Being Mama.

So, I guess Sam was just easing me into things… the first 8 weeks of being a mother was absolutely great. My recovery from birth was excellent, the doctor was impressed at how quickly I healed, I was surprised at how easy mothering came to me, Sam was happy, he was a great sleeper, he rarely cried and even then it was just a quick cry to let me know that he was hungry, or needed a diaper change, the only thing that wasn’t ‘easy’ at the beginning was nursing (nursing  those first few weeks was one of the worst experiences of my life. I would literally cry every time he had to eat, it was pure, toe curling, misery until he was 6 weeks old). He was such a happy, healthy, smiley little dude.

Then, 8 weeks hit and we got thrown for a loop. Suddenly there were tears, and lots of them. What is this? Where did this kid come from? He went from sleeping 14 hours every night to sleeping less than 8. He used to nap 5-6 hours every day to not napping at all, he literally would wake up at 5:45 am and not sleep at all until I put him to bed at 8:00pm. He would scream whenever he wasn’t being held, which didn’t leave much time for mama to do much of anything.  He would thrash his head around while trying to nurse, he would scream so hard he’d throw up his whole meal. We tried colic drops, gas drops, swaddling, every technique in the book, but Sam was just sad. I was beginning to lose my mind, and whenever you’re in the thick of things, it always seems like whatever you’re going through is going to last forever. You know what I mean?

I am happy to say that we are on the upswing. Finally. It’s been 3 weeks of not-so-fun times, but we’re working through it. I thought for a while there that I might just lose my sanity. I never thought I’d be a mama that let her kid cry it out, but eventually I did. And it worked. We didn’t do the traditional ‘cry-it-out’ method, but did a bit of a different version of it, which basically was putting him in his crib and if he cries his ‘whining cry’ just let him fuss for a while, but if he gets to the ‘really upset cry’ then go back in, comfort him, I would pick him up, pat his butt (he really likes that) and once he was calm lay him back down and repeat the process over again. It only took two nights and now we are back on track with naps and nighttime sleeping and the last two days I’ve placed him in his crib when he was sleepy, but definitely still awake and he hasn’t fussed at all. Just looked up at me, and then got comfy in his crib and went right to sleep. He’s still waking up 2-3 times a night to nurse, but that’s just fine with me for now. We’re (still) doing an ‘eat-wake-sleep’ routine, which sets a nice pattern for our day, and he’s getting 2 short naps in the morning/early afternoon and one really good long one in the later afternoon (usually from 3:00-6:30/7:00) and we’re (mostly) back to our happy, smiley, chubby-cheeked selves.

I think I just needed some humility. God is seriously teaching me a lesson. I can’t be the person who always has it together, no matter how hard I try I am just going to exhaust myself, and for what? So I can say that I’ve always got the laundry done? So there’s always clean dishes? So I can make sure a blog post goes up every single day? I felt a lot of pressure (self-inflicted pressure, no one was making be feel bad!) when Sam was first born to be totally put-together, totally on top of everything, and I felt like I was doing a pretty good job of it, but two months into it- that’s when things started to fall apart for me, my ‘easy’ baby turned into a difficult baby. I have to remind myself that this is a stage, and this will pass. Sooner or later (hopefully sooner, rather than later) we won’t be getting up every hour at night to say hi to mama. Sometimes I just have to remember that we signed up for this. We knew it was going to be exhausting. We knew it was going to be challenging.

But it’s not all tiredness and frustration, because when Sam smiles or coos at me and I forget about the 3 hours of straight screaming. It’s a pretty good payoff, to tell you the truth. We’re trying to set a more firm schedule for the day, and I think that will help a lot with Sam. He seems to do better when we kind of ‘force’ a schedule on him. (i.e. making him nap, because I KNOW he’s tired, even though he’ll fuss when I put him down he almost always falls asleep within minutes of being swaddled now) Megan over at In This Wonderful Life posted a schedule that she keeps for her twins (just a few weeks older than Sam!) and that’s been super helpful, and we try to keep to that schedule, but I know sometimes that it has to be flexible when we are out and about during the afternoons, but being flexible is good- and he naps really well in his carseat, so he can still sleep even if we’re not at home.

I think I’ve just got to remember that there’s a learning curve with this whole parenting thing. I’m not always going to know exactly what to do, and I’ve just got to trust my gut and do what we have to do to get through the day, and to stay happy and sane. I’ve sure got a lot of respect for moms of more than one kid (hopefully I’ll be able to add myself to that list, eventually) because there is so much joy, so much love and so much happiness being a mama, and I wouldn’t take it back for anything. Ok, so that was some rambling… I’ll be back tomorrow with some actual craft related stuff.

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3 thoughts on “Being Mama.

  1. I would highly recommend getting your hands on a copy of the book “the Wonder Weeks” (http://www.amazon.com/stimulate-development-predictable-magical-forward/dp/9079208043/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1321983666&sr=1-1) It’s so helpful at explaining those sudden fussy periods; it helped me be patient with Ari when he was going through those mental growth spurts which led to him being so unhappy sometimes.

    8 Weeks is a growth spurt that leaves most babies fussy for up to 3 weeks, and most babies just want to be held all the time during those weeks. It can be uncanny how accurate this book can be at describing your baby’s mood swings.

  2. You are on the right track, Ali. Trust your gut! Your boy is not going to be the same as anyone else’s and you just have to learn to care for him in the way that works best for you both. And all that other ‘stuff’-dishes, laundry, dirty floors- that will all be there waiting for you when Sam is content and happy. Keep on keepin’ on, Mama! Enjoy each moment! And kudos to you for powering through the uncomfortable, toe curling, part of nursing. That sacrifice will have far reaching benefits for both of you.

    (I raised 5 kids, each different than the others, and the dishes and laundry are STILL there!)

  3. Hmm, I’m curious to read The Wonder Weeks now too…

    I love you. I’ve been trying for days now to come up with a response to this post, but I’ve not been able to, no matter how many times I’ve read it.

    You’re such a good mama.

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