Today is Amara’s due date and I’m trying to imagine what it would be like to have still been pregnant these last three weeks.
My little Bean is three weeks old already.
I thought I might take a few moments and reflect on a few weeks of new mamahood…
I’ve decided having babies at 37 has it’s own perks and downfalls to having them at 27. My stay-up-late days have been behind me a long time so seeing 1 a.m. and 4 a.m. on the regular is hard on this body. It convinces me to pick my battles both in the dark early hours and all through the day getting back to them. When I spend all morning in the feed, change, coax back to sleep cycle and it’s afternoon before I’ve thought past those three things I don’t give any other plans a second thought. Cluster feeding in the evening the doctor said? Huh. Nope. It can happen any time of day, thanks. If I have managed to pee and grab a bottle of water in that dance it’s going pretty good. A cluster of twenty minute naps is also something to be proud of.
I try to listen to that ‘sleep when the baby is sleeping’ advice. Admittedly often that’s easier said than done. Laundry did wait until I actually ran out of underwear. We consider baking a frozen lasagne a homemade dinner now. I’ve stopped being so self-conscious of my hair. Like second day hair in a pony tail is totally fine for going out without a hat. Pre-baby that would have never happened, I can’t stand feeling like I have dirty hair.
I think I’m sometimes more relaxed than I thought I’d be, and in turn less relaxed over things I didn’t expect to bother me quite so much. I’m not as careful as I imagine some new mom’s might be with getting her dressed and moving her around. I know she’s sturdier than she looks. I’m not a desperate cry stopper if the cry isn’t escalating. I can listen to her ‘I’m kindof getting hungry and my pants are dirty’ cry long enough to make myself comfortable before tending to her. Phrases like ‘you can be mad about it’, ‘I kiss your angry face’, and ‘I hear you, tell me about it’ are frequently heard around here. The commentary Amara and I have sometimes amuses me a lot. I speak for her when she’s upset and she says things like ‘I can’t do it, Mama, it’s too hard to be a baby today’ and ‘I don’t want to, no thank you’ when I ask her if we can get cleaned up and change her clothes. I’ve noticed I talk to her much more than other people; maybe because I talked to her so much when she was on the inside I don’t find it strange to do it now. Just this morning I explained what happens when we take a bath while she was bright eyed after her breakfast. She’s going to have her first bath today before we go celebrate our third and final Christmas with my in-laws.
I also thought I’d want to hand her off to people when she’s really upset. Like who wants to hold the screaming, scratching, inconsolable baby? Her Mom that’s who. I can’t hardly stand for anyone else to have her in those moments. You can hold her when she’s sleeping but when she’s crying I need her back. Even if I’m not getting her calm very quickly, even if you think you can help… Give the baby back. I was telling a friend it’s like she’s still a part of me in those moments and you are holding my screaming heart. She’s become detachable now, the cord cut, she can leave my physical person, but she’s not quite separate from me yet. That’s especially hard for grandparents to understand I think. They want to confort her too, to meet her needs and help. But honestly even when her daddy is taking care of her in those moments I have to restrain myself from taking her. Sometimes I’m better at it than others. ‘She’s half his’ my brain says, ‘he’s got this’, but my chest is fighting me the whole time. It’s a very strange feeling and one I hadn’t expected.
I’m also paranoid of things I didn’t expect. Paranoid she’ll stop breathing while riding in her carseat. Or if I’m not in the room with her when she’s sleeping. Or if she’s sleeping in her Rock n’ Play next to the bed and I’m facing the opposite direction.
Already Amara’s belly button is tucking itself in and she’s fitting better into her newborn sized clothes. These changes get me feeling like she’s growing too fast and I’m minutes from her walking and only days from her yelling at me to get out of her room and slamming the door in my face. I’m trying to live in the moment and cherish every little minute. If I feel like snuggling her while she sleeps over doing the dishes when I could technically put her down for a while I just do it. I’ve only got these moments for a little while. And when she doesn’t want to get put down, when every move away from my person wakes her and sets off crying and I might be tempted to wish it the other way I stop myself. She’ll only want me like this for so long as well; better to be tired, hungry, and unshowered than to take for granted her ‘I need you’ moments.
Her every little thing makes me smile. The way she grabs for the bottle and my fingers. The grunting whine she does when she’s getting burped and knows there’s a big one in there she needs to get out. The grunting cry when she’s working on a big poop. The smile and sigh when she’s fulfilled her task -filled her belly, gotten out the poop/gas, is content. The way her eyebrows scrunch and her big toes flex and point up when she’s concentrating. The fluffy duck butt of her hair. Of course I think I’m a normal mom in believing everything she does is magic and every bit of her being is perfection.
As for myself; my incision site has gone from sore to itchy in these few weeks. The swelling in my feet that got ten times worse than it ever did during the pregnancy has finally started going down. Which made the painful my-feet-are-going-to-pop-like-over-filled-balloons feeling go away. My lower back still gets tight and sore though and I have persistent numbness in my right hand. I think these problems would benefit by going back to the chiropractor which I’ve put off waiting for the large epidural bruise to heal. Despite having a newborn I have more energy than I did in those last several pregnant weeks and am excited/hopeful for that to continually improve.
Because I’ve had a history with depression and have anxiety all the professional baby people, doctors, consultants, have asked me to be wary of baby blues. They’ve asked Darin to watch me closely in case I start acting strange and withdrawn. I think perhaps given my history it’s a little bit of grace that all my tearful moments have been gratitude induced or straight up sleep deprivation. I wish every mama could feel the overwhelming joy and contentment I have in these days.
So three weeks has changed my world in so many ways; big and small. I’m learning to breathe through the frustrating ones, seeking amusement in our learning process, and just relish every imperfect glorious moment. These new chapters are becoming my most favorite and truly making my extraordinary ordinary everyday beautiful.