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/
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.
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?