Friday, September 26, 2014

Sometimes I Cry

Having a baby is the hardest thing I've ever done.

Well, not exactly.

Actually having him was pretty traumatic, but in hindsight it wasn't too terrible, and honestly the nitty gritty details of it have already begun to fade from my memory. But it's time to admit that adjusting to the life change of having a tiny human at home has been a bit difficult.

I am the ultimate planner and control freak, so growing, birthing, and raising a human being is by far the most out-of-control thing I've ever done. I did everything I possibly could to prepare for Ryder's arrival -- took classes, read books, consulted trusted friends and experts, and did an entire nesting overhaul on my house in advance of his birth. I told myself that I was prepared for anything, and was completely confident in my ability to care for my newborn son.

I was not prepared.

I was not prepared at all.

Many people warned me, but now I know that you can't understand how difficult being a new parent can be until you experience it for yourself. I spent so much time preparing for labor and delivery that I forgot to mentally prepare myself for life afterwards.

The addition of Ryder to our family has brought more joy, wonder and delight than I ever thought possible. It has also brought changes -- some anticipated and others completely unexpected. Even though I considered myself to be pretty well-informed, I was still taken aback at the huge impact this tiny human has had on our lives. Stew and I have learned to cope with feeding and sleeping schedules, unexplained crying, diapering, bathing, swaddling, burping, bottles, rocking, soothing, lullaby-singing. But each newly acquired skill has come with perplexing questions and overwhelming emotions, and the experience has had a profound effect on our relationship.

You think you know... but you have no idea.

I knew things would be hard, and that my life would change, but I never imagined I would feel this way... like the rug was pulled out from under me, and I've been scrambling to find my footing ever since. The intense, unending, constant-ness of being a mother sometimes overwhelms me to the point where all I want to do is climb into my bed, put the pillow over my head, and sob. But I can't, because my baby boy is screaming in the other room, dinner is burning on the stove, the laundry needs to be put in the dryer, my phone is ringing, and I haven't washed my hair in six days. And I'm the Mamma, so it's my job to pull it together and do it all with a smile on my face.

My relationship with my husband is suffering, partly because we take out our anger and frustration on each other, but mostly because I'm just so damn tired. I know that billions of parents before us have experienced the same difficulties, but sometimes I just feel so alone. I wish someone could teach me the secret to daily happiness, but the reality is that a lot of days are going to be hard. So as we've struggled through the early days, weeks and months, we've learned to modify our expectations. And through it all, the one thing that gets us through is Ryder's perfect face... his giggle, his grin.

And I know it won't be like this forever.

Someday I will look back and curse myself for not cherishing these early moments more. But right now I'm tired. I'm just so tired.

And I don't even know myself anymore.

I talk about poopy diapers, spit up, and breast milk. I research sleep schedules, introducing solid foods, and rectal thermometers. And every once in a while I step out of myself and look back and wonder what happened to me. I feel like somehow, without my knowing it, my identity was stolen. I can hardly comprehend that I'm supposed to be the Mamma... a real grownup, the one who has all the answers, the person who can make it all better. Is this who I am now? Is this who I want to be?

Some days it's hard.

I recently read a post on Scary Mommy that summed it up far better than I ever could:

"Sometimes I cry because in the process of gaining you, I gave up a version of me, and though I wouldn't change that even if I could, sometimes I miss me desperately."

But then I stare at the face of my perfect angel baby, and I know there's no place else I'd rather be.

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  1. Awww, I love how real you are about your emotions. It seems most people just gush about how great it is to be a mommy but no one ever knows what's really going on. Keep your chin up girlfriend. It won't be like this for long :)

  2. This post is beautiful. I am sorry that there are hard parts about having this amazing beautiful baby, but I loved reading your honest, raw emotions. I'm sure you're not alone in these feelings, and I'm also sure (as you are) that it won't be like this for long!

  3. Know your not alone in the emotions you are feeling. Those months can be so rough. I remember the feelings as if they were yesterday. Moments when I thought holy crap am I gonna make it thru this?!? and then feeling like everyone else goes thru this it can't be that bad. It is all so much to take in that it can feel so suffocating but writing about it is a great way to express those emotions :) And your little boy's face does make those moments feel not so bad especially when he smiles at you.

  4. I definitely appreciate the real sharing of emotions, and that babies not only change the everyday rhythm of your lives but also the rhythm you've had with your partner. It's so so hard and even though my children are 4 and 1, it's still hard. Marriage sometimes is harder than parenting.

    And about trying to enjoy these moments, do try. I sometimes wish I could have my first year back with my son because it was a blur and I was so focused on keeping him alive that I missed all the tiny things. At least I get a second chance with my daughter.

  5. Beautiful post! And as a new mama myself I can totally relate. Hardest but best job in the world.


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