"You never see the hard days in a photo album...but those are the ones that get you from one happy snapshot to the next."-Just Married
If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, by my pictures you might think that I was one of those women who eased naturally into motherhood. Who loves breastfeeding and who adjusted easily to life with a newborn. But I'm not. No one could have prepared me for these first two weeks of motherhood. They were filled with hard days.
Trying to decipher what is making your baby cry when they are full and dry is hard.
Meeting a demanding 2 hour feeding schedule is hard.
Making sense of postpartum emotions is hard.
Realizing that another life depends on you is hard.
The hospital stay was a reality tease. Grady was a perfect sleeping angel who the nurses brought in once a night for a feeding. This isn't so hard, I thought to myself. Lots of family and visitors were a great distraction and Grady passed easily from lap to lap. I didn't change one diaper.
That first sleepless night at home was a full dose of true reality. Still feeling like I was hit by a train called labor, where every muscle in my body hurt (I did push for 2 hours, remember?), I was zombie-ing my way into Grady's room to change him and cursing my engorged breasts at 2 a.m. Add a dash of those postpartum baby blues and I was a mess. What have I gotten myself into?
Thank the Lord for my wonderful family, who stayed with us that first week. My mom made meals and kept the house clean while I was sequestered in my room meeting the needy feeding schedule of my newborn. As I struggled with thoughts and emotions due to the flush of hormones that was happening in my body I wondered, Where is the overwhelming joy I'm supposed to be experiencing? I didn't feel joy. I felt almost...depressed. Like I was in mourning for the life that I'd given up and was forcing myself to accept my new role as a slave to my newborn.
Then my family left and Josh went back to work. I got a pit in my stomach just thinking about being home alone with him all day. How do you entertain a newborn?
My best friend Kerry sensed my anxiety and offered to come over and help me in my first days home alone with Grady. She talked me through the emotions I was experiencing and literally let me cry on her shoulder. She assured me that life would get easier and that I would leave the house again someday.
Each day does get better and seems a little brighter as I get the hang of this thing called motherhood.
Grady and I are starting to get into the swing of things. But there are still hard days.
And during these hard days I am so thankful for my husband, who is an amazing dad to Grady. Somedays I think he's the one with the mother's intuition. He is calm and gentle and sure of himself as a father. My heart swells when I watch him in his new role.
I know there will be plenty more hard days to come. But I also know what helped me in those hard days: Having coffee with a good friend. Taking a walk. Cuddling with my husband. Talking to another mom who understands. Praying. Going on an outing.
But there's one thing I still don't understand...how do you take care of a newborn when you already have other children?!