So, Amelia is 1 month old today! My my, how time flies. Except, in this case, it doesn't feel like it's been longer or shorter--it feels exactly right.
In thinking about all I've been through in this month, I thought I'd share some of my reflections on it with you. As you can imagine being a new parent is a bit of an adjustment, but not in the ways I expected.
Having a baby is pretty much what I thought it would be. You feed her, change her, put her to bed, try to figure out why she is crying, etc. I've never NOT heard a new parent say, "It is so hard. You have no idea how hard" and I'm trying hard not to say it. Really, it is pretty straightforward and fairly simple. The hard part comes from all the other things: trying to keep the house clean or assume some semblance of your regular life. Again, that isn't totally because of the baby. It is related--getting used to the new schedule, the weird sleeping hours--all of those make a difference. But the biggest thing that makes it tough? The recovery process. All those hormones still raging, the challenge of breastfeeding and the drain of your milk coming in and out, and recovering from labor--difficulty walking, fatigue, etc.
The first week was easier than subsequent weeks, but that is because it's all so new and exciting--we had lots of visitors, I was so thrilled about my new baby, my milk hadn't come in yet, and I had a lot of people I could draw on for help if I needed it. Not to mention how amazing my husband has been through all of this. But the sleep deprivation hadn't started yet or fully hit. 2 or 3 days of sleep deprivation is a lot less draining than 2 or 3 weeks or 2 or 3 months. The hardest part about the first week was how scary everything felt. I didn't want to leave the hospital where people came by to check on me and see how I felt and could be at my beck and call to help with the baby any time I needed it. When we got home I sort of thought, What next? Sure I knew sort of what to do, but I wasn't totally sure how it would go or if I could handle it and I was basically in survival mode until my mom came, when I finally felt like I could relax.
And thank God she was here, because the next few weeks were a bit harder than I thought. Sure at 5 days and 1.5 weeks I took Amelia out for walks and errands and at 2 weeks went on a long walk and so on but for a lot of that time everything about how to take care of her was trial and error. I could hardly move off the couch most of the days and I didn't want to go anywhere. I had a few mental breakdowns. And, for most people who know me, you KNOW I am not the kind of person who wants to sit around the house and do nothing. But for the 2nd and 3rd week, I was basically exhausted. Kind of like being home sick from work. If it hadn't been for my mom, nothing in my house would have been clean (including clothes) and I would not have gotten proper nutrition. Decent, but not great. She made amazing meals for us. As did many of our friends who helped us all out during those weeks.
During the last week my mom was here I was able to start doing things again. I did laundry one day, was able to run an errand or two alone and with Amelia without too much trouble, and I learned that migraines were what was making me feel so bad the last few weeks. Amelia started sleeping better and so did I. And we finally have a rhythm down.
Now, we are on it. We have a routine and a rhythm and my husband is AMAZING. I could never have done it the first week without him, nor the subsequent weeks. And now, he is my partner. Without him I wouldn't be able to manage sewing some days, running errands, taking walks, and getting in some me time. Plus he is fantastic with the housework and feeds Amelia for me in the middle of the night. How lucky am I?
Thank God for how great it has been this month and for all the friends and family that have been so generous in helping me!