I can't believe that we are getting ready to celebrate Little Man's one month birthday ! As I sat with a friend today I was thinking back over the past month and the endless lessons I have learned. There are no words to express the amount of love and adoration I have for this amazing creature that has blessed my life. I am constantly in awe of him. Every time he smiles, coos, or squirms my heart grows more in love. I pray that every woman has the opportunity to experience this kind of love. Whether it be through surrogacy, adoption, or childbirth, a child will completely transform your life, and if you allow it, will be the most amazing transformation a person can go through. I promise!!!
Now that you know how much I love him, how I wouldn't change a thing, and am completely loving this new role I have been given. . . here's a little reality :o)
#1 lesson learned by this Accidental Baby Maker: LET GO!!!!
I have had to let go of pretty much any and all expectations I may have had before having him. Absolutely nothing about this month has been what I thought it would be. I thought that my years spent as a nanny would make being a mom a walk in the park. Boy was I wrong. First of all, its 24 hours around the clock nanny care. There is no clocking out at the end of a 12 hour shift. He doesn't know when I am exhausted, frustrated, or just plain done. I found myself fumbling through diaper changes, freaking out at the first bath, and constantly worried that he would stop breathing. I was acting as if I had never taken care of a baby before in my life. It was so completely different now that it was my child. Nothing can prepare you for the emotions you will feel, and the hormones make it a thousand times more amplified. If you can't take a step back and laugh, you will spend your time crying. I have chosen to laugh, most days, but a good cry has also been needed on several occasions.
#2: The rest can wait. . . I was blessed to have my mom, mother in law, and aunts help with the house while I was recovering, it was a huge blessing to not have to worry about meals, cleaning, or laundry for that first week. And now that the house hold responsibilities are back in my hands, I find that it will get clean, eventually, and I just have to be okay with it. The phone that used to be in my pocket or within arms reach has been silenced for days. It takes me hours, sometimes days to return phone calls. I actually hung up with a dear friend of mine after the little guy spit up all over his outfit and mine... it took me over 18 hours to remember to call her back. Things that used to be so crucial and important no longer hold a candle next to the needs of this little guy.
#3 lesson Smile and Nod even when you think their crazy !!! Everyone in your life will become a baby expert and will want to tell you what you should do. Random strangers at the grocery store, a friend who knows someone who knew someone who did something, close friends and family all offer up their advice, opinions, and points of view. It can get completely over welming. Someone telling you to only this kind of pacifier, someone else telling you to not use pacifiers at all. A lactation consultant telling you to breastfeed a certain way, someone else telling you that this position worked better. Not to mention the world wide web. My husband and I are crazy googlers .. . anytime a question comes up we head straight to Dr. Google :o) I now smile and nod when someone offers me advice. I know that their hearts are in the right place. Or maybe they think I am completely screwing up my kid and are trying to set me straight . . . either way I take the good with the bad, try to find a balance of what actually works for me and the baby... and the rest gets stored away for a rainy day.
#4 lesson: Don't be afraid to ask for help. . . everyone wants to be "that girl" that has it all together (or maybe it was just me???). The girl that can handle the baby all night long and keep it together during the day. Unless you have some super human power I don't see it happening. I went into the first few days home thinking, this is my child, my responsibility and I will do everything. Part of my breastfeeding struggle was feeling like it was wrong to share some of the feeding duties with the husband. I mean, women were made to do this right??? How could I be so selfish to hand off the responsibility of feeding my child to Similac and Bottles. Within 3 days of being home I was a walking disaster. Completely sleep deprived, bordering on the line of delirious makes a girl do and say some crazy things. I wasn't functioning, I was miserable and that made the baby miserable. Finally I took my mom up on her offer of keeping the baby until his bedtime bottle so that I could get a jump start on sleep. It was amazing to finally get a 4 hour stretch of uninterrupted rest. Now I have my mother in law here in the evenings to help with the baby, or dinner, or whatever hasn't gotten done during the day. She is a life saver and I don't know what I would do without her. If you don't have someone that can help with all of this, then find other alternatives, frozen pizzas, a cleaning lady, a laundry service. In my mind, spending the extra money for the first few weeks is well worth the cost of keeping your sanity in tact.