Tuesday, 17 April 2012

8 months of motherhood

It's hard to know when to dip back into an infertility blog after finally achieving parenthood. Does one blog when things are good and worry about making others jealous? Or does one blog when things are tough and worry about sounding ungrateful. I guess I'll just blog now that I have a few minutes, and try to be truthful.

I love this life, this crazy minivan-full-of-many-boy-children life that I never, ever expected to be living, but oh, I'm so glad I do. Honestly, I could kind of see myself having baby after baby, if I only had a place to put them besides Ikea dresser drawers. Or enough money to keep them all in karate/braces/camp/pizza/college. ~ Amalah

I do not feel like this. I found taking care of a newborn extremely stressful.

I don't know if I need more sleep than most people, or more time to myself, but I really struggled for the first seven months of my son's life, until he started sleeping through the night. Normally I get a little cranky if I have a bad night's sleep, so after seven months without a single stretch of 8 hours of sleep, I was always angry and irritable. And whenever I put him down for even a second my son started screaming that loud piercing scream, I would get even more so. I looked forward to returning to work.

Then he would calm down, and I would be breastfeeding him at 3am while reading infertility blogs on my phone, and I would feel so terribly guilty and ungrateful. I knew so many people who were currently sacrificing so much in the hopes of having a sleepless night just like mine.

Now things are slowly getting better. I don't feel that "overwhelming" love that people speak of, but I do love him. One of the downsides of having such a husband who is such an involved and fantastic dad, is that I am sure that my son loves him a great deal more than he loves me. I don't even really think of him as "my son", more "the baby". Perhaps that's one of the reasons that I'm finding it so hard to give up breastfeeding - it's the one thing that I can offer him that no one else can.

I find it very hard just to be present with my child, to play together rather than simply attend to his needs and then leave him to entertain himself. I am making a conscious effort to spend more quality time together, to sing songs in the morning, to share our meals at lunch time, to read books in the evening.

One of the activities that I most enjoy is to watch him feed himself. This produces a terrible, astonishing mess from his hair to his chair to the floor. But it is the first little hint that there is actually a tiny person hidden inside this baby. I love watching him look down at his array of foods, and decide whether he wants to eat an avocado or a sweet potato or a baby biscuit. The noises that he makes as he chews and swallows and waves his hands around.

This little creature is such a stranger to me. I don't even know whether he will be left or right handed, let alone his favourite animal or activity. These are the moments that I get a kick out of - the ones that give me a little insight into the kind of person that he will one day become.


  1. Hi Dandle! SO nice to hear from you again.

    I always thought it was so unfair that infertility doesn't then give you a get-out-of-jail-free card so you can bypass the initiation to motherhood. I feel like infertility should somehow make motherhood easier, but it doesn't. Sometimes I think it makes it harder because since you wanted it so badly, you feel guilty when you are miserable and miss your old life. And if you're a blogger you're never sure whether it is ok to complain/ask for help when things are tough (as they always, always are in the beginning).

    All that to say, I hope you keep blogging. Motherhood is one hell of an adjustment. I know for me it didn't really start becoming fun until the six month mark when E. was able to sit up on his own. And now that the first year is almost over, I feel like we're in a groove (even though I have yet to experience the wonders of an eight hour stretch of sleep).

    I'm sorry you have found it to be such a rough road. Q. is a great dad too, and I must admit I look for the moments which remind me just how much my E. loves me as well. E. is also pretty independent, and I too struggle with the "sit on the floor and play with your baby and talk to them non-stop" part of being a Mum. I also think there is nothing wrong with fostering independence and the ability to play by oneself, even at this early age.

    Do you have Mummy friends? I have a group of five other ladies (I met them through pre-natal yoga)- our babies are all within a month of each other and they have been LIFESAVERS on so many levels. We get together once a week and email constantly about what crazy things our babies are (or are not) doing. They give me a lot of confidence.

    I love watching E. eat. I don't know if you've been reading my blog still, but we took the baby-led weaning approach, and I'd say that E. now eats 99% of what we do. I love watching him select his favourites (and throw everything else off the tray). I love the way he kicks his legs when something is extra tasty. It is so fun to share meals with him. I'm glad you're enjoying that too.

    Anyway, it was really great to hear from you, and I hope you keep blogging. You are so not alone in finding motherhood to be difficult.


  2. So good to hear from you! You know, I expected motherhood to be difficult in the beginning from a physical standpoint, but I never expected to wonder why I didn't love it more. I had heard from so many people that the moment your little one is outside your womb, you are overwhelmed with a love that you can't explain...this didn't happen for me. That is not to say that I didn't love this little creature, but I couldn't identify with him at all.

    Don't feel guilty or even different from other moms, because you haven't experienced the storybook first year of feelings. I often hear people say they want to stop time because their baby is growing up too fast...what???? I want my baby to grow up. I want him to be more independent. I wouldn't want to go back in time at all.

    I think some of us were wired differently and we enjoy different stages of our children's lives. I did love my baby in the beginning, but I'm starting to fall in love with him now that he has a personality. It's so complex for those of us who wanted it so much, then we finally achieve it and we have mixed emotions on the whole thing. Hang in there.

  3. I went back to work at 3 months. DH had the fun 3-6 month chunk of time when she actually started sleeping for naps and at night, and didn't need to constantly be held. I still killed myself pumping for her because the BFing never worked. I definitely have always loved her, but I get bored pretty quickly, and love my work, and could never stay at home to parent full-time.
    It's hard to experience the love when you're sleep-deprived and just getting through the days. As K's gotten older, things have become better and better. It's amazing to see how quickly their skills develop, and now that I can actually have a conversation with her and her personality is emerging more and more, I'm loving this stage. Not to say I don't get bored at times or have trouble figuring out how to keep her entertained...
    It's nice to see someone talk about the challenges of motherhood!

  4. Oh friend, what you are feeling is normal! Nick actually felt more the way you do than I did, but I completely understand where you are coming from. Nick was so not a fan of the first 18 months that it was really the main reason he didn't want to have another one. The lack of sleep, the lack of interaction, the fact that it was just so much work.

    I also know what you mean about not wanting to give up nursing because your husband is such a great dad. Nick is just FUN with him now. And it makes me so happy, but it is also hard because I feel like I am the parent who isn't as fun or doesn't have as much time to play.

    Parenting has ups and downs. Not sleeping is hard. We all really understand. But also, some of those feelings can be signs of PPD, so if you haven't talked with someone, it might help. And maybe just a little more time will help. Sleep heals all :)