The New Normal: Riding (and Life) after Baby

The New Normal: Riding (and Life) after Baby

A new baby!  What a joy!  What happiness!  What a blessing!  Right?…

Everyone told me before Derby was born that I should get ready for “life to change.”  Sure.  I was ready for life to change.  I even knew some of what to expect…there would be a new human to work around after all.  It wasn’t the stuff I expected that is the problem…it’s the other stuff…added on top of the known items that really have thrown me for a loop.  There have been more than a handful of moments over the last 6 weeks when I thought “Why do people do this?!  And even more often…why do they do it more than once?”

Most of these difficult changes come from physical recovery from labor and emotions from crazy ass hormones and lack of sleep.  That’s really what I’m having the hardest time with.  I was VERY prepared for baby…read all the books, watched all the videos, listened to all the advice.  Taking care of her is no problem.

But no one really talks about postpartum for mom.  I didn’t find any books on that.  Nobody told me that afterward I was going to feel like my nether regions went through a meat grinder and that pain would last for over a month!  No one told me that it wasn’t the lack of sleep because of the baby schedule that would make me tired…oh no.  It was starting in the deficit of energy from getting that baby out.  I honestly am not sure if there’s anything more physically exhausting than having a baby (though maybe I made it worse by going through labor without pain management).  If I hadn’t been the one to have the baby, this wouldn’t be nearly so hard.  Also, no one told me breastfeeding actually DOES hurt for several weeks…and feels quite isolating and you will regularly feel like you’re nothing more than a dairy cow.

No one warned me either that I’d be crazy.  I mean…there are moments I really wonder about myself (and I know my husband wonders too).

Lack of Time Expected – finding a babysitter, carving out time to go to the barn and ride.

Lack of Time Unexpected – If I do get to the barn, do I have time to ride, groom and clean tack?  Probably not.  Finding a babysitter…I underestimated the difficulty.

Riding/Physical Expected – I expected to be a bit out of shape (but not much since I rode late into my pregnancy).  Being a bit uncomfortable for a while. I expected to have to fix a few things from lack of serious riding for a couple of months.

Riding/Physical Unexpected – How fat I got and how that would get in the way.  Being exhausted from lack of sleep, lack of personal care and being out of shape.  Peeing when I tried to post the trot!?!  I mean really…what. the. hell.  I can sit trot…just not post.  How much my new boobs hurt sitting that trot and how much I hate them.  Major trauma down there…you’d think our bodies would have found a less ridiculous way to have a baby.  Eggs perhaps like a chicken?

How floppy and sloppy my riding is!  I mean…I was riding the whole time almost…but all these bad habits have come back and I’m more crooked than I ever was…WTF!  Inability to focus (I have NEVER had this problem in my life) and feeling like a bimbo.  The worst case of plantar faciitis I could imagine (or I tore something).  Since I had Derby, there are days I literally cannot bear weight on my foot at all.  Ugh…

Going back to Work Expected – to be honest…I expected no problems here.  Why?  Because I’m stupid.  I expected no problems with my work-from-home jobs.  And my on site jobs…I was just going to take her with me.

Going Back to Work Unexpected – This one has been a BIG shock to me.  Pure lack of motivation to do it, physical exhaustion, finding the time to get work done when your baby decides to cluster feed…or doesn’t want anything other than being held/rocked/walked/driven around in the car.

Taking her with me?  HA!  Well no one tells you about the terror of taking your baby around a bunch of germ ridden humans and being terrified she’s going to get a cold, the flu, measles or the plague…  Wait…vaccinations don’t start until 2 months?  Ugh.  Wait?! It’s 100 degrees outside…do I really want to strap my baby to my chest (and overheat her) and take her outside to work?  Hell no.  Is it worth it to pay for childcare to go back to work (really…it isn’t for me for most of my jobs)?

Emotional Challenges Expected – Doubt.  Stress.  Anxiety.

Emotional Challenges Unexpected – Doubt.  Stress.  Anxiety.  Random bouts of crying.  Terror as you hear your baby choking in the middle of the night after throwing up all her meal.  Moments of detachment (I mean…really…could I be any worse of a mother?).  Moments of inability to put her down (why do I get really attached at the hip in the middle of the night when we both should be sleeping).

Normal Life… Unexpected –  I honestly didn’t even consider this…but chores, cooking, eating, showering, remembering to take my meds, remembering/time for exercise. Changing out of pjs… Going to the store…any store… Actually spending time or seeing my husband at all.  Getting to actually enjoy a meal without shoving it into my mouth quickly (I swear if I get food, Derby knows and wants to eat RIGHT THEN).  Realizing my car is garbage for a baby and rushing to buy a new one…while having no one to watch her as my husband and I trade-off watching her while the other goes and does test drives.  Realizing my couch needs to be set on fire and I need a new one (since I’m on it so much feeding) and trying to carve out the time to actually find a new one/buy one. Social life…everyone wants to see baby! Remembering to take photos.  Writing thank you notes for gifts coming after birth.  Actually writing in her Baby Book.  Sending out announcements (still haven’t done it yet).  Calling my mom (I swear I just called you yesterday…oh It’s been a week…I’m sorry).  Remembering I have friends that might actually want to see me more than the baby.  Finding yourself no longer giving any $@*#* anymore about things that you used to get overworked about.

The New Normal: Riding (and Life) after Baby

SO…all that said.  Adjustment to the new normal is slow in coming, but I’m sure it will come.  I have no choice but to adapt and make choices.  Most of it is based on mentality and learning to let go of some things.  But the physical recovery is the worst of all for me…and I know it’s probably going to be the thing that takes the longest to adjust.

One absolute consistent through all of this is my love of horses, riding, dressage, and my motivation to get back out there and finish my Silver medal on Spice.  I’m more appreciative now than ever that I’m an adult ammy.  My love of Spice grew even stronger while I was pregnant and I appreciate him even more now that I did before.  All of this is worth it if I can have a happy, healthy child and I get to enjoy my time with my other child.

I am looking ahead and really CANNOT wait to put Derby on her first pony.  I can only hope she loves horses too and it’s something we can do together as she grows up.


Am I alone here?  Did you have similar issues after having your baby?  What were your biggest challenges?