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5 Things In My First Year of Motherhood That I Won't Apologize For

When I was pregnant, I had sweet dreams about my early days of Motherhood. Visions of beautifully medicated labor, peaceful and easy nursing and a flat post baby tummy danced in my head. But Motherhood is messy, unpredictable and full of unpopular choices. Here are the 5 Things In My First Year of Motherhood That I Won't Apologize For (and you shouldn't either).

1. Having a C Section

I'm not sure how this myth about medically unnecessary C Sections came about but I can assure you they weren't giving them out at my OBGYN office. I know this for sure because I begged for one. My baby was extremely Frank Breech meaning his head was under my left rib cage, his butt was squeezed down onto my cervix and his feet were smashed into my right rib cage. By the last few weeks, every move he made took my breath away. The pain was excruciating. Despite a scheduled C Section at 39 weeks, no one would give in to my tears, hysterics and desperate pleas to get that baby out of me sooner. By the time my water broke on 38 weeks, 0 days, I was so relived that my pregnancy was finally over that I didn't put one single thought into the massive abdominal surgery that was headed my way. 

And it hit me like a freight train as they wheeled me into that OR.
Yes, I had a C Section, but I can assure you that I didn't "take the easy way out" when it came to bringing my child into the world. Nothing was scheduled for my convenience (2am is definitely not my best look), I didn't get a bonus tummy tuck out of the deal and I sure wasn't in a glam OR suite.  Instead, my bits were shaved by a stranger, I had a spinal block that brought immediate relief but it's own set of potentially life threatening complications and was cut, stretched, pulled, yanked and essentially disemboweled, all while my arms were strapped down, crucifixion style, in a sterile operating room. My scar is pink and raised and still tingles in the oddest way. 

My son was delivered, flopped over a curtain for a quick viewing and promptly taken away. I wasn't able to cradle him in my arms until many minutes later, and then he was actually held by my husband. But, he was healthy, I could have never delivered him vaginally and I never felt pain, making my C Section birth my ideal Birth Story.

And in case you're wondering, not one single detail of my birth process disappointments me so I'm not sorry about it (except the part about the damn OBGYN not agreeing to that C Section at like 37 weeks).

2. Formula Feeding

There is so much positive talk around breastfeeding, so many calls to support breast feeding mothers and a shift to support breastfeeding in all forms and locations but where is the push to support mothers who formula feed? Or at the very least, to not shame us for using anything but breast milk. Let me be very clear: I strongly believe that Fed Is Best - I support breastfeeding, donated milk feeding, formula feeding, whatever it takes to ensure your babe is nourished - but I can assure you that not a single lactation consultant will be invited to "assist" me when my next baby is delivered. The shame and guilt that was placed on my experience left me feeling jaded, offended and defeated. 

As it turns out, I had medical reasons that prevented me from producing milk (at all, like, not a drop) but not a single person suggested that I may not be able to breast feed due to issues beyond my control until I had long "given up" attempting to nurse and pump. I should never have felt, or been made to feel, that I "gave up" when I made the decision to exclusively formula feed my son. Bottle feeding was, by far, one of the best things that happened to us as a family. My husband was able to jump in on some of the feedings, giving me more time to heal and him one on one time to bond with our infant. Our son has been incredibly healthy, I don't regret formula feeding for one single second and I won't apologize for it.

3. Crying It Out

We moved our son to his own crib, in his own room, when he was exactly 13 days old. My husband was returning to work and we all needed some sort of schedule and routine. We were planning to implement Moms On Call on day 14 of the babe's sweet little life so the timing was perfect. He slept better in his own room and so did I. With the video monitor next to my face I never missed a single grunt or squeal but was able to refrain from leaping out of the bed and running down the hall to get him at every movement. MOC implements a simple structure and bedtime routine that includes a minute or two of crying it out at that age. Our baby slept through the night at 10 weeks, we still use MOC, and yes, we still let him cry it out for an appropriate amount of time. He's never slept in our bed (with the exception of one time in a hotel but that's a story for another day) and has always gone down for naps/bedtime while he is still awake. It works for us, plain and simple, sorry not sorry.

4. My Husband's Baby Bath Time Routine

My husband does bath time and bedtime. He has every single night since the baby was born. Why? Because I asked him to. When I was pregnant, I asked my husband to make it a priority to be home from work to do bath time every night. There may be times that my husband has to take a call or send emails post baby bath, but he and I decided long ago that bath time would be a Daddy thing. People always comment how lucky I am that he handles that part of our day but in all honesty, if he didn't spend this time with our son, what time would they have together? He works incredibly hard, for which I am so grateful, and he deserves some one on one time with our child. Our child deserves that, too. I use the time to relax do dishes, start dinner, un-trash the play room, breathe, etc.
So basically, we all deserve it, so I'm not even going to pretend that I'm sorry.

5. Traveling Without The Baby

Having a baby can wreck a marriage. So much change, so many shifts in priorities, a new division of attention, resources and workload. Leaving our baby in the incredibly capable and loving care of grandparents and traveling without him is a needed relief in our marriage, even if we're headed to a wedding or work trip. Every time we've traveled without him, people would ask me "oh is this your first time away from him?" and I would detail our travels without him, usually to an expression of judgement. We deserve a chance to focus on our marriage, to focus on one another and to spend time remembering why we choose to do life together. Our son has learned how much his grandparents love him, that his mom and dad will always come home to him and that his parents love each other. Our plan is to continue to travel sans kids throughout our marriage, if only to guarantee ourselves an opportunity to sleep past 7am once a year. #notsorry.

Stephanie | Olive and Tate |
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  1. I love everything about this! I have an 18 month old son and I must say your "fed is best" statement really resonated with me. While still in the hospital we tried to breast feed with no luck. I cannot count the number of nurses and lactation consultants the came in and tried to help. In the end, they sent us home and said we would figure it out. After four days we realized my son is just lazy and was starving himself...we started formula immediately as he had lost so much weight. Our pediatriclan still made me feel guilty about "giving up" but I didn't care at that baby needed to eat. Thank you for your honesty!

    1. so, get this - I used the fact that the baby was formula fed as an interview question of sorts when finding a pediatrician here in SC. I would say that he had been 100% formula fed since day one and would watch their faces for any hint of reaction. Our Maine pediatrician was super supportive and our SC pediatrician is completely on board as well. If they weren't, I was ready to say see ya! ;-)

  2. Loving the timing of this! I'm a few days shy of 37 weeks and found out my baby is breech today (but I already knew it, I felt him flip himself over last week). I was feeling SO disappointed and sorry for myself all day but this put it in perspective for me. Thanks girl!

    1. I honestly loved my C Section! Well, I loved my spinal block! I promise you that when the babe is born you'll be so happy, relieved and exhausted that you won't think for one second that you should have done it any other way. xoxo

  3. Love "fed is best!" Thanks for sharing this. I have 2.5 year old twins that still don't sleep through the night, so I'm jealous! Although co-sleeping can and is a good choice for many families so don't knock it!

  4. All of this. So similar to my situation!! I have a 19 month old little boy and I felt like I was reading my thoughts. Kudos to you and your family. Being on the same page with each other is best, not what society or other mothers shame onto us. Thanks for being so honest and candid with your readers. I am so glad I found you! Best wishes.

  5. All of this. So similar to my situation!! I have a 19 month old little boy and I felt like I was reading my thoughts. Kudos to you and your family. Being on the same page with each other is best, not what society or other mothers shame onto us. Thanks for being so honest and candid with your readers. I am so glad I found you! Best wishes.

  6. I definitely think the mommy shaming is disgusting. More 'well done' and 'you're doing an amazing job'!

  7. I love every single one of these points. I am not yet a parent but I have definitely noticed that there can be a lot of judgement between mothers. And to be honest, that kind of scares me about having kids. I love seeing posts like this that state that people have different methods and needs for their family and that it's ok. About the breastfeeding thing, I don't get it. My brother and I (and millions of other kids) have been formula fed and turned out perfectly fine. Why is there so much pressure?

  8. I got so much judgement about my c-section especially when I say I loved mine. My MIL told me I wouldn't be able to bond with my daughter and another woman actually asked me if it difficult knowing I didn't really give birth. Seriously...getting a person cut out of you while you're awake is definitely giving birth. Straight up morons 😒 Loved the rest of your points!

  9. I love every one of these points! My son was almost exclusively formula fed from day 1. I tried to breastfeed and it didn't work. I went to a lactation consultant and they saw, he was getting nothing. He even lost weight while we were there. I tried to pump and would do it for 20 minutes and get 2 oz. It was extremely frustrating. Then what I did get, he would spit up. Talk about hard work down the drain. So we switched over to formula and never looked back and I do not regret one minute of it. I don't understand why people have such opinions over how WE raise our kids. Does me formula feeding MY baby effect you or even how you raise YOUR baby? No. Like Courtney said, I wish moms would lift each other up instead of put each other down.

  10. Ohhh my gosh, preach! Love every single damn point you made in this post! I especially LOVE number 1 and 2. I too had a c-section, although not planned and I don't for one second retreat ANY of my birth story... ok maybe I regret not having a scheduled section ;) The other day I mentioned to someone in passing that this next baby will be a scheduled c-section and they immediately were all like "why would you do that?!"... I was appalled that I had to explain myself and that she implied it was the easy way out... I'm pretty sure MAJOR abdominal surgery (and let me tell you they do disembowel you, I've watched it as a student nurse, it's NOT pretty and they are not gentle) is not the easy way out.

    As for the breastfeeding movement... ugh it's something that irks me so much. There are so many circumstances and some people just don't want to breastfeed. I too agree that fed is best, I hate the breast is best movement because it's not best for everyone.

    CIO we did that, and will be for baby number two... but a lot earlier. I need to look into this MOC program you talk about :)

    anyway I loved this post, sorry for my long winded comment ;)

  11. I'm appalled any lactation consultant would make you feel that way! I agree about getting Dad involved in bathtime and feedings, but it's definitely still possible for dads to help even if mama is breastfeeding via pumped milk and a bottle!!

  12. Amen! I am so over moms/women judging other moms/women. We need to be supporting each other, whatever the choices!

  13. this is great! there is a lot of parent to parent judgement out there about how to do things "right" and it's pretty stupid. do what works for you and your family. the end.

    so curious when did you and your husband first travel sans baby? we want to take a trip but we need to get Vi on the bottle before we leave her with her grandparents (who are more than willing to fly to sc to watch her #crazypants). xo jillian - cornflake dreams

  14. You just described my birth, breastfeeding, and sleep training experiences, and I've said I would not apologize for it either! So what if my reflux baby did better on formula, and my milk never came? so she won't go to Yale because of the formula?! I really wish other moms were more supportive of these decisions, and sometimes situations that we just can't help. Definitely doesn't help the already existing new mom funk.

    My husband and I both work full-time and have demanding careers, and at the end of the day, we are a team, so he totally has his routines with our daughter, just like I do, and that's what works. I think every couple should go about parenting as a team effort - it takes TWO to make this happen!

    On the traveling, I couldn't agree more. Date nights and little weekend getaways are so good for the soul, and what keeps your marriage happy and going. We left our 7weeks older daughter overnight with my parents so we could finally have some alone time, and it was the best night ever. She's 2 and we've both traveled without her at least 4/5 times these past two years, and we are all better for it! haha

  15. AMEN! I had an emergency c-section, we let my 5-month-old cry it out, and we have every intention of traveling without him (the opportunity has yet to present itself.) I also agree that Fed is Best and I wish moms would find some other "worthy" cause to latch on to (no pun intended.)
    Lastly, I'm Caroline's friend and I'm SO happy she told me to check out your blog!

  16. Agree with you entirely on the whole list and share some of those experiences too, except I tried to deliver a breach baby and the hospital let me!!! Well it didn't happen the next time, 8 years later ha! I was unable to produce a drop of breast milk either. My husband and I are heading for our first solo travel in 20 years, I have major regrets about that. As always you are spot on lovely x x x

  17. THANK YOU for this post. So refreshing! I think every Mom feels judgement when she doesn't apologize for her choices and it's irritating. Moms just need to support each otherno matter if its breast or formula, etc- we are all just doing the best we can. It's a hard job and we all need to give each a break when it comes to judging. And I totally hear ya on taking adult vacations! We need to remember our marriages also. As Moms we also put everyone else first, and we need to put oversells first some times, and NOT apologize for it. Thank you for always being honest with your posts.

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  20. I love this! There is so much I wish I could go back and change but part of me thinks it made me better growing from it! Thanks for sharing real "mom talk"

  21. This post is amazing lady! Thanks so much for being honest and open - I agree with so much of what you say here! I think it's awesome that your husband has his special time with the babe in the evenings and both my sister and I were totally formula fed from day one and we have been completely healthy kids and adults! ;) Your rock momma! xx Em beauty blether

  22. praise you for posting this! after i read it, i googled moms on call because it peaked my interest. and I'm pretty sure it only took me a few hours before i downloaded the book. it was midday but i read through the feeding/sleeping and typical day schedule and started my little one (8 weeks tomorrow!) on the schedule. she slept from 9-5, waking twice but all i had to do was put her pacifier back in her mouth and boom- back to sleep. a-freakin-men!
    so thank you! if you hadn't posted this i would have just kept on waking up to feed her 2-3 times a night even though i return to work full time next week. sanity saved!

  23. BEST POST EVER!!! And I could have posted this myself - all of the above apply to me too :)
    And I'm definitely not sorry either! Well done momma - you are doing a fabulous job x

  24. So, now I'm the creepy person going back and re-reading ALL your posts. But YES to ALL of this!
    The breastfeeding vs. formula feeding is one that really, really bothered me and led to feelings of shame. I did breastfeed for two weeks, but I was struggling. I was battling PPD and, embarrassing as it is to admit, I didn't realize until after my breastfeeding struggles that I have flat nipples. I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed at making the decision to switch my daughter to formula.
    There's so much public support now for breastfeeding women and mamas socially high-fiving each other at "normalizing" public breastfeeding. Meanwhile, I would pull out a container of formula to mix up a bottle while in a restaurant and feel like everyone was judging me for doing so.
    I still have moments of doubting that decision. Mostly I'm okay with it. My daughter is 13 months old now and on 100% whole milk. But I STILL think about whether we could have made it breastfeeding. I hope that I'll find peace with it like you have.


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