One of the tough things about being a mama to a six week old is the isolation. It’s pretty much me and the little booger alone during the day. H is off at work for 14 hours sometimes and I don’t have any new mama friends who are at home right now. Though I’m an introverted person I do crave connection. After a particularly bad day when the baby wouldn’t stop crying (she’d gotten her immunizations, poor babe) I had a melt down. It was more like an emotional tsunami…
The very next day with a slightly calmer heart, I went to a new moms group. I had found the group the week before and although I hate being new at things and I also get really uncomfortable interacting with groups of people my desperation pushed me through the door. The first week I sat back and listened getting the lay of the land. There were a lot of really friendly mamas there who I’d like to get to know. But I struggled to figure out how to make that first connection or take the first step.
Well it turns out the secret is crying, hah. I was so on edge from my emotional melt down the night before that when it came to my turn to talk during the group I lost it. I started crying when I talked about the isolation and the difficulties of navigating the relationship with your partner when your family becomes three. I was tempted to feel embarrassed, but I so desperately needed to talk honestly and have someone hear me that I kept going. I was amazed at the response. All I got from this room full of women that I didn’t know was compassion and understanding, nodding heads and sympathetic eyes. Many validated how I was feeling and had suggestions for finding more connection and support during the day.
By letting my guard down I let these women see the real me and opened myself up for genuine connection. In the past I would’ve made it seem like I had it all together and that I’m doing great, staying on the surface. I’d be disappointed after those interactions because people wouldn’t often remember me or even notice me. Now though, when I run into these moms in the neighborhood or at a mom and baby class, they say hi, they know my name. I let them see some of my struggle so they stepped up and said I see you and I’m here too. It’s a promising start and I’m learning, finally, how to make friends.
Today seems like a good day for us all to be a little bit nicer, and send a little more love out into the world. This adorable video of a little boy in love should help get you smiling.
Tired Mama and Baby (c) Open Hearted
The little booger turned one month old on Saturday. It’s been two steps forward and one step back since day one. We’re locked in a constant back and forth that I sometimes find comfort in, and sometimes find maddening. Take two nights ago. She slept for five solid hours. That is the longest chunk of uninterrupted sleep I’ve had since she was born (by two hours!). Then last night she woke up at 2 am tummy hurting and slept on and off until 10 am. Either me or H was awake the whole time comforting her as she whimpered in between sleep and wakefulness.
I know that it will get better and it will get worse. I try to accept it and stick with each moment. Though I dare you not to hope that when your infant sleeps five hours one night she’ll do it again the next.
But then I’ll notice something that’s changed one morning. Her hands are bigger, her cheeks are rounder, she smiles at the sound of my voice or laughs in her sleep for the first time. Two rough hands grab me around the shoulders and shake me awake, opening my eyes to what’s in front of me. I find the gratitude and I’m so grateful for this blessing – a sweet, healthy, little girl. By 5 pm after a day with 20 minute naps I’ll forget again, but the cycle continues.
When she finally sleeps snuggled against me, I smell her head and remember, whispering thank you, thank you, thank you out into the universe.
Favorite Moment of the Day:
I took her out of the moby wrap while she was still sleeping. She stayed scrunched up in the fetal position when I laid her down on the couch on her back. She let out a sigh and pulled her knees up to her chest and stretched her little arms high over her head, yawning.
Something to Remember – March:
The awe I felt meeting our girl the moment she was born. Seeing a life where previously there wasn’t one you can’t help but believe in some greater life force – God, the universe, whatever floats your boat. It’s a miracle no matter how you look at it. From a few tiny cells a whole life comes to be.
Nothing lifts my spirits, even if it is a gray foggy San Francisco day, like getting outside. I visited the San Francisco Botanical Garden and the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park with my in-laws the other day and it did me so much good. Baby N actually slept in the stroller for three and half hours, win! Though trying to breastfeed in the car afterward when she woke up way too hungry, nightmare. No matter what spring is at its best in San Francisco.
(c) Open Hearted
(c) Open Hearted
(c) Open Hearted
Well my brain has picked up and moved out. Beyond getting through the regular motions of my day there is nothing going on upstairs right now… I’ve gotten sick of staring down blank pages and empty computer screens. By the time I muster up the mental power needed to put a few words down I’m so exhausted with the effort that my pregnant body shuts down and instanap. I fall asleep with my laptop balancing on my belly. I’m trying to accept that it’s where I’m at today, as hard as it is.
While I wait for my mind and my ability to write anything at all to come back at least I get to look at cute baby stuff. That helps a bit.
This stuffed bunny has a nice story. When my mom was pregnant with me she bought a stuffed animal the very day she heard my heartbeat. She had a funny feeling about the bear when she saw him sitting on the shelf at the toy store. On her way home, she couldn’t even tuck him all the way in the shopping bag. She left his head peeking out. Mr. Bear became my most beloved toy when I was young. Of all the stuffed animals I had I picked him out especially.
Back to this little bunny… My mom bought him at a bookstore over the summer on a whim. When she saw him she had the same funny feeling she had when she first saw Mr. Bear. She decided she had to buy the rabbit for her future grandchild. My husband and I hadn’t mentioned that we were even thinking about having a baby. My dad of course told her it was crazy and that she shouldn’t pressure us into having kids and so on. But she bought the bunny, vowing she’d stash him away for whenever we did decide to have a baby. It turns out that I was five weeks pregnant the day she bought him. My mom’s intuition is uncanny.
Things that come in size tiny are also pretty adorable. It’s still hard to imagine that we will be putting these little booties on teeny feet that are already growing.