There’s a fine line, I’ve realized, between reality and what people want to think is reality, and it’s especially apparent online. It’s so easy to look like you’ve got it all together and that things are picture perfect, but really, Facebook, twitter, and blogs are just teeny tiny glimpses into our lives. People don’t want to see the pictures of poop explosions or frustrated moments during the day; they want to see the smiley, happy baby. I’ve been writing this off and on for the past five months. It’s nothing profound; it’s just something that isn’t often said, and because life is ever-changing, that’s probably why it continues to feel incomplete. I shouldn’t even have to share this disclaimer, but it needs to be said: I love my daughter more than life itself. Now that that’s out of the way…here’s what being a first-time mom is really like:
I’ve been a mom for almost half a year, and while it’s been one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life (seriously, seeing her actually gaze into my eyes for the first time is a moment I’ll never forget; watching her smile fills my heart ten times over, and hearing her first laugh? I felt like I was going to melt away), it’s also been one of the hardest things I’ve ever experienced. It’s not easy. Motherhood, I’ve learned, isn’t for the faint of heart.
My brother sent me an email two weeks after Julia was born and he said something that took my breath away and then proceeded to make me cry. Not only did he clearly remember what those first few weeks were like with their son (who was almost a year at the time), but he was about to be right in the thick of it again—he and my sister-in-law welcomed their second baby into this world a few weeks later!
What he told me was simple, but exactly what I needed to hear. He asked how things were going with everything and then said, “It’s okay to say it’s not super great at this stage.”
It was so refreshing to see those 11 words.
I need to be honest even though it’s not what you typically hear in regards to babies, and let me preface it by saying that I am completely and utterly, head over heels in love with my daughter. But, I wish I could say that I loved every minute at the beginning. I wish I could say it was all lullabies, endless cuddles, smiles, giggles, and rose-smelling poop, but that was definitely not the case.
Those first few weeks feels like you’re on a roller coaster of mixed hormonal emotions fueled by a lack of sleep, a recovering achy body, and a brand new person who depends on you for everything. They were rough and it was definitely not “super great” at the beginning. I think people—myself included—expect to hear how wonderful parenthood is from that very first sleep-deprived, pooped-on, exhausting moment.
There were nights when my husband and I stood in the middle of our dark, white-noise induced room at oh-dark-thirty and we just cried. Cried because we couldn’t get her to stop crying. Cried because we were both so, so tired. Cried because she was cluster feeding or confused on the time or just didn’t like the way were were holding her. Or, sometimes we were just too tired to cry, so we just looked at each other with sleepy eyes and hoped things would eventually get better.
There were nights when we made up the most ridiculous (and, I hate to admit this,) explicit lyrics to songs, because we couldn’t remember one single lullaby or soothing song after so many hours of not sleeping. (Baby Got Back by Sir Mix a Lot and Jeremiah Weed by Dos Gringos spring to mind.) But at those moments, the moments when our baby started to calm down and nod off, it really didn’t matter the words coming out of our mouths. I said a few extra prayers those nights that she wouldn’t retain the lyrics from those songs.
There were nights when my husband slept sitting up while bouncing on a yoga ball, because it was the only way he could get her to sleep. There were nights when we’d take shifts sleeping and the other would sooth her. There were nights when I fell asleep listening to my husband “SSSSSSHHHHHHHing” in her ear. There were nights when we didn’t leave the rocking chair, or move a muscle for that matter, because we feared she’d wake up and we’d have to start the process all over again.
There were days when I longed to produce more milk than my body would allow. There were days when I wanted to scream—but I was just. too. tired.—if we went to base one more time for yet another weight check. There were days when I wanted to throw the SNS (feeding device) across the room. There were days when I just wanted to stay home and be a new mom. There were days when I was over it.
There were days when I was pooped on, peed on, and covered in spit up and tears. Days when my arms were exhausted from holding my newborn, and days where I didn’t change out of my sweat pants or take a shower.
There were days when two weeks felt like two months.
But then, in a blink of an eye, those rough days and nights became few and far between. The light at the end of the tunnel started getting brighter, and before I knew it, the newborn phase was over and I felt like a new person.
The good moments started to far outweigh the bad. It’s amazing how your body adjusts and is able to live off a few hours of sleep. You start ditching the random, old-school songs and start making up your own lullabies that sometimes magically calm her down. You get into a rhythm and routine and life isn’t so hazy anymore. In fact, life starts becoming pretty super great.
It took a few months, but I feel like we’re on the other side of things now. We still have issues, of course, and new obstacles popping up every day and night for that matter (hello, sleep regression and
teething), but it’s a lot more manageable.
|She was using me as a jungle gym and discovered how fun it is to pull my hair. Good times 🙂|
So how’s it going now right now? Honestly? There are moments when things are wonderful and moments that take me back to those first few weeks, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. My daughter, well, she’s pretty super great.
Like this post? You may like reading these:
10 Newborn Must-Haves
10 More Newborn Must-Haves
My Maternity Must-Haves
What’s in my Hospital Bag
5 Tips to Boost your Milk Supply
Bonding with my Baby
The Transition to Two Under Two
Wearing a Swimsuit Was the Last thing I Wanted to do