Wednesday, March 1, 2017

The Transition to Motherhood

I'm almost 5 months postpartum & I finally feel like I'm starting to get the hang of things. I'm not completely oblivious to know that tomorrow, "things" may be totally different, but as I'm writing this today, I'd like to think that Ruby & I are starting to get into the groove of mother/daughter-hood.

My undergraduate degree is in Child Development. So basically when I got pregnant last year I thought to myself, "This is what I spent four years in college for. I'm totally prepared for this." Ha! Everything I "thought" I knew about raising a child went out the window at 3:43 PM on October 5, 2016.

I soon realized I had no idea about breastfeeding, diaper rashes, what each cry meant & so much more. I really tried to prepare myself before Ruby came by reading books, taking classes, etc., but after she got here & we came home from the hospital, I had one thing on my mind... SLEEP. Everyone tells you before you have a baby, "You better sleep while you can!" And while I understand what they're trying to say, I still had the mentality that sleep doesn't carry over. Man, I wish it did. (Of course, I'd like to meet the woman out there who has slept amazingly the last few weeks of pregnancy, because I was miserable & even if I wanted to carry over "extra" sleep before having Ruby, I couldn't.)

The first month of Ruby's life was the absolute hardest month of my life so far. I was determined to breastfeed & thought I was doing spectacular until we took Ruby to her first doctor appointment when they told us she had lost more weight than they wanted her to after leaving the hospital. So we went home & stuck to a strict two hour feeding schedule. Convinced that she "felt heavier," two days later we went for a weight check where she had lost a pound. I tried to keep my cool for both of those appointments, but the moment we got in the car, I lost it. It's amazing all of the hormones your body throws at you right after you have a baby! I'm also pretty confident I cried continuously throughout the first month... Fun stuff, those hormones!

So, we continued a strict two hour feeding schedule (& when I say strict, I mean, I was pretty crazy about it) plus we supplemented with some formula each time. Even though I was determined to breastfeed, I was totally okay with supplementing as long as it meant that Ruby was healthy.

And therefore, THAT began the longest month of my life.

Once Ruby finally hit birth weight though, we stopped using formula. I fully understand why people don't breastfeed. I was considering stopping when Ruby just wasn't gaining weight. Andrew said to me multiple times, "Do you want to stop? It's okay to stop." And I'm so grateful that I had a person in my life that told me it was okay to stop. Because it is. But I told myself I was going to keep trying, & I'm proud to say, I stuck with it. There have been so many moments where I'm crying because she won't eat & she's crying because she's mad at me for trying to "make her." It's been a journey to say the least. I know so many women who absolutely love it, & for me personally, there's only been a handful of moments when I'm feeding her & I think, "Okay, this is pretty great." I will say though, how awesome it is that God designed our bodies to be able to feed our babies. It's pretty amazing.

The transition to motherhood hasn't been as easy as I pictured in my mind. Google HAS TO know I'm a new mom because I literally Google everything. Motherhood is something completely new for me. Daughterhood is something completely new for Ruby. It's a daily learning experience. We find out what works like reading books & singing before nap time, & what doesn't work like trying to give her a bath without Andrew here (let's just say we were both in tears the other night).

I have my moments, Ruby has hers. Some days I get things accomplished, other days I'm lucky if I brush my teeth. Okay, just kidding, I always have to brush my teeth. Having a kid changes everything. Your marriage changes. Your friendships change. Your hobbies change. Your free time changes. YOU change. But I'm starting to learn how to adapt to these changes.

The bottom line is this: I absolutely love being a mom. I tell Andrew all the time that I feel like I was made for this. It's really, really hard work (like I think I should be getting paid more ha!) but for today, at this moment in time, I think I'm starting to get the hang of it.

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