Thursday, August 14, 2014

Clara Rocks Our World

Nicky and I welcomed Clara Louise into this world on Saturday, July 26, 2014. I did not know I could love another human being so much. We think she's absolutely wonderful!

With that said, she's not quite three weeks old, and I will not even try to paint a perfect picture of life with a newborn. It's stinkin' hard! While I was pregnant, I had all these perfect plans for my perfect child - and then reality happened. Everyone was so quick to tell you what their experience was with a newborn, and everyone has advice to share...sometimes (most of the time) unwarranted. I felt like I was prepared for it all. Then we brought our sweet girl home...

 So I decided that I wanted to put my struggles out there in case there's another new momma that feels just as blindsided as I did.

First of all, breastfeeding is just not for everyone. It's frustrating and painful. Don't let anyone tell you that it shouldn't can be doing everything right, and it still feels like your nipples will be sucked off at your baby's next feeding. I was determined to go the full 4 weeks before introducing a bottle because my baby was supposed to "eat every 2.5 to 3 hours for 20 minutes per side." Yeah right. Try 30 minutes or more per side and hungry 30 minutes later. I felt like a milk cow. So, she got a bottle at two weeks, and life is much sweeter...for everyone I come in contact with. You have to do what's right for you and your baby, not what everyone thinks you should do. You are the mom. Make the decision, and don't wait for someone to tell you it's ok. If you can pump, pump. Breast milk is breast milk. And if you can't pump, then give that baby formula...that's why they make it. Don't let anyone make you feel like a bad mom or less of a woman because you choose not to breast feed or can't.

Second, no one told me how distant I would feel from Nicky. As soon as we got home from the hospital, our focus shifted to Clara. This meant that our time together was limited/nonexistent. This was so hard. It's just been us for 4 years, and I was not prepared to miss him and our quality time so much. So my suggestion for new moms is to line up a sitter within the first week so you and your hubby can squeeze a little date in. We went to Burger King for 30 minutes and it was awesome! You are not a bad mom because you want to get out of the house and away from your baby for a bit.

The next thing that made me question my mothering instincts was Baby Wise. I read the book, flagged important pages, and was prepared to start a routine with Clara immediately since all the mommy bloggers raved about their success with this "since the day they brought their babies home from the hospital." Whatever. I can barely shower/eat/brush my teeth each day much less get her on a schedule right now. Why aren't there mommy blogs out there that talk about how they really couldn't even TRY to start a routine until week four? Or even later than that? And is my baby supposed to magically take 5 naps for 1.5 hours each, or will she have to cry it out for a while? And why don't they tell you how long it takes to get the schedule perfected? Is it one day? One week? One month? Help a tired/frustrated/insecure sister out! Give me some hope!

Well, I'm going to give you hope: your newborn will not remember how you messed up, or cried along with them in the middle of the night, or said that you really love them but don't like them right now. They won't even remember the four letter words you whispered (screamed) when they latched onto your bleeding nipples or woke up for the 6th time in the middle of the night. There is so much grace in that. So do your best and trust your instincts. Trial and error will reveal what works, and you have to run with that. And find another new mom with whom you can laugh, cry, complain, and share successes. This will not make those sleepless nights any better, but hopefully it alleviates some of the guilt and insecurity we feel as we figure all of this out.

As my husband's grandmother said, "Keep the faith! It will get better!"