Thursday, September 18, 2008

Grace under pressure

Hands down, motherhood is the best thing that has ever happened to me. I love my children passionately and wholeheartedly. But the transition into motherhood was difficult for me. I am currently reading several blogs written by new mommies. Maybe it is all a facade, but they seem so calm and peaceful and rational. It makes me wonder if maybe I am a little more high strung than most people.

When I was pregnant with Porgie, I was in fantasy mode. I basically thought that motherhood would be rainbows and unicorns and fluffy clouds. But I was wrong. Horribly wrong. Instead, there was lots of crying (from baby and mama), nursing issues (which ultimately lead to exclusive pumping), sleep apnea (Porgie was monitored for 4 months), and horrible eczema. I felt like my life had been turned upside down. I felt angry and sad and happy and confused, all at the same time. Basically, I was a big ball of anxiety and nerves.

With Izzy's birth, I was much more relaxed, but I still had my moments of anxiety and fear and frustration. Like this post. Or this post. Or even this post.

But not these mothers. They seem to really have their shit together. I was discussing this phenomenon with a friend, and she also seemed unable to relate to my experiences. So, I want to hear about your experience. Was it difficult for you to adjust to life with a newborn? Or was the transition smooth and easy?

29 comments:

dani said...

good morning, christy:)
my transition was very smooth; katherine was sleeping through the night by 2 weeks and was very content. that being said, i would have been a nervous wreck if she'd had the same issues as porgie did.
i think it's very baby dependent...
have a great day!!!
love,
dani

iMommy said...

Not even close to fantasy land over here. I sort of knew... I mean, my mother had told me it would be difficult. And the fact is, I went back to work two months after Boopie was born and she was with my mother all day, so I had it good. But there was still months and months of postpartum depression (which the morphed into regular old run of the mill depression) and screaming and crying and adjusting to life with a baby when GOOD LORD I had just turned a legal drinking age and all I wanted was a night out with my friends and a goddamn margarita.

Anyway.

It was difficult, very difficult. I mean, Boopie was tough - a pretty good baby all around, but tough for me - but worst was trying to adjust to a self-less mommy from the selfish teen that I had been when I got pregnant.

amanda said...

yes and no. i think bc i was the last of my friends to have a babe, i was a little more prepared. although really know matter how much you know or think you know, i don't think you can really know. does that make sense?

mommyhood for me truly has been the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. but i try really, really hard to keep it all in perspective. some days it works and some days it does not.

Mama Kalila said...

I know I'm not one of the mommies you mentioned because I feel like I'm always complaining about something on my blog lol.

To answer your question though...

It's been hard too... but I was expecting it. & honestly I was expecting it to be harder than it has been, which has probably helped some.

I still have my freak out moments... a year old almost & I still run to her crib to see if she's breathing lol. And last night there was a tantrum that caught me by surprise (it'll be in my next blog, just haven't had time to write one yet).

I had the ppd too... I don't think I wrote about it & if not because I was hoping it would go away. It did, but only just after I got to the point of agreeing to see a dr (didn't go because it let up, the next day I just felt better).

I guess there prob are some other things I don't mention... either because I do feel like I complain a lot (whether I do or not I don't know) & there is so many good things going on too that I want to share & sometimes forget... or because my family reads the blog & I'm afraid to bring some stuff up. I have a little more leeway on the nhhm blog w/ nursing issues & stuff because if they don't want to hear it they don't read that one lol. But still... I feel like I'm walking a tightrope on my main blog sometimes. I don't like it either.

caro said...

Hi -- just found you through the Palin conversation over at Eva's. I am one without grace under pressure, I guess. We had no nursing problems, no health problems, "easy" deliveries ... and I was a wreck. For a year. After each birth (better with the second, because I saw it coming). I think this experience is far more common than people let on. It's some kind of taboo to say you aren't enjoying your baby or don't feel like you're good at it. But the more I talk about it the more people I find with the same experience.

Jiff said...

My baby was born 7 weeks early so it was an extra 7 weeks of newborn. I was SO exhausted and had no help because hubby was working and in school full time so he was never home. When he was home and Bayley would cry or need something, he'd say, "Well, you do it. You've been home all day." I wanted to KILL him. I told him that everyone gets a day off from work, but not me. He said, "I did this with Z so I know how it is." I said, "THEN GIVE ME AN EFFIN DAY OFF!!" I don't think he ever got it. I was exhausted and crying from exhaustion and not knowing what I was doing. Bay had constipation issues but everything else was okay. A couple of neighbors would volunteer to keep her for a couple hours here and there to give me time to nap and regain some semblance of sanity. :)

Dooneybug said...

Oh my word Christy....I was a blubbering mess for the first 3 months after my son was born. I was miserable! Seriously, I was suffering some old fashioned PPD but luckily I worked through it without needing medication. It still took me another 3 months after that to adjust to the new life and THEN I go and get knocked up with baby numero dos. So. I have to say though, with my daughter things were so much easier. I think I cried once for no good reason. Maybe it was the difference in hormones but I think it had a lot to do with my state of mind and being on Red Alert for PPD triggers.

Everyone's experiences are different. And sometimes, people aren't comfortable to be vulnerable enough to enlighten us all on their true feelings...even if it is on their blog.

Becks said...

I am somewhere in the middle. The first few months I was the most anxious. She arrived 6 weeks early which I was not prepared for. We couldnt breast feed which I was really sad about. I felt like a fat pig..oh wait I still do. I think adjusting to it all and not having any sleep really takes a toll on things! I think I started to get a handle on things and not worry too much after a few months. Who am I kidding I still get worries over nothing!

Steph said...

I can't share my experience yet, but I have to tell you that I don't think it is going to be easy and I am anxious from the not knowing. I can only hope for the best.

Carrie said...

Good grief girl! I have no delusions that it's going to be easy. It's going to be more worthwhile than being at work all day (It's going to kill me to go back 2 months after Bean comes).

Don't get down about the sweetness and light blogs. Some people only blog about the good stuff. One lady explained it as being a way to reinforce the good, to keep the bad from being overwhelming. Sometimes acting positive leads to being positive, seeing the glass half full rather than half empty.

Or as Thumper says "If you can't say sumthin nice, don't say nuthin at all"

I don't believe in that for my blog, but I do for my verbal interactions.

Eva said...

Who are these people who have it easy? I am suspicious.

Rachel said...

I think we all have ways of expressing how tough it is. Christy-one of the things I LOVE about you is how honest you are and I was not that honest on my blog. It was tough-really tough. I was not good at asking for help and it also brought up my own insecurities with myself and my own parents but in the end-when I look back on that year-i do feel like it was all grace and it didn't seem so bad.

I think moms who have friends that are moms-well it may be easier for them because they have support. I did not know any moms and so that first year felt real alone with support even though I loved being a mom to the most amazing boy in the world.

Becca said...

I did not have my shit together at all. On the outside you would think I could be mother of the year, but at home, I would start balling when the sun would go down because I just knew I couldn't handle another night of no sleep. I look back now and realize that actually Ava was a very easy baby. Sleeping alone, all through the night, in her crib at 6 weeks. No colic, hardly ever fussy, ate every 3 hours. I didn't know it but I had it made. I'm sure that the next one that comes around will surely put me in my place!

Kristin said...

Hey Christy! You touch on a point that is so important for mothers to address! Personally I had a pretty problem free time with my first and second, no medical issues, just the normal baby stuff. Any time a illness or issue would arise, I just dealt with it because I had too. I felt overwhelmed, and still do, constantly. There is always so much swirling around in our over-analyzing mommy brains. There is this problem though with people not expecting parenting to be difficult, when it happens, they aren't sure how to deal and they don't want anyone else to know that they are struggling. This is the kind of post that helps women especially to feel that they are not alone and that parenting isn't always a walk in the park. Too many people are afraid to ask for help! Anyway - you are awesome for bringing this up, and thanks for making me think :)
Awesome new blog design by the way..sigh* Hopefully mine will be back soon. :)

Jeninacide said...

I think I had the regular hormonal waves that are normal after giving birth- but for the most part the transition into motherhood was pretty easy for me.. I had an epiphany early on when Cole was only a few weeks old (he has NEVER been a good sleeper) and ever since I have had a well of patience that comes from somewhere inside me that I didn't know existed. I know that just sounds kind of annoying- but it's true. I am not sure I could handle TWO babies at the same time, however. No.. not yet anyway.

Insta-mom said...

My husband's grandmother stayed at home with three children aged two and younger. Her husband worked nights. You can tell when she talks about it that she nearly lost her mind. I can understand why.

She and I were talking one day about how hard it can be. She said she used to listen to all these other moms blather on about how wonderful their children were, how easy being a mom was, how nothing ever went wrong. She said for years she felt guilty for thinking it was so hard. And then one day, someone agreed that it was work. Hard work. Tiring, lonely, thankless, hard work. And she realized everyone else was lying.

Not to say that it's never fabulous, but I have yet to meet anyone who just hops into motherhood without stumbling at all.

Danielle said...

:) Motherhood was a bitch to get used to for me! haha I wish it was all sunshine and roses but there were many times I thought, "what the hell did I get into". I finally feel like I have a hold on things- and then Eliza changes the rules. It is very easy for some- but not for me!!!

Dana said...

i don't know too much about motherhood - hence the not having a child, LOL... But you always seem so great!! Your children look happy in all of there pictures! No one is perfect- just remember that! You do the best you can - and the job you've done is amazing! Congrats - your children are beautiful!

Jamie said...

It was difficult for me. My husband and I were married for 6 years before we had children and were more set in our ways than I realized. As much as I LOVED being a mommy and felt totally blessed to have my little bundle of joy...part of me was sad about losing who I was previous to having the baby.

I try to tell new mommies that I meet that IF they feel that way it is completely fine and normal. They often look at me like I am nuts.

Have a great day!! Love hearing from you!

THopgood said...

Oh boy...I could go on and on about this topic.

1st child - They had to knock me out during his delivery. I didn't get to see or hold him until 8 hrs after his birth. He wanted NOTHING to do with breast feeding. He was awake all night and asleep all day and we were both miserable. And in hind sight I was probably suffering from a little postpartum depression. I cried myself to sleep on a semi-daily basis. And didn't get past my "funk" until he was about 4 months old.

2nd child - a completely blissful experience in EVERY way. He was the happiest and most easy going baby and I was much more calm and laid back in my parenting approach.

3rd child - She screamed for 6 months straight and I was borderline suicidal (ok...that's a slight exaggeration...but not by much). If she had been my first she would have been my last.

So there you have it...3 children and 3 completely different experiences.

Z's Mom said...

Ok, so Z and I didn't have the same issues and you and Porgie...but he was a horrible sleeper....and I got sick after he was born which sucked. No, it wasn't all fluffy clouds and rainbows. He wanted to be held ALL THE TIME...he is still an attention hog. I love him...but the first year was a blur.

Awake said...

I didn't read through all your responses (you're a popular girl) but I'm sure you got some great insight.

The transition was hard for me, but I was also struggling with surprising feelings of not wanting to work outside the home. I had always thought that's what I wanted to do, turns out I was wrong. Oh and DD didn't start sleeping well until 12 months. Fantasy? No, far from it. :)

Love the new blog look - isn't Mary great?

TEACHBROECK said...

HA HA HA HA You must not be reading my blog then! The tears, the anxiety, the wanting to quit my job...seriously though I would rather have a baby then a 9 year old. I panic about Middle school, her feeling being hurt by snotty girls, peer pressure...I am not good at the older ages.

Madge said...

it's really hard. i was like you. i couldn't believe the "other"women weren't lying. i beat myself up about it for a long time. now they are six and ten, and i think 1) i had "hard" babies with issues (not the same as yours but similar and 2)babies are not my "thing" not like the older years. I dont' think that's bad, I did fine, but it was hard. just really really, lay in the hallway and bawl my eyes out hard....

Melissa said...

I don't remember the first six weeks of either of my children's lives. Seriously.

As my kids get older, I still hear some parents talk about how well they get along with their kids and how well they are surviving adolesence. And all I can think is...YOU LIE!

kristi said...

I was 22 when I had Sara. They did something to me wrong during my c-section and I had bruises all over my stomach and Hoo Ha. I had severe pain everytime I tried to breastfeed, complete with bleeding nipples.

It was not pretty. But I got through it and it was pretty much a piece of cake after that.

With TC, I had a c-section and it went great! No bruises, or pain at all!! I tried to breastfeed but my boobs were HUGE and I thought I would suffocate him so I did pump for about 2 months. I put him a daycare that I thought was a good choice, and his leg got broken by a worker there when he was 3 months old. That was HELL.

TC has Autism, I can say that has been the biggest challenge of this parent gig so far. I didn't get a diagnosis til' he was 5 years old.

Kate Coveny Hood said...

I think the first is always hard. Harder for some than others - but no matter what, it's a life changing event and that causes stress. I honestly believe that these women that seem so "together" are focusing on the good and not writing about the bad. I didn't have a blog when I had my babies - but I definitely saw this a playgroups. There were some women who made it seem effortless. Most of them had "easy" babies who fell into schedules easily OR they had a lot of help (sometimes live-in family members). But no matter what, anyone that made being a new mother look like a walk in the park eventually confessed to some negative situations or experiences. Ultimately I decided that they were just trying to keep a positive attitude.

Of course I don't remember much because my first son kept me up at night as much as the twins combined...but I THINK that's what I remember noticing.

Sugar and Ice said...

I would say most new moms feel exactly like you do. I know I did. I loved it...but it was hard and frustrating.

Cristina Mathers said...

i know for me, i never really posted my scary horrible new mommy moments. i wanted to think that all was perfect and happy and easy. that was so far from the truth at times, but i never shared it.

what i hate are the new moms who make it seem super easy and are skinny in a week after giving birth!