A Call to All Moms

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Before I get to my question for moms, I need to brag on Joe. I can honestly say that there is NO WAY I could have survived the past two weeks without Joe. He’s been by my side the entire time, helping me, answering questions and reassuring me, wiping my tears away, and all around being such a servant to both Jonathan and I. Joe’s gotten up with me during the middle of the night for diaper changes and feedings, helping me supplement feedings with a baby who never could be satisfied, yet didn’t want to gain weight. He’s prepared lunch and dinner for us, run errands, helped out so much around the house and given so much of himself…on little sleep! He’s taken Jonathan from me practically every morning and sent me back to bed for uninterrupted sleep.

That being said, I’m mildly terrified about what will happen come Wednesday when he has to go back to work and I’m all alone with a 7lb newborn. What was once “normal” to me no longer exists. “Normal” has yet to be defined in our new little world. But I knew this day would come and I would have to embrace it. I don’t want to feel like I could collapse in fear or sadness. I want to feel capable of taking care of my baby for extended periods of time with no one around. And I realize that Joe is simply two blocks away most days if I need him. And I’ve got friends who I know will be by my side if I need them. While I need, and want, my husband here longer, his patients need him too!

I know this is a normal feeling. I know that because I’ve heard so many women talk about it when their husbands have had to return to work and they’re still at home, either on maternity leave or they are staying at home for good.

My question for all my mommy friends and readers is how do you cope? How do/did you establish a new normal for your life? I know I have to put Jonathan down during the day in order to accomplish things (I’ve been practicing this the past few days). I realize too, that I must continue to take naps with him at least once or twice a day in order to function at a semi-normal level. I’m asking for tips or battle stories, but I don’t plan on resuming my chaotic organizing and cleaning routines. I’m ok with just getting a load of laundry accomplished! I appreciate book suggestions, but in reality, I’m not going to be reading right now. Its taken me four days to finish writing this post, and I just managed to clean out the 300+ emails in my inbox. I need things I can read while half coherent at 3:00 in the morning in between sleep, feeding, and pumping.

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11 responses »

  1. My first was held pretty much 24 hours a day until he was 8 weeks (he refused to sleep if he wasn’t being held) and then I started letting him cry it out in his bed. The first time he cried 17 minutes (we had a 20 minute limit). After that he cried maybe 5 minutes for the next couple of times an he has been a wonderful sleeper ever since!
    With my second we are approaching the 8 week mark and I will probably start letting her cry it out. She has been really hard to establish the eat, play, sleep routine with so far so she may be one to cry for hours.
    With that said, my house is messy and I don’t get much done during the day. All laundry and cleaning doesn’t happen until after 10 most nights. It drives me crazy most days but it is just temporary and those sweet little babies are hard to put down anyways. I know people say to just enjoy it but that is seriously the best advice. The first one is the easiest to savor every moment with and your house will be easy to keep up with since you don’t have a 2 year old tornado. Ha
    I know it is hard throwing pumping in the mix. Aubree-Rose would not latch on at all and she had an insatiable appetite where she was eating every hour for nearly an hour which made pumping enough for her impossible. Once she got to 10 or 11 pounds she began to slow her eating down and sleeping better at night.
    I guess this isn’t much advice. Ha ha. Just hold him, love him, sleep. Just shower and clean when you can. It gets easier and you figure out what works for your sweet baby. They are all different and need different things. It is a lot of trial as error (at least for us anyways).

  2. I’m not really going to give you “how-to” advice b/c honestly no matter what anyone tells you, you and your new little family have to let everything fall into place and figure out what works for you. I will say that the sooner you can get into somewhat of a routine, the better. Start small like simply the feeding schedule and then the nighttime routine and stick with it. Have a newborn is the most humbling experience! My kids are just under 16 months apart so that’s another reason I can’t give you much specific advice b/c for the last several years I’ve just been in survival mode and in a semi-coma like zombie state. hahaha! Your house will fall apart for a while (sorry, but so far mine has yet to return to a pre-kids state and I’ve given up hoping), you will feel like you’re losing your mind, and you just roll with it b/c you are blessed and answering the high calling of Motherhood. They are His children and we’ve been honored to Mother them. Keep perspective during the hardest times and that will sustain you. Oh, and pray, pray, pray.

  3. In reading your blog,you have been preparing for this for a while. ‘Normal’ will work itself out in time. Through something in the slow cooker and enjoy Johnathan. Those first days ‘alone’ with him will take some getting use to. With my first, I would just talk to him. We read a lot in those early weeks. Some days you may only keep up with a load of laundry or two and the dishes or just get a shower. Other days will come and you will be able to accomplish a lot. Its different for all of us. You will find what works for you and Johnathan. Til then, hang in there.

  4. I understand. Matt had to go to work the day we came home from the hospital. I was so upset. It takes a lot of prayer. Calling on God when you have no idea is always the best thing. Pray for a clear mind so that you are able to help. Being willing to put them down even if they are crying and take a breather and come back. It helps to think more clearly. Above everything else TRUST YOURSELF. You are his mom and you will learn what works. Just remember though, once you get it figured out they change and what worked before no longer works. It is the joy of being a mom. :)But you will refigure it out. Call on friends and family it helps.

  5. Emily, you have been preparing your house and yourself for a while for this. ‘Normal’ will work out eventually. Just through something in the slow cooker and love on Johnathan. The first weeks are some of the hardest but you learn together. With my first, we read a lot and I talked to him about everything. When I needed to do something like the dishes or fold laundry, I just put him in his bouncy seat and would talk to him while I did what I needed to do. Then we would have lots of cuddles afterwards. Some days you will get things done and other days just getting a shower will be an accomplishment. Call on those who have offered to help, it is great to have support and just another adult to talk to. God has given you this awesome gift in Johnathan and He will give you the strength and wisdom to care for him. You are becoming a wonderful mother…hang in there!

  6. I think that one thing that helped me keep a sense of order with all three was a quasi-routine, which I set up for exercise. With all of them this seemed most manageable at 11 AM for some reason. It was a little flexible (1030 to 12 usually). Then I would shower after. The rest of the day could be completely haywire and I may or may not get things done, but I was clean and dressed and had exercised. All three are things I consider important to my mental health – I start to feel super depressed if I am in pajamas all day! Figure out what ONE thing you need regularly and get that.

  7. I don’t mean to make light of your situation in any way, but I’m at work and can’t elaborate as much as I want now. Here’s my short answer: the best way to cope when you’re having a hard time coping is to talk to your doctor sooner rather than later, take antidepressants, and then ask for help from family and friends. It sounds like you’re already doing great accepting the fact that you can’t do what you used to do at this time. Now you just have to figure out how to last for a few months.

  8. 1. Sleep as often as possible – everything can wait (even 30 seconds when you have to pee and the baby is crying)
    2. Stay hydrated – even if I skipped a meal to sleep I made sure I was drinking some calories (Italian ices, jello, boost shakes)
    3. Pacifiers (I said I would never use one until I got a 20 minute respite of sleep after being awake with Connor for almost 36 hours straight)
    4. Ask for help – I didn’t do this until Trevor because I knew it was impossible with the endless hours of colicky screaming. Mom taking T for the night and Prozac helped me get over the postpartum period of helplessness (only needed it for 2 months – mostly because Mike was gone for 6 weeks straight and I didn’t have a break…both kids had just me and I had to hold it together for them)

    5. It’s ok if you spend your day in pj’s – the baby doesn’t mind :)

    6. Meditate – positive thinking helps tremendously (and calms baby down too – they can feel anxiety)

    7. Babycenter birth board makes for great middle of the night reading while feeding the baby – there were many nights when I played Words with Friends with some of the ladies on there. It’s nice knowing there are other ladies who are going through (an almost) similar experience.

    9. It gets better and easier when you give yourself a break – God chose you to be Jonathan’s mommy because you are perfect for the task!

  9. breathe, look to God for peace and relaxation. And don’t sweat the small stuff. All your little one needs is your love, food and a routine that you and he will set over the next couple of weeks. My first was a horrible sleeper and wanted to eat constantly. I think they eat when they are nervous and they are nervous when we are stressed. My second slept through the night at three weeks, b/c I was less stressful. I learned to let the small stuff go and only focus on what needed to be done instead of what I wanted to be done. Make sure you sleep when he sleeps. Right now, every time you lay him down during the day, you should be trying to get at least an half and hour to an hour nap as well. Leaving the dishes and laundry for later will hurt no one. You are Joe are in our prayers. It gets better, but nothing beats these first weeks when all they want to do is cuddle. Enjoy!

  10. give yourself 6-8 weeks to even begin figuring out what new normal is. it’ll change day to day for the first few weeks. For now, just coast along, and figure that if you are doing what you can to eat and rest to make milk for your baby, nothing else matters that much.

  11. Cant read through what everyone else has put up :) – that would take me to long. However, heres my advice.

    schedules for me are crucial!! however – with each kid I have added, I have to learn to be flexible with it too.

    But with the 1st few babes, getting a morning nap routine, afternoon and at this age an evening nap, is a must.

    But what I think many 1st time moms do wrong is they let their baby sleep way to long during the day. I think I mentioned it on facebook… but if you

    Feed Baby at 1pm
    Keep awake after feeding for 30 min – 1 hr
    Put down at like 1:45 or 2pm
    Then let the baby sleep until 4, but no later!
    Then wake baby – even if asleep –
    Feed again.
    and repeat.

    That schedule was a life saver for me….
    It established day time for them :) – and made nights much easier.

    Towards the evening I tried keeping them up even longer stretches… and then doing a final big feeding at like 10 or 11pm…

    Then I would lay them down in the bed with a MIRACLE BLANKET, oh my word that thing is amazing :) – and let them be by themselves for as long as they wanted :) – I never ever woke a baby in the middle of the night. Not once.

    Most times my babies sleep til 2am – eat – then go back to bed and sleep til 5 or 6… then eat again, then go back down til 9 or 10.

    My goal was always to just get rid of that 2am feeding – and so at 2am – I would gradually reduce that feeding. With a bottle its obviously easier, you can just reduce the amt of ounces… nursing tho I would just reduce the time you nurse… so he is eating less.

    Then id lay them down, regardless if they still seemed a wee hungry – pop a pacifier in their mouth, and then they’d almosts always go right out! seriously. It was so worth doing it this way, because I think so often a baby gets into the routine of getting their belly totally full at 2am – and even at age 1 some kids get up for that feeding because their body is so use to it… but if you reduce the amt fed baby wont get up for that :) – because an ounce of milk is totally not worth it. HAHA

    I would just suggest you do this slowly, since he is still so tiny. If he is putting on weight tho and this work, you are good to go.
    :)

    If he does not take a pacifier you are in trouble with this routine ;-) – all mine took it but Owen, so with Owen it required a lot more “of me” since a pacifier did not work.

    hang in there!! also I find using a boba wrap A MUST with babies :) http://www.bobafamily.com – seriously a life saver for me. ;-)

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