Adjusting to Motherhood
Three months ago I knew William was coming but I didn’t know that he would arrive three weeks early. I (we) were totally prepared for his arrival. Physically prepared that is. Being mentally prepared for motherhood is something else.
I knew that he had to come out at some point but it felt that as he due date approached that as much as I wanted him out so that I could finally meet him, I wasn’t sure if I was mentally ready for him to come out. I’m not sure if it is different for women who know they want to be mothers and can’t imagine not having children. I only knew for sure that I wanted children in my late 20s. Just like I didn’t have my dream wedding planned out, I didn’t have having a baby planned out either. The only plan was to try to have a baby. And I actually did. I was there for it.
As soon as he was out (I had a vaginal birth), he was thrust on to my chest and suddenly I was looking at a six pound ten ounce living being who maybe was just as confused about what had just happened as me. Once we were moved from the delivery room to our standard hospital room for the night, I remember the feeling of intense silence. The feeling of silence felt heavy. I was no longer alone. It was like a trance. It was compounded from the exhaustion I felt from the delivery. Real sleep already eluded me – I would startle myself awake when I remembered there was a tiny human beside me and was he still breathing? I was there and living every moment but I also felt slightly outside of myself. And then suddenly William and I were at home and I was thrust into motherhood. And even though I didn’t know what I was really doing, I just did it. My swaddle technique was awful, I was breastfeeding every hour and a half and I was exhausted. But my mind was busy. The insane amount of time spent trying to breastfeed (it took a couple of days for my milk to come in) created a platform for me to start thinking of the craziest things I thought I could no longer do and how the title of mother would change how society viewed me as a person.
I sat with these thoughts constantly. I felt like I had suddenly lost part of who I was in gaining another. I talked to myself about the things I thought I could no longer do in an effort to calm myself down. And it slowly worked. For every thought I had about some crazy trip I could no longer go on, I gently talked myself down off a ledge of not never but different. It was sitting with the idea of not never but different that I found the most comforting. I slowly came to accept over the weeks at 11PM, 1AM and 4AM that my life was still mine but also his and that everything was going to be ok.
William is now 12 weeks old and we are more bonded together every day. I feel confident in my abilities as his mother as if just having him gave me a license to know what my baby needs and wants. I know I don’t know everything but I have an amazing doctor and Google (see below for real things I have searched for in the last three months). And a supportive husband. And a very attentive dog who helped me get ready for motherhood in a lot of ways (this could be another blog post). And the crazy thoughts about who I am and what my life is and will be like? I let them come, talk them through and then try to let them go. And then I think about having a second (and last) baby.
My Actual Google Searches
– What does newborn diarrhea look like
– Newborn distended stomach
– Newborn gas solutions
– Why is newborn poop orange
– Newborn head shape
– Baby sleep schedules
– Babies and soothers
– How to travel with a newborn
– Baby breastfeeding lip blisters
– YouTube baby massage videos for gas
– Swaddle techniques
– Otteroo versus Swimava (this is crazy and you need to Google it)