#parentinnaebaby: the Second Month

“It gets easier.”

“The first two months are the worst.”

“Milk supply usually regulates around the 6-8 week mark.”

 

Lo and behold, our family has arrived at this nirvana.

Does it feel different?

Honestly, yes. I haven’t had a painful clogged duct in a week and a half, my diaper changing speed is exponentially faster, and there are fewer cry sessions in the dark.* As of this writing, I am scared to share that our baby slept a nearly 7-hour stretch last night for fear of jinxing myself tonight.

This blog is becoming an outlet and avenue for me to reflect, and I’m grateful for it. Granted, it’s a bit curated for you – thanks for reading! – but the thoughts and feelings are real. Otherwise I confess I might choose to stay in a mind-numbing place and simply sleep or watch Netflix** whenever possible.

In looking back, I’ve realized that my husband and I have gone through a LOT as new parents. But this isn’t a self-pat on the back. There was no way we could have gotten through these two months without the help and support of Our People.

  • People like my mom, who insisted on me napping every time I finished nursing (which was often), taking her granddaughter from my arms so that her own daughter could rest while managing to cook homemade meals every day for more than a month.
  • People like our church community, from whom we received every single piece of necessary baby gear – from sleep sacks to giant swings – to ensure the transition was as smooth as possible.
  • People who sent food delivery gift cards or brought home-cooked meals because I’ve pretty much only used the kitchen to clean pumping supplies and drink water.
  • People like the family and friends who text and email and call us at all hours to just check in because they’re in a different time zone or on another continent or even here in the Bay Area because they’re nursing a baby at a godforsaken hour too. They also patiently waited for very-delayed responses as me replying to written communication in a timely fashion felt like a Herculean task.

These are Our People, and I realize God gave us these amazing human beings so that I wouldn’t give up on our mini human being. If we can raise our daughter to end up like any of these people, this will have been worth it.

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And I have to admit, her newly developed smiles help make it worth it too 🙂

See you in a month!

*The last one was a tense conversation between me and my husband because: parenting = hard, which means marriage = hard, and that means we have to work harder at our relationship. But that’s for another post. 

**We are trying to be mindful parents and not watch TV when the baby is alert and engaged. I have managed to find the loophole and watch Netflix when nursing, since she can’t see the TV.

#Parentinnae Baby: the First Month

“Do you feel that overwhelming sense of love for your baby girl?”

I always thought I’d feel it on first glance, on first touch, on first smell. I’ve wanted to be a mom for as long as I can remember, and I just KNEW that I would have no trouble bonding with my baby when she was born.

However, I didn’t anticipate the uncontrollable full-body spasms, taste of vomit from throwing up during the C-section, and an inability to keep my eyes open post-surgery when my daughter entered the world. I could hear the delight in my husband’s voice – “She’s so beautiful. She’s SO beautiful, Innae!” – but I could see and feel nothing.

In the days that followed, I continued to have little control over my body. I swelled to the point of looking like the Michelin Man, and my eyes were barely able to close due to the regular feedings and attention the little human needed. Every time she woke up to feed, I dutifully satisfied her hunger while wincing at the many trials and pains that come with breastfeeding, and then immediately looked to hand her off to other doting family members who could not stop gushing about how perfect she was. What I looked forward to most was when I could catch a few minutes of sleep, and that would only happen if the baby was not in my vicinity. Relatives came and went, and I mustered up the joy and excitement necessary to reflect the image of a glowing new mother.

Friends had shared that the ‘bonding’ with the baby took time, but I assumed that it wouldn’t be an issue for me. I assumed so much and knew so little.

At one month, the moments of connection come and go. In a dark room for a late night feeding, I feel connected. 3 hours later for the next feeding, though? The moment is gone and the new mother is disgrunted and frustrated.

Yet of all the trials of this month (which include, but are not limited to the following breastfeeding woes: painful nursing, clogged ducts, cracked nipples, milk blisters, vasospasms and painful letdowns at least 10 times a day), the hardest has been my own self-shame.

Until now, I had heard many a mother friend admit that she felt like a failure. As her single friend, I emphatically reassured her she was not. Now I became the one in need of reassurance because amidst my crying fits in the dark, I realized that this role requires a selflessness that I could not possess. My shame came from coming face-to-face with my own selfishness and I hated that I couldn’t be the mother I wanted to be.

But it’s been 30 days of realizing that I can’t be the mother I want to be, and in those low moments, I am given one comfort: I am the mother I am capable of being.

The mother Iwanted to be doesn’t exist; she is an ideal based on a supernatural selflessness. This I will only find in the Savior I believe in.

Instead, I am called to be me: broken, imperfect, selfish – and still a mother trying to love her daughter the way that Christ loves me. I’ll fail, but He won’t.

What will month two bring?