Coping as a new mom

29 May 2012

I confess that I did not love the first few months of motherhood. When I brought my son home I found myself completely overwhelmed. He was a hungry boy who fed every hour to 2 hours. I had already been freaked out at the thought of 4-hourly feeds, which had shocked me back in antenatal classes.

He was refluxy. So he would feed, he would vomit, he would cry, I would cry, I would try feed him some more, he would cry some more, I would make a bottle, he would cry more, I would cry more, I would phone my mom.

And so my days went by with my mom rushing over at the drop of a hysterical phone call. She would swoop in, pick Dyl up, bath him and he would sleep for 2 hours. How she did it I still do not know.

I used to drag myself off to the clinic and have to physically restrain myself from punching the well-meaning folk who told me “It gets better at 6 weeks”. Well, they lied. It didn’t get better at 6 weeks, it may have got better by 8 but I think by then it was simply a case of having accepted this as my new normal. I also had got to know my boy so I could finally decode the various shrieks.

I managed to stop phoning my husband all day begging him to come home. I was “coping”. At about 6 months, I realised I had come through the worst. I was not unscathed. Nor was Dyl. But he was still alive and so we were winning.

And then along came Evan. “They” say it is better and easier the second time around, and in my case this really was the truth. Whether it was because I had already made life changes to be a mom so it wasn’t such a shock to my system, or because I was a lot more relaxed because I knew what to expect, or because she was a girl, whatever it was: I loved it.

I loved every moment of holding this little person. And hold her I did. I knew I wasn’t going to spoil her, I knew she needed to be close to me. I knew she would want to feed often and I made sure I had nothing else going on so I could do just that. What a different experience and what a calmer child.

If you are a first-time mom you may feel like you are not coping and that you are “failing” your baby. That is the lot of the first child I guess; they are forging a path and helping you become a mom. I feel sorry that Dyl had such a tough time with me in the beginning: maybe that is why newborns have no conscious memory.

My only advice now to new moms is this: try, try not to wish this squishy, special time away. Because you will one day long for it again. Believe it or not...

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