Originally posted on April 19, 2012.
So I survived my first month of motherhood.
This month was hard. Very, very, very hard. There were tears pretty much every single day for the first 3 weeks. It tapered off to only every other day for the last week. Progress, I guess.
The hardest thing has definitely been the pressure of being THE parent. I’m the one with the built-in food supply. I’m the one who’s home all day long with no other pressing responsibilities. My husband has been a huge help, as have visiting family, but in the end, for now at least, I feel like the bulk of the responsibility has fallen to me, and at least for the eating part, which seems to absorb half of my baby’s day, I’m the only person who can really do the job. Just like being pregnant, there’s no one I can hand the baby off to for feeding sessions. There’s only me.
Pumping and supplementing with formula have helped. It means someone else can take the baby for one feeding session a day (theoretically–it doesn’t always happen), and I can take a break. Still. Even the feeds I miss, I pump, and while those sessions go faster and can be done completely hands free (thanks industrial dairy farm hands-free pumping bra), my body is still attached to something every 2-3 hours every single day pretty much around the clock.
I miss having my body to myself. I miss having time to myself. In a lot of ways, I miss my old self and my old life period, blasphemous as that may be. I’m the sort of person who’s always needed a lot of me time to rest and recharge. When I was working, just having a busy, social weekend with no down time to be by myself, doing my own thing was enough to wear me out. Not having nearly as much alone time now is emotionally draining. This is compounded by the fact that having a baby is a huge life change for anyone, and the normal ways I would cope with a big change or stressful situation like this is more or less not possible. It’s been an adjustment figuring out new ways to cope and just getting used to the fact that I’m going to have to recharge my batteries in a much shorter time span going forward.
I know this will get better with time. She’ll need me exclusively less and less and will be able to rely on others more and more to meet her needs. Once I’m back at work (something I’m already looking forward to), I won’t even see her most of the day 4 days a week, which will, I’m sure, present all sorts of new emotional challenges.
Don’t get me wrong. I adore my baby. I love that I get to have all this time with her. I would hate it if I had to be back at work in a week and a half or even sooner like so many moms do. I know that this time is brief and precious, and I don’t want to wish her babyhood away. I’ve taken so many pictures and videos, hoping they help me to remember how she was when she was so small and sweet. Probably someday, I’ll wish she needed, or better yet wanted, me around more.
It’s hard to go from being an independent person who genuinely likes being alone (I’m the girl who loves going to restaurants and movies by herself) to never being alone, ever. For me, that’s been the biggest challenge of being a new mom, and I’m looking forward to the day when my daughter will need me, and no one else, just a smidgeon less.