Friday, May 11, 2012

Seven weeks old, twelve weeks late

Severen is 19 weeks old today! He still has 20 weeks to go before he has lived outside my belly as long as he lived inside, but he has made a lot of progress and changed our lives a lot in this short amount of time. I found a list of things that I wrote when he was just under 2 months old and, as I read it, I realized "Oh my gosh. This is getting easier." People tell you this will happen with babies and you want to believe them, but sometime it just feels so hard you can't imagine anything else. Well, here is some proof in favor of the "it gets easier/better/more rewarding" argument - some before-and-after mom-land notes for you. 

1. One of the biggest challenges is how to manage my time. And by "my time" I mean the time when Severen is napping or with his dad. If I have an hour and a half while Severen is sleeping, do I use that time to do something for the family (laundry, cleaning, dinner prep, bills, etc.) or to do something for me (yoga, working on the shop, reading, etc.)? It's not an obvious answer, most of the time, and no matter what I choose I usually end up feeling guilty. Tricky, very tricky.

12 weeks later . . . Yep, this is still hard. But three things have helped make it better. One, I take him with me on errands.  Two, he takes more predictable naps. And three, I have seriously adjusted my expectations for what can be accomplished in a day. There are some nights when we eat cheese and crackers for dinner. There are some (ok, lots) of days when the only laundry that gets done is Severen's. There are giant dust bunnies under my bed. Ehh.

2. I am amazed at how challenging breast feeding has been. I should have known that any activity that has trained specialists (i.e. lactation consultants) who make themselves available via 24-hour hotlines is not for wimps. Still, I figured doing the natural thing would be pretty self explanatory. Nuh uh. I'll be honest, I thought about giving up many times. My mom says that Severen and I are two parts of an engine. Well, after a few break downs and several tune ups I think we are back on the road again. We've nursed over 600 times now. Wow.

12 weeks later . . . Well, we've easily nursed close to 2000 times at this point. We are in the "reward" phase - all the hard work and not so good stuff we dealt with early on is paying off. People told me we would get here and we have. It is a natural part of my day/night and a relaxing time for both of us. Nursing is something I am really, really going to miss. I will never forget it.

3. As much as I miss having Soren around during the days he has to be at work, it is really awesome to have him come home in the evening and see Severen with fresh eyes. Hearing him say, "Oh he is so beautiful!" sort of pushes the re-set button for me after a long day of diaper changing and baby soothing.

12 weeks later . . . This is still true. I love watching the son-Dad reunion that happens at our house every afternoon/evening. It is mighty sweet.

4. I feel sort of bad saying it, but part of me wants Severen to grow up really fast. Why? Because I feel like as he becomes more and more himself that I will have a chance to go back to being "me." Some days (OK most days) I feel like he and I are one person. We move together, we sleep at the same times, we eat the same things . . .   I guess that is what happens when the needs of another person dictate the actions of your day. I feel a little lost in motherhood right now.

12 weeks later . . . I am feeling less lost. Most of that is due to my metal/physical healing from labor and delivery and my adjustment to a vastly different routine. I also had to get over a lot of insecurity related to being a full-time mom (I'm still working on that . . . that's a post for another time). Also, Severen IS growing up really fast. I guess I got my wish. He is getting more independent and capable every day. 

5. I am thirty-one and I am not an expert on anything. I don't have a field of study that I have mastered and I have a habit of hopping from one profession to the next, which makes it hard to build on skills. But I have the feeling that I am going to be an expert on Severen. I spend so much time with him and I just know what he needs. I wonder if I will always be to tuned-in to him or if this is just a baby thing. It is powerful, beautiful and terrifying.

12 weeks later . . . For the first time in my life, I feel really, really good at something. Something important. Thanks for that, Severen.


Mary Robert and Andrew said...

That is so precious and right on with how I felt with Claire especially and some of it Paige too. I remember wanting Claire to grow up so quickly, so I could see what her personality would be like and what she would look like. Now, with Paige, I am letting myself enjoy it all a little more. Thank you for sharing. It's always reaffirming to see that someone else feels the same way. Lots of love,

F said...

As a pregnant lady in the last month, this is really interesting reading.

I am a person who needs "me time" and I worry that will be impossible with a baby. I also figure, I'll get used to not having it just like I learned how to live without hotwater or how to wait hours for public transportation in Panama.

I've been warned about the breast feeding thing being difficult and have read four books on it. I think that is about as prepared as I am going to get and I'm sure it will be completely different once we actually have to do it.

Reading your baby posts and talking with other moms has made me realize that babies are portable. I've okayed it with the co-op to come out and work with baby. Even now I am slowing down and can only put in a couple hours at a time before my back and knees hurt, so I figure it will be the same where we'll try a half hour and see how that goes and then work out way back into a couple hour stints. Plus I can do the blog work from home. I hope this work will prevent some of the giving up my career feelings, which I've been dealing with since Jeff to his professorship last fall.

Anyways, thanks for this insite into your mama brain. :)

Jo H said...

Oh, Duff. I cherish all the momma-shopkeeper-foodee-wifely-adventurer-scavenger-treasurehunting parts of you. All of it, breasts and naps and dustbunnies aside, makes your family the amazing thing it is.

Unknown said...

Love this post! It keeps getting better - I remember nearly giving up breastfeeding so many times early on - it was so painful, but after 11 months when Isobel decided to stop nursing it took me days to get over it!

Marguerite said...

Your honesty is lovely.
My oldest of 3 (a son) and I still have a special connection; finishing each others thoughts and such. It catches us by surprise (now that he is almost 30) but it remains -- and we always smile at each other -- even on the phone there will be a pause where we both know we are smiling. I think there is something particularly special about the one-on-one time you get with the first child. It's all new learning with the first; sort of tandem learning; both working on the same love's lessons for the first time.
You may think you're in a hurry for him to grow up, but it actually sounds like you are savoring every moment! It's always good to let the natural rhythm be your guide and it certainly sounds as though you are experiencing just that. Beautiful photos!

Safer Midwifery MI said...

Lovely post Duff. It's great you have this journey in writing. With a son well on his way to four and more independent that I ever could have imagined, I find more of "myself" coming back. It's bittersweet though, because as he starts school and spends half days here and there without me, I miss him dearly. I also wanted to say I think you're brilliantly good and everything you do and cleverly talented too. Did I mention stylish and genuine, and thoughtful too? I think you have room to be very proud of the person and mamma you are Duff, no matter who you work for. What defines you is so much more!!

No Carnations said...

Duff, the connection you have with your son is a palpable thing. Defying internet space and reaching through the cosmos to find me sitting on my couch this morning and crying as I read. I have read your birth story many times. I can't stop. I have never met you but would like to say that your reflections on motherhood have been the closest I have ever come to thinking about having a child of my own. I feel affected and inspired. Thanks.

Jean Jean Vintage said...

I am so touched by your comments, ladies. Thank you for taking the time to connect with me here on the blog. I know life is busy and I really appreciate it!



steph.kelley said...

What a heartwarming and illuminating post. It's wonderful to hear that you are feeling better, settling into your family life. Your last few lines gave me goosebumps. Go Emily go Mama! xoxo

Emily said...

Such a lovely post :) Thank you so much for sharing it x

Wild Tea Party said...

I can't really understand, or even comprehend, at this stage in my life what motherhood is like, but it's nice hearing about your journey Duff (and sometimes, scares the hell out of me too!)

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