My friend Tara had her baby girl last Thursday!!!! I am so happy for her and Andrew! She is a beautiful, healthy baby. And now, their work begins.
The first week is scary and hard. Lots of insecurity and lots of tears, not just from the baby. I cried every day for a solid month after Carter was born. Sometimes I had no idea why I was crying. Sometimes it was because “he’s so beautiful. I don’t want him to get any bigger”. I definitely had the baby blues. Craig said it was sweet that my emotions were so available, but it kind of sucked to feel so out of control. I was happy when that part ended, although, there is a comforting release in tears. So, don’t be alarmed if you cry for a month. That’s normal. Tons of hormones are leaving your body all at once which is crazy.
It is also normal to cry for known reasons, like frustration, sleep deprivation or fear. You really do just have to take it one week at a time. It kind of seems like you are hanging out all day since you never leave the house, but you are working or worrying 24 hours a day. So, it’s not at all like hanging out all day. That was a crazy thing to say!! It’s so hard. The end of the first week will feel like an achievement. “Yes! the baby is still alive and so am I.” A little bit, I remember checking off the weeks, like, “another one down.” Not that I didn’t enjoy it. I did. OMG there is nothing sweeter than a newborn. It’s this weird combination of being glad that a part is over, but sad that it is over at the same time. A friend once told me, “parenting is letting go”. That’s very true. And some weeks will be easier to let go of than others.
I was the type that never put my babies down. I would wear them or lie with them. Part of that was because you have to nurse so much. When we went in for our one month check up, I remember the doctor looked at me and saw how exhausted I was because my eyes were swollen and I looked like a dried up human. He suggested I pump and let Craig take a night feeding. That sounded great in theory, but I could never fit that pumping time in. I mean, any “down” time I had was spent bathing, urinating or doing other survival tasks. Pumping was a luxury, like flossing or shaving. It could wait. So I did every feed. I LOVED breast feeding, even though I had some issues with it. I definitely got that little endorphin rush that God built in there to encourage mothers to nurse. It felt so intimate and so important. It was frustrating, but it was a task I was willing to do just about anything to accomplish.
It’s hard for the daddys to feel like they are doing as much, but Craig definitely helped me a ton. He would rock the baby back to sleep in the middle of the night, fetch me anything and everything I needed and he was just there. I just needed to know that he was there, ya know. He had two weeks of paternity leave and the morning he went back, I cried in a way that I haven’t cried since my parents divorced when I was in the first grade. I had other people there to help me, but I only wanted him. The bond of the struggles of a newborn moved our relationship to a whole new level. I mean, we cried tears of joy in the hospital when Carter gave us a golden shower. Not because we love golden showers! But because the nurses said they would give him a catheter if he didn’t pee in the next hour. (Again with the cathethers!)
Know that there will be tears because this is the biggest and best thing you have ever done in your entire life. Accept help (although, I remember just wanting everyone to leave, even though I needed them). And just do the best you can. It is survival mode for the next few weeks. Good luck!