Looking for the Carp

Seize the carp! Or the day! Or the moment! Anything that will help make this life of yours richer, filled with love, and acceptance of yourself. This is my little journey to always be on the look out for that carp, grabbing it, and never letting go. This is the only life we have and it's too short for what ifs and maybe laters!

Monday, 7 May 2012

11th Carp- Motherhood survival

At first I thought I would be able to blog about my experience becoming a mother. I wanted to share the ups and downs from water breaking to cesarean birth. But luckily for me, I don't really need to write about that since Jon has done such a great job here:  http://attemptatliving.ca/

Now it's been almost three months since James has entered this world. Three wonderful, terrifying, challenging, and life changing months. Jon and I thought we knew what we were getting ourselves into heading down the road to parenthood but in reality, we had no idea. There was no book, no piece of advice, nothing that could have prepared ourselves for this journey. Although, leading up to it, I did feel better reading these "How to books" but like I have found in teaching, baby birthing and raising theory and practice never go hand in hand.

It's a minefield becoming a mother. I have grown in ways that I never knew were possible and have realized that patience is something I have in abundance. Which three and a half months ago I would have never believed it. I think that men and women both have this huge learning curve when it comes to turning on that parental switch. Both have our challenges and both have our rewards. The best way I have heard it explained is through this TED talk : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=12OAr0lt4bk

Rufus and Alisa, in 17 minutes talk, us through the 4 facts of parenthood that we never can admit and why we should. I could really identify with all four and recommend and soon to be parents (or seasoned vets) to take a listen of what they have to say. The one that really struck a cord with me was loneliness. I felt such a deep routed loneliness throughout the days being home with James and not knowing what to do to care for this little baby. I went through weeks where I just cried all the time. I felt like I couldn't handle what I had signed up for and that it wasn't going to get any better. Feeling all of this, I knew I needed to break down my 'reach out for help' wall which I have kept in really good shape for the better part of my life. Perspective mothers out there, if you are like me, learn to suck it up early and get as much help as you can from as many different people/ sources as you can. Pick up the phone and call anyone that has even the tiniest understanding to what you are going through and call them often. For me, I knew I was just treading water but I still would be very reluctant to reach out to people. Luckily, I have a great support system and one who knew my tricks all too well and they would check in on me to chat. Once I started the conversation, I would just pour my heart out and I would feel so much better.

I would also like to add another fact to their list. Jealousy. James was such a mess as a newborn. I was so completely and utterly jealous of parents that could take their newborn anywhere. These 'perfect' babies, you know the type, would just be happy sitting in their car seat sleeping away or just looking around as if to say "I know I'm the cutest thing around". James on the other hand would cry himself hoarse for hours upon hours. We couldn't go anywhere or do anything without the cries following us there.We would rock him, sooth him, hold him, bounce with him, do lunges/ squats, sing and sometimes, when we just needed a break, put him in his crib and walk away. It was awful. I would just watch the clock tic to 10, 11, 12, 1 and on wards thinking "there is no possible way you have enough energy to go on".  Anyone who has had a baby like this, deemed 'colicky', needs a medal. It's the hardest thing you can ever go through. The one blessing is that James didn't care who was holding him, he didn't have a preference for Jon and I, so we were able to get some breaks by passing him to those brave individuals who wanted to take on 'the dragon'. (A nickname James acquired during these weeks)

Another thing I was jealous of was Jon. Mothers have their lives completely turned upside down. Their needs/ wants/ desires take a back seat to this little (crying) bundle of joy. Fathers, although they have their own challenges to work through, just don't have the same paradigm shift. I would look at Jon and life seemed to be as usual with him working out, playing xbox, making plans for future school Europe trips, getting full nights sleep and so on. We have talked about my jealousy because it was fast turning into resentment. And resentment is a hop, skip and a jump away from much more troublesome feelings. Plus with a baby like James, we need to be a solid unit to provide and care for him. But I think that most mothers, at one point or another, have these feelings of jealousy towards their partners. Again, my advice is to talk through it. Don't let it fester because nothing good will come out of that.

I would like to point out for perspective parents is that some people will have you believe that certain milestones will come and once they do, life will get easier. Well I waited for each of these milestones with bated breath, crossing off the days on the calendar, and crossing my fingers in hopes they would be right. In short, people are liars. They do it just to give you enough hope to carry on. Here is my breakdown of those supposed 'life will get better' turning points.

6 weeks- Although you might be feeling better at this point, your baby is still a mess. Most babies hit their fussiness peak around this time. Life will still be a tornado but at least you can look in the mirror and not be confused from the reflection. You are starting to look a little more like yourself.

8 weeks- "Oh after those two months, babies will start sleeping longer. You might even get a full nights rest". Again, liars. Hopefully by this time your baby will start realizing when nighttime is and daytime. If you are lucky enough for this to happen then you *might* get more hours of sleep during the night. But these 'more hours of sleep' are stints of 4-5 hours straight.

12 weeks- The people who told me it gets better after three months have been the most truthful out of everyone that gave me advice. Thank you for that, fellow pioneers in truth-telling when it comes to children. James is doing much better in terms of crying. He is smiling more. He is getting on a routine for naps and sleeping is not a fight most nights. He is interacting with the world around him. All of those things help get you through the day as little rewards to 'good parenting behaviour'.

However, he still isn't sleeping through the night and when he starts crying, he can shatter eardrums. But it is better. And if I were to ever give out advice, I would say that at the three month mark things start to really turn around. Although, looking back, it was a long hard road to get to this point, I'm glad I am finally here. Soon he will be cutting teeth and eating solids so I am going to enjoy this time as much as I can.

What's your carp?


  1. Wow Michelle, congratulations of being able to express yourself so eloquently and putting all your life experiences out into the world for others to learn from. James is a sweetie, you are an amazing mother and the three of you make a great team! xoxo PS That bunny hat is adorbable..lol..

  2. Such a great post Michelle! 3 months is a real turning point in the scheme of things, life starts to feel a bit normal again! Very well said about the resentment thing, as mothers I think we all go through it!