A Reflection on the Last Six Months

When I was a kid, I wish I’d listened more to what my family members had to say regarding children and parenting. I remember my grandma telling me about how I just “grew up so fast” and that I’d never really understand what it’s like to watch a child grow up until I had children of my own. I chalked this up to just “grandma being grandma” – you know, one of those things that goes in one ear and out the other and you don’t pay much mind to it – but she was right. Tomorrow will be my daughter’s six month birthday and I can’t believe how fast these past few months have come and gone.

It’s hard to believe that just over six months ago, my due date (January 18) had come and gone and I was still as big as a whale, anxiously awaiting the arrival of my firstborn. I remember when the day to induce finally came around. I spent my time alternating between cleaning, getting my bag packed, cleaning, and trying not to freak out. (I’m pretty sure that’s also the day that I figured out that my maternity leave was all sorts of screwed up and I had no idea when I’d have an income again, but that’s a story for another day.)

I remember walking into the hospital and checking in at the nurse’s station, being escorted into a room where my induction would take place, answering about a million questions, and then patiently waiting for the doctor to come in and start the whole process. I remember the anxiety, the boredom, the excitement, the terror, the happiness,  the pain, and the relief of knowing the long pregnancy was about to be over. I pretended to be calm. I was ready to meet the little girl that had been growing inside me for the past several months and I was ready for my pregnancy to be over with; on the other hand, I was completely unprepared for what was to come. I was not ready to be someone’s mom, but when you think about it, who really is until it happens?

I still think a lot about Boo’s birth. I remember that final push and the doctor telling me to reach down and grab her, to pull her up to my chest; I remember the way she felt, the way she smelled, the way she laid in the middle of my chest for the first time, so still and calm and quiet. Surprisingly, I was also still and calm and quiet, and during those first few moments that she was on my chest, all I could think was, “It’s over. She’s here.” There’s nothing more surreal than meeting your baby for the first time.

She was perfect. Eight pounds and eight ounces of pure perfection. I was happy, exhausted, relieved; my time as “being Mommy” had officially begun.

The first few weeks were sort of a blur, as I’m sure it is for any parent the first time they bring a new baby home from the hospital. For a short time, I will admit, I was miserable – sleep deprivation will do that to you. I felt like a bad mom because there were times where I resented my situation. I don’t really know who I was mad at – maybe my boyfriend, maybe myself, maybe even the baby – and it took me a long time for those feelings to pass. Then, when they did, I found myself going back to work and hating myself for leaving her in the care of someone other than me. Postpartum hormones really do a number on your mind sometimes.

In a way, it’s been a very long six months, and yet it’s gone by way too fast. She’s getting bigger and smarter everyday. She’s learning new things all the time. I’ve realized recently that sometimes, I need to just take a step back and enjoy her now, just live in the moment, because she’s not going to be this little forever. There will come a day when I’ll look back and wish that I’d appreciated the time a little bit more.

Those Pesky Postpartum Hormones

I cry about a lot of things. Despite being seven weeks postpartum (already?!), I’m pretty sure my hormones are still constantly fluctuating. A couple of days ago, I cried about poop. My daughter pooped and I cried about it. Did my pregnancy make me crazy?

Let’s be honest: it really wasn’t just about poop. I didn’t realize that until much later in the evening, but there were a lot of underlying reasons for why I was so emotional at the time. The most obvious is that I was exhausted and Boo had been cranky for the majority of the day. Add in the fact that she’d already pooped on me once earlier – and there had been vomit two other times – and you have one cranky mama. Things just weren’t going my way.

Then, there’s the fact that I’m going back to work soon – in just a week, actually. I’m not happy about it. I’m sure it’s some form of separation anxiety I’m suffering from, seeing as my daughter hasn’t left my sight since she was born. She’s now seven weeks and two days old and she has literally been with me every second of everyday, and now I’m suddenly expected to hand her off to someone else for eight or more hours a day while I return to work. The thought actually makes me sick to my stomach and puts me in tears at least once a day. It’s silly, because I know I can’t be with her all the time, but she’s not even two months old yet and I feel sort of like I’m about to abandon her. We’re exclusively breastfeeding, and that’s making it harder, too; I fought so hard to breastfeed, what if I can’t produce enough or my supply suddenly drops because I’m trying to pump, and I have to switch to formula? It would break my heart.

I’m desperately trying to find a way to allow myself to stay at home. My mom worked long hours at her job when I was a baby and, sometimes, I wonder just how much she missed out on, since she wasn’t at home with me very often. (Not that she had much of a choice, being a single mother who needed some sort of income.) I don’t want to miss a single moment with my child, but who knows if her father will be able to make enough in the near future to support the three of us, which would allow me to stay at home with her. I’m crossing my fingers, but I’m not going to hold my breath.

For now, I’ll just enjoy the time I do have with her and try not to get too emotional when I leave her for the first time with someone else.