Friday, July 18, 2014

New Mom Syndrome

When you're pregnant and you say something absurd - it's baby brain or placenta brain.  When you say something absurd in those first few days of post-pregnancy life, it's sleep deprivation or post baby brain.  What happens when your child is eight months old and you are still struggling to be the human being you once were?  You have, what I like to call, New Mom Syndrome.  It falls into the category of things I wish I had known before I had a baby.  With my work teammate, Jordan, scheduled for induction ONE WEEK from yesterday (woohoo Baby B!) - I decided to write seven things I think people should know before the baby arrives.  Some of these things I was given some warning about, some of these things I had to learn for myself.  Here goes...

1. Baby Brain is not relegated to pregnancy.  Throughout my pregnancy, I felt as though I had a pretty good handle on things.  I only left my cell phone at the grocery store once. (Thank God for the honest person who turned it in to the customer service station.) I remembered doctor's appointments. I remembered birthdays and anniversaries.  Like I said I had a good handle on things. After Natalie was born "thing" became the most frequent word used in my vocabulary.  Word retrieval was at all an time low.  I promise, it gets better. 

2. You can function on far less sleep than you realize.  There were days when I was home with Natalie, after Brandon had gone back to work, that I would take care of her, actually shower and shave my legs, clean the house and do laundry on approximately 2.5 hours of sleep. How?!  Before Natalie, I thought I knew what tired was.  Now... now I think I was previously a very whiny little girl. Sometimes when I would realize how much I had done on so little sleep, I would think "hot damn, I AM ALL THAT IS MOM". 

3. Do NOT feel selfish for needing some "me" time.  You are not a bad person for needing some time to regroup.  You have had another human being sucking the life out of you for almost a year.  That little human is going to sleep for at least an hour after a feeding - leave the little nugget with Daddy for some bonding time and go walk around Target or Lowe's or Home Goods.  I remember walking into Lowe's for the first time after having Natalie.  It was just me and a hot chocolate I had picked up at Wegmans.  It was glorious.  The holiday decorations were on display and I just walked the aisles and looked at them all.  It made me excited for Christmases with Natalie and Brandon. I was gone maybe 30-40 minutes, but afterwards I felt like a brand new woman. I was recharged and so excited about life with that little girl.

Confession: sometimes, when I am desperate to have time to myself, I tell Brandon I have to pee and I spend an absurd amount of time in the bathroom.  I catch up on blogs and read recipes. I just take a little mini-break.  The man probably thinks I am taking a ridiculous poop and that's totally ok with me.  He watched the doctor break my water, pretty sure the idea of me pooping is far less offensive to him than that!

4. Do NOT under my circumstances try on your pre-pregnancy clothes during the first two weeks months after you have that baby.  Unless you are a freak of nature, which you might be, there is a good chance they won't fit.  THAT IS NORMAL. It's best to try and avoid that meltdown.  You are doing a great job taking care of your baby and yourself.  Enjoy leggings, sweatpants and pj's while you can, friend.  You don't have to look like a fully functional human being while you are home with that sweet little bundle of joy. In fact, I wish I had taken more advantage of the leggings, oversized t-shirt, messy bun look.

4a.  Along that same vein, your body is going to change and there is a chance that your clothes just will not fit the same way.  As Shakira told us all in 2005, the hips don't lie.  I have lost the baby weight and then some and my clothes still don't fit right, and in some cases, they don't even button. Do not feel badly about it. You carried a human around inside your body and then violently pushed said human being out of your body.  And some of you had that human being surgically removed from your body.  Seriously.  We are warriors.  Honestly, it's a wonder more damage is not done to our bodies during pregnancy and delivery.  If wider hips are the price to pay, I would still do it again.

5. People are going to weird you out and drive you insane.  You thought the touching your belly when pregnant was weird - just wait.  Strangers are going to want to see your baby and they are going to give you unsolicited advice.  One of the first times I took Natalie out, I had a woman behind me in line at the grocery store pull Natalie's blanket up under her chin while scolding me for bringing a baby out in the cold like that.  I held it together in the store and as soon as we were in the car I cried for probably twenty minutes.  Recently, I had an elderly woman at Target scold me because Natalie did not have shoes on.  Seriously lady - mind your own dang business.  This time I did not cry, I just rolled my eyes.  When Brandon and I were down the shore, we had a woman outside of Walmart get out of her car and ask to see the baby.  Umm, what? Just roll with the punches but do not be afraid to have boundaries. 

6. If you are a schedule oriented person, good luck keeping that up.  If you are the type of person who goes with the flow, get used to a schedule.  You are not in control.  That teeny tiny bundle of joy is going to be determining when you eat, sleep, pee and breathe.  S/He is in charge now. Not you. The sooner you stop trying to be in control, the better.  You will quickly learn that schedule that your little eat-sleep-poop machine likes to keep.  Every now and then, curve balls will be thrown that will make you think your small human is destined to be a major league pitcher.  It's just a matter of finding the right balance of going with the flow and keeping the schedule your small friend has set for you.  It gets easier.  I promise.

7. You're doing a much better job than you are giving yourself credit for.  I would beat myself up if I didn't get to everything I had planned for the day or when I didn't get everything on my grocery list because Natalie was only 10 days new and I didn't track her last feeding and she was howling in the store. I was a first time mom with a very
tiny new human. I had no idea what I was doing. It gets better and it gets easier. You will get better at it and feel more confident with time.  You have that kid's whole life to screw him/her up, don't sweat the small stuff.  Honestly, give it a few months and you will barely remember the rough parts of those first few weeks but you will never forget that happiness and love you felt.

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