Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Reality of Bringing a Life Into the World

Well, he made it, safe and sound! And healthy! We are so blessed in so many ways.  

When I first started this blog, it was mostly a place for me to posts the things I enjoy: crafts, gardening, cooking etc. I will add another topic: motherhood. 

Being a new mom is scary, and amazing, and wonderful, and awful all at the same time. My sweet Little Man is now 2 months old and I finally have my wits about me enough to discuss what being a new mom is like. I wasn't even going to incorporate it into this blog but it is literally in every aspect of my daily life and I feel like many of my followers may appreciate my candid commentary :) I thought about just talking about the wonderful things motherhood brings, but that's not reality and I feel it's better to be honest!

Let me start with childbirth. I don't really recommend it. In fact, I don't recommend pregnancy either, but alas, they are both usually necessary to bring a child into this world- though not always necessary to become a parent... now that I think about it, those parents who adopt are way smarter than me!

Back to childbirth- it's painful. I mean, really, really painful. I was under this delusion that the epidural works for everyone, so it should work for me.. why not? I'm healthy. Well, sparing some details, it DOESN'T always work... and so, childbirth is very, very painful. In fact it was so painful I felt betrayed by all of the friends of mine who had kids that didn't warn me EXACTLY how bad it was. I did get over it pretty quickly, but I feel like it's this thing that no one REALLY emphasizes.. NOTHING will prepare you for that kind of pain.

Regardless, eventually, you get this beautiful little person that looks like a cross between a wrinkly old person and the most perfect thing you've ever seen in your life:

Our Little Man :)
And then, just like that, you are a mother! How crazy is that? One minute you are sobbing and in complete agony and the next, you are a parent! The next few days were a blur, but a good summary is this: eat, sleep, poop. Rinse and repeat. Actually, that's what your newborn's life is like. Your life is more like scarf a cliff bar, nap for 5 minutes, change a diaper, feed your child, and fit a potty break in there somewhere (Oh and I won't mention how NOT fun those are!). I am thankful he is healthy, and actually had a decent sleeping pattern and rooting reflex when he arrived so feeding and sleeping weren't TOO bad. I tried my best to take as many photos and videos as possible, but in all honesty, my only two goals for the day were to shower and eat breakfast. Anything over that was just a bonus.

Let me talk a minute about how absolutely overwhelming those first few days are. Your whole life's routine is changed, and you may do fine or it may completely overwhelm you. And that's ok! You will find a new normal, and in just a few short weeks, you will forget what it was like to be able to take a shower at your leisure instead of in that (very) short window of time when baby is fed, sleeping and has a dry diaper. I'm pretty sure those three things never happen all at once in the first 2 months of life, but when the planets align.. take it for what you can!

Lots of people come to visit you after you have a baby. And you feel awful, the pain doesn't end when your gorgeous little person arrives, it lasts for weeks.. and weeks. No one told me that either, and I don't know why I didn't think about it, but it does make sense. I'm kind of a wimp when it comes to pain, so take that for what it is, but I was so uncomfortable for so long. All I wanted to do was sit and rock my child to sleep and I couldn't do it because it hurt so bad to sit down! Do not underestimate the power of ibuprofen and a couple fluffy pillows.

The best advice I can give a person going to see a new baby. Bring food. And diapers. My favorite visits were the friends that called me and said they were bringing dinner, but that they weren't staying for it! No offense, we love our friends, we just weren't very good hosts and it totally took the pressure off!

There are a lot of firsts that I didn't think about either. His first smile probably is my favorite :) Nothing warms your heart more, and nothing will make you forget you got up 4 times after midnight any better than a beautiful toothless gummy grin. 

The other firsts that I didn't think about include the first time I had to breastfeed in public with my little "apron".. that was interesting, and awkward- I only knew how to breastfeed with a boppy or a pillow.. so that took some getting used to. Also, our first grocery store trip was thankfully uneventful but I was on high alert to make sure no one's grubby hands touched my baby! The same went for our first trip to a restaurant.

Another first I didn't think of? My first pang of mommy guilt. Oh man, is this the most under rated, under discussed topic of parenting. I first felt guilty when he was 3 days old and not making enough wet diapers, that we had to supplement him until my milk came in. Then it was the circumcision. Then it was not realizing he had been laying in a sopping wet onsie which was why he wouldn't settle down. Then it was his first bath, which he hated. And the most recent?


I GLARED at that bottle for a solid 30 minutes. I have exclusively breastfed but my supply is decreasing and he's growing so his demand is increasing.. and I'm working 12 hour shifts- which means I only pump twice in a 12 hour period. So, I had to give in to supplementing with formula. I teared up as I gave him that bottle. I'm ridiculous, I know. I think motherhood has made me that way actually. I went to great lengths to find a formula that was free of corn syrup and sugar as well as GMO and pesticide free. You would think that was easy- it wasn't. BUT I found one and bought some "just in case". Well that day came and I was pretty upset.. but then I realized something.. my sweet boy was no longer fussy because he had a full belly. He was still getting some good stuff from me, but also filling his belly. And I didn't die of guilt. And now, I feel a little silly about that tear I shed, but at the time, I felt like a failure. 

Mommyhood so far has been awesome. My Little Man is doing so well, I could not ask for a better child. And he's such a cutie to boot, total bonus. But Mommyhood also has it's darkness.. the guilt can be all consuming if you let it. And interestingly, no one talks about it FOR REAL. It's passively mentioned as a joke, but it's awful to feel guilty about everything. And then there are women who develop postpartum blues, and even depression. And, though I think I may have had a touch of the blues, thankfully I was spared that agony. It amazes me what a taboo subject it is. Your hormones change very drastically- it's okay to be teary eyed about not having time to do a load of laundry!! Not saying I did that...... well, maybe at least once. Oh, hell, my poor/wonderful husband knew right when to just stop and hug me. And we'd laugh about it. And it was okay, but in our 8 years together I had never been that weepy and labile before, it took me by surprise. 

I'm so thankful to have a healthy, happy baby. He is my world, OUR world actually.  I can't imagine if he was sick, unhealthy, if he was a twin, if I was a single parent.. the list goes on. For those mommies who don't have a happy or healthy baby, or those that have multiple outside factors that make being a new mom even MORE overwhelming- I will say a prayer for you tonight! 

Such a smiley boy

I love that sweet face! 

I will continue to post about project life. It took a little back burner.. lots of photos but no journaling! I really want to keep track of all the things that happen in the next year so I will be getting back to it! One thing at a time :)

Happy crafting :)