Yes, It Is Possible to Be Overwhelmed and Exhausted, Yet Completely Happy

Me, a Post-Partum Mess, Post C-Section

Me, a Post-Partum Mess, Post C-Section

Today marks exactly 12 weeks since my son was born on Monday, April 5, and I have only posted once, to announce his birth.

Abandoning my blog for nearly three months post-partum wasn’t part of my master plan. In fact, when answering e-mailed interview questions posed by Fran Howell, executive director of DES Action USA, in January, I responded to her question, “Will you continue to write after your son is born? How will you find the time???” with the following:

“Yes, I will continue to write after my son is born. It has become a daily ritual, a habit that I am dedicated to continuing. I’ve realized that, previously, my excuse that I didn’t have time to write was simply a manifestation of my fear of failing…”

I’ve barely written in three months, to the point where I couldn’t even complete a blog post, so I feel naïve and guilty. But rather than wallow in those feelings, as would previously have been my natural response, I need only to hold my newborn son—and every negative thought leaves me. I’ve never taken Valium, but that’s how I compare my reaction to having him: He alleviates all tension, all stress, making me Zen.

After going through two cycles of in vitro fertilization (IVF), losing his twin, suffering from placenta previa, and surviving multiple bleeds, four hospitalizations and bed rest, I gave birth to my completely healthy son at full term, 37½ weeks. I am so relieved and thankful that, when I saw my psychiatrist five weeks after he was born, she said at the end of the session, “Well, there’s no reason for you to be rushing back here.”

But I am so tired, due to having a newborn at the tail-end of age 41; being completely out of shape, having gained 67 pounds and been on bed rest since January 13; and having a C-section, which became infected, which, according to my team of high-risk doctors, “just happens sometimes.”

Being so exhausted makes me feel overwhelmed not because of my duties as mom, which I revel in, but because of the pile-ups around me. Literally pile-ups. I’ve started recording and watching the A&E television show Hoarders for inspiration, because I had to let things go, while enduring IVF, a high-risk pregnancy and then bed rest, and now sorting through the paperwork, the clothes, and the closets seems impossible. The individuals featured on Hoarders are worse off than I am—with some having long-dead animals crushed underneath the floor-to-ceiling clutter in their homes—which makes my clean, yet disorganized house seem more manageable.

Shortly after recovering from my C-section, my 5-year-old and I were watching Hoarders, when he announced, “Mama, my closet is a hoarder.” I had shoved every baby item given to me by friends into the closet in his bedroom, which he and my newborn share, to get them out of the way until I could sort through them and put them away.

Due to the wake-up call that my son thinks his closet is hoarding things, I have given up my loves—writing and jewelry making—in the short-term as I handle the necessities—being a mom and trying to get my home in order. I’ve gone through all the closets. I’ve sorted through my own and my four sons’ clothes, organizing those they’ve outgrown in bins labeled by sizes, for not-too-worn items will be passed from our 16-year-old to our 14-year-old to our 5-year-old to our newborn. I’ve reorganized most of the basement. I’ve given dozens of items to charity, even things I love but rarely use.

I’ve made great progress, yet today I felt incredibly paralyzed by how much I still have to address. But as things piled up in my home, I made a baby. And when he and I were at risk, I listened to my doctors and stayed put on the couch and/or in bed. I had my priorities straight, so he and I are healthy and happy.

Well, I’m still 26 pounds overweight and incredibly out of shape, but I’m on my way to healthy.

And I am so incredibly happy.

Tired But Happy Mama with the Reason She's Tired and Happy

Tired But Happy Mama with the Reason She's Tired and Happy

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