Motherhood: my most difficult rite of passage yet #Becoming Parents#depression#new parents#parenthood#post-partum depression May 7 2018 | Guest post by Jessica Molnar Five years ago this happened. Related Post The Mom Tribe: as a mom, you are never alone When I was pregnant 11 years ago, I knew I was clueless. I was young and naïve and really didn't have the slightest idea what... Read more I thought, "Oh, fuck. What have I gotten myself into?" The look on my face says it all. The postpartum depression hadn't yet kicked in and I was trying to wrap my brain around this new reality. What I didn't know was that I was about to undertake the most arduous and difficult rite of passage of my life. Parenthood. My kiddo was an incredibly challenging baby. He never slept for more than two hours at a time, he wanted to nurse non-stop, and cried constantly. And so did I. Add to that the absence of family or support network and it was a perfect storm. I can say with absolute certainty that motherhood has been my greatest teacher. At this point, my husband and I had been together for 10 years and never once fought. That definitely changed after our son was born. We were both pushed to the brink and took it out on each other. It was a very lonely time. But we survived it. I can say with absolute certainty that motherhood has been my greatest teacher. Over the years, between infancy and my son's post-op recover, there have been countless long days on the couch together. I've never been on a silent meditation retreat, but I imagine it would be pretty similar. The "stuff" starts to bubble up. I came up against these hard little kernels of self-hate and resentment that I knew I needed to let go. I couldn't be the mother that my son needed while holding on to these things. Related Post Postpartum anxiety, devastating prenatal diagnosis: What to expect when parenthood isn't what you expected The thing is, no one really knows what you should expect, when you're expecting. More often than not, the things you experience as a parent... Read more And so I softened. And learned. These days, after all of that, things are finally so much easier and overall pretty fucking fun. But I look at this picture and it makes me remember how hard it is for all new moms. I have so much love and empathy for all new mothers. Here's one small piece of advice to those who want to help out a new family and aren't sure how: Don't ask, "how can I help?" Just bring a meal. Comfort food. Something that can be frozen and reheated. Bonus points if it comes in a disposable aluminum pan that doesn't need to be washed. And then just be there when you're needed. Surviving Motherhood shirt design from Gallini Design Finding happiness in the unexpected serenity of new parenthood I'm new to it all -- breastfeeding, changing diapers, not sleeping through the night because every cough and rumble makes me jump. I feel pretty inept at all of it.… Read More My prenatal expectations of parenthood caused me to lose track of my marriage I thought I would immediately know how to do "do it all," even after a gargantuan life change. And I also expected a lot from my husband. Because, for some… Read More Reporter Name * Reporter Email * Original text Enter the original text here. Edited text* Enter your suggested copyedit here. Notes You can add a note for the editor here. * Required information. Fix Typo Guest post written by Jessica Molnar Jessica Molnar is a mama, wife, and artist living in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. She believes wholeheartedly that life itself is a work of art. http://www.odd-duck-press.com/ PREVIOUS May the Fourth be with these spinning BB-8 heels (with a tutorial!) NEXT Merlin's pants! This incredible Harry Potter decor wins the House Cup Show/Hide comments [ 4 ] Thank you so much for sharing my story with your awesome readers:) xo 2 agree Reply Reading this as my 11 week old is sleeping in his swing. The part about "don't ask how you can help" is so true. Whenever someone asks that question I just blank. Don't make me think right now, please. Just bring me something, anything. Or just hold the baby while I use the toilet and get a cup of water. 1 agrees Reply That "how can I help" question used to piss me off. Those early days are a mind-bender. Like you said, "Don't make me think right now, please." Thank goodness for the baby swing; what a life-saver! That was the only way my little guy would sleep at all. *Hugs* 1 agrees Reply Yeah, that how can I help question… reminds me of this post: https://offbeathome.com/guide-for-visiting-friends-with-new-baby/ 1 agrees Reply Join the conversation Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *Comment Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Subscribe me to your mailing list No-drama comment policy Part of what makes the Offbeat Empire different is our commitment to civil, constructive commenting. Make sure you're familiar with our no-drama comment policy.