9/25/12

being a new mom


I am by no means an expert at being a new mom. No amount of reading up on the subject will ever prepare you for the raw mix of emotions you feel in those first couple of days even weeks (hell, Im sure months and years too). And then a couple of months later, just when you think everything is at its best, when you have the opportunity to witness a close friend going through the same thing, those emotions take control again. And it takes all but one tear to gather in the corner of her eye and you yourself are crying right along side her.

                                                      Source: motherletters.com via Lisa on Pinterest

You see, last night we visited our friends who got married last year and who just had a baby girl, Samantha, less than a week ago. She is so absolutely adorable! Unfortunately my camera ended up being dead and I wasnt able to take any of my own pics, so you will have to settle for one they snapped before leaving the hospital.
When they first told us the news that they were expecting, hubby and I were not only extremely happy for them, but also happy for us. This meant that we would have close friends with kids the same age as ours. Selfish I know, but at least we would have someone who would understand why we canceled at last minute or why we were a hour later somewhere, etc. ;)

Anyways, back to being a new mom. I was lucky enough to have my sis (and mom) right there beside me through the first couple of weeks with a new baby. And although my friends mother and sister flew down for the first week, I feel its a little different for her. Her sister is younger, mine older, and hasn't had any kids yet, mine has two and watches kids for a living. And her mother, although she did a great job raising three children, that was almost 30 years ago. So when I saw the exhaustion and how overwhelmed she was just by her eyes, I instantly felt I should share with her that this is all normal and only a few short weeks ago I was having the same kind of emotions.

Ill admit, when you're a strong independent women, its hard to feel like you just cant do this "being a new mom" thing. You kind of feel like "Ive wanted this for so long and now that the baby is here, how come Im not enjoying it more?" My husband even asked me, "Aren't you so excited he's home?" Now don't get me wrong, I was, especially since he had been in the NICU for 6 days, but I just couldn't pinpoint why I didn't feel happier. And when I was speaking to my friend I could see she was having the same feelings. Some people call it the baby blues, or even postpartum, but this is how I explained it to her:
As the mommies we get to connect with the baby for 9-almost 10 months before we get to meet them. We feel their kicks, their hiccups, every little movement. But for the daddies, they dont really get to experience any of that first hand (I know they can touch your belly but you know what I mean). Instead the first time they connect with the babies is when they get to hold them. So when youre exhausted from being up every two hours trying to breastfeed when your milk hasnt come in yet, you kind of resent the fact that your hubby gets to enjoy not only more sleep, but actually holding your baby. And guess what? THATS COMPLETELY NORMAL
Another hard thing to realize when your in this new baby new mommy world is to except help from others. Again, especially if you've always been an independent person. You might think to yourself "but I can do this. Its really not that hard. I dont need anyones help." And although you are most definitely right, you CAN do this, if someone offers to help you, dont be to proud to accept. In my friends case she was telling herself, "yeah, but when my mom goes back home next week, Im gonna have to do it by myself, so I might as well do it now, theres no reason why my mom, or sis, or husband should have to wake up in the middle of the night if I can do it." And I had to disagree with her and explain that there is a reason. The reason is for your sanity. Let them help. Let them do the laundry, cook dinner, run errands, even just hold the baby while you shower or sleep. These people are here because they want to help. They know they dont HAVE to do anything, but they wouldnt be offering if they didnt want to do it.
my sis & matthew    |    my mom & matthew
And you'll here people say, "Sleep when the baby sleeps," and I know it sounds so extremely cliche, but seriously do it! I know in the back of your mind, you think but while he sleeps I can get a quick load of laundry done, or finish the dishes, or catch up on my latest blogs ;) but at this point you need just as much sleep as the baby. Unfortunately, you may be one of those moms, like me, who felt like they were watching the clock all day. You think to yourself; well he just went down, so technically I could have a 2 hour nap, let me first go run to the bathroom and brush my hair and teeth (I know sad I havent brushed either and its already noon) now if I spend just 20 mins cleaning the house then Ill have 1hr nap, but its gonna take me 20 mins to fall asleep, so really is it even worth is to sleep? And the answer is YES.

I honestly will say, the first week my baby boy was home, I didnt take naps when he did. And I could tell I was getting overly exhausted. It finally came to a point that at around 4 o'clock in the afternoon everyday I was crying hysterically, for absolutely no reason. Well let me rephrase that, I didnt know why I was crying. But guess what, it was just hormones. Hormones that we cant control. And yes the majority of us first time moms (even second, third, and forth time moms) will go through this. Finally one day my sister came over with my niece around 3:30pm and said ok, both of you go take a nap, grabbed the baby out of my arms and pushed me into my room with my 5 year old niece. I was out before my head even hit the pillow. And let me tell you, from that day forward I made my sister promise she would come over everyday around that time so I could nap with my niece. I think it saved me and hubby's sanity.

Funny thing is, you don't realize how much all of us moms relate to each other until you become a mom yourself. Sometime in between Matthew coming home and my sister forcing me to nap, I had an appointment with my OB for Matthews circumcision. I had been talking to the Medical Assistant, to whom Ive become pretty close with, when my doctor walked in. She took one look at me and asked "So how are you doing?"  I answered with my normal "pretty good, can't complain." This wasnt a good answer to her. She turned around and looked at me and said "dont give me that, I can see in your eyes you could burst out into tears at any moment," in which case i did just that, burst into tears. I couldnt even answer her, i didnt know why I was even crying. She then continued by saying, "this is normal, its probably going to happen many more times, look Im a mom to an almost 2 year old, and Im going to start crying just because I see you crying and it brings me back to those nights that I not-so-fondly remember," in which case, she burst into tears. We immediately started laughing at how ridiculous we both probably looked to any outsider.

Now please, remember, I am no way a professional when it comes to this. Im still learning myself. But I do have to admit, it was nice being able to help a friend understand that this too shall pass. And it does get better. especially when you see this little smile


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