No one said parenting would be this hard!
I planned to write about motherhood after the first week, but one week was not enough time to adequately report the monumental change of becoming a mom. I want other new moms to get a honest look before their life is changed forever. So I’ve spent this first month trying to get in the groove of mommy-hood and find the most candid way to share my experience.
So here’s how it went:
Having a cesarean, I was supposed to be practically immobile for 2 weeks…yea right. I mean you totally shouldn’t force yourself to do anything, but I was feeling good after 5 days and so….I started trying to get my life back. I knew my home life would be different with this new person moving in, but what I didn’t anticipate were the subtle life-altering changes.
Regardless if you have vaginal birth or cesarean, life doesn’t just snap back. Here are some things I took for granted before:
- Regular showers
- Laundry that’s actually completed
- Balanced meals
- An overall clean house
- Cute Bras
Since coming home from the hospital that old life is covered with dirty diapers, overgrown eyebrows and breast milk fouled shirts. Now 6-weeks later my TV is on the porch broken and I’ve finally started cooking again.
Below are the things I’ve found most challenging as a new mom and the silver lining to each. Motherhood as I’m learning isn’t something that can be mastered, it’s a gradual process of adaptation. You have to be flexible.
Sense of Purpose:
My first two weeks in, I thought I had postpartum depression. I felt bad that I didn’t experience an overwhelming sense of joy and fulfillment after giving birth. Other mom bloggers rejoiced over their newfound life’s purpose and left me feeling like I made a mistake, but I knew this wasn’t true. I went on to find that the other half of women, the half whose posts don’t make it mainstream feel just like me. I learned that sometimes attachment is built and motherhood doesn’t come effortlessly to everyone.
Talking to other new moms and my own mom, I was reassured that a child doesn’t define you. Yes, it makes you a mom but that’s not all you are or have to be! I think as young moms we’re caught in the middle of not wanting to feel like we gave up our dreams, but also not wanting to forfeit family for career. The beautiful thing is we don’t have to choose.
If you read my other post, Due Date, you know how completely delusional I was about my new sleep schedule. Being the stickler I am, I convinced myself that if we worked on a schedule everything would be seamless, still difficult but we could “adjust”. The problem is you can’t adjust to no sleep.
Sleep deprivation is what this truly is. Why didn’t anyone just say that? People constantly ask am I sleeping through the night? As if that’s a possibility when in the first few months of life your baby HAS to eat at least every 2-3 hours to maintain healthy weight gain. Everyone speaks of being exhausted, but no one explicitly says “girl, you ain’t getting no sleep.” So yea, adjustment….unrealistic.
I did successfully create a schedule for his nighttime feeding that has us waking up at 1,3,5&7. Which is great, but you should know that after feeding you have to burp a half sleep baby and then change him (you can do this before he eats, but he still may poop again) while not trying to fully awaken the little munchkin. After all that I manage to get a whopping 1 hour of sleep between feedings. Altogether 4 hours of sleep a night. Yay!!
So take all this: postpartum recovery, piling laundry, finding my life’s purpose, cereal for dinner, sleep deprivation and add it to any relationship. Sounds fun right? Whew-hooo!!
My boyfriend and I had been on such a high when I was pregnant and we brought that same positive energy home when Noah finally arrived. But stress almost stomped that out completely…not to mention after laboring a baby there is no sex life to trivialize your regular annoyances. You literally have to just deal with the stress faithfully believing that the other side will be beautiful and totally worth it.
Pulling through some of the toughest nights definitely makes your bond stronger than ever, once you realize your problem isn’t with one another. To get over the hurdle, we had to recognize that our way of adjusting is completely different. Once we accepted that and swapped curses words a few times, we’ve been able to respect and admire each other for sticking it out and at least trying to be decent compassionate humans. It’s been rough, but we’ve been open to learning and changing which helps tremendously.
In my first month as a new mom I’ve cried probably 10 (or more) times. I feel confused about my future, but oddly excited about it too. Noah is sooooo much fun and watching him grow daily is fascinating. I’m starting to relinquish control and actually give in to the experience. I’m learning to soak in these moments, the good and bad. In my weak moments when I feel like “what the hell have I done?!?” I just turn to God in prayer. Like vehement prayer. Sobbing on the ground, wailing out to God prayer. And each time He pulls me off the ground and shows me that only good can and will come of this. Noah has a purpose. One that only God knows, just like the rest of us do. It’s our job simply to trust Him and be led. I remind myself daily that he never gives us anything we can’t handle.
So if you’re a new mom and find yourself freaking out, keep pushing and keep trusting. Pray daily. Lean on your support system. Believe that it all serves a purpose!
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