Friday, April 12, 2013

I'm 2 months!!!!

To the Mother With Only One Child

 A friend posted this on facebook... I really enjoyed reading through it. I don't really care for all the "mommy articles" complaining how hard their life is (although one could argue that that was what my last post was...although that's not what it was intended to be). This one's on...

To the Mother With Only One Child

Thursday, January 19, 2012 9:00 AM Comments (681)
Dear Mother of Only One Child,
Don’t say it.  Before the words can even pass your lips, let me beg you:  don’t say, “Wow, you have nine kids?  I thought it was hard with just my one!”
My dear, it is hard.  You’re not being a wuss or a whiner when you feel like your life is hard.  I know, because I remember having “only one child.”  You may not even believe how many times I stop and reflect on how much easier my life is, now that I have nine children.
All right, so there is a lot more laundry.  Keeping up with each child’s needs, and making sure they all get enough attention, is a constant worry.  And a stomach bug is pretty much the end of the world, when nine digestive tracts are afflicted.
But I remember having only one child, and it was hard—so very hard.  Some of the difficulties were just practical:  I didn’t know what I was doing, had to learn everything.  People pushed me around because I was young and inexperienced.  But even worse were the emotional struggles of learning to be a mother.
When I had only one child, I truly suffered during those long, long, long days in our little apartment, no one but the two of us, baby and me, dealing with each other all day long.  I invented errands and dawdled and took the long way home, but still had hours and hours to fill before I would hear my husband’s key in the door.
I cared so much what other people thought about her—they had to notice how beautiful she was, they had to be impressed at my natural mothering skills.  I obsessed over childhood development charts, tense with fear that my mothering was lacking—that I hadn’t stimulated her enough,  or maybe had just passed on the wrong kind of genes.  I cringe when I remember how I pushed her—a little baby!—to achieve milestones she wasn’t ready for.
I lived in terror for her physical safety (I once brought her to Urgent Care, where the doctor somewhat irritably diagnosed a case of moderate sniffles) fearing every imaginable disease and injury.  In my sleep-deprived state, I would have sudden insane hallucinations that her head had fallen off, her knees had suddenly broken themselves in the night, and so on.
My husband didn’t know how to help me.  I didn’t know how to ask for help.  My husband had become a father, and I adored him for it.  My husband got to leave the house every day, and sleep every night.  He got to go to the bathroom alone.  I hated him for it.
When I had only one child, I told myself over and over that motherhood was fulfilling and sanctifying and was filling my heart to the brim with peace and satisfaction.  And so I felt horribly guilty for being so bored, so resentful, so exhausted.  This is a joyful time, dammit!  I should enjoy being suddenly transformed into the Doyenne of Anything that Smells Bad.
I loved my baby, I loved pushing her on the swing, watching squirrels at the park together, introducing her to apple sauce, and watching her lips move in joyful dreams of milk.  But it was hard, hard, hard.  All this work:  is this who I am now?  I remember!
So now?  Yes, the practical parts are a thousand times easier:  I’m a virtuoso.  I worry, but then I move along.  Nobody pushes me around, and I have helpers galore.  Someone fetches clean diapers and gets rid of the dirty ones.  When the baby wakes up in the middle of the night for the ten thousandth time, I sigh and roll my eyes, maybe even cry a little bit for sheer tiredness—but I know it will pass, it will pass. 
It’s becoming easier, and it will be easier still.  They are passing me by.
I’m broken in.  There’s no collision of worlds.  We’re so darn busy that it’s a sheer delight to take some time to wash some small child’s small limbs in a quiet bath, or to read The Story of Ferdinand one more time.  Taking care of them is easy.  It’s tiring, it’s frustrating, but when I stop and take a breath, I see that it’s almost like a charade of work.  All these things, the dishes, the diapers, the spills—they must be taken care of, but they don’t matter. They aren’t who I am.
To become a mother, I had to learn how to care about someone more than I did about myself, and that was terrible.  But who I am now is something more terrible:  the protector who can’t always protect; the one with arms that are designed to hold, always having to let go.
Dear mother of only one child, don’t blame yourself for thinking that your life is hard.  You’re suffering now because you’re turning into a new woman, a woman who is never allowed to be alone.  For what?  Only so that you can become strong enough to be a woman who will be left.
When I had only one child, she was so heavy.  Now I can see that children are as light as air.  They float past you, nudging against you like balloons as they ascend.
Dear mother, don’t worry about enjoying your life.  Your life is hard; your life will be hard.  That doesn’t mean you’re doing something wrong—it means you’re doing it right.

Learning the ropes...or trying to

What an adventure this has become...I feel like half the time its a guessing game! :) And I'm a BAD guesser. I felt so guilty at the beginning...I felt like the days were going too slow and this was going to be really tough. Everone told me, "oh just enjoy it"...Now, as we have flown past Laila's two month mark, I can't believe its been two months. Time has really picked up. Every time I look at her, especially in the morning I feel like she looks so much different, there is a new little fat roll or her face has changed...its incredible to me - the human body. She is growing and changing so quickly.

It was tough at first, it still is. There are times when I think my ear drums are going to burst from the screaming. That girl has a solid set of lungs, no question! I really kind of struggled at first, first off, having no clue what I was doing I really doubted my abilities and still do at times. She would scream and scream, with  no immediate danger or pain or illness or anything that you would think would make a baby scream like someone was sitting on them.

She was never good at breast feeding from the very beginning. And never figured out how to latch on without the help of other devices. However, her efforts, from what little they were to begin with, declined quickly. She would give all the signs that "Mom! I'm starving here...please feed me before I wither away!" However, 5 seconds into trying to nurse her she would begin to scream, her body would become rigid and her abdomen would tighten. Her fists would continually throw "punches". She looked to be in so much pain, I didn't know what to do. I was sure I was doing something wrong. I couldn't figure it out. Then came the projectile vomiting, and holy cow this girl could shoot it. (We wont even go into the projectile poop - didn't know that existed??? Well it does.) She would vomit an entire feeding and then some, I swear I had no idea all that milk could fit inside such a tiny little tummy.

I grew very frustrated and really concerned. I knew I had to be doing something wrong, but I really had no idea what to do. I searched out books and online help with really no help. She was still refusing to eat, although acting desperately hungry. It took forever to try and get the milk she needed into her between the screaming. We were waking up multiple times throughout the night to deathly screams and a constant state of hunger. After talking to the pediatrician and coming to the conclusion that poor little Laila has some reflux problems, some possible intolerance to dairy (through my diet), and the oh-so-lucky condition of Cholic we've pursued some different feeding patterns, changes to Mom's diet, inclined sleeping areas, and some medication to help with the reflux. There has been a significant difference! There are still times when her body becomes so tight and rigid and she screams so strong and so loud, but were making improvement.

I still find myself doubting all the time - perhaps I was doing something wrong, perhaps we just weren't making her happy/comfortable enough. Maybe I wasn't patient enough trying to feed her.  She would seem so mad at the world and you couldn't convince her otherwise. I know there are mom's who deal with a great deal of stress and complication. We live right next to the major children's hospital for the Northwest Region and I hear so many stories of mother's who struggle with really big challenges with their babies. I can't imagine! I can't even imagine what they go through. Laila has really humbled me (thanks a lot), and I know we could be in a more difficult situation then we are in. I thank God for what he has blessed us with. That's not to stay that there are days, sometimes multiple times a day when it gets hard and feels like a guessing game.

I think often times people ask, so do you love being a mother? I found it eating me up inside to say, "oh ya! It's the best thing ever"- when inside I felt like "oh my gosh this is, well, hard. I am overwhelmed, tired and lost....its me an her all day together...just the two of us." It is the best thing (even when maybe it doesn't feel that way when you're ears are ringing and its 3 am), but I think its okay to feel at times, that this is not the best thing ever. Does that make any sense? I look at Laila, I hold her, I cuddle her and I am filled with this incredible feeling and completely awestruck that she is mine, that her little body and spirit have been given to us to help her develop and grow. I love her so much! And I think this is my best and biggest adventure. But there are times, I think, when its okay to answer the question, "Do you love being a mother?" with, "you know what, its hard, its emotional, but it'll be worth it".