Saturday, June 7, 2008

The New Normal

If you would have asked me about pre-conceived ideas before the baby was born, I'd have told you what kind of Mom I would be. I would be able to let my baby cry for longer than a minute. I would be able to put him down, let him cry, and accomplish things around the house. I would be immune to lack of sleep. I've done shift work. I would be strong enough to do it all with the Husband on courses for 3 weeks of Isaiah's first 5 weeks of life. I'd do it gladly. After all, I/we wanted a baby. We would establish a routine, both caring and involved in our infant's life. I'd still socialize and keep up with my un-babied friends.

Truth is, I can't do any of those things. There is only so much I can take on a couple of hours of sleep. Sometimes I hold my baby while he's crying and I cry too. Sometimes I feel jealous that the Husband can spend his evenings out with no concern about whether or not his baby is being taken care of properly while I stay home and feed, comfort, nurture our baby. Sometimes I don't have my teeth brushed or real clothes on by 4 pm. Some days all I never get a chance to make myself a real meal. Leaving the house is a huge ordeal. He hates his carseat and barely tolerates car rides. I am NOT cut out to be a single parent.

Then some days it all works. We sleep well. He doesn't struggle with tummy aches and enjoys laying on the couch and looking at things. He sits in his bouncy chair. I accomplish things. I shower, eat, and tidy. I might even prep a meal. Things flow and I figure I've got a handle on things.

The new normal, it turns out, is no kind of normal at all.


Linda said...

"The new normal, it turns out, is no kind of normal at all."

Great line.

It sounds to me like you are a normal new mother with a normal newborn. Take care of yourself. The easier days will increase and the tough days will decrease.

The Sm'allards said...

I am wowed everyday by just how HARD this is. And it is. And then, some days, not at all.

It's too bad we didn't get around to writing the book about how to do all this before we had kids...because it would so be handy right now.

Oh, and Husbands aren't allowed to go out on their own for the evening for the first three months, didn't you get the memo?

it's a gong show... said...

val, when i read your posts i can SO relate to you!

hang in there my friend. after my first i swore i would never have more. i thought i would never sleep or function as a regular human being again. it was such an overwhelming feeling for me. i would see other first time moms and they would just be enjoying every minute and i kept thinking "what am i doing wrong here?"

i will keep you in my prayers and i will pray for peace and that your mental state will stay well.

Wendy said...

You say it so well, Val.

It really is the hardest transition we will ever make. And I know I would have taken a good few hissy fits if K'd left me alone with G in the beginning. Frankly, you sound so amazingly strong.

The best bit of advice I got in the early days was to accept all offers of help. Even if they come on the days when you're feeling strong. Because the day will come when you're not feeling so strong AT ALL and you don't want your help-offer-ers to think you've got it all together!

'Wish I could bring over a prepped meal. What I can do is join "it's a gong show" and pray with you.

Valerie Ruth said...

thanks for all of the normalizing comments! it makes me feel so much more... normal.

Brenda Funk said...

We've all been there if we're mothers! And I'm so glad you're close enough that you can come and ehjoy some help here at the farm!

Anonymous said...

yeah hang on to that mom of yours...they are a God-sent for first time moms : ) tante L

joyce said...

I liked you before you had your son, and now i like you even more. You have grace, and humility, and love to spare. All stated in such reasonable, lovely tones. Having a child changes way more than what you thought it would when people warned you that everything would change. They might not have told you about your heart walking around outside of your own body.