My daughter was born one month ago on April 3, 2020.
Needless to say, it’s been a rough learning curve (sleep, what’s that?)
Lucky for me, I have the greatest mama friends to lean on, share stories and ask for advice.
But, in my short time of taking care of this perfect little human made of stardust, I’ve learned a few things about myself and motherhood:
POSTPARTUM IS WAY HARDER THAN PREGNANCY OR LABOUR
Pregnancy was a breeze for me: no nausea, vomiting or even cravings. All the same, people were constantly checking up on me to ask how I was or if I needed anything. It was the sweetest.
Labour was tough, but not the worse, if I can compare to some of the horror stories my friends have told me.
My water broke around midday the day before my daughter was born (in the middle of a work meeting, I might add), but my contractions never started, so I was induced; nine hours later, she was in my arms.
One thing no one ever mentions — until you get there — is how hard the fourth trimester, postpartum, really is. Not only do you feel like you’ve been hit by a bus, but you’re also the main provider for this tiny person.
I’ve broken down crying so many times over the last month worried about whether or not I’m making the “right” decisions for her, feeling exhausted and breastfeeding in the middle of the night, all while dealing with intense pain as my own body recovers from the trauma of birth.
THERE ARE DAYS WHERE YOU LOVE YOUR BODY AND WHAT IT ACHIEVED — AND DAYS YOU HATE IT
I’ve never been so proud of what my body can do. I’ve also never been more ashamed of the way it looks.
It used to be that my goal was to train my body to do inversions or arm balances, but now I take pride in the fact that it can create life. I’ve also had to learn to listen to my body — when it needs to rest and when I feel good enough to move.
Of course, my body will never look the same again after growing a baby and giving birth. There are times where I look at myself in the mirror and I feel sad; there are other times where I feel proud. And both of those feelings are OK.
YOU’LL DO THINGS YOU NEVER IMAGINED YOU WOULD DO
The other morning, I used my bare hands to pull snot out of my baby’s nose. And I felt so accomplished.
EVERYTHING IS A CONTRADICTION
A big struggle I’ve had is getting her to sleep in her cot — but whenever she manages to stay there for longer than an hour, I sit around waiting for her to wake up so I can hold her.
I look forward to the day when she’s sleeping through the night — but I know I’ll miss our late night/early morning mummy-daughter moments.
At the beginning, I wanted to feed her from bottles because it was so painful to breastfeed, but now I love having those intimate moments with her.
I can’t wait to have conversations with her, but it makes me so sad to think she’ll never be this little again.
I could go on…
YOUR PARTNER BECOMES SO MUCH MORE THAN JUST A HUSBAND
There are moments in the middle of the night when I reach the end of my rope — and feel guilty about it.
Cue my husband who takes over and basically saves me from myself. Angel.
EVERYONE WILL TRY TO GIVE YOU ADVICE — BUT IT’S WORTH LISTENING
Fellow mamas will reached out often to check in on you.
“It gets better,” they all promise as they see you struggle through sleepless nights and bouts of inconsolable crying.
I’ll let you know when it does.
YOUR BUB WILL CHANGE EVERY DAY
The first time my daughter smiled at me (granted, it was probably because she farted), I died.
And when she started reaching for me in her sleep to make sure I hadn’t put her down, I cried.
The first time she laughed, it made me unbelievably happy. But, I’ll never hear her first-week-of-life cry ever again.
I was so excited and prepared for all her firsts, but nothing prepared me for all the lasts.
They achieve so many little milestones every day, and leave even more old habits behind, it’s crazy.
Her face changes so much day-to-day, week-to-week, that all I can really do is take in each moment; soak it all in; enjoy that newborn smell while it’s still there.
As much as people say “it gets better after the first three months” — and I won’t lie, I am looking forward to that time — I can’t help but miss this newborn stage already.
Is it crazy to miss something that hasn’t even passed yet?
Sometime I look at her tiny face and teeny body, so trustingly snuggled in my arms, and it makes me cry to think she’ll only be getting bigger and more independent, until one day she’ll be out in the world on her own.
MUM GUILT IS REAL
Before my daughter was born, I had all these ideas of what kind of parent I’d be.
I mused over everything: whether I’d breastfeed or bottle feed; if I’d give her a pacifier or not; if I planned to discipline her this way or that way. It took about two days before I realized there is no such thing as “planning how to be a parent” — these tiny tots aren’t exactly going to blindly follow your lead.
When my daughter was just a couple days shy of three weeks, we decided to experiment by giving her a binky.
The goal was selfish: to give us a bit of reprieve from the crying. Immediately, I felt guilty, especially after seeing how much she enjoyed it.
It took reading about 10 articles on how it’s a self-soothing method that prevents over-feeding, SIDS and childhood obesity to make me feel a little better about caving and giving it to her.
YOU WILL CRY… A LOT
The first night we had our daughter at home, she cried relentlessly from 11 p.m. to 8 a.m.
We didn’t know what to do to comfort her and, to be honest, between the swaying, rocking, singing, walking and more, we probably over-stimulated her and made things worse.
By the time the sun came up without a single lick of sleep, I broke down sobbing, holding this tiny little person that I had been so confident I’d be able to take care of. Ironically, once I stated crying, she stopped and just stared at me with pity.
YOU ARE SUPERWOMAN, EVEN IF MOST OF THE TIME YOU FEEL LIKE YOU’RE DOING EVERYTHING WRONG
That’s one thing other mums have told me… and I plan to repeat it to every other mama who doubts her ability to do her best to raise her child.
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