Sunday, January 04, 2009

2 Months into Motherhood...

Well, I am now a little more than 2 months into motherhood... and it's hard! I always knew that being a mom would be a HUGE challenge and that I would need to learn so much. I guess I just didn't realize how big of a challenge it would be, or just how much I really need to learn. In honor of my friend Amy's blogging honesty, I thought it's time for me to share some of those challenges that I've had lately. Let me preface this by saying that my daughter is so beautiful, a gift from God, and I am so thankful for her. But assuming that you all know that I love her deeply, here are the hard parts:

  • I have been commited to breastfeeding Kirsten since before she was born. I knew I wanted to for so many reasons - the health benefits for her, the bonding, the fact that it's free, etc. The first few weeks were definitely hard, and I wasn't sure if she was getting the right latch, etc. I also experienced a lot of pain and wasn't sure if that would get better. We got through the first couple weeks, and at her 5 week appt. she had gained almost a full 3 lbs, so I know she was getting what she needed! However, the challenges of breastfeeding have continued. Here are a few other examples: sometimes she refuses to eat on my right side, which leads to engorgement and then needing to pump, etc. Sometimes she latches and then comes off and SCREAMS and won't relatch. Sometimes she just won't eat at all for several hours (like up to 6 hours) and I get worried that something is wrong. She almost always screams when I attempt to burp her in the middle of a feeding, but if I don't burp her she almost always spits up a lot. So there are moments when I think, "Is this really worth it?" and I feel like giving up.
  • I am generally a very driven, organized (at least in some areas), scheduled person. I like to accomplish things and have "success." I was always a straight A student and graduated college summa cum laude. Having a baby, however, has been the hardest thing I've ever done - not just the labor, but the actual day to day experience. I often times find myself at 4 in the afternoon, still in my PJs, surrounded by piles of laundry, paperwork, dishes, etc - all undone. I find myself walking Kirsten - holding her or in her sling - yet unable to do much else because the moment I stop moving, she starts crying. I find myself thinking, "I just want to sit down! I just want to read a book, take a nap, catch up on blogs, shower, or even EAT! When will I ever have time for myself again???" Selfish, yes, but nonetheless those are my thoughts at times. I am learning that I have to give up on a lot of my "to do" lists and just allow myself to be focused on my most important task - caring for and loving my baby girl.
  • Kirsten is overall a challenging girl, it seems. She has her happy moments, usually more so in the morning. She does smile, and sometimes I can sit with her and play or read a book when she is awake. And I can put her down on the floor or in her swing IF she is in a good mood, and she might be content for 5-10 minutes. However, the majority of the time, I am needing to walk with her, hold her, etc in order for her to be happy. This is especially true when it comes to sleep. She gets extremely fussy before going to sleep, and really needs mommy or daddy to help her off into lala land. I am okay with this, because I know she just spent 9 months having 24/7 contact with me. So I don't expect her to be able to go to sleep on her own yet or not need a little snuggling. However, it does get exhausting and even frustrating at times, especially when she SCREAMS before going to sleep (which happens almost every night and sometimes during the day as well).
  • Having a baby also puts a strain on your marriage. I feel less able to attend to Scott's needs now that I have this little one, and that makes me feel guilty. There are also days when both of us are stressed, lacking sleep, and we end up getting upset with one another over little things. Sometimes one of us needs a break but the other is not really wanting to help out. And we don't necessarily always agree on approaches, so we also have to resolve how we are going to do this whole parenting thing. It's hard, and I don't know how people do it who don't have Christ in their lives or in their marriage. Much of my day (or night for that matter) is spent uttering small prayers about the situation at hand, whether it be Kirsten not taking the bottle from Scott, or me just being overtired and cranky, to not knowing what is bothering Kirsten when she is screaming and not knowing what to do to help her. It is a GOOD THING that I have God to turn to or else I probably would go crazy, for real.
Well, I am now realizing that it is late and I need to sleep!!! Kirsten is asleep, thanks to my WONDERFUL husband who told me to just relax as he got her to sleep tonight. So I better head to bed before she wakes up and needs to eat again.


Life With My Boys..... said...

Ooooooh how I love you, sweet friend! Kev and I can totally relate to the (shall we say) somewhat slightly "high maintenance" children. Kaden was a screamer for three months, and Jesse was rarely happy for the first six of his little life. We had several conversations of "WHAT HAVE WE DONE?" Meanwhile, all of the friends around us seemed to have perfectly content and awesomely sleeping children who never cried! Good times, good times! You are totally awesome, my friend! You guys really do.

P.S. - I had this whole thing written out once, and then Jesse unplugged the computer. Joy.

Anonymous said...

Those first few months are hard...but it DOES get better! Sharing the hard times reminds us to pray for each other. Thanks for being open. I think you are a great mother!

Debby B.

Anonymous said...

esther, i agree with everything you said, so know that you are not alone! :)

no one can explain, even if they try, what the adjustment is going to be like. it can make you feel crazy, make you doubt yourself and your world, make you unlike your true self... but, those feelings are temporary, and you will slide into an easy feeling, a knowledge that you are completely capable of what you have been blessed with.
keep your head down in prayer, and you will survive!

Amanda Elmer Fogarty

SLH said...

Esther- I can so relate as I have a 2 month old and seem to spend most days until 4 pm in p.j.'s! Oh, but the sweetness of those little hands and trusting eyes.
I wish to be as dependent on Jesus as she is on me.
I appreciate your honesty about the are not alone in how you feel!

(I'm part of the Nov. moms team on babyfit, too!)