I never really saw myself being a mom. So, you can imagine the panic that consumed me when I saw a positive pregnancy test. Not to mention I had only been with my now fiancé for around eight months (we went to college together, but that’s a whole other story) when we found out. Oh, and did I mention that at the time I was only about 3 months past the finalization of my divorce. Have I painted a nice, frantic picture for you yet?
Finding out about our little guy was such a shock, so we shouldn’t have been surprised when his entrance was just as shocking. My entire pregnancy journey was a whirlwind. It started with morning sickness that never really stopped and ended seven weeks early when I was hospitalized for preeclampsia. My whole body was so swollen and I didn’t even realize it. I spent four days in the hospital and endured about 3,691 needle pokes, and a few 24-hour urine tests before my kidneys decided they didn’t want to work anymore. From there, everything moved super quick. The doctors made the decision to induce me at 8 pm and by 9 pm I had a balloon catheter, peed on the floor, threw up my Taco Bell from earlier that day and was having some fierce contractions. Once I received my epidural, though, it was smooth sailing and I was able to deliver naturally around 10 am the next morning. I was pretty out of it thanks to the magnesium drip they had me on. I never really grasped the fact that because my baby was being born early, he’d be sent straight up to the NICU. Lucky for us, we were blessed with a healthy baby from the start. We spent 21 days in the NICU with our sweet Porter Foxx before we started our journey as a family of three.
We were fragile, new parents. In the beginning, we joked about needing signs that said: “NICU parents.. be gentle with us.” The days got easier, though. Porter slept great, ate great and was growing like a weed. As he continued to grow though, so did my anxiety. As he became more independent, the pressure to protect him from every little thing consumed me—and sometimes still does.
Judgment was my biggest concern. I started worrying about what others would say and think about me and my parenting style. I worried about what they would say about my sweet boy and why he wasn’t talking as much as the other kids (insert NICU parent wearable label again). How could I not?? Mom shaming is SO real. And with social media, it’s more prevalent than ever. I was comparing my motherhood journey to everyone on the internet and it was becoming so toxic. Finally, after some soul searching toward the end of last year, I pulled myself out of the hole I spiraled down and decided to change my way of thinking.
1. I was finally at a point where I knew I needed to take care of myself first in order to care for Porter to my fullest.
2. Porter was/is SO loved by his mom and dad. What others thought of our parenting style was nothing to lose sleep over. So I stopped. I stopped worrying about others’ opinions of me.
I stopped following accounts that made me feel like garbage and question everything about myself. Honestly, I’ve never felt better. If there are any new, fragile mama’s that made it this far into reading, please go easy on yourself. That goes for all the moms out there. Motherhood is HARD. It’s our job to lift one another up, stop comparing, and create the kind, loving world we want our children to grow up in.
Our little guy just turned two a couple of weeks back and we are having the time of our lives. Watching a tiny human you made, grow up and become their own being is hands down the coolest thing I’ll ever get to be a part of. I was never sure I’d make a good mother until I was forced to be, and now I’m certain I’m right where I should be.
Kelby Fitch is a hairstylist based in Columbus, Ohio, with a background in PR and marketing. She’s a mama to a wild two year old, Porter Foxx (and a senior pup and three cats!). In her free time you can find her with her family at Cleveland sporting events or spending time outside, exploring. She’s a sucker for bad reality tv and the biggest Parks and Rec fan you’ll ever meet.