Wednesday, August 7, 2013

What They Don't Tell You

It seems like just yesterday that I was sitting alone in my living room with a tiny baby that was staring me down and convincing me that I had no idea what I was doing. Josh had gone back to work, my mom and mother-in-law had left me alone with my emotional self and an itty bitty human being that depended on me for her every need. She couldn't tell me what was wrong or why she was crying. I had to guess, test and revise. I remember being super annoyed and thinking, "Why in the world didn't anyone tell me how hard this was going to be!" No one warned me about this. Not that it would have changed my mind, but still, a little heads up would have been nice. I quickly realized that you cannot prepare someone for parenthood. There is absolutely NO describing it. And it's true, you DO forget (very quickly) the intensity, pain and nerves associated with the end of pregnancy and with labor itself. You forget how hard those first several weeks at home with your new addition are. You forget how exhausted you feel after sleepless nights...and then when your baby finally sleeps, you can't because you are worried they are going to just all of a sudden stop breathing.

However, I think if someone could have shed light on a few different areas, it may have helped me more. Maybe they did and I didn't listen!

First, I wasn't prepared mentally (or physically for that matter) that I was going to be feeding my baby basically all day long for the first probably 8+ weeks. I knew babies needed to eat every 2-3 hours at first, but I didn't realize what that actually meant. Our feedings were challenging in the beginning...from start to finish, they were one and half hours. So then, 30 minutes later, it was time to feed again. I remember being stiff from sitting so long. I don't know what I thought feedings would be like but I can tell you that I didn't think I'd be feeding as much as I did. I remember looking at the very helpful "Total Baby" app and seeing that I had nursed for 8 hours one day. Ouch!

Second, no one tells you that your baby might be born starving. Mine was, at least. They tell you in the hospital that they are born with enough "stuff" or whatever to nourish them for 3 days. That may be true in theory, but in reality, they are hungry. Our bodies can't always adjust that quickly as first time moms. I had planned for Baisden not to take a bottle until she was 4 weeks old, but motherhood teaches you to throw said plans out the window. We were supplementing with a bottle and formula just a couple days in. I really beat myself up over it. Had I been prepped that this is VERY normal and that most babies do need supplementing in the early weeks and even throughout their infant life, it may not have been so personally traumatic for me.

Third, no one told me that even though nursing is the most natural thing you can do for your baby, it does not come naturally. And it hurts, very badly. Actually, someone did tell me this but I thought, hey I birthed a baby, this is going to be a breeze! I'm really, really glad that I stuck it out but it took weekly pep talks from a lactation consultant and sweet emails/calls/texts from encouraging friends in the same boat. But, it's not for everyone.

Fourth, no one told me my body wouldn't just bounce back. I figured I would be emotional and have to deal with some hormones, but weight? Didn't think it'd be a problem. I gained about 30 pounds with Baisden, right in line with what the doctor had recommended for me. I guess I just assumed it would all fall off on its own. But, it takes work. Like, you actually have to step up the pace and workout. And even then, things aren't completely put back in the right place. Ugh!

Anyway, I am sure there are some things I've already forgotten...I guess it's nature's way of prepping us for the road ahead.

Despite all of these tricky obstacles, parenthood is the most wonderful gift. There is something mesmerizing about watching them learn to do new things, however small and insignificant those things may seem. I've never really been a baby person (you know, one of those people that sees a baby and HAS to hold it), but my baby is, of course, just different. I could stare at her all day...watching those wheels in that tiny little head churn and churn. Observing and absorbing. But I like to be real, and parenthood is quite the adjustment. My mom always told me that being a parent is the hardest yet most rewarding job you will ever have...that truly couldn't be more spot on! 


Gaya said...

So very true!! Keep these types of blog posts coming, letting me see a glimpse on the fun stuff and challenges ahead. I love having friends with older babies to learn from

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