I had a reader ask me to write a post about what it is like to bring a new baby home. She asked before I had Jack, so I am nothing if not prompt.
|Bringing Jack home for the first time.|
Bringing home Mia was such a hard transition. She was very hard to soothe. She cried if you weren't pacing, dancing, moving, or nursing her. Since I was the only one who could nurse her that meant that she and I spent a lot of time attached. When we got home from the hospital I was EXHAUSTED. Labor and a night of interrupted sleep took it out of me. Then 3 days in my milk came in. It was painful and my breasts were so engorged (TMI? Sorry) that my nipples were flat. She couldn't latch on because there was nothing to latch onto. I remembering taking a warm shower in the evening on that 3rd day and crying. I was so worried I wasn't going to be able to nurse her. My mom and my sister happened to come by for a surprise visit. They came in the bathroom while I was in the shower (we were a family of 5 with one bathroom so we don't have any bathroom boundaries). There is something about your mom asking you "What's wrong?" that evokes a much more dramatic response than anyone else asking. I could not be upset about anything in particular, but if my mom asks "what's wrong?" I almost always end up in tears. Anyway, my mom asked the dreaded "what's wrong?" and I ended up bawling my eyes out about the failure of a mother I was going to be. My mom told me to get out of the shower, she went to grab Mia, and we met on my bed. My sister supported me on one side, while my mom held Mia in place to nurse, and I held my enormous breast steady so she could try to get something to eat. And it worked! She actually got a little something to eat, I felt the relief I had needed all day. That single day felt like forever. When I look back and realize that it was only 12 hours time it seems crazy.
It is exhausting having a new baby. Even when they sleep well you are still on the clock 24 hours a day. I had a lot of trouble not doing things after Mia was born. 2 days after her birth my brother graduated from High School. So, Jacob and I got our little girl dressed, wrapped up in a blanket, wearing a hat, to go to a mid June outdoor gathering. I was emotional and when I saw all of the high school students come out on the field I broke into tears, like the really hard embarrassing kind. I am not a crier like at all, so this was new for me. My mom thought something was wrong, but really I saw these kids walk out to graduate high school and I realized that Mia would do that someday. It struck me that every parent there had brought their new baby home and they were now sitting watching them graduate high school. It was too much for me to handle. Looking back I probably shouldn't have gone, but I just couldn't miss my brother's HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION. The point is emotions run HIGH after you give birth. I have talked to many mothers and they all have a "Crying Story". I don't really count the graduation thing as my crying story though. I think I would have gotten teary anyway, but the nursing thing is what I consider my crying story.
Bringing home Jack was breezy. I knew what to expect from my body, I knew that nursing was going to hurt me, and I was prepared for my milk to come in. All of those things came and went with very little struggle. I did have a crying moment though. We were sitting down to eat dinner and Mia did something that upset me (I couldn't even tell you what), I snapped at her and I immediately felt terrible. I went to my room to cry. I knew what a hard transition it must be for her to have a little brother and there I was snapping at her. That was probably the hardest part about my transition to two kids, trying to make sure Mia didn't feel left out. Fortunately we are almost 6 months in now and she has loved having a little brother since he came home. She hasn't shown any jealousy during that time. It was mostly me worrying that she would feel jealous, but she loves that little boy more than anything in the world.
If there is one thing I have learned as novice mother (I have really only been doing this mothering thing for 3 years) is that everything is a phase. Those sleepless nights that feel like they will never end- they do end. The struggles of breastfeeding? It ends and you look back and realize "that wasn't nearly as long as it felt". ( I am the first to admit that one day of troubles do not a struggle make. I know that many women actually "struggle" with breastfeeding.)You will feel like yourself again, it just takes time. The extra pounds and the expanded birthing hips? They go away and you are able to slip those postpartum hips back into your old jeans. It all just takes time.
I am going to make this a 2 parter and the next part will be more about the physical side of things. So, if you get queasy easily I don't recommend reading part II.