So a few months ago, I became a mom. I’m still undecided if posting pictures of babies online is an ok thing to do.
So, here’s a pic of me with a huge belly just before giving birth.
Pregnancy was quite surprisingly easy to bear. I had no nausea, didn’t gain much weight, got over my insomnia…
But I was completely taken by surprise by how hard it was to be a mom to a newborn.
You know the drill – you’re afraid you’re gonna drop the baby, after a week you’re surprised you’ve managed to keep them alive, you spend the first night (s) checking if they’re still breathing while asleep (yep, just like this funny guy describes it – min 2.20)… You get very little sleep yourself, and this tiny being cries and you’ve no idea how to soothe her.
It took me a few months to finally start to feel comfortable with my baby girl.
She’s absolutely adorable, and I feel the luckiest person on Earth that she (finally) chose to come here and be ours to grow and watch as she becomes a person.
Anyway. This post may seem rather cheesy, but I needed to capture the changes I started making in my life in order to cope.
I can’t claim that I’m out of the woods, that I’ve mastered motherhood and can deal with anything. I’m far from predicting or being okay in the moment. But at least I’ve gotten better at adapting to what comes.
It’s a discover as you go process
I think in a way having a first baby is like going down on a rollercoaster for the first time.
Pregnancy prepares you, it’s the uphill movement. There’s not much that can go wrong – bodies are built for it and adapt.
While, after bringing baby home, it’s like “OH MY F***ING GOD! What do I do now??”
There is no manual (ok, there are tons of books, but even after reading a dozen of those, it still took me about a month to figure out why she cries when she cries).
Get over judgment and do your own thing
I do get why they say that parenting (especially with a first baby) is the hardest thing in the world.
I will never believe that anyone who sugarcoats it (“Oh, my baby slept through the night from week 1!” “Oh, mine never cried!” “Oh, mine always ate at regular hours!”) because there will always be downsides and difficult parts to being a new parent.
Also, I was surprised by the amount of opinions and judgments there is in parenting.
Everyone seems to know exactly how you’re supposed to put them to sleep, behave towards them, what they should eat and how much.
And since I was new in this area, any new comment triggered the “Oh my God, I’ve been doing it all wrong!!” anxiety mechanism.
Then I read this awesome motherhood mantra (goes for other areas of your life too!) and relaxed a little. Till next time
It’s a combination of routine and chaos
Clara was born one month early, and in her first weeks at home she did nothing but sleep and eat.I remember being upset of not being able to take a picture of her with her eyes open!
It was a well settled routine, her having come from the hospital (NICU -neo natal intensive care unit) with a well established schedule of meals every 3 hours.
Then, after she hit the 5 week mark, chaos started. She would cry, fuss, seem so agitated at times, that it was impossible to plan for anything. We never knew if she would have a restful day, if she would eat well, sleep well, or maybe fuss for half the time awake. It was so frustrating and tiring because I always felt behind the curve – always reacting, never able to plan any minute in advance.
Then, after a while, her moods started to improve, she became more responsive and I became better at reading her cues and able to proactively offer her what she needed.
Babies do need routine – and to me, it is a life saver – I kind of know how to plan my day, and for those moments when she needs something else, I try to adapt, and we work together.
Any kind of socializing helps (me)
After giving birth, I was alone in the hospital for a few days – and between the worry and anguish of knowing my baby girl in intensive care, I spent most of my time online, on Facebook Messenger and Whatsapp, and phone, with friends and family who were calling to see if how we were.
For me, socializing was also the aspect of my previous life I missed most, and tried to cherish as much as I could. Family, other moms, friends, colleagues from work - any social interaction was an anchor that I was still myself – that there is this part of me that existed before, and that will continue to live.
There’s this halo around new moms, like they’re untouchable, un-call-able, un-visit-able – and I think it’s wrong!
Of course, by all means, do check before ringing the doorbell!
But I think we all need all the help we can get – whether it’s someone else holding the baby for 10 minutes, or making us a fresh cup of tea, or just gossiping the latest news.
To me, it was an anchor to the [real] world.
Maintain own sanity
There are days when I do nothing else but take care of her and just feel that getting to the evening in one piece is an achievement.
There are other days when I get some help around the house, get out (on my own), and feel like my own person again. Then I feel like I’ve lost a limb and have this excruciating desire to be around my baby daughter immediately.
I guess sanity is something in between these two.
Managing a drawing sketch. Watering the plants. Washing my hair (yes, I’m among the lucky moms who get to do this on regular basis). Doing my nails (ditto). Reading a book (perfectly okay with baby sleeping on my chest). Writing a blog post (whoa!! look at this major achievement!!)
There are days when I felt like this. I do believe it’s tremendously important to ask for help – any kind of help! – emotionally as well as physically (i.e. around the house), whenever possible. And I am fortunate enough to have someone by my side who is emotionally pragmatic enough to point out that this IS a hormonal imbalance, and that sanity WILL prevail
I guess this list is a work in progress, and by no means finite. I do look forward to what’s next!