Motherhood. It's both the best job in the world and most likely one of the hardest titles in the world. One that I am now learning isn't as easy as it looks! It's the gift that keeps on giving but a responsibility that never seems to end.
Amelia and I have now hit the 6wk mark and we're STILL getting used to each other. It seems that babies should come with a manual of some sort. I find myself confused with specific cries pertaining to feeding, gas, dirty diapers and oh yes! Mommy, I just want to be held. Tie all that in with the fact that we get different suggestions from MANY medical staff on what to do for things from breastfeeding to development and you have two very DUMB individuals (well, not LITERALLY dumb) who haven't a clue. In fact, everything we thought we knew, we actually didn't.
Take breastfeeding for instance. Breastfeeding seems to be a love/hate relationship with me. I went into pregnancy not exactly thinking it would be easy but believed that it WOULD be a piece of cake IF my milk actually came in. Nothing could be further from the truth. Seems that not only do I have to wait for my milk supply to come in (which medical staff freaked out about from day one with doubt that any would come in because it was taking too long) but my daughter also had to learn how to latch. Both mother AND daughter had to learn.
Now here's the catch. The hospital is pro-breastfeeding however, they're too quick to change stances when the body takes it's time and does what it needs to actually do. There are limited lactation consultants and all of them have different methods, the nurses aren't taught (at least in our hospital) to educate their patients on how to use the breast pump to extract their supply to get the milk moving. In fact, A bag of breast pump supplies was thrown over the breast pump and I was never honestly taught how to use it and what I needed to do which left me scared and confused.
Amelia had what was called "peanut butter tongue" where her tongue even now gets stuck to the roof of her mouth and she tries to suck that way. She's learning but in the beginning it took HOURS before she'd latch and one nurse even darted to the room and interrupted us while breastfeeding to put a cold compress on her forehead to jolt her awake so she'd breastfeed correctly. I was LIVID to say the least. Later, the part-time NICU lactation consultant gave us a breast shield and Amelia started latching better.
Would you believe that every time a different nurse came by or Dr. they'd have their OWN idea of what works best and would ask us to change that method in place of their own? NO WONDER Amelia, Doug and I were so confused about what was the right method to use.
Needless to say I'm learning 6wks in that not every infant is the same, nothing is really NORMAL per sey and that mommy as well as baby fall into what's right for them. While not everything works to an exact art form, a simple solution is best worth looking at by allowing you and baby to bond and working with whatever works best. There are plenty of ways to do things and everyone had their idea of what's right but I'm finding more and more that I'm freaking out over nothing. God has a hand in all this and Amelia and I as well as daddy are getting through it and finding what works for US.
In the meantime, I'm sure many of you who are parents understand the newness of having your first child at home with you. Lack of sleep, lack of confidence and understanding. If your breastfeeding, you may have experienced like me that you're days are more about being a milking cow than spending your days homemaking or errand running. In fact, my home while slightly clean isn't as tidy as pre-pregnancy. I'd like to leave you with a wise thought from a mother to her daughter:
1. Give yourself 3 months for the chaos to settle down. Expect it. It is normal. Mama has changed. The whole dynamics of the family has changed. Your father and I expect it after every baby. After three months, you will truly find it miraculous. You will say to yourself, "Things really seem to be calming down."
2. Expect nothing of yourself for the first six weeks. If you want to clean, clean. If you don't want to clean, don't clean. If you need to order pizza, order pizza. If you need to have the little ones watch a few extra movies, watch a few extra movies. Don't worry or stress about anything. Don't make this the time to judge if you are a good mother or not. You are tired. You are overwhelmed with gratitude for your new life. If you have weight to lose (like your mother), don't put pressure on yourself to get it off right away.
3. Remember your husband needs a break to. Your father and I try to go on a date shortly after we have a baby just so we can talk and look at each other. We've had the best talks and cries. I tell him my fears and he always calms me down and reassures me everything will be fine. Try to do small things to make him still feel so special even though you are completely consumed with the new baby.
4. After most of my babies, I feel a distance between me and my other children. It has helped me to take each of you on a date. It may be to Starbucks for a hot chocolate, or just along to the grocery store. I take this time to really focus on the child with me and to let them know how special and loved they still are to me.
4. Most women I talk to are so overwhelmed during the first three months after a baby, they feel as though they could never have another child. This isn't the time to be thinking of such decisions. Your life will settle down. This new person will very quickly become part of the rest of the crowd. It is normal to feel overwhelmed, over emotional, over tired, etc., etc. It is the map of this journey.
5. Do not put pressure on yourself about your "lack" of prayer life. I am not saying Do Not Pray, but don't beat yourself up for the sudden change in your prayer life. I often try to give God my little gifts...diaper changes, late night feedings, jealous two year olds. Sometimes all I can pray during the day are the simple words, "I love you, Lord." If you can, nothing is better than making a holy hour with your new baby. I love just sitting in His presence and saying or doing nothing. Sometimes, I cry. I tell Him my worries and ask Him to mend my heart. I ask Him to be with each child during this time and let them feel loved by Him.
6. Just a random memory I have: Shortly after one of my babies, it was a day that all were squirly including myself. Instead of correcting everybody and lecturing them about this and that I said, "That's it. Everybody get an ice cream bar." Your faces were wonderful. We went and sat outside and the ice cream was medicine. I know you all were expecting me to lecture and were quite surprised. It was a wonderful memory and not the norm, but sometimes necessary during hectic times.
These are just simple things, but have proven to be very helpful to me. I hope they are helpful to you. I love you and will be here for you if God calls you to the vocation of motherhood.
Origionally posted by Lindsay from My Child, I Love You.