Tuesday, 12 August 2014

The Things I Wasn't Expecting

I think I was pretty prepared for motherhood. When Paloma arrived, I had a solid understanding of how to latch her properly on the breast, how often to feed her and change her diaper, how I hoped my parenting style would be etc. There is a tonne of information out there about babies and I devoured so much of it during my pregnancy that by the time she arrived I was as ready as anyone could possibly be. Overall I'd say things are going more or less how I expected. I'm loving cloth diapering her and wearing her in my wrap and I'm not too hung up on schedules or following prescribed sleep routines. Andino and I had decided before I even got pregnant that we weren't going to follow strict guidelines to parent our children in favour of a more go-with-the-flow approach and so far we are all happy.  There are a few things about being a Mom that I wasn't expecting, despite how prepared I was:

The Love - Of course I knew I would love my baby, but the love a mother feels for her child is different than the love she feels for anyone else. I couldn't know what that felt like until I experienced it first hand. I loved Paloma right away, but my love for her definitely grew with each passing week and especially once she recognized me. In one sense I loved her at first sight and in another sense I fell in love with her as our bond formed and strengthened. It was such an amazing experience - the process of settling into our mother-daughter bond.

The Attachment - I don't want to be away from her. I know as she gets older she will become independent and this infancy stage is so fleeting, I don't want to miss one hour. I hold her all.the.time. (side note: despite holding her or having her in my carrier all day long, she's a great sleeper at night. So all those people who say I'm going to spoil her by holding her too much are wrong!)

The Nightmares - For the first month and a half, I would wake up almost every night and sometimes more than once a night, frantically feeling around the bed for her. I dreamed that I nursed her in bed and then fell asleep and her body was trapped under the blankets or between my body and my husband's.I don't know why I had this particular nightmare because I never nursed her in bed. I never even slept with her in my arms once because I was too nervous that I'd accidentally smother her in my sleep. There were a few times when my little cockapoo got some serious snuggles with me because in my dreamy state I thought I was snuggling with her in the bed! I actually woke up a few times confused as to why she felt so furry before my brain clued in that it was actually my dog that I was snuggling!

Her Cry - breaks my heart. I've heard lots of babies crying before and it never bothered me. I'm not annoyed by crying babies but I was also never very concerned about them either. Babies cry, that's what they do. But when my baby cries, I feel the most urgent need to help her. If she is crying while someone else is holding her (even my husband) I get so anxious because I want to  comfort and console her. Sometimes it takes 10 minutes for my heart to stop racing and to feel normal again once I have calmed her down.

Breastfeeding - I knew I wanted to breastfeed, but I wasn't expecting to love it. Especially that first week or two when scabs formed on my nipples and everytime I fed her (which was every 2 hours) I would cringe in pain, squeeze my eyes shut, curl my toes and hold my breath for 10-15 seconds because it hurt so much. But after my body got used to it, I began to love nursing my daughter. I love that my body is able to provide everything she needs to thrive and I love that I am the only one who can nurse her. I love that nursing forces you to stop what you are doing and sit down and bond with your baby. Sure, there are times where I will nurse her on the go, but more often than not I'll stop what I'm doing and sit down with her. I think it's Mother Nature's way of forcing Moms to relax.

My Husband-  I was nervous before Paloma arrived that my relationship with my husband would suffer. I would read scary articles like Sleepless Nights with Screaming Babies Can Ruin Your Marriage and Your Health  and worry that the baby would drive us further apart than together. I am happy to report that while having a baby has definitely changed things for us (that's another post entirely) we are not ruining our marriage and fighting with each other all the time. I love seeing him as a Dad, but more so than that, I love being a family with him. I love being the Matriarch of my own little family. I feel so powerful and womanly and confident. Going from being a Wife to being a Wife and Mother has been wonderful.

I think the best thing I did before becoming a Mom is not having expectations. I had dreams of best case scenarios, but I was fully aware that there's no telling what kind of labour and delivery I would have or what kind of personality my baby would have. I knew I would face challenges but I didn't worry too much about them and took the "I'll cross that bridge when I come to it" approach. Hopefully I can remember to do the same thing if there is ever a second time around!


7 comments:

  1. This post made me smile. Unlike you, I had zero idea of what to expect (was way to nervous about the Beats surviving that I failed to really research what to expect). But the thing you talked about I could relate to. That list continues to grow. I guess the thing I'm learning is that the unexpected can be the sweetest.

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  2. What a sweet post. Love your approach of crossing each bridge as you come to it, and love even more that things have turned out better than you even expected. Paloma is very lucky to have you as a momma!

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  3. I love the part about your husband. This is such a real fear for me. We have such a strong and wonderful relationship, but I have also heard the stories of the stresses a new baby puts on a marriage.

    Great post!

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  4. This post makes me happy. For you and Andino and Paloma and for us as we anticipate changes. How awesome that you could prepare but also be willing to embrace the unexpected. I wonder if traveling a lot helps with that?

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  5. I love that you guys are taking such a laid back approach to parenting. I think in the long run it's going to be great for Paloma too. It seems like so many people these days are over-crowding and over-scheduling their kids, we've forgotten how to go with the flow!

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  6. I agree with all these. Although my husband would have the exact same nightmares. All the time.

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  7. I total agree with these.
    I would probably have bed-shared, if I wasn't so terrified of rolling over on that tiny baby! Sharing the room was good enough for us.
    I also carried and held Sofia so much in the day for about a year and she was a pretty good sleeper at night. I read an article about how kangaroo care or babywearing actually does help babies sleep better at night but I can't remember where I found it now... I think it had something to with how physical contact helped neuro-connections develop faster.

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