Tuesday, 30 December 2014

What I didn't expect about becoming a Mom

Just wanting to keep it real over here in my neck of the woods in bloggy land.

I wanted to write out some of my thoughts of what my first two months of motherhood has been like, and the things I have learned:

  • The first two months have been a haze.  Babykins is 10 weeks old and I'm finally feeling like we stepping out of it  just a little bit.  We are getting to know him and his patterns, and have found a bit of a groove with him.  (Update: at the time of publishing this he is 12 weeks- and oh! What a difference it makes in the sleep department!)
  • Feeling tired in the first couple of months is an understatement.  As a age 20, I was never one to pull all nighters in university because I don't function well on little sleep.  If I was trying to write a paper, it would turn out as a bunch of gobbly-gook if I tried to write anything past 3 am.   As it turns out, at age 35, my brain does not function any better now on even less sleep, and for weeks on end.   
  • I am impressively grumpy on little sleep.  Cue guilty feelings about even thinking of complaining and not enjoying every possible second of parenthood,  or feeling guilt because you want to kill your hubby even though he's trying his hardest, is just as tired as you and has really done nothing wrong except breathe a little too loudly around the baby. 
  • Everything becomes harder on little sleep.   Hmm.  My first four points have been about sleep, lol!  I suppose that sounds really obvious, but I honestly didn't appreciate just how hard things would be.  And, I didn't have a sore vagina, uterus or boobies to contend with, as most mamas do, or multiple babies (how do you women do it?!?!) - just an adorable little baby who happened to think that day was night and night was day.  When you are deadly tired as we call it, tying your shoe feels like it takes brain power that you don't have.  Figuring out baby gear etc. is harder and more frustrating when all you want to do with your 5 minutes of freedom is lay your head on your pillow and fall into a deep sleep coma.  
  • The company - oh wow! We wanted to show off our precious boy.  It was one of the most fun things for us about having a baby.  After you have struggled with infertility and loss for so long, and people know about it, they are so over the top happy for you.   People you don't expect to give you gifts; my hairdresser, and D's Mom's friends who I hardly know, to name a few.   It's so nice!  We've had a huge amount of company several times a week for almost six weeks.  And then, people wanted to come back because they want to see how he's grown! Oh my! We didn't have a plan on how we would handle this.  I think that the general denial that we lived in surrounding Babykin's arrival led to us not thinking about a lot of things that would have been helpful to us, such as this.  People often said they would stop by for a short visit, but when someone gets a newborn baby in their arms, it is hard to get rid of them! As much as people would offer for us to go have a nap while they looked after the baby, it was hard to do so.  Feeling like our house  should be tidied before they came was a bit of a stress too.   Seeing a lot of people in one day at someone else's house would have been the best idea for us in hindsight. 
  • Thank you cards for all of the gifts you will get is a big job.  I felt it was easiest to keep a stack of cards on my kitchen counter, and stamps and write them as people gave us things.   This something I think we did really well. 
  • Speaking of gifts, one of the best gifts we received was a homemade scrap book calendar.  We fill in the pictures of Babykins month by month, and on the days of the calendar we can write in what he did that day, and little facts about his growth etc.  It's a very manageable way to record many of his firsts.  I like that it is in real time too.   I found many baby books weren't appropriate for an adopted child.  They have pages about the pregnancy etc, and of many other things that weren't easy for us to answer.  We didn't want him to have a book of half empty pages.   
  • If you have the means, hire a housekeeper for the first few months of baby at least.  We didn't, but I wish we had.  Keep in mind that D works from home, and can take some time off in the middle of the day - so we have it admittedly better than many other people, but it is still a lot to keep up with.   And having a dirty, disorganized house makes me stressed and grumpy.  Especially when there are lots of people stopping by. 
  • Babies produce massive amounts of laundry.  Babykins is a spitter-upper so we might have to do more than a normal family with a newborn, but we were doing at least two loads of laundry a day - of just his clothes/receiving blankets/sheets/and washcloths.  
  • Sex. What is that? Haha
  • Circumcision - Oh my.  This was traumatic for us.  We were on the fence about whether we wanted him to have this procedure.  Ultimately, we decided to do it because D is and so is the rest of our family.  We didn't want our boy, the only adopted one, to also have the only uncut penis.  Maybe a silly reason to do it, but it was our choice to make.   We were not prepared for how bloody and swollen his poor little penis was after the procedure.   It was terrible.  I am now glad that it was done, and he has healed up nicely, but it was a challenge to say the least.  
  • Getting support - take advantage of anyone who wants to help and you feel comfortable with helping you.  We were shy to accept help, but every time we did it was so amazing.  A meal, someone to clean up, someone to hold the baby while you nap or shower.  Babykins even spent the night at my trusted aunt's house at one month old.  It's all good.  Sleep feels absolutely magical after you've been missing it for a month, and makes all your other daily challenges seem that much more manageable. 
  • The best two pieces of advice we got: 1)  never try to make a happy baby happier.  2) Start out the way you want to end up.  If you want baby to sleep on his back, don't get him used to sleeping only on your chest! (a big problem around here)
  • What we didn't expect, is that we would have our own ideas of how we would parent, but this baby would have his own personality, likes and dislikes.  Many of the things we thought we would do, or looked critically at other parents for doing, became things that we did.   The desire for sleep will make you do many things you didn't think you would do.  
  • You will get almost nothing done.  We were under the impression that at least one of us would be able to get stuff done with the newborn.  Yes, while one person is technically free, when not working, we underestimated what sleep deprivation would do to this equation.  One person cares for baby, and the other slept or tried to keep the house from falling apart or keep us from starving.  For two months.  
  • That dressing my baby would remind me of childhood.  Especially dressing a two month old.  I'm pretty sure that Babykins is the size of most of my dolls growing up.  It's like being a kid again in a way.  I love dressing my baby.  And shhh.. don't tell but I don't like putting him in a lot of the outfits that people gave him... I put him in them when he is going to see those people but I don't want my boy in *that* onesie over and over again in his pictures.  It's okay not to use every little thing you are given. 
  • Sleepers with zippers are the best. Don't buy much newborn stuff, they will outgrow it in five seconds.  All sizes are not created equal at different stores.  Wash everything so you can see what size it shrinks too.   One store (Carter's), shrinks almost a full size. 
  • That I would feel like adopting a baby was better than having it myself.  Yes, you heard it right.  From the woman who chased a positive pregnancy test, and hoped for to give birth to a baby for seven long years.   I feel like this baby is more perfect than any baby I could have ever made or hoped for.  I am so deeply in love with him.  I love that I don't have to lose the 50 pounds of pregnancy weight that I'm sure I would have gained.  That I can drink wine and eat unpasturized cheese when I feel like it.  I wanted to breast feed, but formula feeding is actually kind of great too - Daddy or other people can feed the baby and I can sleep sometimes.  There are definite advantages to adoption (and surrogacy I suppose is similar!). 
  • I thought I would feel like keeping up with the birth family was a job. Finding the time to write the emails is tricky, but I do like writing them and updating them.   Yes, it is only 2 months in, but I love sharing his progress with them.  I'm going to keep all of the emails that I send to them, and their responses in a binder for him to read when he's older.   
  • Feeling surprised by some jealousy still of other preggos.  I've written about my sister in the past.  The one who was with her partner for a number of years.  She's turning 30 this year, and I have tried to nudge her into thinking about a family if it was something she wanted, because there was a 1 in 3 chance that she would have problems like me.   I wanted her to have a baby.  And guess what friends... she recently announced she is expecting!  I am truly joyful about this.    I couldn't sleep the night she told me because I was so excited (and you know from my whining about sleep on here that it is not something I am fond of giving up!).  I am excited that I will get to be a first time parent around the same time as my sister, and an auntie again.  But if I'm being totally honest, I was surprised though to feel a tinge of jealousy shortly after this announcement.  Not a big stab in my heart like it would have been if I did not have Babykins in my life - but it was something.  
  • That babies are all emotions amplified.   Happiness.  Joy.  Empathy.  When you feel sad for them, it's deeper than a lot of regular sadness.  Frustration (trying to fix a problem for a baby that only communicates by crying - which you think you should have some intuition as to what type of problem it is, and to be able to solve it for them. - is very frustrating.  And oh, the love.  It's like your heart is going to explode.   
  • The feeling that somehow the past 7 years of grief were worth it.  I thought I would harbour more bad feelings, but instead, it's like I've entered a new world.  One where I realize how much people actually were protecting us from all things children, baby and pregnancy.  I could feel sad about this, but instead I'm choosing to see it as an act of love for us.  We are grateful. 
I hope it's not another month before I write again.  Sending much love you you all.  

PS) I've been trying to keep up reading your blogs on my cell phone while feeding baby on the couch. I haven't found a good way to do it that doesn't require me to log in every time I want to write a comment.  It's annoying.  Do any of you have a suggestion on how I could easily access your blogs on my phone?  Thank you. 


  1. This is so so honest and I couldn't agree more. After our 4 years of trying, I really thought I was "prepared" for having an infant-the truth is, there is NO way to prepare for all these points you have mentioned. It's intense forsure. I had heard for years how are the sleep thing is, but until you experience it, they were not joking. Its a beautiful challenge. I too still cringe at pregnancy (I think it's from the years of being childless, almost a habit). Love your sweet boy! HIS HAIR!! <3 <3

  2. I'm always glad to read posts like this even though it scares me more than a little bit. At least I'll know I'm not alone when I'm a sniveling, sleepless mess in a few months.

  3. I agree with so much of what you said. I had many comments I wanted to say while reading but I don't have time to write them all. I will just say I am so happy for you and hope you get some sleep soon.

    Oh & that don't try to mare a happy baby happier is great advice!

    I comment from my phone all the time (& right now) using bloglovin and I never have to sign in, somehow I'm always signed in already

  4. Great post! Sleep depravation is so hard! Sounds like you guys are surviving and doing a great job of it!

  5. love this post. love it. so happy for you. am fried after a day with simonuto and drinking a talllll glass of wine so i'll leave it at that. xoooxxxx

  6. Just caught up on your incredible news! Can't imagine a better way to start my new year...I am so so so insanely happy for you, friend. And...that baby...oh my goodness. He is so delicious. Just perfect. Oh I hope you are just marinating in these moments with him. You deserve every moment of the happiness you're feeling!! Look forward to many more updates and photos. xo

  7. This post brought me back to the newborn days. It's all so true. The sleep deprivation really is something you can't understand until you have been through it. And when he starts sleeping longer stretches and you can sleep for 5 or 6 hours? You will feel like a new person. It's amazing.
    I miss a lot of things about newborns, but it's so brutal. On days where I couldn't even manage to get out of my pajamas and felt so unproductive, I had to remind myself that I kept 2 tiny humans alive and that is doing something.

  8. I love this! I'll admit there are parts of this that terrify me and make me wonder how I'm going to make it when little man arrives. But I appreciate your honesty and am so happy that you're experiencing parenthood and all that it entails. Hugs!

  9. Oh my gosh where have I been??? Your son is absolutely perfect, just perfect.

    I have a lot of catching up to do and I am so beyond happy for your family.



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