Hannah Joy was born March 25, 2016. It was a natural childbirth that made me feel like a total warrior woman. I’ll never forget the experience for as long as I live. As a result, I’ve come to love my body in a way I never have before. Hannah aspirated fluid during delivery, so we stayed in the hospital an extra day. She has shown how much of a fighter she is, by gaining a huge appetite and growing everyday. Hannah is a tough little cookie. My, how the past month has flown by already. Tomorrow she will be one month old.
I am lucky to have a few moments (sporadically, over time) to write this while my little girl is sleeping peacefully, a rare occurrence these days. A million other things are the priority as my ordinary hobbies take a backseat to a certain repetitive cycle of baby care and self care that has dictated my life. Feedings, snugglings, diaper changes, bath time, cleaning, laundry, pumping, washing pump attachments and bottles, feeding myself with something that doesn’t come from a box, a freezer, or a drive thru, trying to sleep (yeah, right), showering when I can, doctor’s appointments, visits from friends and family, shopping for baby things or groceries- all on repeat. Life has changed drastically from the way things used to be.
In fact, as I sit here, writing this, I’ve come to realize that I’m a total mess in a way I’ve never been before. I smell like dried spit up, breast milk, pee (not mine), and sweat. It’s gross, but it’s the truth. I try to braid my long hair to keep it out of the newly grabbing hands of a one month old (a lesson I learned the hard way) and random tendrils are hanging loose and tangled, part of it sticking up on the side. Yesterday I put on mascara for the first time in two months because I went to meet with a photo client. Today it is smudged under my eyes and down part of one cheek. I went to the store to get diapers this way. I’m a total mess.
But I’m a totally smitten new mommy. Behind my tired, day-old-mascara-smudged eyes is a glow of pure, unadulterated happiness. I look at this little girl and I’m in awe of the fact that she lived inside of me for 8 1/2 months. She’s so perfect and so very much becoming her own little self already. It’s getting easier to figure out what will keep her happy as I decipher her different types of cries. She coos and grunts and the faces she makes keep me laughing and joyful. I sing to her as she falls asleep and read to her after bath time. She loves being on her belly as she pushes her head up and from side to side trying to take in the world around her. She even rolled over from her belly to her back for the first time, just the other day. I’m filled with a sense of pride and a sense of overwhelming love that often moves me to tears. Being a mom, something I never thought I’d experience, is such a beautiful thing. I see the blessings in every day love.
Sometimes, it’s hard. I’ll admit it. I’m sure it will get even harder. I’m not a fan of only getting 2 hours of sleep some nights. Before baby, I couldn’t survive without a minimum of 8 hours so I’m not sure how I function on so little sleep now. But I am a fan of the nights she’ll sleep for 4 hours, get up to eat, and then sleep a few more. Those nights are rare, but they do happen. During the day, the “sleep when she sleeps” philosophy is a joke. There’s just too much to do in order to maintain even some semblance of order in my home and mind for that to happen. When she’s not sleeping, she wants to be held always. She even sometimes won’t sleep unless she’s being held. The second I put her down, she starts to fuss and cry. Not always, but often. That in itself can be exhausting and hard on my back. Thank goodness for the baby swing. I don’t know what I’d do without that thing. “Me” time is a novelty I sometimes miss from my pre-mommy days. I’m so very lucky to have a significant other who pitches in by cleaning, cooking, grocery shopping, feeding her, holding her, and staying up with her to give me the occasional brief nap. Honestly the hard times seem minor compared to the joys we find in the successes.
We’re finding the balance, slowly but surely.
That’s why I’m here, writing a blog post about being a mommy. It’s for myself, to remind me later what it all was like in the first month as everything changes and she grows so quickly.
Finding time to chronicle the journey and be myself is just as important as giving her the world.