Why I Just Can’t Do This… Alone!


I couldn’t do it.

I physically could not do it.

After 29 hours of labor, a rush c-section, and an hour of literally having my insides cut open and then sewn back together, I just couldn’t do it. I laid in the hospital bed staring at this teeny tiny little human on my chest, and I couldn’t get my arms to stop shaking long enough to safely hold him. My eyes were heavy with exhaustion, my dry, cracked lips yearned for a drink of water, yet all I wanted to do was hold this beautiful baby that I’d been getting to know for the past 37 weeks.

What’s more, I knew what he needed was skin-to-skin contact to help regulate his body temperature and reassure him that he was safe.

Still, I couldn’t do it.

Seeing my struggle, a nurse gently picked the baby up.

My eyes immediately filled with tears. I’d been a mother for less than two hours, and I was already failing.

But then I turned my head and saw something that completely changed my perspective on parenting – my husband. In a room full of doctors and nurses, he’d stripped off his shirt and was cuddling our sweet baby boy.

It was in that moment that it dawned on me – the baby in Jeff’s arms and his twin brother in the nursery have two parents – TWO. I don’t have to do it all.

And, at the end of the day, I shouldn’t.

Photo of mom after birth

It takes a village

In the days following the birth of a child, the Center for Disease Control estimates that around half of all mothers will go through what is often called “the baby blues” and around 15% will experience a more extended, more severe type of postpartum depression.  These feelings of despair are often linked with social isolation and a general sense of being overwhelmed.

However, women who have a support system in place, whether that be a husband who is ready and willing to jump into parenthood headfirst and shirtless like mine, a tight-knit group of friends, or nearby family, are less likely to suffer from postpartum depression.

In fact, multiple people being involved in the raising of a child is how the human species has survived and thrived in a world full of animals with sharper teeth and faster feet, according to a developmental molecular biologist, John Medina. In his book, “Brain Rules for Baby: How to Raise a Smart and Happy Child from Zero to Five,” Medina explains that before the miracles of modern medicine, mothers were more likely than not to die during childbirth – unless there were other, experienced women around. This community of women was able to help laboring moms deliver safely. After the baby was born, the entire group nurtured and helped to take care of the infant.

As the human race has evolved, we have somehow lost the social structure that empowers the entire community to help raise a child. We say, “it takes a village,” but we put more and more pressure on mothers to do and be all. I am sure that I was not the first new mom to feel ashamed or guilty for not being able to hold my sweet baby immediately after a long and difficult delivery. I’m sure that I am not the first mom to feel guilty or ashamed that another person had to pick up where I fell short.

I was not the first, but I should be the last.

Your Lubbock Village 

Back when humans were all hanging out on the Serengeti, relying on others to help raise babies had to do with basic species survival, but, today, building a community around you and your children is essential to your mental health.

So, whether you are the kind of mom who needs to let go just enough to let someone else in or a mama who is struggling to find her tribe, know that it is okay to need help in raising your babies. We were never supposed to do this alone.

And, if you don’t have a built-in support system, you are not alone. There are hundreds of women across the city who are raising their kids in a non-traditional family structure or who don’t have nearby family or who haven’t had any luck at making new friends in Lubbock. Groups like the ones listed below were created by people just like you.

Here are a few groups that have been recommended by other Lubbock Moms Blog readers:

Lubbock Moms Blog: You’re already here! This is a great place to connect with other moms! Ask for advice. Set up a play date. Join the book club! There are tons of opportunities to grow your community.

Mommyhood World: This is a mommy group that meets every Thursday at 10:30 a.m. at Shepard King Lutheran Church. The entire purpose of the group is for moms of young children to find support and build a community.

MOPS: MOPS meets on the second and fourth Fridays of every month from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. and is a place where mothers of children from birth through kindergarten can come fellowship together in a community of like-minded women looking to gain personal growth.

The Free Forest School: This is a free, cooperative, volunteer-run group for children age 0 to 6 and their parents/caregivers that meet every week throughout the year in nearby nature areas.

And, if you believe you may be suffering from postpartum depression, please talk to your doctor. You don’t have to manage it alone. You can also call the Postpartum Support International hotline at 1-800-944-4773 (4PPD). You will be asked to leave a confidential message, and a trained and caring volunteer will return your call or text. They will listen, answer questions, offer encouragement, and connect you with local resources as needed.

Learn more at www.postpartum.net.