A Little Word of Advice

Hey guys-

Long time no post.  I know.  It’s been a while.  I’ve been just juggling life lately.  My husband started a new job about a month ago so he’s been getting off work a lot later now so I’ve been picking up our son from the baby sitter’s house, where normally, that’s something he would do.  We have also recently changed our sitting schedule.  Where my mom use to come on Sunday nights and spend the night and keep my son on Mondays and Tuesdays, then he would go to my in law’s on Wednesdays-Fridays.  Well, then that all changed and I’m off on Thursdays now so I stay home with him and he goes to the babysitter, who is a really good friend of ours, on Fridays.  Well, then just this week, that has all changed again.  My in laws will no longer be able to help us keep him, so instead of my mom coming on Sundays, she will drive up on Mondays and pick him up from our sitter’s house early afternoon, keep him through Wednesdays, I’m off Thursdays and then he goes back to the sitter’s on Friday.
I know I just gave you a lot of crazy information, but I just wanted to let everyone know where I’ve been and why I haven’t written much lately.  I’ve just been enjoying life and enjoying being a mom.

On another note, our little guy is going through teething.  And whoever said teething lasts FOREVER were 100% right.  I feel like he’s been going through these phases for months now.  I think we are on round 4.  They’re a little worse this time around and I’m hoping this is as bad as it gets (knock on wood).  We still have no teeth (at 8 months, going on 9) and that’s okay.  I just wish he would cut one soon so we could get a short break from all of this until the next one.  Teething is difficult.  He doesn’t want his bottle much right now.  Which his pediatrician said whatever works for him right now during this time is okay.  He should eventually take it back.  And he usually does when we’re in between phases but that just means, right now, he’s eating a lot more baby food.  So he’s almost doubling up, it feels like.  But we are working on snacks and finger foods, so that does help a little, he’s just not eating enough solids to really be able to see a decrease in the amount of baby food because he’s still new at this.  We’re just trying to get him to master picking food up and touching it. But we’re getting there!  He gets better every day.
We are also working on crawling.  Since I wrote last, he sat up for the first time by himself (for an extended period of time) and he said “da-da” for the first time, all in the same week!  I told him he needed to slow down and quit having so many milestones that close together.. haha!

Anyway, that’s a brief catch-up in my life.  Moving on to what I wanted to share with you all today.

I heard a lady speak today in a short video on being a new mom.  Kind of a what to expect when you’re a new mom and I thought it was very good and I wanted to touch on a few things for my new moms out there.  I wanted to share some of my feelings that I had as a new mom and still have sometimes and some things that I went through.

I know we’ve talked about my son having reflux and I often wonder sometimes what the early months of his life would’ve been like if he hadn’t have had it.  Would it have been as rough as it was?  Some things, yes, they would’ve remained the same.  But some things, like the hours of endless crying, I think would’ve been different.  But I want to step away from that and just focus on things that us as women feel about being new moms.  After we bring them home and after we are in this for a few weeks.

When you first bring your new baby home, you’re probably going to be scared.  You’re probably thinking, “I have to keep this tiny little human alive all by myself (even if you are married or have a significant other to help you).”  And it’s tough.  I’m not going to lie or sugar coat it.  It’s hard.  It’s one of the most challenging things I’ve ever faced.  Because even though you have a significant other there to help you, there are times in the middle of the night when that baby is going to want nothing more than his or her mama.  They’re going to scream when someone else is holding them or trying to help console them.  And you’re going to feel defeated.  You’re going to feel exhausted.  You’re going to think, “Why can’t someone else hold you??  Mommy is so tired!”  And that’s okay.  That’s normal.  There are so many thoughts that exhaustion can make us have, but at the end of the day, you’re still going to get up.  And you’re still going to hold your baby.  And you’re still going to bounce and walk around that room, and do whatever you have to do to console that sweet little baby, not because you have to, but because that is your baby.  You are his mommy.  And you want nothing more than to be his mommy.

Exhaustion, as a new mom, is something that no one can prepare for.  No one can really explain this to you.  It’s just something you have to experience.  I have a friend, who is a psychologist, and she told me once that you can go way longer without food than you can without sleep.  So when you get to your wits end, ask for help.  Ask that friend to come over for a couple of hours so you can take a shower.  Or a nap.  And don’t be afraid to ask.  Know that it is okay.  Everyone needs help at one point or another.   It’s okay to go take that break.  Go take that nap, go get your nails done, just get away when you need to.  Your friends will understand and you will feel refreshed when you come back.

There are going to be so many times that you feel defeated.  Your baby is crying and screaming and they’re not wet, they’re fed, and they’ve napped.  Just keep going.  Keep trying.  The first almost two years of life is a guessing game.  Until they can look up at you and tell you, “Hey mom, my stomach hurts” or “I’m thirsty”, it is a complete guessing game.  And that’s frustrating.  It’s frustrating for you as a new mom because you have no idea what’s going on and you just want to be able to console your screaming baby.  But just imagine how frustrating it is for them.  While you’re guessing, they’re saying to themselves, “No, that’s not it.  No, that’s not right.  That’s not it either, mom”.  They’re these tiny humans that can’t talk yet and they’re trying to figure out how to tell you what they need and the only thing they can figure out to do is to just cry.  So when you’re reaching that point of frustration and you don’t know what to do any longer, lay that baby down.  Lay him or her down somewhere safe, such as a crib, a rock-n-play, a pack-n-play, and take a step away, re-group, take some deep breaths, and try again.  It’s okay.  It’s okay to walk away.  Now I’m not saying that it’s easy to do, but sometimes you just have to do it.  I’ve had to lay my son down in his crib when he’s been fighting me rocking him to sleep, and he’s crying and wiggling and trying to flip over.  Believe me.  It wasn’t easy.  It was hard.  And I felt like a failure because I couldn’t even rock my own child to sleep.  But once I did that, I took control back.  And he actually does better going to sleep when he’s tired without me rocking him.  Now don’t get me wrong it’s so hard and it breaks my heart because he’s supposed to be my tiny baby still and I’m supposed to be able to rock him to sleep.  But it wasn’t worth the battle that we went through every night and every nap.  But the point is, it’s okay to step away.  You’re not a bad mother.

There will be days when you feel like you’ve gotten nothing done around the house.  And it’s possibly true.  You’ve got dishes in the sink, loads of laundry that need to be done, the house needs to be clean and you need a shower.  Sometimes you wear the same clothes for days in a row and sometimes you don’t remember when you’ve showered last.  That’s okay.  It can all wait.  Let someone else do it.  For me, that was one of the hardest things to do because I like to feel like I’m in control and I can do it all.  But the truth is, you can’t.  And that’s okay.

Getting my baby to sleep through the night after his four month sleep regression was one of the hardest things I ever did.  Sawyer slept through the night for the first time by himself at 12 weeks old.  He wasn’t doing it and then all of a sudden one night, he just did it.  Then around four months old, he started waking up earlier and earlier in the mornings.  Sometimes he would wake up at 4:30a.m. ready to start his day.  It was so hard.  Then that was followed by waking up in the middle of the night again.  Not wanting to feed really, just waking up, we would run in there to him, pick him up, give him his paci or whatever, and he would immediately go back to sleep.  So, we decided to sleep train him.  Now I know there are a lot of different methods out there and there are a lot of parents who have never heard of this or could never imagine doing it.  I was one of those mothers.  The method we tried was out of our book, “Moms on Call” and it was a form of letting them cry it out and I couldn’t imagine letting my baby do that at night.  I felt like the worst person ever.  So I had to do it when I was ready.  And that was around 5 months old.  He was only waking up about two times a night.  But I knew he was old enough to be sleeping through the night on his own and giving his digestive system that 12 hour stretch rest.  So we decided to do it on a Friday night.  Again, one of the hardest things that I’ve ever done, but it only took two nights and it worked.  But I remember how hard it was.  And I remember all of those negative things I was feeling and all of those times I wanted to run to him.  I think, as a mother, you hear your baby cry and it just destroys you.  It’s just a different part of you than it is for your husbands.  Men are usually better at doing sleep training than women are.  But just remember, if you choose to try it, you can do it.  You’re not a terrible parent.  Your baby is loved and they will still greet you with their smiling face the next morning.  And guess what?  You will get to sleep again.

Now that my son is eight months old, it is easier.  You face new challenges with each season of their life, but it does get easier.  So that’s something to look forward to as they get older. But I want you to know that there are still may times that I have to get out of the house for a break.  And that’s okay.  It is normal.  I’m thankful, for now, that I have a job that I can go to every day and have grown up conversations, but I enjoy my time that I have with my little man on my off days.  But even still, I try and make time for myself at night, after he’s in bed, and on the weekends.  I take a couple of hours one day and go do something by myself.  And the same goes for my husband.  I say all of that to say that postpartum depression is real.  It is a very real thing and if you feel like you may have it, it’s not something that you should try tackling on your own.  You definitely should seek professional help with that.

I hope someone finds this post helpful and I hope you enjoyed reading it.  If there is anything that someone would like to ask me about or hear about from my experiences, please feel free to comment below and ask or talk to me about things.  I can even write a blog about it.

 

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