#2638 Smiles

Don’t you think it’s interesting that during the most difficult newborn phase, you start getting smiles?

That’s been the case from around a couple of weeks ago when I got my first social smile… and now while we are right in the middle of the toughest stage, we are getting them daily.

Like this morning. Baby boy gave me the sweetest smile/laugh, and I swear it’s timely and it’s like he wants me to forget about the hell-ish night that was…

It kinda works. πŸ€·β€β™€οΈβ€

#2635 Advice that is ‘something’

Sometimes the right advice or perspective can change your life.

I read a lot of newborn/baby articles and posts at the moment. Consequently I get recommended a lot of videos and reels on the same topic. I read one such blog post today, centring on a mother’s perspective looking back on the newborn days, missing them (😲) and what she would tell her younger mummy self.

Her first piece of advice is the best, and is something i really needed to hear/read.

It read that you’re not going to die from lack of sleep, no matter how sleep-deprived you are. Keeping track of hours slept per night (something I’m super guilty of) won’t help either… just accept feeling like a zombie and move on.

Not the most hopeful piece of advice, but nonetheless real, and it gave me strength in realising I was not alone in this.

And sure, easier said than done now that she’s passed it… meanwhile I’m in it, unsure of when the end is. That is the tough bit.

But it still offered me a bit of perspective. Sure, there are nights where I am exhausted beyond belief. Actually who am I kidding, even a 6 hour accumulation of sleep in one night leaves me tired because 6 weeks of sleep deprivation can’t be fixed in one night.

However, hearing from those on the other side that it’s normal to feel this way? Well, it’s something. Still freaking hard. But something.

#2633 In the eye of the storm

We’re in the middle of a storm (and no, it’s not the literal one that surprised us all in Melbourne yesterday).

The feels are the same though: hanging, ominous, end-of-the-world dark clouds; helplessness and frustration over the current conditions; and a bleak outlook for the future.

The storm I speak of is the newborn storm, particularly the 6 week stage.

Now I don’t wanna speak only badly about this phase. There is a certain beauty, innocence and wonder about these first weeks of your child’s life as you get a front-row seat to watching them work it all out, growing from newborn to infant before your very eyes, while reminding you of the miracle of life and how precious it really is.

But anyone who has been through this phase would also know just how testing, tiring and traumatising the newborn stage can be. The stage WE find ourselves in.

But it is only the case, ‘right now.’ I heard those words today from a social media influencer, saying if you add the words ‘right now’ to a stressful situation you are going through, it reframes the situation and helps you to see that this is temporary and will pass.

I am getting no sleep right now.
My child is extra fussy right now.
I find myself struggling big time right now.

The rephrasing provides hope, consolation and brighter days to look forward to. And like the snap storm we had roll over our skies this morning, we’ll find that the other side of it will be waiting for us as today was too – with bright blue skies, a sunny outlook, and the feeling like ‘did it ever even happen?’… πŸ™

Photo by Roberto Nickson on Pexels.com

#2632 All their care

Hubbie has been amazing. I’m looking after baby boy – feeding, changing, comforting, rocking to sleep, along with so much more – while he has been looking after all of us.

He’s up at night in an instant if I need it, and he’s doing almost all the ‘house’ jobs, as well as tending to the yard and still working full time.

I tell him he’s the best, but he says I am, calling himself the Pippen to my Jordan.

Awww. Omg. Huge compliment.

He hasn’t been alone in his care. Baby girl has been something else. She’s old enough to recognise my silent cries for help, to read the exhaustion in my face, and she doesn’t ignore the tears either. She often gives me hugs and kisses, telling me I’m doing great, affirming to me to keep positive.

Saying everything is gonna be alright.

But tonight was the clincher. I got worried once again about how the night would proceed, and the distress was written all over my face.

I went upstairs with baby boy to begin the lengthy night, and it was only once Hubbie joined me upstairs after putting her to bed that he told me what she did.

Once I had gone up, she had stood at the bottom of the stairs, both fingers crossed, looking upstairs, whispering “please please please let him sleep tonight.”

Awww. πŸ₯²

On these still-too-frequent long and difficult nights, having the love and care of hubbie and baby girl is the difference between going insane and getting by… bit by bit.

Cry by cry.

Wake by wake.

Night by night. πŸ™β€πŸ™β€

#2626 His photo shoot

Aside from the intense screaming and crying…

Baby boy had a photo shoot today. Swaddled in blue, it brought out his beautiful eyes, and it’s something I’m trying hard to hold onto as I enter into the most intense newborn period.

People keep telling me it’ll get easier… meanwhile I’m just finding it harder and harder.

But, blue eyes. Beautiful blue eyes. πŸ’™πŸ’™

#2616 Heaven sent

Or just family-sent, but in my case it feels same-same.

I had a really rough night the night before. 2 hours sleep type rough night. Chuck overall newborn sleep deprivation, confusion, hormones, conflicting advice, too much information and overwhelm into the mix, and you end up with a very sad and spent new newborn mama.

My parents and sister came over on the perfect day, the day which was actually the worst day, today.

They provided love, comfort, advice, positive words and validation, support, food and sleep (I napped while they watched baby boy).

I’m now going into the nights with cautious hope, some semblance of confidence, and the knowledge that bad days are part and parcel of this stage… but I am getting there slowly, just as all newborn mamas have gotten there before me.

Moment by moment. Hour by hour. Day by day.

Thank God for people like this. So grateful to my family. πŸ™β€πŸ˜˜πŸ˜˜

#2613 Post-partum musings and survival

My, how things can change in a day. Both for good, AND bad.

Parenthood is a rollercoaster. Yesterday I was laughing about my newfound love of MAFS, feeling confident at my combined 8 hours of sleep from mid-week (broken into 5 blocks of course), and I also totally smashed out the evening routine… after I fed baby boy and put him down, he lay there happily looking about, eyeing out his owl mobiles on the cot, while I did the dishes, unloaded the dishwasher, made some rice, and got almost all of dinner underway, as well as putting on washing and taking it in.

I was so pumped, I very nearly decided to walk to a cafe with him early morning, but alas it was near feeding time and you cannot delay a newborn’s meal time.

Alas, today, the complete opposite. Overnight was hard. So very hard. Combined awake time for 3 hours, and then after a very short nap, baby boy woke, extremely irritated, fussy, crying. Nothing seemed to appease him.

Perhaps the worst of it? My mental state. I had reached my limit. After 3 weeks of lacklustre sleep, I could barely keep my eyes open. The fatigue was debilitating, and I was struggling not just with that, but with the mental capacity to hold him, tend to him, keep him happy, work out what was wrong, etc.

Today when he wouldn’t stop crying as I tried to prepare my breakfast, I kinda lost the plot.

I had reached the end point. I couldn’t do it anymore.

I get emails from COPE, and have been since I was registered with the hospital where I had baby boy. They send information relating to your stage of the journey from pregnancy, all the way to the 4th trimester, post-partum with baby. It stands for Centre of Perinatal Excellence, and I have been enjoying the emails, taking refuge and insight into information that might be helpful to me.

Today though, the email topic was about self-care. I could’ve laughed if I didn’t have tears running down my cheek.

‘Surround yourself with a village, to help you achieve much needed self-care.’ Reading that sentiment, I never felt more alone.

Feeling physically isolated is one thing. But feeling the emotional isolation is a whole other damning ball-game. I don’t have the luxury of people stopping in, providing me with relief, support, a shoulder to cry on. Everyone is too far. everyone is too busy.

People think that the days surrounding coming home with baby are the most important. In many ways, people crowd you and are there all at once – then promptly leave you alone to your own devices.

Your mental thoughts, and your very, very tough, devices.

Don’t get me wrong. I have had much support from friends and family around me… via text. But my situation is damning in more ways than one. Because I can’t be bothered, I’m tired, I don’t know what to say… yet at the same time I need someone so bad, someone to puncture the monotony of the day, to make the helplessness go away.

The baby blues are a real thing. Could it be more? I’m not sure. My mood from starting this post to the end has already shifted, and so it goes that of course my hormones are still going a mile a minute, heading in one direction before promptly putting on the brakes and heading elsewhere.

Some people don’t know how easy they have it. One influencer I follow on social media who had her baby boy a month before I did, posted an honest account of how she looks so put-together so soon after giving birth… she said it’s only because she has dozens of family, friends, all kinds of people coming in and out of her house, helping her with the baby, helping her get by.

She has a village. Many, many people don’t.

I never felt so alone as I did after reading that. I had Hubbie for just over two weeks, but he needs to work. He had to go back to work this week. And I am left struggling and balancing the physical and mental load of caring for two children, one who is finding his way in the world, and then there’s me, who is struggling finding herself after wanting another child for so long.

The baby blues don’t discriminate. Depression doesn’t discriminate with what you wanted, who you were, where you are. your age, your hair colour, whether you write a gratitude blog or not.

The nights are long… and the days follow suit. Sunlight is there, but what use is it when you are cooped up all day in the house, tending to a crying, fussing baby?

I love my baby, so, so much. But three weeks of physical and mental exhaustion, and I am so, so tired.

So, where is the gratitude here? I’ve nearly survived a week. A week where Hubbie has been back at work. It has been incredibly hard. I try to remind myself that this time now is the hardest… maybe we will get relief at times… maybe things will regress, again.

The unknowingness has me rattled. Has me stressed.

I know I have made it this far. It’s just fucking hard. And to think, I prayed for this for so long.

Again, depression doesn’t discriminate.

#2611 March already

I’m grateful for two big things.

  1. Baby boy is 3 weeks old today. πŸ’™β€
  2. It’s March!

To think he arrived into the world early Feb, and now we are in March. Most days, and all nights have been long, but the fact that the month has ticked over and he is close to being a month old, gives me hope that some days now will go quicker, pass easier, and bring more smiles than cries from him.

Despite the hardships, I AM trying to enjoy the little moments… him falling asleep on my chest. The way he smiles/laughs in his sleep.

We’re getting there. πŸ™πŸ₯°