Oh hey there, it's ME again, back from the DEAD -- otherwise known as having a newborn.
Let me tell you; newborns are not for the faint of heart. It's also a total physical and emotional roller coaster that has high highs and very severe lows (emphasis on severe because yesterday I spent almost all day crying).
Two weeks into having my life completely change, I've decided to draft a list of high level thoughts and feelings on what it's like on the other side with a newborn. This list is not going to sugar coat things my friend, and it's something that I wish I had read prior to the delivery, so that maybe I could be a bit more mentally prepared for what was to come.
1. I feel lied to
Or at least tricked by all the people casually walking around who have kids like it's no big deal. IT'S A BIG FUCKING DEAL.
I didn't realize the pain and suffering you all had to endure. Newborns are MONSTERS. They're emotional and physical terrorists -- they build you up and then tear you right back down. How do they do this? Mostly sleep deprivation.
But also there's so many things you have to worry and think about, that it's also a mental assault on your brain too. I recently read a quote that NAVY seals are similar to new moms, because they are trained to tolerate torture by prolonged sleep deprivation and having to listen to hours of infant screams, similar to new moms! ENOUGH SAID.
2. Myth: you will fall instantly in love with your baby.
I believe this is real for some people -- but for me, it's not. I mean I feel the obligatory kind of love because hello, the babe came out of my body so I love her like I love my arms and legs, but I'm not IN love with her (yet).
But here's the thing: I don't feel guilty about this. I think some people are afraid to admit they're not in love with their baby initially, but I'm not afraid to say it. Because you know what I think is weird? Falling in love with something instantly without having forged any sort of connection to it. THAT to me seems more foreign and strange.
I am confident I will grow to love my daughter to smithereens though, because look what happened with my dog. When we got Frankly as a puppy, I was so overwhelmed with all the work that was required to take care of her that I felt really detached and burdened by her.
It wasn't until we figured out and normalized into a routine and she became house trained that our lives became easier, and subsequently my adoration grew.
"Let's be clear: I'M NOT FINE. And I just have to keep reminding myself: THIS IS NORMAL and THIS TOO SHALL PASS."
3. There will be several moments (and for me it's dozens of times in an hour) that you question wtf you have done.
In my case on day 2, I decided I didn't want her or this life anymore and told my husband we should put her up for adoption and that for a newborn she was pretty cute so I was confident that someone would pick her right away. But then a day later I conceded we could still keep her.
It's kind of funny that as one life is born into the world, another life is essentially put to rest. For me, my old life has died -- and now I'm adjusting to a new life. I miss what my old life used to be. My independence, my frivolous spending habits, the ability to just do whatever I wanted whenever I wanted, the list goes on and on.
I spent almost ALL day yesterday crying because I missed my old life so badly, that I felt like it finally sunk in that the life I once knew is gone.
5. Missing when it was just the two of us.
Or in my case, I miss when it was just the three of us. Gotta include our dog!
As you can see -- the above list is kind of depressing (even though it's the TRUTH). For every point on the list above, I've also drafted a new list of realizations I've had since my daughter was born to remind myself that it's not all bad:
1. I'm really strong.
Physically, mentally, emotionally -- even when I'm a sobbing mess and crying for hours (or days!), I'm still strong. This is something I have to keep reminding myself two weeks later because yesterday I was just confronted with so many things I felt fearful of.
Afraid to figure out how to put her in the car seat by myself. How to use the stroller by myself. How to use the breast pump. Everything that felt new and foreign that I've never done with her feels really scary, intimidating and daunting.
2. I love my husband more than ever.
I might not be head over heels in love with my daughter yet, but I know I love my husband more than ever. He's been there waking up with me in the middle of the night, changes the majority of diapers, always makes sure a glass of water is filled next to me to keep me hydrated, and doesn't complain when he has to go up and down the stairs a million times if I ask him to get things for me.
3. My daughter is changing every day, and subsequently so am I (or at least I have to).
This is VERY scary and liberating all at the same time. I'm the same but I'm completely different. Things I cared about I instantly don't seem to care about anymore -- like shopping. Now I evaluate everything as "Is it worth it if it gets puked, peed or shat on?" and almost always, it's not.
4. Learning to let go.
Newborns are the greatest exercise to challenge anyone who has issues with letting go. I'm slowly day by day learning to let go and shed my OCD anxieties and insecurities. For anyone who is Type A or a control freak, you'll know how tough and challenging the idea of letting go of any sort of control is.
I'm letting go of what I think my life was, and doing my best to welcome (or at least accept) what my new life is like. Right now my new life is awful. Simply awful. Newborns need to be fed, diaper changed and put to sleep every 2-4 hours. Day in and day out.
This is the formula to driving someone insane, and this is ultimately what is making me spontaneously combust into tears anytime someone asks "how are you doing?"
Let's be clear: I'M NOT FINE. And I just have to keep reminding myself: THIS IS NORMAL and THIS TOO SHALL PASS.
5. I'm grateful for the small private moments.
I'm grateful for the sweet moments that I see the babe have with everyone around me -- my husband, both sets of grandparents, and especially with our dog.
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