Saturday, May 14, 2011

not entirely as planned, and that's okay

The transition from non-motherhood to motherhood is rough. You think when you're pregnant that waking up every 2 hours to pee at night is going to prepare you for waking up every 2 hours to tend to a baby, but it really doesn't. You think that feeling their every movement inside your belly will prepare you for when they're outside, but it doesn't. It's nice in its own and I miss it sometimes, but I'm not going to pretend I had plenty of mothering prep before Clara made her grand debut.

I think, if I can credit anything for the relatively easy time I've had so far it would be this: flexibility. There were plenty of things that didn't go as planned, but accepting and adapting kept me from going nuts about it.
  • I fully expected to be breastfeeding full time. That did not work out. I will spare you the details, but suffice to say: nursing & hospital grade pump at every feeding and the most I ever produced together was one half of one ounce. I am glad I was able to let go, (mostly) forgive my breasts, supplement, and then switch to formula. When nursing ends up just making you both cry sometimes you just have to throw in the towel. I'm pretty convinced that if formula didn't exist and it was up to just my body to feed my baby, she would be dead. So: thank you, Science.
  • I expected life to remain mostly the same, but with a new person around. And this is not to say it has made a 180--I'm still me--but priorities and schedules and favorites change. Don't watch much TV anymore. Even our favorite shows are afterthoughts. My favorite things are much simpler than before. Now almost any activity that the three of us can do together makes me very happy. Sleeping in till 8 feels like heaven. A 10pm bedtime seems entirely reasonable.
  • I expected to remain a reasonable person as far as my baby was concerned. Instead, I find myself squealing like a kid at every new/cute/impressive thing she does. I find myself looking at her constantly and thinking she's the most beautiful little person I have ever seen. And that's just how it goes. You really can't help that they steal your heart and make you silly.
  • I expected to be making my own baby food. Instead, I found that she doesn't like purees, she doesn't like being fed, and she doesn't quite know how to chew and swallow very well. So right now we just give her little pieces of fairly soft stuff that we're already eating. It's okay, but a far cry from the jars and bibs and food mills I was planning for. And some stuff she just decides she doesn't like the texture of and spits right out.
  • I expected to carry her around on me in a carrier all the time. The reality? My baby is big & heavy for her age. My 5'3" body and my terrible backache right after giving birth were not good for carrying her around. Plus, I found the carrier a little awkward to use. And now that my back doesn't hurt? She's entirely too heavy for that to be comfortable for more than 15 minutes.
  • I expected not to have a baby voice. I have managed not to use cutesy baby words, but I must admit that my voice is high-pitched and not normal when I talk to her. I also seem to have no control over this.
  • I didn't expect to miss just being able to go places at the drop of a hat. Packing her diaper bag and getting her changed and making sure she's not hungry and she's happy take half an hour, at least. Spontaneity needs to be planned for now.
  • I didn't expect for my views on love to become so much more complex.
  • I also didn't expect for this to be the most rewarding thing I've ever done.