I haven’t posted for the same reasons that I didn’t when I was pregnant. For fear that everyone already knew/heard what I had to say or for fear that I didn’t have anything eventful to say. But I told myself this blog was started so that I mostly had something to look back on, a personal journal if you would. Something I could read and remember the feelings I felt and the obstacles I’ve overcome.
My baby is three months old this week. 12 weeks. I don’t know when you’re supposed to stop counting weeks and start counting months or anything. “Technically” three months isn’t until April 28th…but 12 weeks is today…so…she’s in that mix somewhere. It’s been…as you would assume…life changing. There have been things I’ve thought I would never struggle with that I have, and things I never thought of that are the toughest. Here’s where I am at, and what I’ve learned thus far.
- Breast feeding is not for the faint of heart. – Man oh man is this true. I’ve read blog after blog and I’ve searched pinterest and done all of this internet research and what I’ve learned is just…I am not alone. I am currently struggling now, at three months. It isn’t easy, it’s time consuming and demanding and sometimes…just down right dirty. It seems most people don’t struggle here…most struggles are in the beginning…and going back to what I said before (why I didn’t want to post)…I had a flawless start. I was apparently in the .001% of the population whose child latched immediately, milk came in, ducts never clogged, no sore nipples…just like “hey…we’re doing this”…so we did. There is nothing exciting in sharing that. But now…now I’m dying. All the posts…they are for the beginners…and the long haulers (which I don’t think I am going to be)…but there is nothing out there that says “I stopped at three months and it was wonderful!”…I can’t find those people. I am sure they’re out there..but maybe they’re like me. Caught in the half way point between “well…we started this thing”…and “I don’t want to stop until 6 months like my doctor says”…(to the rest of you in it for the haul…God Bless You…I am not you…and I will not be seeing you at the finish line). However right now…right now is hard…and I’m beginning to see that it’s hard for everybody at some point…you just don’t know when. My daughter is a gift…not only in the sense that she is mine and I love her…but in her amazing abilities in the beginning (we got it super fast) but now, she goes from bottle to boob like nothing, formula to me like “whatever”…she really is awesome. *I’m sure I’d think that no matter what but I’m just trying to give some background*. She gets a bottle about once a day (formula…when I just need dad to feed her)…some days…she gets no bottles…some days…she gets two…we go with the flow…and so does she. But that doesn’t stop the hard parts. Pulling out your boob, even if you are home, and letting someone eat off you, sometimes when they are crabby and fussy…it just…isn’t fun. The body issues are still there, plus the vulnerability, plus the sex appeal (that is so far gone) as your husband witnesses all of this “natural” beauty, plus the fact that you just DON’T want to be needed every TWO hours! I read this posts from moms still going at it at 18 months…God bless you but HELL NO! And I feel real sympathy for formula-from-the-start moms when I read these too. Because I’ve made it three months and that’s great and my doctor and everyone else says “woo-hoo”…but there’s a tinge of fake there…a tinge of…you should keep going…a tinge of don’t stop yet…and I just can’t imagine choosing bottle from the beginning and hearing all this crap. Everyone says “I support and don’t judge”…but…yea….you kinda do. So no, it’s not easy…and yes I understand why anyone would choose to just shake up that bottle. For me, I don’t know what I’m doing and I’m happy to say I decide every day. One day I might wake up and say that’s it. It’s not today. I tell myself to never decide after one bad feeding. Give a bottle, pump if you must, and re-evaluate later. Every single time I choose to keep going. Don’t let me sound high-horse here…99% of why is financial. I’m too cheap to pay for something I can make. But the price you pay emotionally gets bigger every day. There will come a time when I choose to pay the green instead of this my dignity and huge inconvenience. Until then however, I will try to absorb the fact that my baby still needs me and only me…sometimes every two hours yes…but just me…and today…that’s ok…tomorrow…I might change my mind.
- Pooping is a pleasure – A pleasure that I would love to explain to my husband he doesn’t get to have anymore. Am I the ONLY wife that needs to tap in for a hand off while my husband says “can you just wait until I poop?”…..and we all know that’s like another half an hour!…I mean…how do we explain that it must be SO nice to be at work and just say “I need to poop”…and the go and DO it?!…and then at home too?!..I told my hubby today..I said do you want to know what my greatest accomplishment was today? I came home and had to poop so I brought the car seat in the bathroom (I knew she would need rocking to not cry if I left it somewhere else…so it was cry or subject baby girl to my stench)…so I brought it in…but that wasn’t enough…she needed swinging…so on the toilet I sat…doing my business…swinging a car seat back and forth…making sure to keep her wubbie (pacifier) in…and just trying to breathe…It was in that moment today that I felt like I reached motherhood. If I had a third hand I would have taken a video as proof because I would want to send that to hubby (see number three). But seriously…pooping is a pleasure…don’t take it for granted.
- How do you explain without the complain? – I tried to make it rhyme there but the point is the same…I want to EXPLAIN to hubby what I’m going through and tell him when I need a break or some time…but I don’t want to COMPLAIN all the time. This is happening recently and it’s because of my daughters miraculous abilities. She has just started, pretty much, sleeping through the night. I won’t hold it against you if you close out this browser now and write a hateful comment on my wall. I am WELL aware that this is a slight freak of nature…and it could be gone sometime soon…but for at least this week…she pretty much has…but even before..it was still the same problem. I’ll take you back a few weeks. She would go down around 9, 10 or 11. I don’t ever fight with bed time. She’s my first and my only and I refuse to sit up in a rocking chair getting tired myself because “8 o’clock is when bed time is”…if she’s happy…she gets to stay up…that’s how we roll…so swing, bouncy, play mat or even snuggle while Mommy watches Grey’s Anatomy…I don’t care. (All of you people with more than one can stop laughing now)…but sometime late she usually went to bed (many times AFTER my hubby did because he had to go to “work” so up he went)…so we’d stay up and party until ten or eleven…she would eventually pass out and get up around 3 to eat..then back down until 8 or so. Amazing. I know. There are no complaints here with that. The complaints come when I try to talk to Andy about it. He would ask “how did she do?” (because I am breastfeeding I’m up, not him…I can hear him snore while I am feeding her which probably breeds an unnecessary amount of animosity)…but I would tell him “she only got up once” to which he would respond “that’s great…you must have gotten lots of sleep”…which makes me want to kill him. In about two hundred different ways. You see, even then, even with only one time, even with that miracle (I know some moms of one year olds who are still getting up TWICE might hate me with this) I still couldn’t really explain..that yes, she only got up one time, but I heard her 20 minutes before she was ready to eat…so I had to bounce out of bed to pee, because you see, my vagina will never be the same since she came out of it so I still pee a lot, and they tell you to drink 3,490 gallons of water while breast feeding so that never helps and if I hold it, then she’s eating on the one side while I am dying inside. So I jump…go pee and and try to orient myself after a great 3 hour nap. Then I pick up our baby and whip out my boob and try to see past the stretch marks on my belly and try not to sweat too much (because my hormones are still crazy and eating a sweaty boob is disgusting), and try to stay awake long enough for her to eat. So she eats on one side…we’re both falling back to sleep…but DON’T!!!…because she needs a diaper change and unless you want to be up in two minutes with a hungry baby…you have one more side to do…so you change her, sleep walk back to bed…and start again…counting every single minute until the 9 minute mark (where we are at) to where you think they had enough…you carefully lay her back down…wubbie in place, give the rock and play (bassinet or whatever) a little rock and pray to the God that they go back to bed…after 20 minutes or so…you can too…and maybe after another 20…you can actually fall asleep…so YES…getting up once is amazing…but that meaning I just got SOOOO much sleep…no. That’s a lie. And I will refer you to this blog to see why if I have to. While you were snoring so loud I thought our baby would never sleep, I was feeding, changing and rocking her then tending to myself. Sleep is not a switch. You don’t turn it on and off at your will. I think that’s what some of us our lacking that our significant others think we have. So yes, even though once a night is incredible, it doesn’t make it EASY. You have to find a way to explain that without sounding like the world’s biggest complainer. I found that just saying those words, then stating the facts helps. I know I’m sensitive…so while he’s thinking “I love my wife and want to ask her if she’s ok…” all I hear is “you had such an easy night this must be the easiest thing in the world for you”…so communicate. Well. And thoughtfully. Pick your battles. There will be plenty to choose from.
- You’re whole position in life changes – this is for the first time mommies. We have never been mommies. We’ve never had a 24/7 priority. So for me, some of the learning curve here is all the favors I did for everyone else. Every time work called, I would cover…now there are baby-sitters to contend with. Every time a family member called, I was there…but now I come with my own baggage. It’s hard. It’s hard to not be able to pick up and go whenever you want, or whenever someone needs you. However it solidifies your bond with your family. I’ve said before that once you marry, that becomes your family. I mean that while your immediate family is still very much important and very much a priority, your spouse is now your “family” and they, and your marriage, need to come first. A baby only makes that more clear. A baby only solidifies that while you want to help the outside world and do what you can, your first responsibility is at home, making sure your munchkin is happy and safe and your spouse is at least surviving. It’s hard, and it really sucks sometimes…but it’s the natural way of life…for a reason.
- The FUTURE problems…back when Andy and I were care-free and work was our only responsibility we binge-watched “how I met your mother.” In there they coined a term “future ‘whoever'”….as in we would ask “who is going to clean up these chips and salsa?” and laugh at each other when we’d say “that is a problem for future Andy and future Brenna to figure out”. I have adapted this ideology thanks to the show and thanks to my mother. I’m sure many first time mom’s understand having ideals you want to live up to and things you want to do that you planned on. I did too. And watching my sisters birth and raise a number of children I felt like I had enough experience to know what I should and shouldn’t do. So when my baby came along I had “plans”. Some of which…I have stuck to (everyone told me to let the house go…I can’t…I like a clean house…I will forgo sleep just to stay up and clean, fold laundry or load a dishwasher..it makes me feel better…maybe with the second kid I’ll finally let go…but for now…I’ll clean when I can and be happy about it)…some of which I haven’t stuck to (I thought I could stay home and make a happy, healthy, scheduled baby by now…three times I have tried for days straight to stay home, go nowhere and get this baby on a schedule throughout the day…they all failed…she sleeps when she wants, where she wants…and I can’t complain because the one time she does sleep is at night…so God Bless Her)…but no matter what I’m thinking…do I hold her too much…will she fall asleep on her own…is she in the car seat too much…does she poop enough…does she hate eating from my boob…does she hate the bottle…will she read enough if I don’t read to her now…will she talk enough if I don’t talk now…millions of questions that go through my head…and I just tell myself…that is a problem for “future Brenna”…as in…deal with it WHEN it becomes a problem and don’t stress about it until then. The nurses all told me to NEVER give her a wubbie (pacifier) and I did behind their back. She slept better, eats from bottle to boob now and sleeps like a dream with it. So screw you. But I’m sure there are other things, like the rain music we play…that one day we will be without wishing she didn’t need it to fall asleep…but oh well…we will deal with that then….I sit at the computer at times holding her while she sleeps thinking “I can’t do this when I have two kids…”…but the truth is…we don’t know the future…we don’t know what God has in store for us, and Lord knows if He wants to take me tomorrow I would wish for anything to hold her most of the day. So every time someone warns me against a practice…or any time those thoughts creep in my head that I might be “creating a monster”…I just tell myself…that I’ll deal with that in the future…when it’s ACTUALLY a problem…but today…holding the ONLY baby I have..is never a problem.
- Find God – I have so much to learn. I thought I had so much experience. I thought I had nine nieces and nephews (3 of which were triplets)…I thought I knew, what I wanted to do and how I wanted to do it. I thought my marriage was SOLID…I thought we were ready for anything. I thought that nothing could shake me as a person of faith, an employee, a wife, a daughter, a sister…I thought I could take it all in. YOU CAN’T…the doubt that comes…the second guessing…the things that you thought you would never do..that you are doing…there is one fact that everyone has right…it. changes. you…..for better or for worse…you decide. So you are going to need someone/something to lean on. For me, I sit on my back deck and listen in the quiet at night for God. I ask Him what he wants for my life, my family, my daughter, my mom, my dad and my sisters….I ask Him how I can be better, do better, love better and just live through Him better…but you can ask whoever you want. Your beliefs, your morals are all your own…but you need some. Find them and anchor yourself in them. You need something to rely on to help you guide the way. Give you grace, give you patience (mostly with your spouse not even your child), give you courage, give you satisfaction, give you everything you need….take a yoga class…meet a friend…go to bible study…meet a mommy and me class…just DO…GO…you need to get refilled or your cup will NOT runneth “over”…it will be empty and you will have nothing to give to anyone. Refill yourself. Do it so that you can pour into your spouse, your baby and everyone else. In order to be the light…you have to be ignited by a flame….find your flame.