You can read all the books. You can read all the blogs. You can have the best support group surrounding you. And none of that can prepare you for the postpartum journey. As a first time Mom, I had no idea what to expect and I feel like I did not have any time to adjust to my new, beautiful title before my ground was ripped out from underneath me. I lived in the middle of nowhere with the closest family member being my dad. For three weeks, he texted or called everyday to check in on his grandchild and me. He visited every few days until the morning my sister called me at like 5 am and said, “Sadie, Dad is gone.” As I am laying in bed, nursing my three week old baby, my world was forever changed. I just kept saying, “no.” I needed to cry. I needed to scream. I needed to yell at the freaking universe for taking my right hand man. My family’s laughter. My daughter's Papa Jeff. And yet, I had to lay there and feed my three week old daughter.
When she finished nursing and closed her eyes to go back to sleep, I did not know what to do. How do I take care of her? How do I breathe? At three weeks old, my daughter became the rock to my siblings and me. She became our sunshine. We poured ourselves into being her mom, her aunts, and her uncle. Because she did not know the person she had just lost, but we did. My dad raised us to do whatever we needed to do to take care of our family. So we did. But little did my daughter know, she was taking care of us.
My daughter was born in the middle of duck hunting season so after the services and after my family all traveled back to their homes, I was alone. My husband, at that time, was not around much. How? How does a Mom handle postpartum? How does a woman take on so many hormones and yet continually show up? How does a Mom do that and handle grieving with it?
Because we have to. I found myself on the roller coaster we call postpartum feeling like I was continually getting slapped in the face with grief and then my mind decided to add in some serious anxiety… my thoughts started to become so deteriorating, I did not know what to do. What if I do not get to see my daughter go to prom? What if I do not know what her face looks like when she’s 21? What if I do not know what career she picks or who she falls in love with? I became seriously afraid of leaving this world before seeing my daughter grow up. I understand that every day I am breathing, I am lucky… but the thought of not being here for her was literally crippling.
To any Mama out there, who is or has struggled with postpartum... I see you. To any Mama out there, who is grieving.. I want to scream with you. To any Mama out there, who is battling her own damn mind everyday… I want to hug you.
Nothing about Motherhood is easy. It is beautiful. It is a blessing. But darn it, it is not easy. That does not mean I would not do it again ten times because I would. Choosing to love a tiny human who is mine does not mean I have to say it is all rainbows and butterflies because it is not. There are hard nights, hard days, hard moments, but what is even harder, is the thought of not having them here or being here with them. I eventually coped with all of my emotions by writing. I wanted my daughter (and now son) to have something from me that will last forever. I wanted to somehow find a way to express to them what they mean to me. The result is now one of my favorite children’s books, Love You More, Miss You Always by me, Sadie Dabney. It is a sweet, simple repetitive read about the journey of motherhood and how fast it goes. My reasoning for the phrase "Love You More, Miss You Always" is because… as I was looking at my daughter, I thought “how could I ever possibly love you more?” and then I do. With each passing day, I love her more and more. With each thing she does or learns or memory we have, I fall more in love with her. The miss you always might be my favorite because motherhood is so bittersweet. We do not want them to grow up and yet watching them grow is amazing. I miss who she was yesterday. I miss who she was even a second ago. They change so incredibly fast and life goes too quickly. I could be holding her in my arms and I still miss her.
I now have my daughter and an ornery son. I am in the middle of a divorce and was just made to uproot our lives. We have found a small home to rent and we are working on making it home. It took me three years to self-publish my book because I was not in a situation where I was supported financially to take that risk, but as my life continued and my marriage wasn’t improving… I decided I needed to try. I needed to put my book out there and see what happens. I published it for my kids. I wanted to show them that I could reach my dreams even in the hardest of times and so could they. I wanted to give them that tangible item that they would always have from me in case I am not here one day and it is one day too soon. Publishing my book has been the best because my now four year old daughter always says to me, “I love YOU more, and I miss YOU always Mommy.” And she somehow always says it when I need to hear it the most. The first night we went to sleep in our new home.. “Mommy’s home” she squeezed my cheeks and turned my face towards hers so she could tell me that phrase. I do not have all the answers. My life does not look like how I thought it would or how I wanted it to. But I am working on being the best version of myself and I removed myself from an unhealthy environment.. And when those little hands squeeze my face and that sweet voice says, “I love you more and I miss you always, Mommy” I know I am doing something right. I show up. Everyday. No matter what life is taking me through, I am Mom and a damn good one. If any of you reading this are struggling in life or struggling with the thought that your life is not what you thought it would be, it is okay. It will be okay. As long as you wake up everyday and show up for YOU and those beautiful kids of yours, it will be okay. Love is more powerful than any ups and downs. Love is the biggest necessity in life and not all the current trends and things. They do not need everything in the world, they need you. Whatever version of you that you can give that day, that is all they need.
So here is a friendly reminder, that if you love yourself and you love your children, you are doing just fine, Mama. If you ever need a friend or this reminder, you can find me on Instagram at il_fluencer. You are not alone even when it feels like your world is not okay. In the last four years, I have had many moments where I did not think I would be okay.. But I can start to see the sun again. I can feel myself letting go of the air I did not know I was holding. You can be okay, too, for you and for them.
This article was written by Sadie Dabney. Find her on instagram @il_fluencer, and purchase her book here.