My sister-in-law just had her first baby. A beautiful (and I mean BEAUTIFUL!) baby boy named Hunter. I’ve only been able to see him via cyberspace, but I am already in love. Big dark eyes, chubby cheeks, full fluffy brown hair. Perfect. And being the older sister, I am already relishing my role as an Aunt. He will be loved and spoiled and cared for to pieces by me. And not only that, but my heart also bursts when I think of all the joy and fun and craziness that is in store for my brother and sister-in-law. I love them both so much, and knowing they are experiencing and will continue to experience the unfathomable love of a parent/child relationship……it just brings me so much happiness.
But with all those mushy, lovey-dovey, cuddly feeling going on, there are also the feelings of being new parents.
I’ve talked to my sister-in-law a few times since little Hunter has been born. And while much of the conversation consists of describing his perfect features and his sweet sounds and her desire to just sit and stare and soak him all in for the rest of eternity, there have also been a few moments of, “Wow! This. Is. Hard.”
And yes. Yes, it is.
When she described all her completely normal “I’m-taking-care-of-a-brand-new-8-day-old-human-being-and-I-have-NO-idea-what-I’m-doing”experiences, I just comforted her as best as could saying, “Oh yes! I have been there!” (and still am sometimes!).
She responded saying something to the effect of “Oh but you make it look so easy!”
BWHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!! (in case you don’t know, that’s the resounding manical laugh that went on in my head when she said that. and in some small corner of my brain that little laughter is still cackling.)
Now for me, I try not to use this blog as a space for complaining or being negative or anything like that. Not because I am perfect or because life is always so grand and wonderful and nothing bad ever goes on, but just because for me, I would rather focus on the positives here in cyberworld. But that doesn’t mean I want to be fake or ignore the sad/difficult/stressful times. It’s just that when I have those thoughts and moments and situations, I usually call up friends or family to vent and talk it out. If your name is Amy, Mandy, Mom, Tomi, and a few others, you can probably attest to the fact that I’m not always so “sunshiney”. ha! But I want to be real.
And according to most Mommyblogs and Facebook albums, parenthood can look like a perfect breeze. Kids are always smiling, their outfits are always so cute and polished, and everything they do is perfect and adorable. Heck, looking through my own blog/FB pictures, if I were a stranger, I might think that about my own life! (blogs and FB are so weird i think…..but that’s another post for another time!) But while the good stuff may be true some of the time, that is definitely NOT reality! In reality there are many tears. Many emotional breakdowns. Many messes. And some yelling. And I’m just talking about the moms here. 🙂
Seriously though- being a parent is SO difficult. I mean it’s good and wonderful and very much worth it. But it is hard too! And in the very beginning, it is extra, extra hard! At least for me it was. Both of my girls were extremely fussy babies the first few months. They cried A LOT. And slept very little. Bailey had awful colic and there were some moments when all I could do was place her in her crib, shut the door, and go to my bed and lie down for a few minutes and cry. Just to get away from the nonstop screaming.
And as much as we love our little ones the second they arrive, there is still a huge “getting to know you” period. How they like to be held. What kind of diaper cream works for them. The best way to lull them sleep. What types of food you can/can’t eat so your breastmilk doesn’t make them gassy. Which way to swaddle them so they sleep longer at night. The list goes on and on. And just like any relationship, that getting to know you period is an adjustment. And it can be a steep learning curve fill with lots of mistakes and questions and doubts.
And in the midst of all this learning and trial and error and figuring your new little baby out, you are also immensely exhausted. Not just tired, like I need to go take a little 30 minute snoozer. But rather “I could sleep into the next decade and still not be refreshed” kind of tired. Never underestimate the power of sleep deprivation! It makes the baby’s cries seem louder, your body feel more sore, and any little comment from anyone sound more harsh and critical than it was ever intended to be.
Finally, on top of all the crying and fun little getting-t0-know-you games and exhaustion, is also the hormones. Oh yes, the hormones. They truly can make you feel like you’ve got the emotional stability of a house of cards. One little breeze can make your sanity all fall down. 🙂
Of course the good news is that it does usually get better. It just takes lots of time and lots of help from family and friends. And knowing that you are not alone in your new mom experiences helps. Knowing that you aren’t a bad mom because you can’t stop your baby from crying. Or just because the crying can snap that last exhausted nerve you’ve got left at 2:15 a.m, doesn’t mean you don’t love your baby. It all just means you are normal and human and worn out and that you’re a new mom!
Of course I’m sure there are those moms out there who had perfect little babies from day one who never made a sound and who slept though the night the second they left the hospital. And for those moms, I’m extremely
jealous happy. hee hee! Every kid is different and doing the “let’s compare myself to this mom” routine is never a good idea! 🙂
Anyways- if you’ve managed to read through this super long post, and if you’re a mom, would you answer this question for me: What was your beginning, new-mom experiences like? I mean the very, very beginning- first month of baby’s life. If you don’t mind, share it with me- the good, the bad, the ugly! I think the more honest we are about it all- the struggles and the triumphs – the easier it is to relate and not feel so alone in the world of parenting. And is there anything you wish you knew ahead of time that might have made those beginning weeks a little easier? On the baby and on yourself? Anything you share would be great……i love hearing others’ stories- they are such an encouragement!