Afterwards - Postpartum Life In A Book
Postpartum as an experience is a collection of raw moments and an intense and messy existence. Tori Bowman Johnson's book Afterwards is an incredible ode to this moment in time. She shares the worries, the wonder, the awkward WTF highlights/lowlights and most importantly, the reassurances for all women that it is going to be OK. Tori has generously shared an excerpt from Afterwards, so please enjoy.
Remember the life and times before you were known as Mumma?
Before parenting became a new role in your life of course, you knew to expect changes. But the level of change is incomprehensible. The actuality of the changes to your day-to-day existence is spectacularly far off what you assumed. Right? Nothing can truly prepare you for the arrival of your new housemate. A socially awkward person who likes to glue themselves to your body at the most inconvenient of hours. Newborns have some serious issues with being alone. The issue being, they are repulsed by it.
As the hours tick over and little beads of sweat appear on your forehead because your baby won’t do what the book said it would do, keep calm. It’s ok. The moment will pass. A new moment will come. An easier, more digestible moment will find you. For now, just do your very best to cope. Try to focus on putting one foot in front of the other. If you can do that you’re doing incredibly well. Transitioning to motherhood is … it’s beyond the depth of language.
If you feel ashamed as if you’re unraveling with guilt because you don’t enjoy every single moment. You feel like all the other Mums so affectionately talk about the “newborn bubble of love”... yet your bubble popped last week & left a giant bitch of a puddle on the floor for you to mop up. It’s not just you having these surges of culpability. There is a plethora of other Mums feeling the same way.
Mothers guilt is a savage emotion. The second you surrender to guilt or let it consume your mind and thoughts tell yourself to get rational and to get rational quickly. It’ll defeat you otherwise. Just for now, imagine that guilt is an irritating, nosy neighbour. Let’s call him Mr. Guilt from down the road.
Mr. Guilt is a dickhead. You are a new Mum doing your best to get through the day. You win. So when these icky thoughts enter your mind, do something to distract yourself. If you’re lying in bed listen to a fun Podcast. If you’re rocking your baby to sleep start singing a song. If you are at the hairdressers - get that small talk going! Get busy, get loud and smother any sounds of cynicism. But please remember if you do feel guilty and have days where you are too tired to get loud and busy it’s normal. We all get slapped with some kind of guilt from time to time. It’s not a sign of weakness or a sign you’re being an overbearing worrywart. It’s just another human emotion we are all faced with.
AFTERWARDS is written by Tori Bowman Johnson, a first time mum, for every other first time mum who is fumbling around the postpartum playground. Head to her website to find out more about the book.