When you think of “a month” how do you really gauge that amount of time? Four weekends, two paychecks, and maybe a national holiday, if you’re lucky? That’s loosely where my headspace has always been too, UNTIL I reached month-9 of baby-growing and day ONE of post-pushing welcome to “parenting”.
Each of those “months” really deserved to be a SEASON.
As stated previously, it is a beyond wild concept to crunch a baby out of your belly. But, what is even more mind blowing to me, is that after only 24 hours of nurse supervision – and likely thanks to my endorphins, desire for a real bed, and maybe a little epidural residual too – we were packing up our (my) pads and (baby’s) Pampers and driving right back through L.A. traffic, something so familiar, yet with someone so unfamiliar now right by my side.
Who was she? What was she thinking? Was she even buckled in right? Why is her head tilting? How on earth was I going to be able to take care of her without my post-natal “team”? Who was going to tell me if I diapered or swaddled her properly, if she was “running warm”, or yellow, or how to get her to miraculously suck milk out of my boobs?
Then we pulled up to our house, another very familiar activity (if you can even call it that), and were greeted by big block “X E N A” balloons, a pantry filled to the brim, every “welcome home” wish we could possibly want, and also … a baby.
I kept having to remind myself that we still have this baby, and we will always have her. It’s not “pretend play”, all of the prep and planning courses were over. She is OURS, we MADE HER, we get to KEEP HER and are also entirely responsible for HER.
She was so fragile, yet so very VOCAL. We were instantly obedient to her every command, and comically tried to pretend like we might understand what on earth she wanted from us.
I sat awake that whole night, partially because of said “vocal capabilities”, partially because I was terrified she might instantly stop breathing, and partly because we had to attempt to “latch” her onto me every other hour.
*This is something no one completely warned me about, feedings for a newborn are “every two hours” but the clock starts at the BEGINNING of each feed. So, if a feed lasts you an hour, an hour later she’s right back on your boob. It is a, no-joke, FULL TIME JOB.
The days that followed were filled with visitors, LOTS of hand washing, unreasonable amounts of paranoia, bliss, pinch-me’s, poop, so much poop, exhaustion, and RECOVERY.
*Oh yes, this is another “I wish I had known”. YOUR BODY NEEDS TO RECOVER AFTER BEING PREGGO FOR 10 MONTHS and then LAUNCHING OUT A BABY! Go figure! Bleeding, night sweats, sudden bouts of nonsense “happy bawling” (your hormones are, at best, a mess), and organs which were smashed together and are now attempting to find their original home. Just to name a few…
My baby felt a bit more like a “blob” (an adorable blob, don’t get me wrong) than human, but each week set-off something new in and for her, and the excessive amount of naps she took didn’t hurt either. But don’t get too excited, this sleepy phase didn’t last long!
Top takeaways from month #1?
- Let your partner participate. It’s beyond important for them to bond with baby and also for YOU to get to shower, or eat, or sleep, or pee … you get the gist. Going out for a to-go cup of coffee or a polish change will feel like a full fledge trip to the spa.
- On that note, ASK FOR HELP. Whether it’s Door Dash, Amazon, a friend, family member or even a neighbor, you will quickly realize that you need much more than your two hands to do it all. Don’t be too proud, it’s not worth it! Let them stop by, meet your bundle, and bring you something too. Think of it as a bartering system 🙂
- When you can, GET OUT OF THE HOUSE. Even just for a walk around the block. Fresh air is the best thing in the world for you – and will momentarily free your new strict repetitive schedule and semi-insanity. It may seem like a hassle, but PLEASE trust me on this one, you’ll thank yourself if you do (I did!).
- Go to a lactation class, or if you need the extra assistance, have someone come over for 1 on 1 training. First of all, this will get you outside, which teaches you how the heck to maneuver baby in and out of the car seat/stroller situation. Secondly, most moms need all the help they can get when it comes to breastfeeding (I’ve learned that almost every new mom is insecure in their breastfeeding whether they have too much milk, too little, small boobs, big boobs, flat, pointy, it doesn’t matter, everyone is worrying). And thirdly, you might just make a new “mom friend” or two, and those are essential.
- It’s ok to wear sweats 24/7 and/or no bra. No one will judge you, and if they do, who cares?! You just had a baby. You get a three month, at least, “hall pass” so TAKE IT.
See you next week for month #2. Xoxo,