Hello my cherished Rina!
A friend of mine has recently asked me what motherhood was like and I figured I would answer her here in order to let you, her and everyone else reading what it’s like. Mind you, I am not an expert in regards to motherhood as it is my 1st go at it and I don’t assume every new mother out there feels the way I do, but this is my point of view on the issue.
Motherhood. Before I had you, I had no idea what it meant. I often even wondered if I had what it takes to be a mom (maternal instinct, enough love for you, enough knowledge, etc…) Then, I found out I was pregnant with you and for about 1hr, I was totally panicked. How come I was pregnant? Do the powers that be really believe I have what it takes to be a good mom, let alone simply be a mom? I guess I had nine months (turns out, I had 9.5 months) to find out! Then, there was the whole delivery thing which you can read all about here. After your dad and I finally got to hold you, that’s all I wanted to do: hold you and stare at you. I couldn’t believe you were finally here and your dad and I had made you. When the rush of hormones and adrenaline started to wear off, we discovered slowly what living with you is really like. Although it hasn’t been a month yet, I’ll paint you a brief picture.
Motherhood is HARD. I was prepared for sleepless nights and a crying baby as this is what I do for a living being a NICU nurse, but I was not prepared for the hardest job of my life. It is extremely hard emotionally, physically and I find myself constantly second-guessing myself. Me, the self-assured, somewhat knowledgeable NICU nurse, I find myself constantly doubting my judgment when it comes to decisions that affect you. Me, who has an admitted hard time with incessant crying patients at work, have been dealt with a very colicky and very cranky baby who will cry for 5-6hrs in a row at times. They say you’re only dealt what you can handle, I guess you’re really testing out my patience.
There are times when I want to curl up in a ball and get a break from you. Your dad is self-employed and works extremely long hours (sometimes, he’s gone for 13hrs) and because we don’t have any relatives to help us out here, it’s all on me. It makes me laugh when people tell me that I should set myself one easy goal per day, like managing to shower or managing to have a nutritious lunch. When you have a husband who leaves the house at 10am and is only back at 10 or 11pm, one easy goal per day just won’t cut it. I need to make sure there is food in the house, that laundry gets done and so do the dishes or the cleaning as there is no way your dad can get to do these with his work schedule. It also means I get to deal with your long crying fits all by myself on most days. Honestly, sometimes, I join you in those crying fits just because Idon’t know what else to do and I need some sort of break too.
There is also all the advice I am being given in regards to your colics. I know people mean well, but I also know what I need to do. Yes, I have given up cow’s milk and products, yes, I am giving you probiotics / Ovol (doesn’t work) / Gripe water (also doesn’t work) / belly massages, warm blankets on tummy, etc… Nothing works. I have a baby that suffers from colics and that’s all there is to it. I have also given up on breastfeeding you because you won’t latch on properly and the pain you are causing me is simply too much for me to handle on top of everything else. I am still pumping my breastmilk, but am slowly weaning you off as it is also a lot for me to handle. I bottle-feed you (30 mins on avg.), then I need to hold you upright so you won’t vomit everything I just fed you (another 30 mins). When I am fairly certain you won’t wretch, I balance you on my knees while I am pumping my breastmilk. Why the balancing? Because, if I try to put you down, you start howling again, swallowing more air, making you more gassy and making you howl some more. Sometimes, even with the balancing on the knees, I can’t get you to not cry for the 10mins it takes me to pump my milk. Then, I need to find a position that is tolerable for you while I do the dishes and clean my pumping equipment. Depending on the day, it can be in your swing, bouncy chair, sling, bed. It’s never the same and what works one day, might not the next one. It’s all a big guessing game. So you see, I know full well that stopping with the breastfeeding/breastmilk might not be the best decision for you, but it’s the best decision for us, as I already have a pretty full plate. I constantly struggle with making the best decision for you, for me or for our family.
Then, there are friends. Some have really come through for us during my struggle so far while others have quickly vanished off. It’s funny how the people you were certain were going to help still haven’t been around to see you and yet, new people in our lives have been a thousand times more helpful. Real friends don’t get offended because I don’t call. Seriously, when you sleep, I have to chose between cooking, going for a walk with you, sleeping or running errands. Replying to emails and calling people is very low on my list of things to do, however, if a friend offers help or support or asks for a visit, I usually jump on the offer. I don’t call anyone other than my parents, but I step on my pride and willingly accept any offer for help. And true friends have helped out a lot, even if they are going through some struggling of their own. Thank you to all those friends, in no particular order: Kelly, Katie, Jenn, Jill, Yennie and D as well as all my friends and family back east, offering support through internet: Virginia, Cecilia, Sandra, Etienne & Martine, mom & dad, John & Marg. Your cyber support means a lot to me.
By the time Babydaddy gets home, I am ready to pass you over to him as I need to go relax in the tub. Keep in mind that I still have a few painful stitched from my delivery and some very painful hemorrhoids too. Ahh, the joys of being a woman! So how do I keep some sort of sanity you ask? By having a wonderful husband who does as much as he can when he’s home, by relaxing every night (for 5 mins) in the tub and with your help. I don’t know how you do it, but you always give me one of your gooffy smiles just when I’m about to throw in the towel. It’s as if you’re telling me: “Look mama, I can be very cute and loveable even though I scream a lot!” And you are very loveable. I love cuddling you in my arms when you have finally settled and just feel you breathe against my chest, rubbing my cheeks on your silky hair. I just need to remind myself of that when you’re crying out in colic pain!
There you have it. My own version of motherhood. It’s not glamorous, it’s hard as hell and yet, nothing compares to it.
Mom & Dad Xxo