thoughts on being a mom.

photo courtesy of Carol Stephens Photography

Jake is now a month old.

If I'm being honest with myself, it's been the hardest month of my life.

Jake has colic and acid reflux, which means that he's not happy for very long when he's awake.He screams after most feedings, sometimes won't eat, has lots of gas, and other things that I'm too tired to think about right now. Those screams....they are exasperating and heartbreaking all at once. They are enough to drive any parent to their wits end. And trust me, TJ and I have both felt at our wits end multiple times. Especially when we hear don't worry, he'll grow out of it, which no matter how well-intended it is never seems to help in the moment.

There have been times when I start crying with my baby. Usually when the screaming lasts longer than 15 minutes, and always when I'm alone with him. For some reason I keep my cool much better when TJ is around. In a book that I'm reading, it talks about the psychological effects that a baby's cry has on his parents. Basically, their crying can bring to the surface bad memories, in addition to feelings of worthlessness and failure (as though we need a newborn cry to bring those feelings to the surface). We're trying a number of different things, and some work....but it's still exasperating.

It's been quite the adjustment. Most days, I'm lucky to get showered and dressed for the day by noon. I try to nap from 8 to 10 in the morning sometimes. I feel like I'm tied to the couch because that boy can eat, and eat he does approximately every 2 hours during the day. I'm scared to go out of the house, because I have to time it just right or else I'll have a screaming baby on my hands. In the beginning, I felt like a milk-machine...like that's all he wanted me for and like it was all I could do. It's gotten a little better, but sometimes I get tired of smelling like breast milk and spit-up. Tired of feeling like I've accomplished nothing at all in a 24-hour period other than feed, change, and soothe my child.

And of course there is the lack of sleep. Actually, I'm surprised that I'm doing as well as I am. It's amazing how little quality sleep that I can function on. I suppose that's one of God's blessings to moms. In fact, what I really miss most is sleeping with my husband. I tend to fall asleep nursing on the couch, which creates a whole slew of events which end up with me spending most of the night on the couch with Jake. I'm getting better at it though...solitaire for the win.

Then there's the mom guilt. Like one night when I was super tired and frustrated with other things, and I didn't speak kindly to my baby who did nothing wrong when he woke up hungry in the middle of the night. Or when no matter what I do, I can't soothe those cries and I feel like a bad mom. Or when I wonder if I'm doing something wrong because I don't always enjoy this thing called motherhood. When I wonder if maybe I'm not cut out for it, and maybe I'm not enough. When I just pray to my Father desperately in the middle of the night when I finally crawl back into bed after a feeding, Bless him to not scream. Bless him to just go to sleep already. There's the guilt I feel when I know I'm not cherishing this age enough because I can't wait for him to outgrow the colic and be a happy, pleasant baby, especially when other women tell me how they wish they had a newborn again and I think they must be crazy.

But then....then there are those moments (they happen often). The ones where I hold him, sleeping peacefully on my chest and breathe in his heavenly scent fresh from a bath. The moments when I just watch him as he stares out at the world and wonder what he's thinking. The moments when I watch him and TJ interact and I remember that no, I'm not in this alone and how lucky am I to have this man as my child's father. The moments when I get one big smile after all that coaxing. The moments when I listen to him softly, rhythmically sigh in his sleep, or while nursing. Those moments when I stare at him, in awe of his perfect little body, and kiss his cheeks, forehead, fingers, nose, lips. Those moments when I feel that motherly protectiveness, all because he's mine. When I feel an overwhelming, powerful love for this precious little one that we've been entrusted with.

Those moments make it worth it, this thing called motherhood. Those moments help me remember why  I wanted this more than anything in the whole world. And I know, trust me, that the crying won't last forever (but perhaps the sleep deprivation will). I know that someday I will look back and miss this time in my life. I know that even if my only accomplishment in a day is taking care of that little guy, that is enough. I know that I'm not the first, last, or only mother to feel these feelings. And I know, above all, that I love this little family of mine more than anything, and I await the adventure ahead of us with eagerness.

No one can really explain how you can feel so exhausted, overwhelmed, and happy all at the same time.

photo courtesy of Carol Stephens Photography

12 comments :

  1. Isn't it amazing? That love? congrats on that super cute baby boy of yours. I know you don't want advice but try looking up things you can do to your diet that might help. I studied under a professor that had done all her ph. D work on breastfeeding and colic, she said diet changes in the mother can be a MAJOR help when it comes to relieving colic, gas and reflux. It's all homeopathic route but definitely worth a shot. I hope you get more rest and just keep lovin on that little man, they grow up way too fast:)

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  2. A-freaking-MEN!! Andrew and I have finally gotten Rory to the point where one of us sits up til about midnight just to be sure she's asleep then we come to bed and she usually stays asleep thru the night which is awesome! But she was 2 months by the time it happened the first time. But now we get to sleep at the same ish time ;)

    And I constantly feel inadequate and then blessed at the same time. This is the hardest but most rewarding thing I've done in my life. I'm glad that you're doing better though! And I can't wait to hopefully meet Jake soon!

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  3. Well said Kylie! Everything you said is so so true. Thanks for keeping it real and sharing your thoughts and feelings rather than blanketing all the emotions and making motherhood in the first few months seem like a piece of cake, because it's actually really hard and exhausting.
    I think we are all so grateful for those little precious moments that reenergize us and give us the strength to go on.

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  4. Kylie love!! Caden had HORRRRIBLE colic the first 6-8 weeks...It wasn't until I switched to formula that it slowed down (not suggesting you do that, especially if he's nursing so well!). And the back-arching tummy pain and the projectile vomiting and the going through 2 burp rags a feeding are NOT something I miss. But I gotta say, he's only 3 months, and I kind of forgot about how awful it all was until I read your post and it all came RUSHING back to me. Bless your heart...I'm so sorry he's so uncomfortable and you're having such a hard time. :(

    A lady in my ward said her kids all had really bad reflux, and their ped. prescribed Zantac. I guess it helped a bunch...but I'm sure your ped knows what s/he is doing haha :) Anyway, I hope things start smoothing over soon. In the meantime, let me know if you need anything, missy! Love you tons!

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  5. These photos are so precious! I can't imagine how difficult it must be to be a Mom. I always have a secret fear that I will not enjoy being a mother...seriously. I am sure I won't...we're kind of internally wired for it, but just hearing realistic things about it I think calms my heart.

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  6. First off, has it really already been a month? I swear it was just yesterday I was "heart"ing your newborn/hospital pictures on instagram.

    Secondly, these pictures are beautiful. I love how you can feel the love by just looking at them

    and last, it sounds like motherhoood is wonderful. Hard, but wonderful. This post makes me really excited to be a mother soon. Ah I can only imagine all the crying I'm going to do!

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  7. Your words are so straightforward and genuine, I'm glad to know a friends honest perspective on the experience of motherhood. I'm sorry to hear you're little guy is having such a hard time. I'm really impressed you've kept up your blogging so well through all that though! I hope I can be one more voice of reassurance to remind you that you are amazing and I haven't a shred of doubt that you're a wonderful mom. Hang in there<3

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  8. Aw, he's adorable! Congratulations! :) New follower!

    joannadell.blogspot.com

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  9. I <3 You!! You are a GREAT mom! He is lucky to have you and TJ for his parents.

    It will get better! I Promise! =)
    xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo, MOM

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  10. I love your honesty and truthfulness of this post! You put into words exactly how felt and still do feel sometimes. Its a rough job, but those good moments sure do make up for everything else! Your awesome! And Jake is so precious! :)

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  11. My little one is 8 days old and it's so nice to read a 'real' post about motherhood. Thank you. It makes me feel like I'm not alone in my struggles. Our little one has been quite good so far but I do worry about how things will work out in the future.

    I hope things get better for you soon and you have lots more special moments :)

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  12. Oh lady I am so with you on all your sentiments...I'm also a new mom and definitely know about the sleep deprivations..we've been spared the colic and acid reflux but my little man doesn't like to sleep in his crib and so he cries and the other night I just broke down with him...but the unconditional love is just beautiful!!

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Thanks for reading! I love reading your thoughts, too :)