Categories
motherhood op ed

Now Without The Sunshine and Roses…

So, the general consensus seems to be that little Baby Blueberry is adorable. She’s cute, she nurses well, she’s very healthy and already in the 50th percentile for height and weight. She’s perfect. When people ask, “How are you doing? How’s the baby?” that is typically what I will rattle off, sometimes with the added mention that, “I’m tired.” Because DUDE – I’m tired. I think that’s a given what with the whole two week old baby and a three year old thing – yeah I’m tired.

But you know, there’s more I could say, that I generally don’t say – because well, it’s like when you pass a casual acquaintance on the street and they ask, “How are you?” and all you are really supposed to say is, “Great, you?” You aren’t supposed to tell them that you have a raging head ache and eight loads of laundry to do and all you can think about is the chocolate souffle that isn’t in your kitchen and won’t be anytime soon. If you can’t say it in less than five words, it’s not really welcome information. At least that’s how it has always felt to me, but maybe I’m mistaken?

So I haven’t talked much (to anyone except my husband) about how I’m feeling. Partly because I’m sleep deprived and probably feeling everything at like 500% magnification – I don’t want to go complaining about something and have people worrying when it’s really nothing. But this is that place where I am supposed to be chronicling what’s real and writing it all, the good and the bad, so that’s what I’m going to attempt to do before BB wakes up for her next feeding or diaper change (my Moby wrap, by the way, is the item responsible for me being able to post this – baby wearing is maybe the best thing ever).

First off, let’s talk about the Mommy Guilt. I’ve been feeling it in droves, towards MM specifically. When I came home from the hospital I was so excited to finally have time to spend with both my children – I’d missed MM like crazy despite being totally smitten with my new baby girl. I wanted both my babies. But what I came home to wasn’t a baby anymore. I swear he grew 10 feet while I was gone. Everything about him is longer, louder and larger than life. He’s really doing terrific, overall, with the new addition. He seems smitten with her at least once or twice a day. But I can’t help but suspect he’s also a bit miffed. He used to be the absolute center of my universe and now, well, he’s not. And so every time I kiss her cheek or show any affection towards her, and I notice him watching or he’ll come in the room mid- snuggle. Guilt. All I feel is guilt – how could I submit him to my PDA with this new tiny baby that isn’t him?

Meanwhile, what with the nursing, this little girl is attached me all day. All day I have to say, “I’m sorry MM, I can’t get you water right now, I’m feeding the baby. Can you wait a few minutes?” And you know, newborns are ALWAYS eating, so I’m always making him wait for something or the other and I hate it. I crave more time with him, just him, my first love. I want to walk away from this new part of my life and just hold him and play with his toys with him and laugh with him and baby him. So far the most I’ve really gotten is five minutes at bedtime and one amazing walk to the mailbox – another 5 minutes. I want MORE than five minutes with him. I feel sometimes like we broke up or something and I can’t figure out how to feel whole about it. I think I’m probably exaggerating these feelings but honestly just typing this out brings tears to my eyes, so even if it’s an exaggerated feeling, I know it’s also real in some small way.

So there’s that. My small little pile of emotional baggage that probably isn’t made much better with the sleep deprivation. And then the nursing, which also makes me tired. Don’t get me wrong – I love nursing and I have no intention of giving it up. It’s going so much better than nursing MM did, even with the soreness and the leakage and other things that don’t seem proper to write about in a public forum. It’s going really well and the cost savings is just huge. I hated supplementing formula with MM and the pumping all that other garbage and it’s a relief to not be dealing with those things now. But I’m also anxious to become a bit more mobile. I sometimes feel like all I do is feed her, change her diapers and then try to get as much done as possible while she’s sleeping (like typing this right now feels like a huge waste of my invaluable spare time…). Rinse and repeat. Newborns nurse a LOT. I really wish I could get the hang of nursing in my Moby wrap but it really doesn’t work. I want to try a ring sling but I don’t want to spend the money (they are expensive!! At least the one I want is). I don’t want to spend ANY money and yet with a new baby, sometimes it seems like that’s all we do (when I’m not nursing and changing diapers)…

Oh god and the diapers. We’re cloth diapering. I’ve mentioned it. I’ve raved about it right up until BB was born, so excited about our prefolds and Thirsties wraps and snappis and the cost savings and how wonderful it would be to not have to buy diapers. So it kind of pains me to admit this, but I kind of hate it. I don’t know what my problem is. It’s not difficult. Cloth diapering is very easy in some ways. I do one load of laundry for the cloth diapers a day which isn’t really that big of a deal with a washing machine and dryer right in our bedroom. But it is a big deal because I also do an additional load or two of baby clothes each week and the cloth nursing pads that I also wash every day and suddenly I feel like an over burdened housewife and instead of spending quality time bonding with my baby, I’m cringing every time she poops because all I can think about is the LAUNDRY and also… the smell. I know poop smells. But I swear – poop and pee and cotton smells worse. At least to me. But the thing is – Dan actually loves it. He thinks cloth diapering is the best thing ever. So I’m trying to get over myself because there are so many advantages, but sometimes it just feels like that one.. more… thing.

All of these things by themselves would be nothing, but all of them combined with sleep deprivation make me a pretty irritable new mom. I’m trying – and I swear I’m probably happy for over half the day. An hour from now I’ll probably be all, “Aren’t those the cutest little fingers ever?” and MM will say something sweet and my amazing husband is going to come home tonight and cook dinner like he does EVERY night now, which I’d feel guilty about if it weren’t his preference, too. My amazing husband also offered to change all the night time diapers in an attempt to make this whole CDing thing less of a burden for me. Because he’s amazing and he has it together and he’s just a glowing, happy new dad and having a grand old time of it all. Unlike me, the mess.

Now the big question is, do I publish this?

By Jen E @ mommablogsalot

Mom to 2 kids and 1 dog. Wife of 1 handsome engineer. I'm almost always found behind the camera, in front of the computer, lost in a good book or dragging my family on another new adventure.

12 replies on “Now Without The Sunshine and Roses…”

Cloth Diapering is not easy!! I’m conflicted about it as even though I’d do it with babe #2 since I already have the diapers, I never push anyone to switch because adding one load of laundry is still one load more that you don’t have time for!
Hang in there, Mama!

Like

This is late & you’ve heard practically everything from everybody else but I will absolutely agree w/ them. I felt the same way about my son but guess what? He’s great! He still (mostly) adores his little sister & she him. It’s a good thing & it’s now been 7 yrs since we brought her home.

I really liked that suggestion about going to bed early. I can never do it but it sure sounds great. Neither of my babies would accept a bottle after coming home from the hospital.

I might get boo-ed from now till kingdom come but I saw a news article last year in my ortho surgeon’s office although still not certain why it was there. Anyway the article was about two studies that were done in Great Britain about which was more eco friendly, cloth or disposable. Guess what? By a very slim margin disposables won. Blew me away. So if you end up absolutely hating it don’t feel too guilty. Maybe try using disposables when you go out or just on a day that doesn’t seem too good. That’s what Stellan’s McMama says that she does. Btw, BB does look absolutely adorable in those diapers though.

Like

oh hon- it’s okay to feel these things.. it’s normal. And I am sure you’ll love CDing as soon as things are more settled andshe’s not attached to you 24/7…and if you don’t then that’s okay.. be honest with Dan. (and btw MAJOR PROPS to Dan for getting up at night to channge diapers..Chris never did haha)

MM will be okay too… this is an adjustment for him and in the coming months you WILL get more than 5 minutes with him. She’ll sleep longer- take regular naps- and that can be your built in MM time to play cars or snuggle him a bit too.

You’re tired.. and not used to going it alone with a bity baby- you had built in help with MM so this is probably a bit new to you too.

You’ll eventually get more sleep too believe it or not- I know it seems hard to believe right now.

I miss you like crazy.. send my love to the Fam. (and btw BB is totally wearing the hat I sent and it’s CUTE on her)

Like

Everything I read in this post (minus the cloth diapering b/c I didn’t do that) I could totally remember feeling. I thought the same thing about my son being a giant when I brought my daughter home from the hospital. I remember the constantly nursing and although I LOVED it, it does wear on you after awhile. You have nothing to feel guilty about though. All these feelings are normal and I’m sure that once BB gets on a better napping schedule you will have more time to reconnect with MM. Good luck with everything.

PS It may not be just tiredness you are feeling, it is also post-pregnancy hormones getting back to normal. Give it some time and I’m sure you will feel better soon.

Like

@ Jean : You’re right – writing it out made me feel a lot better. I read over the entry a couple times after posting it and the last time I read it, I actually felt okay with all of it – like, “Okay, so there’s that, but I’m alright.” Writing is incredibly therapeutic like that.

Like

Hugs to you! I know that just getting this all out will make you feel a lot better. What better place than here where we will support you know matter what. It’s OK to feel all this guilt and sleep deprivation. It isn’t easy but it will get a lot better.
I can’t imagine the laundry ..well I can sorta… but just think in the long run your saving the planet and saving a good $20.00 a week as well. I commend you for that because just 5 years ago cloth diapering wasn’t very hip. I myself probably wouldn’t have felt it worth it.

Like

Oh Jen. I had plenty of those days when #2 and #3 were born and still do. It happens. New moms are not sleeping, you have to continue daily life with a little one and a newborn. It’s just not fun. I know your husband is supportive, perhaps he could also give you some time in the evening to yourself even if it’s for a couple minutes. Also MM is fine…I always worried about my kids not getting enough attention but trust me, there will be plenty of time soon for that. There’s so much good educational tv these days – don’t feel guilty about letting him watch a show or 2 or 3 or 4. I’m probably going to get criticized for suggesting this. Oh well, it worked for me and it was a lifesaver. This will pass. It will get easier – promise.

Like

Yes, definitely right to publish. We have all been there and know how you feel. I spent most of the first weeks crying because I just didn’t feel like I could cope. It will get easier, but you are allowed to let it all out and that alone often makes you feel a bit better. You know that we will always listen. This is the hardest time and it will get easier. You just have to ride with it and let it all out.

Like

Hon, you need a nap. I do not function well sleep-deprived, so I did some research on it. Sleep deprivation makes everything seem worse, harder, more hopeless, more guilty…everything. The only thing I can tell you is that she won’t be two weeks old for very long…it WILL get better…and try to get some help. Can someone come over for a little while and let you nap? Do you have a friend or relative who could take MM out and do something fun for a while? I wish I lived near you, I’d be right over.

When we had our 2nd, and 3rd…we came up with this system. I would go to bed at like 6pm or 7pm. Hubby would stay up with baby, feed baby around 11pm, then he would go to bed. By the time she woke up at 2am or so, I’d had a good 7 hours of sleep. Then he got up at 6am to go to work. We didn’t see much of each other for a while, but it did wonders for my state of mind. I know you are nursing…can you pump a bottle or two so someone else can feed her?

Like

Yes, you publish, because it’s raw and it’s you and it’s chronicling what’s going on. And, maybe when BB is a mommy herself, she will know that it’s normal.

Because, the guilt is huge. And, it’s so much harder with another kid at home that wants you and needs you. But, you will settle into a routine. It will take some time:)

Like

I’m so sorry you’re having a hard time! I have no idea since I don’t have kids yet, but I’m sure what you’re feeling is normal like you said! I’m glad you decided to publish this, I’m sure you’ll get a lot of support from other mom’s feeling the same way. Plus sometimes it feels better just to tell the truth! I hope things get better soon! šŸ™‚

Like

Comments are closed.