HOLY SMOKES. The last 10 weeks has been a sleep deprived blur of a lot of “this little girl is the coolest thing” feelings and a lot of tears because i’m so overwhelmed with caring for her. This post is gonna highlight some of my thoughts on motherhood so far.
Bonding with Jojo.
It takes me a really long time to bond with people and feel comfortable around them so I was kinda curious to see how motherhood would feel to me. I didn’t feel connected to her at all when she was growing inside of me. I didn’t feel disconnected, I just kinda felt neutral. I wonder if women with different personalities than mine experience connection to/feelings about their baby quicker/differently than I did. I didn’t feel this intense bond to her as soon as she came out either. Everything just felt surreal…and a lot of times still does. For Andrew and I both it still feels very crazy that she lives with us haha.
I will say it feels very natural to take care of her and it’s really hard for me to be away from her. As we’ve spent the last 10 weeks together my favorite way to describe my feelings towards her is uncomplicated love. It feels easy and effortless to love her. That said, there are plenty of times I have to put her down and walk out of the room because she won’t stop crying and I need a break from her.
One funny thing is I keep calling Joanna “Maggie” lol. I’ve had 4 years to bond with Maggie and only 10 weeks to bond with Jojo so I’m still working on calling her the right name haha.
(the below baby joggers are the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.)
Moms deserve to be okay too.
I feel like my birth with her was so much about me and giving me a certain experience, which I’m fine with because I deserve to be taken care of too. I’m not sure what I’m trying to say here. All I know is that it’s been a transition for me going from focusing so heavily on my own self-care to focusing so heavily on providing care for another person. I’ve had people say “before becoming a mom you’re so selfish and motherhood makes you less selfish”…and I really hate that. I do think that is true, but for me being selfish isn’t a bad thing. I was able to recover from an eating disorder + stop being so self-loathing + standing up to my inner critic by becoming a bit more selfish and starting to care for myself. I love taking care of Jo and getting to learn how to be a mom, but mom’s deserve to be okay too. So I’m figuring out this balancing act of being there for my little girl and being there for myself.
Hardest part of motherhood so far.
I think the hardest part of motherhood has been having to depend on other people and asking for help. Even having to depend on Andrew so much is hard for me. I’m a very independent person and I don’t like needing other people. In the career path I’ve chosen I think this part of my personality is a total asset, but in a lot of ways being so independent is a liability when I really do need help. My little sister encouraged me to be needy not in a complain-y/helpless way, but in a way that lets people serve and love me well. So I’m trying my best to ask for help when I need it.
Most helpful thing.
Eat-play-sleep cycle from Babywise. I read zero books on babies and have just relied on advice from my friends who are moms. Several moms mentioned using this cycle with their kiddos. You feed the baby and then let them play (they should be awake for the length of time that aligns with their age on the chart below) then once they show their first sign of getting tired (i.e. fussiness) you swaddle them (or start your naptime wind down routine) and get them sleeping.
For the past week from 8pm to midnight Joanna is a screaming mess and doesn’t sleep much in that timeframe (and the eat-play-sleep cycle goes out the window), but usually once we get her to sleep she’ll sleep for 3-6 hours. Andrew reminds me that at least we have 12 hours of the day where we have a plan and don’t feel so chaotic even if nighttime is really unpredictable right now. It’s been helpful to learn that babies don’t know how to fall asleep and that’s why they’re crying. They’re sleepy and don’t know how to stop being sleepy so you have to teach them how to fall asleep. That helps me not get as frustrated with Jojo’s fussiness and just try to care for her well. That said…I’d say I’m still breaking down crying 1-2 times a week…usually during that stretch from 8pm-midnight that is so tough for Joanna for whatever reason.
This cycle has also made it super easy for us to see how Andrew can help. If she’s fed, she needs to be played with and then put back to sleep and those are two things he can do. In the beginning of Jo’s life I really didn’t know what to have Andrew do. I didn’t want us both to be sleep deprived and I wanted him sleeping, but him sleeping annoyed me…even if she was hungry and I needed to feed her and there was nothing he could do. My mom told me going into motherhood that there is so much to do that no matter how much your spouse is helping it can be easy to feel they’re doing nothing.
Andrew does a good job of stepping back when he gets overwhelmed and comes up with a new way to approach the situation, whereas I’m just like let’s keep doing the same thing and make ourselves miserable. Our sleep routine right now involves slowly swaying the hanging yarn art on the wall until Jo falls asleep lol. Andrew figured out this “technique” and it puts her to sleep almost every time.
Marriage with kids
I think having kids has to be extremely hard on marriages. Pre baby I never felt like Andrew and I needed date nights because from pretty much the day we got married everything always seemed so easy. But now that we’ve got a baby I see how important date nights and time alone for just the two of us is gonna be. Super grateful we have parents close by to support us with this.
Getting Joanna to take a bottle. I’m going back to work and her not loving the bottle stresses me out. People say if she’s hungry enough she’ll eat it, but it’s this fine line of her needing to be hungry enough but not overly hungry because then she’ll get fussy and there’s no way she’s taking it.
She’s taken it a few times, but it’s hard because (again) I have to rely on other people to help me with this. A lot of what I’ve read says breastfeeding moms shouldn’t be giving the bottle (I guess bc Jo knows my smell and would prefer the boob). Andrew, my mom, and Andrew’s mom have had some luck giving her the bottle…but it’s kinda hit or miss. I’m hoping the nanny we hired can help a lot with getting bottle feeding well established. If we have other kids I would want to start the bottle a bit earlier than we did this time. Maybe right around 1 month. If you have any tips on how you got your baby to take a bottle, I’d love to hear them!
Days filled with uncomplicated love and being overwhelmed. That sums up motherhood so far for me!