My First Moment

Deep breath.

My wife and baby are napping on the couch, the dog is snuggled into his couch and finally we are the only four people in the room.  Bliss.  Somehow in the 10 days since Yogi arrived, I have morphed into an alternately weepy and hostile Wicked Witch of the West.  I don’t know this person and I definitely don’t like her.  Luckily, my wife is the picture of calm, confident motherhood.  The woman who struggles to function without at least an hour of good, hard exercise every day and who is something of a recluse, has spent the last 10 days snuggling happily on the couch and visiting easily with all the folks who have been here to welcome the little man.  Suddenly I need to list all of those people.  Here goes…

  • My parents
  • Her parents
  • Her brother
  • My best friend
  • Her mother (came for a visit by herself after the birth)
  • Her brother returns with his wife for 3 days and they are flying in tonight

I am certainly the most selfish, ungrateful person on the planet for wanting nothing more than to be left alone when all of these people have been more than wonderful to us.  They have cooked, cleaned, taken care of the dog, washed our clothes, rocked the baby so we could sleep and most importantly, loved our boy.  We have truly needed the help, but I spent way too much of the day yesterday chanting “don’t talk to me, don’t talk to me” over and over in my head.  Not pretty.  Not even close.

I think they call this sleep deprivation and more than a touch of the baby blues.  Of course admitting that just makes me feel like a big ol baby myself.  I mean, if you remember I didn’t even give birth to this child.  I’m not dealing with the c-section incision or the residual swelling and it’s certainly not my nipples that Yogi screams at during every feeding when we attempt to get him on without the nipple shield (anyone ever dealt with this?  so much more to say on this topic, but don’t have the energy right now).  So why am I such a wreck?  This other mother gig ain’t easy, at least not right now.  Right now I’m just tired and overwhelmed and feeling like I don’t really have anything he needs.  I can do laundry and run the dishwasher, but really, some people pay people to do that stuff for them.  None of that is making me feel like his mother.

Man, this is an ugly post.  Unfortunately it’s all true.  If anyone is reading this, please send a little goodwill my direction.  The next post will be all about the good stuff because there is so much of that too.  It’s just a little hard to see right now.

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8 thoughts on “My First Moment

  1. Ah, I wish I could reach over and give you a hug because I've so been there. I doubt you'll have time, but if you read some old blog entries on Vermillion (the ones tagged 'newborn') you'll probably feel a sense of what you're feeling now (especially http://1invermillion.wordpress.com/2009/05/11/living-and-learning/)

    Anyway, it's normal, but that doesn't make it easy. I didn't want anyone around at first…every time someone came over it felt like a huge ordeal and I just wanted them to go away (well, usually…some friends were fine, but family was HARD). Breastfeeding was awful and there was no way I could help either of them. And sleep…what was that?

    You'll get through this time, promise. Just know it won't always be like this. Just get through these first couple of months and you'll all find your stride.

  2. Sounds like you are overwhelmed and sleep deprived and scared, all perfectly legitimate responses to having a new baby. Just remember what babies need most: warmth, love and food. Those things you can't pay other people for and that is why you are there. I am hoping things get easier (they will, everyone says so) and that you are enjoying the good things, too.

    Lots of warm thoughts your way.

  3. Another other mother here and with my own case of the blues. For me it's mostly being irritable and anxious and wishing all of these people would leave. us. alone. Fortunately, I had a doc handy to tell me it would go away…small comfort, that. RR is 9 weeks now and the days of boob screaming are over but I have never felt so helpless and frustrated as I did in those (and there were many) moments. Frankly, running the dishwasher is a MAJOR accomplishment (and think how many fewer dishes there will be once everyone finallly goes) not to mention laundry. Seriously, how are you not getting an oscar, or nobel or something?

  4. Argh, the screaming at the nipple is SO frustrating! LB's cousin went through that with her baby, and it lasted about 6 weeks, and took the whole family helping (Mom holding the baby's head and the nipple shield, Dad squirting pumped breastmilk into the baby's mouth until the milk let down, Grandma holding the bottle of pumped breastmilk for Dad to draw from, and everyone else acting as a cheering squad for Mom while the baby yelled at her). If you're struggling with getting Yogi to suck while the milk lets down, I know that using a supplemental nursing system (catheter and syringe set up) instead of the squirting method worked better and kept him sucking longer. I sympathize with you, and am sending lots of good thoughts your way.

  5. Oh, I hear you. I'm a new other mother as of two days ago and it's a bewildering blissful exhausting confusing time. I have been a crying mess. It is so hard to feel like you don't have anything to offer – but you do, you do. I'm on operation hold-the-baby while my partner naps / tends to her swollen nether regions and it has helped me feel closer to him, not to mention more useful. Plus, I spend a lot of time gently talking to him and I can tell he knows my voice. The best is when it's just the three of us – hardest when her parents come over. In fact, I'm about to strangle them both. They subtly but truly make me feel like an outsider. Then I remember, who is up at all hours of the night with him? Who is helping keep bio-mom sane and feel loved and supported? That's right. I *know* that even if the baby doesn't quite need me like he needs her, she needs me. I take comfort & pride in that. I hope it helps to know this is not at all strange, what you're feeling.

  6. feeling the same way about visitors right now no matter how loved or helpful they are. I wish we could just be alone for the first few weeks.

    I also have the same problem getting my tiny girl to the breast right now. She struggles with it and can't do it w/o the sheild. My boy is a champion breastfeeder which makes the problems with my girl that much harder. I just keep hoping with persistance we can work it out.

    Anyway, just know that you are not alone in all of this. I totally relate to the good and the bad. Welcome to new mommyhood I guess, we're in for an amazing ride!

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