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Feeling Overwhelmed & Frustrated as a new mom? You’re NOT alone!

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(With Martha Montgomery, mama of 2)  It was 3 AM…Martha was bleary eyed & having trouble breastfeeding her first baby…this was the tipping point. Feeling so frustrated & overwhelmed as a new mom, Martha leaned over to her husband & said….”I think we made a BIG mistake”. She felt like a total failure as a new mom.

Martha shares openly how this admission eventually led her to figuring out that she wasn’t alone. In fact, some of the people Martha admired and thought “had it all together’ also admitted to break-downs with the same exact feelings of doubt & nasty thoughts.  Martha teaches you how she finally found freedom, how she was able to embrace the unknowns of parenting & how you can to! You’ll have more fun as a mom if you can. 

You’ll Also Learn:

  1. That you don’t need to have it all figured out. Learn how to cut yourself some slack & avoid self-induced stress.
  2. Why it’s important to ‘be the friend’ who brings up all the ‘new mom challenges’ in your circle of friends.
  3. That you need to do whatever works for you- this may mean going against “the norm” in order to keep your sanity!

Who is Martha Montgomery?

Martha is married, has two energetic beautiful daughters and lives in Cincinnati, Ohio.  Having learned how to chill out and not stress about ‘mom stuff’, she’s learned to relish each twist & turn along her mom journey. She also likes to sing songs that she doesn’t know the words to.    

Watch the interview (download MP3)

 

What do you think? Share below…

 

Transcript

Martha Montgomery- Feeling Overwhelmed

Sarah Blight:               Hi. This is Sarah Blight from your Baby Booty Interviews where we cut right through the fluff and give you the information that you want to know and need to know about becoming a mom.

 

                                    Well today, we’re talking about being overwhelmed and just feeling overwhelmed and fearful and frustrated about becoming a new mom, especially in these first few weeks post hospital or where you give birth and just what that experience is like. We’re going to talk to a mom who just is going to share with us today her story.

 

                                    We’re talking today with Martha Montgomery. She’s the mama of two kids, a 10-year-old and a 7-year-old. My husband knew, Mr. Baby Booty, knew Martha back in the day and he did say that Martha’s bangs hit the ceiling of the car. Is that true, Martha?

 

Martha Montgomery: Oh, yes, the good old days.

 

Sarah Blight:               [Laughs]

 

Martha Montgomery: Yes. When I would get in the car and I would do the bang check –

 

Sarah Blight:               Yeah.

 

Martha Montgomery: — and if it didn’t reach the top of my middle finger, they weren’t high enough.

 

Sarah Blight:               [Laughs] Oh, my god.

 

Martha Montgomery: It was truly an art form.

 

Sarah Blight:               Well I’m glad to see that you’ve gotten that under control since, you know, the late ‘70s, early ‘80s whenever that was, mid-‘80s probably.

 

Martha Montgomery: Yeah.

 

Sarah Blight:               Well thanks so much for being with us today. Martha, what is the one thing that looking back that you wish that you would have known about becoming a mom?

 

Martha Montgomery: I think during the time when I was first having – so my daughter is going to turn 11 this year and I think back then moms weren’t talking as openly as I was ready to at that time because of just my personality and as they are today. You doing what you’re doing today is a perfect example of that. I mean it’s been 11 years and I haven’t seen anybody do it. I wish at the time I had had someone to talk to like that. So I think that it was the sharing of information to know that when times are tough and they do get tough and they will get tough that you’re not alone.

 

Sarah Blight:               Uh-hum.

 

Martha Montgomery: That everyone else hasn’t done it seamlessly without any shedding of any tears and they haven’t been overwhelmed and totally sleep deprived, that, you know, you’re not the only one out there. In just hearing one other person say, oh yeah, I remember crying myself to sleep that night or having to let my baby cry it out, shut the door and just collapse in exhaustion, it made me feel so much better.

 

Sarah Blight:               Uh-hum. Yeah. Knowing that you’re not alone. Well so tell us about your experience with your first child early on. So you’re at home, you’re adjusting to life as a family of three, tell what some of your experiences were like.

 

Martha Montgomery: Well for me, it wasn’t the natural I love and encompassed everything being pregnant and it was very kind of outer body for me. It felt very at times kind of like especially towards the later end of the pregnancy you know, and you could feel the baby, you could see the foot or heel sticking out, I wasn’t like, oh my gosh, this is so great. I was like, oh my gosh, this feels very alien like.

 

Sarah Blight:               Uh-hum.

 

Martha Montgomery: So I kind of went into it feeling like this is very new for me and I’m not sure how I feel about it.

 

Sarah Blight:               Uh-hum.

 

Martha Montgomery: Once when it came in those early, early days, hours, weeks, I would describe myself as being more kind of nervous, very anxious. I was a new mom. You know, I had read a bunch of books, I had some friends who had started very young families too, but so I was the mom that was kind of really unsure still.

 

Sarah Blight:               Uh-hum.

 

Martha Montgomery: And I very clearly remember a night when I was very overwhelmed and tired. You know, Lauren would cry and I would almost just kind of – it was like the nails on the chalkboard feeling like, oh my gosh, she’s crying and I don’t know what to do and she’s going to be crying again in two hours, I’m going to have to do this all over again. I remember looking at my husband and saying, I think we made a mistake and feeling so guilty for that.

 

Sarah Blight:               Uh-hum.

 

Martha Montgomery: And just the unknown and wondering am I ever going to embrace this, am I going to ever love this. Like all of my other friends seemed to be loving motherhood because they weren’t sharing at the time their stories.

 

Sarah Blight:               Uh-hum.

 

Martha Montgomery: So I did have those times.

 

Sarah Blight:               So you obviously felt overwhelmed and frustrated. What did you do at that point? Was there any action that you took or is there something kind of in retrospect you’re like if I had to do it over again, I would have done…?

 

[0:05:01]

Martha Montgomery: I think what helped me is I have a very supportive husband hands-down. So he listened a lot, he was very supportive, he was very hands-on with the baby so I mean that was very, very blessed.

 

Sarah Blight:               Uh-hum.

 

Martha Montgomery: I do have good friends. What I did was I leaned – I just started talking about it.

 

Sarah Blight:               Uh-hum.

 

Martha Montgomery: I just started talking about the way I felt. I just didn’t really care if no one was going to reciprocate.

 

Sarah Blight:               Uh-hum.

 

Martha Montgomery: But fortunately and what I learned in time was that they do start to reciprocate or you know you have friends who have kids or do you do forget.

 

Sarah Blight:               Yeah.

 

Martha Montgomery: You forget those early days.

 

Sarah Blight:               Yeah.

 

Martha Montgomery: And so I think somebody would remember, oh yeah, I remember that and then I was like okay.

 

Sarah Blight:               [Laughs]

 

Martha Montgomery: All right. I’m a little more normal than I’m feeling.

 

Sarah Blight:               Uh-hum.

 

Martha Montgomery: So I think in hindsight, I wish that people had just been more frank and upfront. You know, when you’re going through all of the parties and the anticipation of your new baby and everything, I wish somebody had just said to me and had been very frank and said you know what, there are times where it’s going to be tough and we’ve all done it, we’ve been there and we are here if you ever need anything.

 

Sarah Blight:               Uh-hum.

 

Martha Montgomery: And so what I kind of decided for myself was I was going to be that person.

 

Sarah Blight:               Cool.

 

Martha Montgomery: Going forward.

 

Sarah Blight:               Uh-hum.

 

Martha Montgomery: So a lot of my friends started having their firsts, I didn’t want to be Debbi Downer but I would say to them hey, you know what, this is all really fun, but there are going to be times where you may feel overwhelmed. It’s going to be hard, you’re going to be up at 3:00 a.m. but know that you’re not the only one.

 

Sarah Blight:               Uh-hum.

 

Martha Montgomery: And you won’t be the only one and we’ve all been there and it’s okay.

 

Sarah Blight:               Uh-hum.

 

Martha Montgomery: And those times where you feel like you’re not doing the best job, you are.

 

Sarah Blight:               Uh-hum.

 

Martha Montgomery: You know, so just those words of encouragement I think. In hindsight, I wish somebody had been more forthright. And another thing is the advice I give and I wish somebody had told me or really gotten it through to me was to do whatever works for you and your immediate family and your baby.

 

Sarah Blight:               That’s great advice.

 

Martha Montgomery: So all the advice you hear, your mother-in-law, your mother, your sister, everybody who’s had a baby and they know and all the books, you know, if it’s not working out, textbook, that’s okay.

 

Sarah Blight:               Uh-hum.

 

Martha Montgomery: Change it up and see what works and as long as you’re talking to your pediatrician and they’re okay with whatever decision you make, then let that guilt go if that’s what you’re feeling.

 

Sarah Blight:               That’s really good. That’s great advice. So were you the kind of person when you were pregnant that you got – you know, you read all the books, you did all the prenatal classes. Did you do those I guess when you were pregnant is my first question?

 

Martha Montgomery: Yes.

 

Sarah Blight:               Yeah, okay.

 

Martha Montgomery: Yes. Yes.

 

Sarah Blight:               Did you feel like those, you know, helped you to kind of figure out and navigate or I guess what role did you feel like those played if any kind of in how you handled things after baby came?

 

Martha Montgomery: I definitely followed those courses. I went to the birthing classes, read all those what to expect books.

 

Sarah Blight:               Yeah.

 

Martha Montgomery: At the time TLC had a show called, I think it was The Baby Story, which has kind of documented the whole process of a woman all the way to giving birth. I would watch those like crazy. And I think that – but that was part of my learning process too is because even when I watched those shows, I would skip all the episodes that had to do with C-sections because I knew that the way I was going to have this baby was what the book said and what all my friends had done and the doctor and you know you just kind of go into it thinking you’re going to go a certain way.

 

Sarah Blight:               Uh-hum.

 

Martha Montgomery: And what happened with my first is that I ended up in 29 hours of labor and only had gotten to six centimeters and ended up in a C-section.

 

Sarah Blight:               Uh-hum.

 

Martha Montgomery: So it was unknown territory.

 

Sarah Blight:               Uh-hum.

 

Martha Montgomery: I hadn’t watched those episodes, I didn’t know what happened, but that was part of my learning experience of how to then – you have to learn how to go with the flow.

 

Sarah Blight:               Yeah.

 

Martha Montgomery: And so these classes helped because they were very informative. I knew that I had resources to turn to if I needed.

 

Sarah Blight:               Yeah.

 

Martha Montgomery: All the way through the breastfeeding. I knew who to contact if I needed additional help. So I mean it was beneficial in that respect. I think what I took from it and what I often advise my friends now is that you can’t limit yourself to only what that information is.

 

Sarah Blight:               Right. 

 

Martha Montgomery: So you need to know that that information is out there for you, but that it’s not going to work for everyone.

 

Sarah Blight:               it sounds kind of like you’re a construction worker and you have tools in your tool belt if you need them, but you may not need them.

[0:10:03]

 

Martha Montgomery: Yup.

 

Sarah Blight:               But it’s not going to necessarily help you prepare for the actual reality of being a mom sometimes because hormones are crazy things and sleep deprivation is also just it’s a whole different world that really we can’t anticipate. I guess when you were going through all this, did you feel, I know you said you kind of felt like am I do only one. Did you feel like you were failing as a mom?

 

Martha Montgomery: Yeah. I think there were definite times where I felt like I’m not doing this right whatever right was.

 

Sarah Blight:               Right.

 

Martha Montgomery: And, yeah, and so what came with that was, you know, a layer of guilt, a layer of doubt, a layer of a knock to my self-confidence. I’m used to knowing what I’m doing. I mean I went into motherhood very practically. We knew we wanted to have a family and now it’s time kind of.

 

Sarah Blight:               Yeah.

 

Martha Montgomery: So yeah, you know, I feel like what I’ve learned along the way is how to let those things go and go – be a little bit more spontaneous. You have to be.

 

Sarah Blight:               Uh-hum.

 

Martha Montgomery: You know, I think motherhood is all about now what I’ve learned is just moving forward. Keep moving forward in a positive direction. You hit hiccups along the way, figure out who to talk to. There’s resources everywhere. You know, lean on that few friends who you really trust and the rest is you just do your best and you’re not alone.

 

Sarah Blight:               What was the turning point do you think for you? Do you remember like a specific time or a phase where you’ve kind of felt like you were able to kind of reclaim like your confidence in yourself and just kind of maybe it was the honesty factor? Was there a specific time that you can recall that it kind of all started coming together for you?

 

Martha Montgomery: Yeah, absolutely remember. It was the day I was at a friend’s house. She had had her first baby six months before mine and we are very close. But like I said I think when you get away from it far enough, you forget and you’re so inundated with what’s going in your life. So she had a six-month-old and she’s dealing with all those things and her baby’s on the move.

 

Sarah Blight:               Uh-hum.

 

Martha Montgomery: And we sat at dinner one night and I was just feeling kind of, you know, I was quiet and so we were just talking and I was just starting to then feel like I can open up a little bit. I shared with her, you know, oh, I had a really rough night last night, I don’t think I got any sleep and I just didn’t know what to do nothing was working. And this was a mom that she has a very calm demeanor all the time. She looks like everything is going perfectly all the time. She’s one of those.

 

Sarah Blight:               Yeah.

 

Martha Montgomery: And I would look to her kind of as my goal like okay, I want to be like her, I want everything to be working as well. She seems to have everything working and she was the one who said, oh, yeah, I remember one night when baby was crying and I just put her in her crib and let her cry and I shut the door and I just sat in the hallway and just cried. I was like you cried? It just meant the world and not that I was happy with her –

 

Sarah Blight:               Yeah.

 

Martha Montgomery: — moment of her struggles but just hearing okay, we are all in the same boat together and I am doing a good job. Because my expectations and all of that shifted back to being very grounded and being realistic versus what I heard, what I read in books. You know, you build your own expectations with anything. If you don’t feel like you’re meeting it then you’re just going to start going down a very self-defeating cycle.

 

Sarah Blight:               Uh-hum.

 

Martha Montgomery: So, yeah, that was the moment and then that was the moment I decided for myself I’m going to be that friend going forward to my friends who are going through this for the first time and who have no idea what’s about to happen.

 

Sarah Blight:               Wow. Those are some lucky friends that had you in their life, that’s for sure. Well do you think it’s changing with moms like kind of tiptoeing around? Do you think moms still kind of what to kind of present that they kind of have it all together or do you think it just kind of depends who your friends are and how you are towards them as far as really getting the real scoop?

 

Martha Montgomery: I think there’s a lot of both. I think that moms today do talk more and there’s a lot more avenues to do it. I think this whole social media world we’re living in with over sharing, I think that we’ve definitely crossed over. But I think too it’s important to keep that circle of friends who you trust who are going through similar things.

 

[0:15:03]

Sarah Blight:               Uh-hum.

 

Martha Montgomery: So even if you don’t have a group of friends now who you consider that you could share this information with, you know, then I think in time through mutual things like preschool or even like early mommy groups or things like that would be good to get involved. Because when you’re going through the same life changes, you can really empathize better and they can with you. So I think that there’s some steps you can do to be proactive in finding those types of relationships.

 

Sarah Blight:               Uh-hum.

 

Martha Montgomery: But I definitely think today definitely there’s a lot more sharing than there used to be. I think there’s a lot less stigma of people thinking that, you know, they need to put on this façade that everything is just so picture perfect almost to the point where if you are carrying yourself that way all the time, I think everyone is kind of looking at you like, yeah –

 

[Laughter]

                                    — we don’t buy it. [Laughs]

 

Sarah Blight:               Yeah.

 

Martha Montgomery: You’re not fooling anyone so. [Laughs]

 

Sarah Blight:               So do you have any specific pieces of advice maybe one or two things? You did mentioned, you know, kind of seeking out support. I know when Jackson was like three months old, I mean the kid couldn’t even crawl yet and I was going to playgroups because I just needed to be around other moms, you know.

 

Martha Montgomery: Yeah.

 

Sarah Blight:               And have that connection. Is there anything else that mamas can do and start thinking about now even if they’re just pregnant right now and they don’t have their baby in their arms yet to really help kind of minimize or maybe not minimize but just give them the support that they need when they are going to feel frustrated or just really tired and…?

 

Martha Montgomery: Yeah. I think some of it so much is so it’s easier said now than when you’re in the moment.

 

Sarah Blight:               Yeah.

 

Martha Montgomery: But just to remind yourself, maybe write it down or write it down put it in a frame or on the refrigerator something where you can see and be reminded that, you know, there are going to be those times. You know, hormones get in the way like you said, no sleep. All that by itself without a baby can make you feel crazy so add to that a baby and everything new. You know, do what works for you. You know, if you are in good relationship with your pediatrician and you know what you’re doing is safe. For example, you know, when Lauren was first born, all the concern about SIDS and sleeping on the back and all of that, we tried so much and she couldn’t sleep. One day my mom came over and she flipped her over. She slept for like five hours and I was like, oh my god, I want to do that.

 

Sarah Blight:               [Laughs]

 

Martha Montgomery: But I has very deeply concerned because everything said you can’t let the baby sleep on their stomach. So we talked to our pediatrician and surprisingly she said, yeah, I think you’re fine. She health wise is fine, no respiratory problems, the crib is clear. Just be common sense safe about things.

 

Sarah Blight:               Uh-hum.

 

Martha Montgomery: But she gave us the green light and that was a life changing moment because she slept and it worked for us.

 

Sarah Blight:               Right.

 

Martha Montgomery: So that’s an example of, you know, doing what works for us and not worrying about what everyone else is saying they’re doing or whatever everything says to do.

 

Sarah Blight:               Right.

 

Martha Montgomery: There are times.

 

Sarah Blight:               Right.

 

Martha Montgomery: You know, certainly breastfeeding versus bottle feeding is another big issue and sometimes it just doesn’t work out and if it doesn’t that’s okay. You know, you did your best and that is always going to be okay. That’s what I teach my kids now, you know, at age 7 and 10. I have to kind of walk the walk.

 

Sarah Blight:               Uh-hum. So now Lauren’s ten years old, so do you think that you have embraced motherhood or motherhood has embraced you?

 

Martha Montgomery: It’s ever, ever changing.

 

Sarah Blight:               [Laughs]

 

Martha Montgomery: I have a friend now who has just had her baby. She’s two months old and she’s going through some of these things we’ve talked about. There’s a little bit of postpartum, there’s you know just newness to everything and so it’s kind of thrown me back into remembering and really kind of putting myself back to where I was at that time and really trying to help her through those challenges. But then as I talked to her about – her question to me was just tell me it gets easier.

 

Sarah Blight:               Uh-hum.

 

Martha Montgomery: I said well it just changes.

 

Sarah Blight:               [Laughs] Yeah.

 

Martha Montgomery: It evolves into new unchartered territory.

 

Sarah Blight:               Uh-hum.

 

Martha Montgomery: So I’m doing the same things I did back then. I’m leaning on my friends who have similar age children who we can bounce back ideas, how do you handle this. You know, now it’s turning into just disciplinary things. I have two girls so now it’s you know, preadolescent things.

 

Sarah Blight:               Yeah. You’ll have a whole new case of hormones hitting your household shortly. [Laughs]

 

Martha Montgomery: Oh, yeah, yeah, and we’re just kind of burying down the hatches.

 

[0:20:01]

Sarah Blight:               [Laughs]

 

Martha Montgomery: Gearing up for what’s to come. I remember when I was a kid I remember what we did and how we felt and so I try to remember that.

 

Sarah Blight:               Yeah.

 

Martha Montgomery: And I try to, you know, take that into frame of mind when we’re into heated things and we’re not seeing eye to eye.

 

Sarah Blight:               Yeah.

 

Martha Montgomery: So, yeah, I don’t know that I’ll ever have this licked but –

 

Sarah Blight:               Yeah.

 

Martha Montgomery: But I think, you know, we just do what we’re doing, talk we share, we learn from each other and it will work itself out.

 

Sarah Blight:               That’s right.

 

Martha Montgomery: A lot of praying.

 

Sarah Blight:               Yeah, a lot of grace for ourselves for sure –

 

Martha Montgomery: Yeah.

 

Sarah Blight:               — is needed. Well thank you so much, Martha, for sharing your story with us. I know it will encourage a lot of mamas as they realize that, you know, when you deliver your baby it’s the biggest drop in hormones that your body will ever experience and so there’s a lot of emotions that you’ll be experiencing that you can’t even anticipate. And just ride it out and it’ll all even out eventually. It really will. So thank you.

 

Martha Montgomery: Right.

 

Sarah Blight:               Thanks so much, Martha. For all the mamas who are watching, if you’d like to share your experiences with becoming a mom, we’d love to hear from you. Please let us know in the comments section what your experience has been. We will see you guys soon.

 

[0:21:16]                      End of Audio

  • Monica

    Gosh, more women need to talk about these times! They’re real & most of us have our own version of them. I completely agree with Martha ( I have 2 kiddos), once I learned to ‘just be’ I felt a HUGE weight off my shoulders. I have some very good friends and even with us being very close, we never admitted to having these real doubts. 3 years later during a girl’s weekend it all came out. It’s crazy how we do this to ourselves. It’s ok to doubt, it’s part of being a mom, a wife, a family member and on and on. Wish I had seen this earlier in my mom years!

    • http://twitter.com/YourBabyBooty Sarah Blight

      I’ve heard this from so many mamas Monica… feeling “free” once someone else expresses the challenges, frustrations, and doubts that totally come with being a mama. It’s nice to know we’re all in the same boat!

  • Jamie McKey

    Thanks for being so open Martha! Loved what she said about being the one who brings up the hard conversations with your friends. Looking back, I see that being true with a lot of things with friends. I can’t count the times I thought I was the “only one” only to learn almost every single other person had the same thought I did! It’s crazy! I want to be vulnerable so others can too!

    • http://twitter.com/YourBabyBooty Sarah Blight

      Your vulnerability will help other mamas to know they’re not alone:) (Just like Martha did). Go for it Jamie!