Monday, January 26, 2009

Catching my breath

As my sweet baby snores in the sling, I thought I'd take a moment to write a post (as long as she lets me :) It's been 2 weeks now since M. came into the world and joined our family. I know babies grow exponentially in the first two years, even the first 3 months, and I have to say, there is a lot of growth taking place for Daniel and I as well. The first week, we were blessed to have Daniel's mom here to help out with everything around the house, and to offer an extra pair of loving arms for M. to snuggle into. I was exhausted from almost 3 consecutive nights in the hospital without sleep, so it took a good part of the first week to 'catch up', as much as I could with a newborn, that is. Daniel went back to work this past week, and I was on my own. The first day was rough. M. never wanted to be put down, I was starving, and any time she cried, I felt like a failure. I know this is not the appropriate response to a baby's cries, but I think a touch of the "baby blues" was affecting me, and I took it personally. I honestly started to wonder if I was "cut out" for this whole mother role. I know I've never wanted anything else than to be a wife and mother, but the reality of motherhood's demands with a newborn hit me hard.

A baby turns your life upside-down. Day and night have no meaning anymore, they all run together. Your time is no longer your own, it must be focused on the needs of the child, and let's not forget there is a marriage to nurture as well. Daniel has been an AMAZING father and I couldn't imagine a better partner to be a parent with. He holds her whenever he is home (unless she needs to be fed), which is a nice break for me and my back.

Selfishness has no room to thrive when you're a mom. Sure, you can have selfish thoughts, but the freedom to indulge them is just not there like it used to be. I'm realizing more and more just how selfish I am, and how easily I want to give up when things are hard. Well, God has given me the biggest (and greatest) challenge of my life, one that can NEVER be "quit". There is so much to learn, and so much I know God will teach me through motherhood. It truly is a path to holiness, if one seeks God first in everything (which I am FAR from doing, Lord help me!).

I'm thankful to say that I'm starting to understand M's needs more, which makes things a bit easier. I know she only likes the sling or the Moby wrap when she is ready to nap. She basically only cries when she is really tired, other than her 'fussy hour" around bedtime. She takes FOREVER to nurse, and I just have to accept this fact and enjoy a book or a movie during feedings :) She hates the swing, but we'll keep trying... If I want to shower, I just have to accept the fact that she will cry while I do so. Housework will have to wait til dad gets home, and then I run around like crazy getting stuff done (it's actually been more productive for me to have a newborn, because I see "free time" as time to work around the house).

All in all, we're figuring each other out. SHe is a wonderful baby, and I love her with all my heart. I'm trying to cherish this early stage, despite the challenges.

ok--baby is now wailing..... time to feed!


Helenrr said...

Hello there Christy! (and family :)
It sounds like you are doing well, and yes there is certainly an adjustment period. Cherish these times for they are fleeting-Patrick, my baby, will be 15! tomorrow. I remember those days like yesterday, but they are long gone.
My advice about feeling blue is to try some herbal tea-there are many on the market that help promote calm-Traditional Medicinals has some...or try exercise, perhaps in 10-15 min intervals. Gentle moves such as those from yoga or stretching, walking in place...all will up your endorphins which helps you feel better! Also, do try to have 30 min. a day where you are doing something just for you....I used to light a candle and play music when I showered. At least it was soothing and relaxing. Other things just had to be 'on hold' or eventually I figured out how to do them (or found I really didn't care anymore!)
Remember the moment M. seems to have a routine, she'll change it, so expect the unexpected! :)
It sounds as if Daniel and you are getting a rhythm down...
Bless you all,
much love,
Aunt Helen

Iconography Girl said...

You summed it all up nicely. Welcome to the Mommy Club! Just remember: you are NOT alone. It is one thing to acknowledge that you feel like a failure, but it another thing to let those thoughts poison you. Cut them and move on.

I sent Fr. T a "911" email one day. I was at the end of my rope with the kids and felt completely like a failure, completely like giving up. He called soon after and calmly said, "Well, are you dead?" "Um, no, father." "Ok. Then start now. Get up and keep going."

It is good now if you can learn to let the baby cry for a few minutes while you take a shower. As you said, you are learning her signals more and more. Just "keep going".

Mimi said...

Sounds like you are doing fantastic!

Susan said...

sounds completely normal:) Katherine says her baby uses her as a human pacifier!!
Baby is growing and she is producing lots of milk. The upside. The downside is she is tired and tied down all the time.
All these things seem they will never end. But they do. And believe it or not you will wish for those days back.
My grandma used to say when your children are small you problems are small. Keep that in mind:)

Priscilla said...

Hey glad to hear things are going well. I would still love to hear the birth story though. :)

Christina said...

Not much I can add... everyone else has posted great thoughts and advice. I know that we have all cried and felt like we were failures at some point or other. You are doing great, hang in there. Some babies just don't like the swing... do you have a bouncy seat? Usually if a baby doesn't like the swing they will like the bouncy seat (Pavlos loved the swing but hated the bouncy seat while petros liked the boucy seat and hated the swing:)