I am super thankful for all of the new followers that have started following Perk Pack on social media within the past week. This includes Facebook, Instagram and Twitter! Every one of you means so much to me. You really have no idea how special you are. With that being said, I think it’s very important that I really share the meaning behind starting Perk Pack.
My friends in this group know that I have two beautiful little girls. I’m sure you all get sick of seeing their pictures on my personal page. But, in all honesty, being a mom is the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. And I made it through nursing school! Being a mom is way harder than being a nurse! With my first pregnancy, I was the typical, over-critical woman who just knew matter-of-factly what I would do with my child. I was going to exclusively breastfeed with no problem. My child would sleep through the night in a crib. Co-sleeping?! Are you kidding me?! Who does that? We will make organic, homemade baby food. We will exercise together as a family. I’ll make sure to put out regularly to keep my husband happy. I’m going to be the best mom and wife ever! And then, reality sets in.
We have our daughter three and a half weeks earlier than expected. I had to be induced because of my blood pressure. Everyone that knew me knew that my goal was to have a natural, unmedicated birth. I had been studying the Bradly method. I was taking the evening primrose supplement and drinking red raspberry leaf tea religiously. Well, because of my birth blood pressure my doctor shut that idea down. “Absolutely not.” So there was my first hit in motherhood. Disappointment is not the word of what I felt. But, I was excited that I would be welcoming a beautiful baby girl soon. My family was there. Everyone was getting along and excited. Then when it became time to push I asked the nurse previously to ask everyone to leave except for my husband. We share this beautiful and intimate moment together when we brought my daughter in the world. I looked at him and he cried. It was the most vulnerable and loving I had ever seen my husband. I held my daughter, but I didn’t cry. I felt love for her, but not what I thought I would? It’s hard to explain. She latched on immediately to breastfeed. I really just thought I would be a natural and this would all come easily. But it was almost like a switch went off in my head.
I remember this exact moment of detachment from myself. They told me I could eat right away and then bought me a food tray and I had zero appetite. And I like to eat! But I just wasn’t hungry. Maybe it was just the exhaustion of this easy labor I just had. Who knows. Then we found out my baby was jaundice from her lab work and they had to take her and keep her under this light. Luckily, we had a great pediatrician who asked the nurses to let her stay under the light in our room. But here I am just staring at my child that I can’t hold. I tried to stay positive and just spend time stroking her face or her hair. But not being able to hold her for those first few days really impacted me. It really took away some of the first, important bonding moments. Then, as much as I love my mother-in-law, she showed up at my house unannounced when we came home from the hospital. I was already upset about the fact that we had to take the bili-light home and that I still couldn’t hold my daughter throughout the weekend except to feed her. And here is this person coming in to take the little time I do have to hold her away from me. I took a lot of offense to it and I’m sure I hurt her feelings by asking her to leave. And I still to this day regret that moment. Because I shut her out and sent her away when I needed her and didn’t know how much I did.
Fast forward a few days. We go to the doctor to get Maddie’s lab work and everything looks great! She doesn’t have to be under the light anymore. Amazing! The days are long, but awesome. We are just still so happy and running off the adrenaline and love of having a new baby. Soon, we start having issues with her just crying constantly. My husband didn’t get paternity leave. So I remember telling him that he could just sleep out front on the couch and get some sleep so that he could work the next day. Another horrible decision on my part. This left me up with a screaming baby from 12 a.m. every night to 6 a.m. in the morning. I grew so much resentment toward him when I’m the one that told him to go away in the first place. But I just expected him to know what I was going through. And back then he was a very heavy sleeper so unless I woke him up he was not going to wake up. This caused a lot of disconnect between us and resentment on my part because I just needed him emotionally, but didn’t know how to tell him.
So now we have a colicky baby. But we didn’t know she had colic. We are first time parents and just think she’s crying for who knows what reason. I thought she wasn’t eating enough. So now I’m freaking out worried about my breast milk supply. The only thing that seemed to comfort her was latching at my breast and that was very isolating. I was the only one that could feed her and because I’m a first-time mom who knows everything, you’re not going to tell me to bottle feed my baby or supplement with formula. Again, resentment toward him because he can’t help feed the baby. And I was unaware, but I was quickly slipping into postpartum depression.
I shut out anyone who wanted to come visit the baby. I often found reasons to just be left alone. Either I wasn’t feeling well or we had a long night. I said whatever I needed to say to just be left alone. I was very isolated and I did this to myself. During the day I’m sure we looked like the perfect little family. Those rare moments of happiness and capturing pictures of the baby smiling were quickly posted to Instagram. People just assumed I was doing fine. And I didn’t say otherwise.
Breastfeeding was by far the biggest contributor to my postpartum depression. Every moment of my life was consumed with thoughts that I was not making enough milk for my baby. I had no reason to think so. She was growing fine. I really don’t know why I thought this honestly. But I spent a lot of my time researching supplements. I spent a lot of money buying supplements. I felt like a failure when my production never increased after pumping. Then I stressed about how I was going to store milk to get ready go back to work. It was just not a fun time in my life. I really don’t know when I finally snapped out of it. It was well after a year that my daughter was here. But I feel like it’s a year that I will never get back. I feel emotionally I missed out on so much with her because of my depression I still haven’t recovered completely emotionally. Neither has my marriage in all honesty.
So fast forward two years we are excited to talk about having another baby despite the financial challenges that we knew it would bring. At this time, other than having a healthy baby, my sole concern was with the fact that I didn’t want to go through postpartum depression again. So now we have another beautiful baby girl. And while it’s exciting, people don’t care too much about you having a kid the second time around. Did anyone else notice that? They aren’t knocking down your door to come see you or the baby. They love seeing pictures of the kid, but no one is asking about you. And why would they? You’ve done this before. Nothing new. And as mom’s we just get lost in translation. Throughout your pregnancy you constantly hear “how far are you? How big are they? Do you know the gender? When are you due? You’ve gained so much weight!” Like I don’t know that already. Thanks. But I hate to say that other than that, moms get forgotten about.
So that was my main reasoning for starting this group. I refuse to sit back and watch another mother struggle the way I did. Regardless of what they are struggling with, whether it is postpartum depression, breastfeeding, bottle-feeding, co-sleeping, weight gain, weight loss, I don’t care what the issue is. I am not going to watch another mom go through this alone. That is what Perk Pack is here for. We are going to Perk each other up and get each other through motherhood. And that’s not to say that every moment is going to be easy. It is not. I struggle daily. Am I yelling too much? Why am I yelling? Am I doing this right? What kind of mom am I? How can I be a better mom and wife? How can I be a better mom and wife?
I struggle with the guilt of not being a good wife anymore. I truly feel that I’m not because I can’t give myself like I want to. I give all day every day. I give to my children. I give as a nurse. I try to give what little I have left to my husband. And that leaves me unable to give anything to myself. So, as moms, let’s give to each other. We just have to. No one will ever understand the trouble of being a mother except for another mother, regardless of your method of becoming one. Whether you adopt it, foster, had a c-section, or if you pushed that baby out. You’re a mom. And it is hard. But we are going to get through this together.
So this group is a safe place to vent. You can cry to one another. Joke with each other. Complain about your husband. I don’t care. Cause you will definitely hear me complain about mine. I’m not judging you. And speaking of judging, absolutely no mom shaming is allowed. Being a mom is hard enough without us tearing each other down for our decisions. Why do we do that the one another? Your way is not any better than my way, nor is my way any better than yours. Just do what works for you and do what keeps you guys afloat. That’s what matters. Not which diaper you’re using or whether or not you’re co-sleeping or how you’re feeding your baby. How you feed that baby doesn’t matter to me, as long as they’re eating. Who cares whether it is by a bottle or boob. There are pros and cons to both and a huge con of mine right now is the fact that my nipples are cracked. Let’s just take care of one another.
And all of this led to the creation of my gift boxes. I thought, how can we physically let another mom know that she is being thought about and that we are here? We know that some moms don’t answer the phone. You better not wake up that baby by calling! They may not get around to answering your text messages. So what can I do to let them know I’m thinking about them? So I created Perk Packs. This is a nice way to let any woman know that you’re thinking about her specifically. Of course we care about the baby and how the baby is doing. But this is specifically for the ladies.
So I put together boxes with self-care items for moms. I included a journal, because we all need a safe place to put our thoughts. A to-do list, because our mommy do list is never-ending, but it’s nice to have a pretty place to write it. Lastly, bath salts, bath teas, face masks and candles to really set the mood for a mommy night. I also sneaked in other small things just for Mom. Because we don’t get that. Now, it has evolved in to an amazing product that is great for any occasion. But it is still for women and it will stay strictly for women.
Women deserve to know that they are special. They deserve to know that they are loved. And they need to know that there isn’t anything wrong with treating themselves. So these Perk up Packs are tailored towards self-care. Towards anything that makes us relax. Bath salts, candles, champagne, jewelry. Things that make us feel beautiful, loved, relaxed, and like ourselves again. It is not a product that was made simply to make money, but something that I truly love.
The community has grown into this amazing place where women can come talk to one another. I never knew how important it is to have female friends. It’s not something I grew up seeing from my mother. I’m still jealous to this day of people I went to High School with that I see and they are still good friends. I didn’t have that and I’m very envious. But now I have great mom friends. I have women in my life that understand what I’m going through. I have shoulders to lean on. I don’t feel judged on this walk. And every woman deserves that. Friendship and fellowship with other women is a necessity to get through this life with our sanity.
So invite other women to this group. Help them get the support that they may not know that they need. But I also challenge you to be that light for someone. Be that strength when they don’t have it. Offer a non-judgmental listening ear. They may not want or need your advice. Sometimes we just need to know that someone else is there and that they care. If you are a mom that is reading this right now and needs that support, just know that I am always here. If you have no one else you have this group. You can always reach out to me personally. All of my contact information is on here. I am very serious when I say that I want every woman to know that they have someone in their corner.
Welcome to the Pack.