Sunday, May 1, 2016

What are the mother's biggest takeaways from the first six months?

1. It's hard to remember that I'm more than just a mother

Babies require a lot of time...more than you have in a day. I could spend 24 hours a day paying attention to him until I pass out from exhaustion and then repeat. This isn't healthy though.

I'm also a wife, an accountant, a person with friends and other family, and a person with hobbies. I don't know what the perfect balance is, but 100% baby just doesn't work. I have to steadily remind myself to focus on other aspects of my life and I wasn't expecting to have to do this.

2. I'm always scared that the baby will die or be hurt in some way

There's nothing wrong with the employees at our daycare in comparison to other daycares. What if all daycare employees molest children though? Can I really trust them?

What if someone crashes into us while driving? Maybe I should drive really slowly when he's in the car to prevent it. What if that increases the odds of an accident though? Did I even install the car seat correctly?

He's getting heavier. What if I slip while carrying him and can't catch him because he's too heavy?

What if a mosquito bites him and gives him a disease that we can't treat? Maybe I should install mosquito nets (I live in a house in the US...mosquito nets aren't a thing we really need).

It's really hard to get these feelings to pass and accept that you just have to take some risks to function.

3. I always feel incompetent

There's an overwhelming amount of stuff you have to learn how to do when you have a baby, and I've steadily felt like I wasn't doing them correctly. Some examples:

- Am I bathing him correctly?
- Am I changing his diapers correctly?
- Am I feeding him correctly?
- Am I holding him correctly?
- Is he gaining the perfect amount of weight?
- Am I going to break his fingers when I change his shirts and his hands get stuck in the sleeves?
- Is it my fault that he doesn't nap often enough?

This applies to almost everything. It's really difficult for me to accept that he's fine and I'm a good enough mother.

4. I constantly picture him growing up and going away

He's only six months old, and I already picture him leaving me to get married or go to school. I bawled outside of his room on his first day of daycare. I still get really sad when I remember that he doesn't need me to sleep in his room and feed him at night anymore. In only a few years, he's going to be going to school.

He already gets curious and seeks out his toys. If I'm holding him, he generally has something else he wants to fixate on. I can't hold him the way I held him when he was a newborn. It's only going to get worse.

He's never going to depend on me as much as he did as a newborn. When he's a toddler, I'll miss the infant days. When he's a teenager, I'll miss his childhood years.

It's just part of life, but it's surprisingly hard to ignore.

5. I get sick all the time

I don't think there's been a solid four-week period since his birth when I haven't been sick. I actually don't even know how many times I've been sick since I think many of them were just the same illness that I never actually recovered from because of stress, sleep deprivation, etc.

6. Breastfeeding is pretty great

It took a while for breast feeding to work. For the first few days, no milk came out. Once it did and he was able to latch on though, a lot of fun stuff has happened:
  • He'd get really aggressive when he wanted to feed and latch onto whatever was near his mouth, shake his head, then growl. It was really amusing.
  • The first time he successfully fed, he went to sleep within seconds. Pretty steadily since then, he's gone to sleep after a few minutes of feeding.
  • Around three months, he started detaching to try to have conversations with me by smiling, cooing, and giggling.
  • He tries to find boobies everywhere. He tries to latch onto other womens' when they hold him, he tries to latch onto his father's shoulder, and he reaches out and grabs my boob if it's too far away from him.
  • Since around five months, he's been getting distracted by everything, so he feeds for a few seconds, then detaches and looks at a nice shape, his father, etc., then comes back to feeding.


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