Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Life as a mom

Kara will be two months old this Friday and I've got to say that becoming a parent is the most difficult and stressful thing I've ever undertaken. Everyone who says that nothing can prepare you for it is also right.

Physically, I've been having what I can only assume is an average experience for someone who's given birth (although — joy of joys — my body seems to have made the oddball choice of resuming a light menstruation cycle despite the fact that I'm breastfeeding). It's been exhausting. I have no idea how the women who develop complications during the healing process manage to find the energy to feed the child, never mind do anything else.

Emotionally, I've run the gamut from being excited that I finally have the baby I've wanted for as long as I can remember, to wondering why it is that I'm taking care of a nondescript lump of flesh that looks disturbingly like my husband, and back to eagerly anticipating the person she'll be in ten years, or two, or tomorrow.

Mentally, this has been incredibly difficult. Knowing that my emotional state has been hugely influenced by rapidly changing hormones makes me suspect that any negativity I feel is simply biologically-induced. I've been dismayed at how comparatively little support I've gotten in relation to what support I thought I'd have, then adamant about pulling through any way. I've been disheartened at how weak the communication between Matt and I can be (especially when we're this sleep-deprived), then grateful for the ways he takes on responsibilities to make things less stressful for me.

Overall, it seems to all be a completely normal experience as a new mother. Still, I am currently completely mystified as to how anyone does this more than once. I can only assume that, as things get easier, they get much easier. Regardless, two months (and counting!) is a long time for me to be in a sleep-deprived and emotionally unstable place. I think I'll probably have to do a great deal of mulling things through before I decide whether or not to have more children.

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At Tue Jun 08, 04:48:00 pm GMT-4, Blogger Stacy said...

Your experience DOES sound totally, completely normal – but saying that doesn’t relay the type of empathy you deserve. My heart goes out to both you and Matt, because my wee family has been in the same place. The only thing I can offer, besides the requisite “It gets easier” (because it really does), is that you need to cut yourself some slack. No matter what anyone says, it takes MONTHS to recover physiologically and emotionally from the hormonal shit show that is pregnancy and birth. Combine that with extreme sleep deprivation and the greatest responsibility you’ve ever undertaken and you’re looking at a recipe for hard times.

I’ll go on record saying the weeks following the birth of my son were some of the most difficult I’ve experienced in my lifetime. But here I am, just weeks away from doing it all again. Masochist? Maybe. But I know now I can get through it. And I have total faith that you will too. Hang in there.

At Wed Jun 09, 03:52:00 pm GMT-4, Blogger Austin said...

I suspect decisions to have further children hinge on extreme sleep deprivation, and glances at one's retirement fund.

At Thu Jun 10, 08:18:00 am GMT-4, Anonymous Kevin said...

I think if people based their decisions on their retirement funds, most people wouldn't ever have the first one, much less more than one. ;)

Hang in there, Leah! I'm already looking forward to beach parties of the future with the little rugrats bouncing around and entertaining everyone. :)

At Thu Jun 10, 03:37:00 pm GMT-4, Anonymous Laura S said...



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