and faith that we are on the right path.  And most of all, it’s giving me my time back.  It is setting me up to have a really incredible first year with Grace.  Even though saying no is really hard sometimes and I hate disappointing people, fighting for time with my family fires me up!  Grace is worth disappointing people.  Her smiles are like money in the bank to me. Money she will get to spend one day.  I have a lot more to tell you about this – what I’ve changed and how I’m simplifying – soon.

I learned that there are three laws of real success:

1. You cannot please everyone.

2. Rest is required.

3. Honestly always wins.

I learned that I will never be the same. I’ll be on “maternity leave” till Grace is 18 and off to college. Having a baby isn’t something that happens to you and then, after maternity leave, you go back to normal. It’s a permanent change and there is a new “normal”.

Above all, I learned just how much I need God. My priorities had a heart change. God showed me the priorities that really matter. He showed me that He will always provide what I really need. Weathering this incredibly hard time showed me just how much I had to TRUST Him. Fully. Completely. With all my soul, strength and mind. Why? Because God always has a better bigger plan than I do. I learned that every single circumstance He put me in was for my growth. God wanted to refine my spirit. Big time. More growth happened for both Ari and me in these first three months of parenthood than in our entire lives. We had to have full faith that God had designed all of this for a reason. I kept questioning Him at first, wondering why I had to be so tired and so scared and so very far from my former self.  I had to learn to completely let go of ALL control.  God had a better self in mind.

This heart change is bigger than I can possibly put into words in a single blog post. God pulled away everything I thought was comforting in my life – sleep, confidence, the youth of my body, what I thought was a really great marriage, control of my schedule, joy in connecting with others, showers, solitude, all of it. And He left us with a new love, real priorities and the knowledge that this is just the beginning of this heart change. He left us with all we ever need… He left us with Grace. And there’s a lot more I’m not writing in this post. God blew us out of the water with the blessings He poured on our family since those early days. True miracles. Dear Lara, why do you ever waste time questioning God’s plans!?!? Oh, He brought me out of depression for sure and He put me on the best clearest path I’ve ever been on.

So, if you think I’ve become one of those moms who posts a lot of cute pictures of her baby on Facebook… well, I have. I’ve been through it and I finally want to share these joyful moments. Every moment of joy now heals a moment of despair from before. As I type this, Grace is cooing away, watching Baby Einstein. It’s hilarious watching her talk to the animals. She is so happy and fascinating. I truly love being a mom now. Diapers, late nights, baby toots (like the giant one during communion this past weekend!  Ha!) and all!  Lately, she has been learning how her hands work and loves to “sing”.  Seeing her explore the simplicity of the world is just breathtaking. God is awesome.

Unending thanks to so many dear friends – and perfect strangers – who encouraged me so much during those early days.   You just never know how your kindness will affect someone else.  I’m so grateful!

xo

Lara

Show Comments (92)
  1. em

    you are brave. you are beautiful. and i want to be an honest mom like you someday. love you LC.

  2. Amber Housley

    It has only begun. The best is yet to come…it gets better each and every day. Big Hugs! xo Amber

  3. Lee Ann

    This reminds me of when my kids were born. Thank you for your honesty.

  4. Jenni Bailey

    Having experienced a new baby through both extremes (PPD with my first, feeling JUST like you described, and then being totally fine and blissed-out with my second) I just want to give you a huge hug right now. You have it SO right when you say that God gives you what you need. The challenges I faced after Saige was born strengthened me to handle everything that came afterward – miscarriage and difficulty conceiving and finally a joyful, easy little soul in Brynn. I am grateful to know you and grateful for your honesty and so so so proud of you. Big time love. xoxo

    • Lara

      J, this encourages my heart so much. I pray that, if we have a second baby, my experience is like yours. Your journey inspires me. I love you!!!!!!!

  5. Jessica

    Lara! This is beautiful and honest. You know how I feel and you know that I’ve been there too. Just today I told my husband that I can’t believe I really feel whole again only better. And sleep has so much to do with it, but the best truly is yet to come. Hugs!

    • Lara

      I thought about you a lot when I was writing this. Thanks for your honesty and care in sharing your story. It helped me more than you know!

  6. Kristine {In Love, Engaged}

    Another beautiful account, Lara. Being a parent has to be one of life’s most terrifying, humbling, and rewarding vocations. Thank you for sharing your honest, raw, and so very personal experiences with us. Tears fell from my face as I read your realization of how God loves us even when we forget, and neglect, to return that love. Truly beautiful.

    • Lara

      God is awesome. And I somehow forget that in the thick of difficulty sometimes! But, He always brings me right back to Him when I forget. I’m so grateful.

  7. Lauren Larsen

    Thank you for being brave and honest enough to share about how dark (yet lovely) the first few months of motherhood can be. My little Life Lucia is 3 1/2 years old and you have processed and learned what has taken me 3 1/2 years to learn. I wish that I could give you a big hug and pat on the back for the great mom that you are to Grace. God bless you all.

    • Lara

      That means a LOT coming from you, super mom! Your journey with Life inspires me all the time! Thank you for this encouragement, sweet friend.

  8. shelly

    You have all the “grace” you need to get through this. As a mom of 3 boys, I still go through periods where I wonder if I’ll ever be in control of my life again… but then I realize, putting every second into God’s hands, and out of mine, is exactly where I need to be. You’ve got this Lara. He will equip you every step of the way. SO proud of you, your honesty and your willingness to shine truth into our lives. God bless you, sister.

  9. Abbie

    Oh, I so needed this post! I’ve been dealing with similar feelings for the past 17 months. I’ve recently decided I need to find a therapist to talk to, so I can get back to “normal”. It’s great to read such an honest post and know I’m not alone.

    • Lara

      Oh I’m so sorry to hear you’ve been feeling this way to, but I’m excited to hear you’re seeking help! It will make a huge difference. I will be thinking of you!!

  10. Erin Davenport

    Your honesty and candidness is really amazing Lara. I worried for you during the first bit after Grace was born, just sensing something may be off – it makes your joy and those adorable pictures of her that are now shared on Facebook and here all the more precious. I really appreciate you sharing your journey, I find it’s quite easy to identify with even though I’m not there yet. Sending love to you three!

    • Lara

      Thank you, Erin. I was just thinking of you this morning. We met almost a year ago today. I’m so grateful for you!!

  11. Emilia Jane

    It means so much for you to put this out here. I appreciate your bravery so much!!!

  12. Jennifer Stambolsky

    Lara, it was so brave of you to write this! It’s amazing to me how little post partum is discussed in our society and that needs to change IMO. I can’t write much because my little one is getting into trouble, but do you have any idea how cute your baby is!? I’m sure you do! I have a problem where I want to gather up all little babies and kiss and hug them all over, Miss Grace included! :)

  13. Jessica

    Thank you for your bravery and honesty in sharing this beautiful post, Lara. I appreciate your authentic take on your last few months, and it gives me hope and encouragement. My husband and I are not yet ready to add to our family but trust that when the time is right that God will take care of us. Lots of love to you, Ari and baby Grace.

  14. Jenn A

    This is exactly how I felt when my first daughter (grace) was born. I was so mad at . . . everyone. For not telling me how hard and lonely and hard it was to be a mom. I didn’t feel blissful. I felt tired. I kept wondering when gracie’s real mama was going to come and take her home. I think it’s wonderful you’ve encouraged moms to talk to someone if they feel that way. It’s the best decision I ever made. And now I quietly let all the new moms in my life know that it’s hard and tiring and sometimes genuinely awful but IT. DOES. GET. BETTER.

    Thank you so much for this post. ps– your daughter is a cutie!

  15. Monica Smith

    Bless you, Lara for your courage. You have revealed how God will take care of us and all we need if we will let Him.
    Continue to trust in Him and enjoy every moment He gives you with Ari and Grace.
    Love,
    Monica

  16. Lara Casey (@laracasey)

    NEW on the Blog: The Baby Blues, My Fear of Pampers and Finding Joy Again: http://t.co/g6X4cjH4

  17. Lacy

    Lara -
    Thank you so much for sharing your story. My husband and I both read your post, as your story and lessons are so inspiring as we begin to consider expanding our family in the future. Your honesty and raw emotion really helped us both understand what women face every day behind closed doors. Your bravery is awe-inspiring! Thank you!!! Many happy wishes to you and your beautiful family!

    • Lara

      Lacy, I’m so glad to hear you and your husband have talked through this. I wish I would have had more realistic expectations going into motherhood, but so many people glorified it so much. I’m so glad to hear this has helped you!

  18. CaitlinSullivan (@caitlinsullivan)

    Lara inspires to no end. RT @laracasey: NEW on the Blog: The Baby Blues, My Fear of Pampers and Finding Joy Again: http://t.co/Omv1i7c5

  19. Lisa Stoner

    Two beautiful girls now 15 and 12 later, I have to admit I never suffered from this….However, your raw honesty moved me to tears, and I’m so grateful you’ve shared this experience with so many women who may be feeling hopeless. As a leader in our industry, Lara you’ve done a mindful thoughtful and responsible PSA on such a sensitive subject. Thank you.

    • Lara

      This encouragement means the world to me, Lisa! Thank you for this. You made my heart very full. I was really scared to write this!

  20. Cherie_Cobb (@Cherie_Cobb)

    WOW. Just… wow. RT @laracasey: NEW on the Blog: The Baby Blues, My Fear of Pampers and Finding Joy Again: http://t.co/ANB9YXi3

  21. Helena (@divine_events)

    New moms & preggos should read RT @laracasey: NEW on the Blog: The Baby Blues, My Fear of Pampers and Finding Joy Again http://t.co/70628jPT

  22. Lara Casey (@laracasey)

    Thank you for the kind messages about my post on postpartum depression. So grateful that this has helped some: http://t.co/g6X4cjH4

  23. Katie Neal (@katienealphoto)

    Wow, incredible post Lara! RT @laracasey: My post on postpartum depression. So grateful that this has helped some: http://t.co/hRke4p1z

  24. Christine Gallagher

    Looking back on my pregnancies and that of my close friends, depression is actually the norm. It just isn’t talked about as it should be. You have waited so long for the baby, everyone is excited and you just want to put it back where it came from and have a moment to poop alone, lol.
    With my first, I had the baby blues turn depression, nursing was a failure, I cried all the time. It took meds and 6 months before I felt I was gonna be able to function again. Around the 8th month mark, I found out I was pregnant again. I cried and cried. The last thing on earth I wanted was to have another baby. I still wasn’t sure I wanted the one I had… I braved it and before I knew it I had 2 kids under two. By the grace of God, I didn’t have the depression the second go around. Maybe because I was too busy too even think about myself. It took about 3 years to find myself as a mother. I didn’t fit in with the other mom’s around who always talked about diapers and such. I craved my old self. Over time, I found myself again and realized that woman was not ever gonna be leave it to beaver mom and that my kids, would have to thrive off of what I have to offer them. Motherhood offers up daily challenges. and I have no shame in saying that I would have led a happy and healthy life without them but god decided otherwise. My “babies” are now 9 and 10! And I have survived.
    I suggestion for you is to own it. My daughter is in girls on the run and the first rule they taught them was.. no matter how hard you try, you are not going to be someone else. We have to love what we have to offer, even if it isn’t the picture we thought it would be.
    After you had Grace and a week or two went by and you were not back to your reg. posting self, I had an idea. It is a feeling that will never leave you and will help you… help others.
    Good lucky with your little one. Remember a good mama is Grace’s mama… no matter what any person or book says.

    • Lara

      Wow, you went through it, my friend! What strength you have! Such wonderful advice. Own it. I will try my best! I’m so inspired by you!

  25. Madi

    Lara,
    I was brought to tears over this post. At 21 years of age, I am not a mother or a wife quite yet (Though I hope to be one day, I am getting married this coming January.) but am overtaken with emotion as you shared your heart here today. The Lord really is speaking through you in this journey you are taking. He is so sovereign and true. You are spot on when you write of how God probably feels about us just as you felt about trying to love on and communicate with sweet baby Grace. We are so blessed that He loves on us unconditionally!
    You are such an inspiration to me as not only an entrepreneur but a strong woman of God.
    Bless your family!
    Warmly,
    Madi

    • Lara

      Oh, Madi! Your heart for God makes me so happy! And congrats on your upcoming wedding!! I am just all sorts of excited for you and grateful for your kind words. Thank you thank you! Keep me posted on your wedding : )

  26. Emily Ley

    This is so amazing in so many ways. I love you more than words. xo

  27. Joanna Bailey

    Lara thank you for the brave and honest post.

    • Lara

      Thank you for encouraging me with your comment here. And I’m so thrilled for you about your cooking classes! GO YOU!

  28. Jenna Strubhar

    Totally have tears in my eyes reading this! I SO admire your honesty! While I didn’t struggle with the baby blues, God did bless me with a very high-need ultra-sensative baby who has turned my world upside down and made me dropped all my pre-conceived ideas about motherhood. God is making me face my desire to look like I have it all together head-on and teaching me so much about grace and mercy in the process. It’s incredible how much God can teach us through a tiny little pooping, crying human being!

    I wish more moms were more open about their experiences so new moms with these feelings don’t feel so isolated. I don’t know if it’s pride, or just not wanting to ‘pop anyone’s happy bubble’ but I’m glad you shared you story and hope you know your experiences are going to encourage other new mommies out there. Blessings to you and your beautiful family! xo

    • Lara

      That is EXACTLY how I felt – isolated and like I didn’t want to burst everyone’s happy bubble. You are spot on. Oh, and my heart goes out to you. I’m so sorry to hear that you have struggled with your little one. But, God has a greater plan. You are already teaching ME in all you have learned. Thank you. Big hugs to you and Nate!

  29. Caroline Hull

    Lara, I feel like you just described everything I went through when I had Fiona! Reading this was like looking into a mirror. Thank you for posting this and your honesty. Being a former ballet dancer, I’m still dealing with the post-baby body issues I have formed, but this post reminded me, it serves a much great purpose! Love to you, Grace and Ari!

    • Lara

      Caroline! I am so sorry to hear you struggled after Fiona was born! All of these comments and notes I’ve gotten just make me want to expose this issue so much more. Mom’s feel so isolated. I would have loved to have hugged you! I remember when you were first pregnant in Houston and talking to you about dance. I’m praying for you to continue to find strength, sweet friend.

  30. The Life and Times of Me

    Oh my word. I think I could’ve written this post myself. At around three weeks postpartum, I almost lost it. I thought I wasn’t going to make it. I called my mom in a complete and total panic. I was close to insane, and when I told her, she said “It’s all okay.” My son was premature so I was doing the bottle feeding, followed by pumping, followed by an hour break, and I was at it again (and with all that pumping, I was making almost no milk). I was so exhausted, I could barely stand. My doctor made me stop pumping. The other thing I had to learn was that it was okay to ask for help. Once I admitted it was hard, that I wasn’t supermom, that I didn’t have it all together, it actually got easier. It took a while, but I got through it. Now when one of my friends is pregnant, I tell her that if in the weeks following her babies birth she feels like a crazed madwoman just give me a call. I’ve been there. I understand. I can so relate. Thank you for sharing.

    • Lara

      Yes yes yes!! I had a friend do the same for me – tell me that if I felt nuts, to call her. I didn’t call. I should have. She was so kind and came to me in church every time to see how I was. I think she just knew I wasn’t doing so well even though I’d put on a smile as best I could. I’m so happy you are there for your friend in this way! God is awesome!

  31. Emily Steffen

    Oh Lara…..I am SO THANKFUL for this post! :) I just keep smiling as I read through every section knowing that because you are sharing this experience, new Mommies, like me (soon) will benefit! I have no idea what I’m in for and I am constantly trying to remind myself that there is no normal and that behind closed doors, the REAL life happens…thank you for sharing your real life and being honest! :) This is a blog post that MANY new Mom’s need to read! :) LOVE YOU!

    • Lara

      Emily Steffen!!! AKA Hot Mama Steffen! When you announced that you were pregnant, I seriously did internal backflips! I am so excited for you! I know ti was unexpected, but you will be the best mama. I already know that baby is getting all sorts of handmade goodies! What a lucky little love muffin! I’m so happy my story has helped to set your expectations in a new direction. Bless you, sweet friend!

  32. Lauren

    Oh Lara, this was so beautifully written and really pulled at my heart. I asked to join your mommy group because Michael and I are also starting a family soon! Thank you for sharing the contents of your heart so honestly and openly!

  33. Feuza@unjerseybride (@Feuza)

    Check out @LaraCasey’s All Business: http://t.co/osm4bs6O

  34. Feuza

    I had a feeling this would happen, that you would want to work less and that is aWESOME how you are approaching this, thank you for pouring all of you into this blog post, I read ALL OF it which is bug for me. I went through many similar things and lately have been struggling to spend time with the boys and always spend time with me in silence. Keep up on inspiring us. xoxo

  35. Brit Tucker Stewart

    Your honesty is always always refreshing. And, your ability to openly tell your life story. It’ll be a great benefit to more people than you can ever imagine. xoxo

  36. Jasmine - This Moment Events

    Oh Lara- thank you for your honesty and openness in this post. I have been there too – I could have written every word of this after I had Jacob almost 3 years ago. I cried, I sobbed and honestly still have those struggles – with every stage of parenthood you change and grow and a “new normal” arrives. Thank you for the reminder to surrender and live in grace and adjust as necessary. You always seem to say the right thing right when it’s needed in my life – that is your gift. Thank you for being a gift to those whose lives you are able to touch. Blessed to know you!

  37. Debbie

    Thank you so much for sharing your story Lara. I wish I would have been able to read this before my daughter was born. She is almost 4 and I still struggle sometimes with finding the balance between being a mom, a business owner and a wife. Reading everyone else’s comments are also really helpful. The hardest part for me has been (and still is) giving up the idea of my old self and life. I think it’s time I completely accept it and start loving the new reality that has come about in the past 4 years. xoxo Lara!

  38. Eboné Smiley

    Lara; thank you once again for being honest and sharing such an intensely personal part of yourself. Love you even more for it!

  39. Julie Kirby

    I am in tears of joy for you and your sweet family. Thrilled that the Lord has brought you through this, and guiding you along this amazing journey. 3 years ago my first son was born, we were the first of our friends to have a child, he was sick & colicky, and I found myself depressed for the first time in my life. Sleep was a distant dream, and it took a toll on our previously grounded marriage. We learned, as you have, to LET GO. We learned that we CANNOT control. And we learned to let God carry us in our time of need. We are now expecting our second child, and our love has been restored. Deep in my mind I fear that I will again have PPD after this baby is born. I want you to know that, because of YOU, my fears are diminishing. I am perfectly imperfect, and my God is bigger than any of this. THANK YOU, Lara! Your transparent honesty is absolutely refreshing. God bless.

  40. Becca

    Thank you so much for sharing your story!

    Though not pregnant yet, my husband and I would like to start a family sooner rather than later.

    Like you were before having Grace, I’m terrified that I’ll have postpartum depression after I have a baby.

    This post reassures me that although it may happen, and things may get ugly for a while, there is a beautiful life with a child afterwards.

    Thank you for writing such a heartfelt and honest post!!

  41. @VaronicaLou

    RT: @laracasey: NEW on the Blog: The Baby Blues, My Fear of Pampers and Finding Joy Again: http://t.co/xoA808lx — So beautifully honest.

  42. Juliet

    Thank you so much for sharing your story Lara. You’re an inspiration. I think most moms can relate on some level and you are so brave for sharing your story.

    Your daughter is beautiful!

  43. Kim Percival

    Big huge hugs coming at your from Texas. I hope you feel them! When things were/are bad, I tell myself (I actually shout it to myself). “It will get better!” So glad it got better for you too! XOXOXO.

  44. carolinapostcard

    Time sure does heal everything! And the hard stuff does indeed make you stronger, even when you wish you didn’t have to go through it. Way to be brave and share your story. We mommas have to stick together. Cheers

  45. @wdrapings

    I adore Lara Casey!! RT @laracasey: NEW on the Blog: The Baby Blues, My Fear of Pampers and Finding Joy Again: http://t.co/U1gu89M3

  46. MAKING THINGS HAPPEN 2012: CUE THE FIREWORKS! « Lara Casey

    [...] could be next. P.P.S. THANK YOU for the outpouring of support and encouragement I received from my last post.  WOW.  So many notes and messages and letters and open hearts.  I am sincerely grateful.  Your [...]

  47. Lindsay Flanagan

    Lara thank you for writing such an honest post about adjusting to life as a Mom. I went through a similar experience and was shocked (and a little disappointed in myself) how hard it was for me to make that adjustment. I only wish I had this post to read 2 years ago so I didn’t feel so alone! Everything does get better and as you know, the roller coaster ride is definitely worth it!

  48. Natalie

    Woman, I love you now more than ever before. You have given so many such a beautiful gift as you’ve openly borne your soul. I’m so proud to be your friend.

  49. inspired 3.4.12 | beka stays

    [...] lara casey’s honesty, perseverance, and faith never fails to inspire me [...]

  50. Lindsay Ann

    Hi Lara. Thank you for sharing and being so real. I am a mother of a three year-old daughter and a five month old son. I am a photographer, and i work from home. Recently, I have been learning to let things go. God gave me Psalm 31:3-4 this morning and it got me through a rough day of teething. Just wanted to share that with you. :)

  51. @MamaBirdShop

    A hopeful read for new moms who may be struggling. RT @laracasey The Baby Blues, Fear of Pampers & Finding Joy Again: http://t.co/7ehvGYtM

  52. Tamara Menges

    Hi Lara!!
    Im just now getting to read this! Im not a mom yet, because I have so many fears about it, but I want to say THANK YOU THANK YOU for being so open and honest about those first weeks! Its so refreshing to know how “it really is” when youre a new mom! You are such an inspiration, and I so look forward to learning more from you at the MTH tour in Austin in October! Thank you so much for being you!
    Tamara

  53. Erin * Sparkle & Hay

    Beautiful, Honest, & Refreshing. Thank you so much for sharing your newborn journey. I am 5 months along with our first baby (also a girl!) right now & while I am overjoyed & excited, I also have some real concerns (fear seems too strong of a word, I hope?) about how life changes after she enters our world… & about how my body & hormones will react as well. Bookmarking this post with a star right now. Thank you, Thank you & Congratulations!

  54. @BridalbyBreanne

    As a new mom this post really hit me! It’s so true and I appreciate the honesty. Thank you! @LaraCasey’s All Business: http://t.co/DqG0pzRX

  55. Brandi

    Lara thank you for such an honest and beautiful post about your journey! There were so many things you said that I connected with immediately and it just makes my heart so much more excited to meet you at MTH in a few weeks! I don’t have any children but a lot of the things you said I have already thought about and well, WOW…that’s all I have to say for now! Thanks for being such an honest and amazing person! :) See you in NC!

  56. Kristen @ The Chronicles of Dutch

    Wow! You could have been writing my story. My baby is 8 months old now but I felt practically EVERY SINGLE thing you said.

    Thank you for being so honest and open. We don’t really get to hear the other side of the New Mommy tales until we’re there.

  57. Sydney Shop Girl

    Hi Lara

    This was such a beautful post to me. Thank you for sharing your experiences so honestly and with such intelligence.

    I’m going to be a first time mum at the end of this year and your post will be with me in those first few weeks.

    All the best.

    SSG xxx

  58. GO AND DO. « Lara Casey

    [...] You should go DO them. At the start of this year, brand new baby in my arms, I was struggling with postpartum depression and trying to balance work and mommy-hood and being a wife and 8 million other things. One night, I [...]

  59. 5 Lessons in 7 months of Kenley – Final Day |

    [...] comparison, I read Lara Casey’s blog post about her baby Grace (find it here)- it honestly was the best thing that I could have read.  I don’t think that I was dealing [...]

  60. HAPPY FIRST BIRTHDAY, GRACE « Lara Casey

    [...] My pregnancy Your birth story We announced your birth and this video STILL makes me cry every time! Mommy got postpartum depression and learned a whole lot And then I feel like I blinked and you were one : ) One year ago, I had [...]

  61. @ashleyterrytx

    For all my fellow new moms out there, check out this heartfelt post from @laracasey. It’s okay to be less than perfect: http://t.co/xn6keeLG

  62. (@laracasey) (@laracasey)

    RT @ashleyterrytx: For all my fellow new moms out there, check out this heartfelt post from @laracasey. It’s okay to be less than perfect: http://t.co/xn6keeLG

  63. @tonyaty

    RT @ashleyterrytx: For all my fellow new moms out there, check out this heartfelt post from @laracasey. It’s okay to be less than perfect: http://t.co/xn6keeLG

  64. (@laracasey) (@laracasey)

    This time last year I started experiencing postpartum depression. Posting this again in hopes it will help someone else http://t.co/9vh49zN6

  65. Jan

    Absolutely beautiful Laura! You are so brave and strong to have the courage to write this for mom’s and mommies-to-be. As a perfectionist and business owner myself, this too scares me as we plan for a family. Thank you for being so transparent with your struggles. The Lord is always faithful and true. May He continue to bless your beautiful family! Blessings!

  66. Brittany Price (@Brit_Price)

    http://t.co/tjeP8uO8

    Great post to all new mothers!

  67. A brave one… » C & A Event Planning

    [...] today I was reading Lara Casey’s newest blog post “The Baby Blues…“, so much of this post really stood out to me. Before I get to that I must say that several [...]

  68. Irini Savva

    I love this post – it’s so honest. While it’s different for every woman, I too had a rough time in the first 3 months after my son was born. But it really does get better as they say. My son is happy and healthy and the world didn’t come to end because I couldn’t do exactly as I had planned or what others wanted me to do. Whatever you decide to do is always he best decision and you’re a wonderful Mommy for caring and trying so hard.

  69. Ashley

    This is my second post of yours I have read, and maybe you get this a lot being so honest, but I feel like we are kindred spirits. You can be Anne (with an E) and I will be blonde Diana. Ha ha.
    I have never read anything that so closely resembles my own experience as this post. I kept saying, yep, yep yep. I felt like such a failure as a mother for a million reasons, and I ended up formula feeding my son and and am now doing the same with my second 2 month old. I finally thought to myself, “you know :I bet there are awesome, godly men, changing the world out there who were fed formula when they were babies. And guess what, no one asks them about that”.
    I thought this time with my second I would have some sort of chance to redeem myself, to “do it right”. The pregnancy was better and he is such an easy doll of a baby, but those same overwhelming emotions crashed over me. It wasn’t the fear of newness this time, it was just plain guilt and like all the world was against me. Instagram has done me in this time, and I am now on a semi-break as it causes me, as a stay at home mom, to over analyze and be irrational way too often.
    I am now, finally, getting the help I need. I wish I had been more pro-active like you were. I have not been able to completely shake any of the depression completely since my first, as postpartum sometimes turns into. I have been so afraid and guilty about ruining my son (the almost 4 yr old) because I have cried so much of his life. Now when I cry he says :”its OK mom, its OK” he is such a little sensitive soul. But I know the Lord has given me these little lives, and He knew, He knows and He trusts me and has a plan for them, just as much as He does for me. Caring at all who they become and what we nurture into them, not if they ate all organic or stop crying on demand ( ha ha).
    I feel like if you told me this story over coffee I would have been crying, because its amazing to feel like you are hearing a little part of yourself that you have felt so condemned for, for such a long time. Thank you, just you being yourself inspires me to be myself more as well.

  70. Lauren Mills

    So, I am past the new baby stages, with my littlest one about to turn three in January. But this post, it’s honesty and heart, it just brings me to a very raw place and challenges me still. Thank you for speaking boldly and bravely. Thank you for being real and encouraging new (& all) mamas out there to get real, get help, & love fiercely.

  71. Motherhood: One Month In | Drew & Vanessa

    [...] I was going through some of the baby blues, I also read this blogpost The Baby Blues, My Fear of Pampers and Finding Joy Again. While I wasn’t facing depression, just the normal baby blues, this girl reminded me about [...]