The Fourth Trimester

Friday, April 12, 2019

Holy cow, parenthood. I've had all sorts of people ask: was it what you expected? Absolutely not. Don’t get me wrong, I love and adore my child, but no one told me anything I actually needed to know to prepare for her arrival, lol. It’s like some hidden secret and it slaps you in the face once they’re born. Why does no one feel the need to share the raw truths of parenthood? 

I don’t want to scare anyone. Who knows? Maybe this is just my experience, but from what I have heard from other new moms, it’s pretty normal.

Let's start off with the fact that the first week of Sawyer’s life, I was sleeping MAYBE 1-2 hours a day (and it was broken into increments of 30 min here, 15 min there, little dozes on and off). I completely made myself miserable. I was too scared to sleep. I thought SIDS was a dark cloud that would pass over my child and suck her up if I closed my eyes. Well, SIDS doesn’t exactly work like that. Of course we don’t exactly know what causes SIDS, but mama’s please rest. If you’re taking the right safety measures and precautions, they will be ok! Sawyer wouldn’t sleep anywhere but on my chest, so that prevented me from getting any rest until she began sleeping in her bassinet (at 3 weeks old). Travis and I actually moved to the living room for the first month so I could sit/sleep in an upright position with her on my chest (no pillows, a blanket covering my legs). He would shake me or call my name if he was awake and thought I needed to re-adjust her. We moved the ottoman into the corner of the couch so that she couldn’t fall off. She also wore her owlet every single night and has since birth. By the way, if you don't have an owlet monitor, it's a must!

 Sleep (or lack there of) was definitely the hardest part for me, and still is. I don’t function well with no sleep. I think that no sleep definitely led to some intense baby blues and borderline postpartum depression. I told myself before going in that I would not develop postpartum depression and that everything would be ok, I’d get past it, I was stronger than any sort of emotional disorder, I had my faith. Well ladies, it works like that to an extent, but some things are out of our control.. like hormones. Do I think I had it? Not exactly, but I do know the baby blues were real!! Never be afraid to talk to your friends, family, nurses, your spouse, etc. I cried.. a lot.. but I never was afraid to show my frustrations or my tears. I think if you hide it, it can become very disabling and dangerous.

Breastfeeding was another contributing factor to my baby blues. It’s SO HARD!! But once again, who knew? Not me, because no one felt the need to tell me. If you can’t breastfeed, do not beat yourself up. If you can, do not let any one make you feel like you shouldn’t. Breastfeeding is so pushed in the beginning, like if you don’t, you’re shorting your child. Then around a month or so, it’s frowned upon. When are you going to start giving her formula? Have you thought any about formula? Just give her formula, she will be fine. Are you still giving her breastmilk? I get this on the reg. I just tell myself that I’m doing what works for Sawyer and we are both happy, which is all that matters. 

While we're on the topic of breastfeeding, let's normalize it. I'm so tired of people thinking breastfeeding is trashy, gross or some sort of sexual act. God gave women a wonderful gift to be able to nourish our children with our bodies. To me it's beautiful..

The first month, baby is literally on the boob 24/7. I think back and laugh at myself at the fact that I thought I would clean house, blog, do all of the things while on maternity leave. I remember sitting in my room sobbing (on several occasions) because she wanted to nurse 24/7. At times my boobs felt like they were going to fall off. I was starving, I had to pee (or change my huge hospital grade pad- ugly truth), but I had to sit there and suck it up because Sawyer was nursing.. for hours. By the way, I had no idea that I would be bleeding for a month and a half. I would tell Travis that he needed to change her butt so I could go change mine, lol. It’s so hard to care for a newborn and also care for yourself + take care of this huge wound inside of your body.

Another thing though, it’s normal for babies to cluster feed. Their growth rate in the beginning is extremely fast. Around week 3, I was balling my eyes out on the phone with Travis, telling him that I didn’t think I would be able to breastfeed much longer- it’s just SO demanding. I’m glad I stuck it out though, because it does get easier (a lot easier) + once I healed things got a lot better for me (both physically and emotionally).

Travis went back to work super quick (the week Sawyer was born). Because of this, I let him sleep throughout the night and I did night shifts.. well, all shifts. If I could change ANYTHING about the first couple of months, it would have been to let him help. I was/am SO picky about everything and wanted to do it all myself. I wore myself flat out, and again ended up in tears almost daily. Note to new moms: Let dad’s help. Let them mess up. Let them learn with you because if you never let them, they won’t learn, and they miss out on important bonding time with their kid. I'm not bashing Travis at all. He is a great dad, it just takes most men longer to learn. They don’t have that instinct that we as mothers have. If you’re breastfeeding, or decide to, it does limit with what they can help with. Travis would clean house, cook, run errands in order to help out. If it wasn’t for him cooking my meals, I probably would have eaten.

 Months 3-4 have been the most enjoyable. By now, we know what her cries mean and what she needs. We take her out with us and she’s pretty chill! 

She pretty much has a set schedule/routine. She sleeps well for the most part, but every now and then she’s thrown off by a growth spurt or developmental leap, and we have off weeks. Those weeks can feel like months when you work 40 hours a week and are sleep deprived, but she’s worth it all. If you're wondering how returning to work is going.. it sucks! But that's a story for another day. 

It may seem like I’m complaining or I hate motherhood. I LOVE motherhood and my daughter, and would do it over and over again for her. I mean, I'm already ready for another one. Yeah, it's hard but she is my reason for living- my joy, my drive, my happy tears, my everything. 

Any way, it’s all still a learning game and I’m excited to watch her grow. I totally get why people say “don’t blink” because it’s soooo true- it goes by so fast. The past 4 months have been a blur and I really hope time slows down. But regardless of how bad this all may sound, soak in every moment of pregnancy and the newborn stage because you'll wish you had it back!



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