I am hormonal… AGAIN!

I thought I would get over the hormonal hump post pregnancy and pre-menopause… WHAT IS HAPPENING?

I look at my baby as she sleeps with little fists at either sides of her sweet little chubby face and start to tear up. I was trying to sing a song to her about how much I love her- ad lib- because I am that good, and I started crying! What the heck man? I am not a crier, not really. I only cry when I am really mad or really happy but not often and not this easily. I am perturbed and absolutely baffled as to why I am still so hormonal… is this permanent? Another symptom of parenthood that has conveniently been forgotten from the flood of advice and warnings I received while I was pregnant?

Why do I possess this strong tendency to shed tears when I see my baby reaching out with her little stubby hands through the crib bars to touch me? Why do the human lacrimal fluids (scientific description of “tears”) become apparent every time she looks at me and genuinely, sincerely and whole heartedly smiles?

This phenomenon must have an explanation, a rational and logical analysis that will give me some hope of becoming my old, non-crying self again. I am appalled when she smiled at me in the dollar store and mumbled what I know sounded suspiciously close to “mama” (wasn’t but I am entitled to hear what I want ok???) anyway, I actually stopped the stroller and went “Did you just call me mama?” and there it was… a clear liquid drop from the corner of my right eye. I blame the strong cheap incense smell in the aisle and the strange blue chemical seeping out of the candy package hanging next to the socks (I’m not sure why candy is next to clothing anyway, hey it’s the dollar store, you can’t really question much). I digress. I was crying.

Why?

I have no clue.

It was embarrassing. I left. I actually walked out of the dollar store with nothing which is rare and almost impossible for me since I always buy something from the dollar store because let’s face it- it’s ONLY a dollar!!

A close friend who reads my blogs made me realize that my daughter is not yet 6 months old. I was counting by weeks which is funky since some months have five weeks and so on but that would mean her birthday would change every year which would be fun but not practical (sorry for the run on  sentence). So I realized if we are counting by months, then my daughter will not be 6 months until January 17. Which is awesome for me because I thought I was growing old too quickly … and thanks to my friend, my baby’s birthday will not vary each year and be inconsistent like my moods and hormones (which are the reason I wrote this blog to begin with!)
On to an important topic that I want to discuss before I close. Christmas. What’s the deal with parents going out and buying a million toys for their kids. Really? Is that what the theme is now? Who gets the best toy or the biggest doll or the shiniest train? Why have we forgotten the real meaning of Christmas? Santa Claus, a legendary and mythical man who GIVES gifts to children on Christmas Eve. Christmas is about giving and that is what I want to teach my baby. I am no scrooge and you better believe that I will be buying her gifts and wrapping them and putting them under the tree. However, I want to teach her the true meaning of the season. In our faith, Christmas means the birth of a saviour who wanted to gift us with a very special gift- his life. In turn, every Christmas, I want to teach her the true meaning of giving. Go out and do some sort of community service or donate a certain amount of money to a charity we choose together. I want her to eventually donate some of her toys to children who are in need and have less that she does. Is that wrong?

Am I the Grinch?

My husband and I have differing opinions and approaches and I think that this is due to our backgrounds and upbringing. I am sure she will be spoiled by her grandparents and that is a given. I am also sure that she will be excited Christmas morning to see what Santa left for her under the tree. Nevertheless, I want her to look forward to a family tradition like baking cookies or singing carols together as a family. That is my hope for the coming year- I will let you know how that goes!

I hope everyone had a fantastic new year and a wonderful Christmas that saw families come together and enjoy the food, laughter and memories. I wish you all the best in 2012 and please let me know what you think of my Christmas Rant… we can call it that for now =)

Take care,
S Martignani

Time Flies…

They  tell you that the first year flies by but you never quite believe them. I do! This is INSANE… my baby is two days away from being 6 months old! Wow… I was skeptical because they also said that you forget the pain of childbirth afterwards but you don’t. So don’t blame for being a non-believer. The time flying thing- now THAT is true.
You never know how old you are getting and how fast you are getting old until you have a baby. One minute you are holding a fragile, tiny baby in your arms and the next minute they are over a foot tall and grinning at you while trying to burp, laugh and fart at the same time.
I haven’t been able to update my blog in over a month because she is changing so fast I am afraid to blink. Her features are changing and maturing. She is starting to understand cause and effect. She knows how to flirt, play, giggle, yell and string nonsense syllables into what sounds like a fully legit conversation. She appeals to me with those big eyes and even prefers sitting up to lying down. Who would have guessed that my baby would be so smart?
I read in books the different stages and what she is supposed to be able to achieve by now and I know, in my logical and intellectual mind, that she is developing like all other babies in the world but to her dad and I, she is the most intelligent little baby in the world.
It’s true what they say about this bias as well… no matter what our baby does or does not do, she is perfect in our eyes. People always ogle her and want to hold her and tell us how beautiful she is. Every baby is beautiful but when we look at her, we don’t just see a pretty little chubby double-chinned face, we see her potential… we see beyond the skin and see her mind, her heart, her personality. We are in love with the toothless blurting out of sounds, the noisy reverberating farts and the shy blinking smiling glances she tosses at one of us once in a while.
Parenthood is intense. Children change the marriage and the spouses. The effect on the fathers varies from the mothers but either way, they both change. I think I became a mother the minute I found out I was pregnant. My husband became a father the minute she was placed in his arms in the C-section room and our baby was staring at him with one eye because of all the bright lights. The implications of parenthood; however, do not hit the couple until much later when they realize that they can’t even enjoy a glass of wine without having to plan for their baby first.
Everything changes, nothing stays the same and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
It was her first Christmas and she slept through most of it. Her presence was a gift enough to her grandparents and great grandparents. The family doted on her and held her and cooed and tickled. She just sat back and enjoyed the attention- which she also gets from me. Anyone who knows me knows that I love the spotlight.
Every day I wake up feeling blessed and satisfied. 2011 has been good to me and childbirth pains are not forgotten but well worth it. I might even decide I want another baby but we will see. Truth is, I am enjoying our little baby girl so much, I want nothing else that will distract me from her. I don’t even like thinking about where I will place her in 6 months when I go back to work- eeeeeek. That could be another blog entirely!
For now, I will close by wishing everyone a happy new year and for all the good parents out there whether your children are 1 or 70, thank you and God bless you for your existence and your perseverance.
Parents are creators, disciplinarians, doctors, friends, specialists, entertainers, educators and most of all; we are our children’s foundation and core.
See you in 2012.
S. Martignani

You should have told me!

So I had the perverse misconception that things would get easier. I think not.

It’s really not her fault. It’s mine. Every time I think there is a basic behavioural cause to a mutually agreeable effect, she changes her mind.
“I was crying and gnawing on my hands yesterday because I was hungry, but today I do it to soothe and tomorrow it will be because there is a surprise in my diaper which I don’t like on anymore because it is restricting and I hate it.”

Ok. So I am supposed to be the adult here but sometimes I look at her and seriously ask- “Really? Was that the problem? Really… was it worth it for you? I have a migraine and you look like you do too from your own crying!”

Here are several things I wished moms would have told me before I considered having children:

1) The constant bickering between my hubby and I about how and when and what to do with our shared new responsibility. It’s not bad bickering; it’s healthy and assertive communication really but still… I want him to know that I know everything and he researches everything so he can know everything as well. Unfortunately, I don’t know everything and not everything on the Internet is accurate so we bicker *ehem* I mean, communicate and realize that at the end of the day, it is what is best for her that counts. So I will give in a little and so will he… and she will end up with double the toys and twice the clothes.

2) The constant need to check her breathing. What is going on??? I’m obsessed. Really. I am tired of me! I see myself outside my body and think “What a freak?” So I know it and I’m aware but I can’t stop. She’s sleeping soundly and I am listening for her grunts or sighs. If none are forthcoming in the past 5 minutes, I am worried and anxious and placing my index finger under her nose in hopes of feeling her breaths. If that doesn’t work, then maniacal mom gets up and actually uncovers her baby to see her chest rising which undoubtedly wakes the baby up a little because she got cold and she opens one eye and looks at me like “Lady… are you ok?”

3) Dreaming of a drink.I love being with my baby and I know my husband does too but is it normal to want a drink at 10 in the morning? I am exaggerating, maybe at 12:30 in the afternoon. The point is, before she came along, my hubby and I had a drink almost every Friday night (Date night). It wasn’t much… a small cocktail, a Caesar or even a glass of good old Coca-Cola Classic with some pop-corn….yum. But now… no more. I always worry about her waking up at night and we can’t really stay up too late because she needs to go to bed and of course, I won’t leave her in her room, in her crib alone without me checking her breathing because God forbid if I don’t, she won’t then where will we all be??

4) Cabin Fever. I didn’t think it would be possible. I thought I was going to be the exception. The one mom who was super-duper uber ecstatic to be home with her baby. I thought I would be the next Martha Stewart and pick up painting and learn some French while I’m home. Not so much. I find myself aching to be useful again. I know that being a mommy is super important but sometimes I feel a little societally idle and wish to have some work to do! Don’t quote me on this because I might change my mind tomorrow and in case my boss is reading this blog… I still don’t miss the meetings!

5) Reconsidering the future and all my hopes, dreams and aspirations.I can’t believe I’m writing this but now more than ever, I want to be rich. Not filthy but just enough so I can stay home and be with my baby while she grows up. Funny that I write this point after I just finished ranting about cabin fever but hey, no one said that I love extremes. If I can get a job that incorporates my daughter or a part-time position, that would be ideal. Everyone says open a daycare but that would be a lot of work and to be honest, I am busy taking care of my own kid… do I have time or patience for others’ children at this point? So I will continue to hope that I either win the lottery or my husband suddenly gets promoted to CEO of his company in the coming 8 months. I will keep you posted!

I think I will stop at 5. I don’t want to overdo it and then have nothing to write for next time… as if.

I want to thank you for reading this blog and if you read my other ones, thank you for that too. I am hoping that you can share it with others you know if you like it and then maybe I will receive feedback and comments that will help me improve. I ideally would love to hear your thoughts and have an interactive forum of questions, comments and concerns… that would be fun!

Until next time…

S. Martignani
B.A.Psychology and B.Ed

When was the last time I showered??

Yes. I am actually trying to recall when I last showered. Gone are the days where I could spend 30 minutes in a hot bath. Gone are the days of daily showers. I know when my baby last burped and memorized the number of ounces she devoured in her last meal before she decided to nod off but for goodness’ sakes, can someone tell me when was the last time I took a shower?

Ok. So I am typing this blog with one hand because my baby is sleeping in my arms and I am using my other arm to cradle her. Why you ask? Why is she sleeping in my arms even though we bought her a playpen, crib, bassinet, swing, vibrating chair and an expensive monitor? I will reply to you by saying… just because. Just because I want her in my arms. Just because I love feeling her warmth and seeing her expressions as she sleeps. Just because the days are passing too quickly and she is already three months old today. Just because I love seeing her little chest rise as she takes quick little breaths. Just because I love watching her wake up as her beautiful big eyes shift me into focus. Is that a good enough answer?

On to the issues of the day.
Issue one: What’s up with the comparisons? I feel like every new mom out there is comparing her little one to mine. I had a lady in the grocery store tell me that by three months her little boy was awake 10 hours a day. Well good for him, my baby happens to love her sleep (except at night when I’m sleepy but whatever). Another lady commented while I was shopping at Babies’R’Us about how tiny my baby is for her age. Really? Just because your child is sitting up at three months does not make it normal! Besides, she is tiny because she was born this way. Two words- LADY GAGA… look her up and give her a listen =)

Moral of the story: Each baby is unique and my baby is fine! *Also, Lady Gaga is a bad role model for children but her songs are one of my guilty pleasures.*

Issue two: I am a laid back mom. I still obsess about the safety of my baby and if bubbles were actual accessories, I would buy one but that doesn’t mean I am ok with strangers kissing my baby and touching her while she is sleeping in her car seat (because she likes to sleep during the day). Hands off- get your own baby. No offense grandma of 7 but I’m a little paranoid because I saw you handle meat back there in aisle one and you did not sanitize after (look who’s talking, the person who can’t remember her last shower). At the end of the day, other people’s babies are just like Kim Kardashian’s 20 karat ring… beautiful, bright and ridiculously valuable. Look, admire but please do not touch! 

Moral of the story: Kim’s ring is actually gaudy in my opinion. Unlike my baby of course- it was just an analogy!

Issue three: Does it make me a bad mom that I don’t want to overdo it with the scrapbooking and professional photos because I know I would have to do that for child number two and maybe three? I mean, it is all fine and good and I am really impressed with the moms who do this but I am the youngest and let me tell you… how bitter I would have been if mommy focussed on my sister (the eldest) more than me. My childhood is just as fascinating. 

Moral of the story: My mom chose not to do anything for any of us. Just some simple albums with our photos in them (unless my sister is stashing her memorabilia somewhere).

Issue four: I miss my husband. I see him- yes but I feel like I don’t have time with him. I love it when he focusses on the baby but I am experiencing an amazing need to be with him the way we used to be before she was born. I am sure this will get better (experienced moms- if this is not true, please just lie to me). I look at him sometimes and remember us running through green fields flying kites and blowing bubbles (yup, we actually did those things- you mean you didn’t?!) 

Moral of the story: There is no moral lesson here just a word of caution to those who do not have children or are expecting… spend as much time together as possible. That means without the television, friends, relatives or the other everyday distractions.

Issue four: I have to vent here. There is NO NEED to spend hundreds of dollars on name brand clothing for babies!!!!! Why, I ask you, when they grow out of them so quickly? I love the moms who are like “Oh, that is so cute, is that Calvin Klein? I bought Jessica a pair of Jordans, they were on sale for $99, what a deal eh?” No, I disagree. All you did was buy into the capitalist and commercially driven marketing ploys to seemingly satiate your appetite for optimal parenthood through the purchase of material goods. Basically, you were a sucker and you could have invested the $89 you could have saved into a respectable savings account for your baby so that they can grow up, go to university and become the next business mogul or successful entrepreneur. Instead, they will have to settle on being really fashionable mall rats… is that what you want? Well, is it?

Moral of the story: I need to stop hating on people who like to dress their babies in outfits other than onesies which my baby happens to love! Also, there is nothing wrong with George and Joe Fresh as name brands for me and my baby!

Issue five and last issue for today: I have a belly that hangs over and makes me look like I am still slightly pregnant. I am not sure what to do with this extra skin and I refuse to believe that it will just sit there until I get pregnant again. I am walking, Yoga-ing, Tae-Bo’ing and even doing crunches (less occasionally than the other three forms of exercise but nevertheless) and yet there it is. It’s like a small skin tag except it’s not small and it’s not a skin tag =(

Moral of the story: If your husband gets fat with you then it will make you feel better about yourself!

Ok. She is waking up and I want to play with her so I will sign off here and let you know that I finally remembered the last time I showered… it was before her thirty-second spit-up episode and after her third time wearing that cute onesy with the kitty cat on it. We’re good for at least another day when my husband can take care of her for an hour or so…

Thank you for reading, until next time…

Finally

Finally, some semblance of a routine. I’m not sure if it is a good routine or not but it is consistent which is good enough for me. My baby is now 9 weeks old and she has finally decided to sleep 6 hours in a row at night. She didn’t get there on her own and it wasn’t easy but she did it! We were wondering why she is eating double the normal amount in the evenings then we realized- she needs it to hibernate through the night and who are we to stop her? She is also napping 2-3 times during the day and when she isn’t napping, she is usually cooing, kickboxing with little limbs and fists on her back or crying because she is: hungry/tired/bored/sad/lonely cranky/wet.
I learned to figure out when she is hungry but not- like people and forums say- because of her cry. She usually puts her fist in her mouth and tries to find a few fingers to suck on while crying. She also turns her head from side to side with mouth agape hoping to find a nipple somewhere that will produce milk. It is actually quite comical and obvious that she is hungry.
It doesn’t make me a bad mom that I can’t tell most of her cries apart. After all, they all sound really similar (like a kitten who is in pain) and they are all for a purpose. So my husband and I will just go through the checklist: Gas? Diaper wet or dirty? Eyes red? etc. Once the root cause of the weeping is determined, we resolve the problem and respond to the need quickly and efficiently. So it is all like a well-oiled machine now… finally.
But I have noticed the house is less clean than before the arrival of our little angel. There are burp cloths, half-finished bottles, bibs, diapers and blankets everywhere. She has managed to take over the entire 4 bedroom house. Her things are everywhere and now I know that it is quite impossible to keep the house in the pristine condition it used to be in prior to baby.
Also-Time. Where does it go? She is already 9 weeks and I miss her newborn-ness. Also, it took me almost 6.5 hours to write this blog because she needed my attention every 15-20 minutes. And why does it seem like it is taking TOO MUCH time when she is feeding at 6 am? It is all relative- I guess.
Here is another random thought- I have new-skinny-mom-body-envy. I am skinnier than some new moms I see but hey, I noticed that there is a substantial number of women out there who have babies younger than mine and look better than I ever looked. What’s up with that? It’s hard enough feeling frumpy as a result of the lack of time aforementioned and smell like Eau De Spit Up all the time… why do I have to keep seeing women who look fabulous post-partum? That’s it… I’m quitting Mommy and Baby Yoga- the aggravation is just not worth it. I need to obsess about healthier things like perfecting the art of a 10 minute feeding to maximize on sleep!
Last but not least, it is just about that time for my little baby to be transitioned to her crib. What- you say- you haven’t done that yet? Nope. I did not. I have a variety of good reasons and they are all valid. First of all, it would be more work for me to get up when and if she gets up during the night. Second of all, my baby is the notorious S.P.I.T up. I often hear her almost choking on the liquid as it comes back the wrong way up her esophagus. I promptly hold her upright to prevent choking then gently lure back to sleep with a pacifier. Thirdly, she is sleeping in a bassinet next to my bed not IN my bed which is the same thing as her sleeping in a crib in her room. Lastly, I put her to sleep in the bassinet while she is still awake so she doesn’t get used to sleeping on my chest or in my arms (ok, I do that last thing only 20% of the time which is still good!!).
In the end, we are thriving and I am getting some sleep and she is healthy and my family unit is whole. I am learning something new every day and I am loving the adventure of motherhood. I will actually consider having another one of these little beings a bit later in the future but for now I will take a nap beside my little angel because she decided that she is done eating/playing/farting/crying/pooing/peeing smiling… finally.
SMartignani

Mommy knows best…

I write this as my baby lies beside me on a Baby Einstein jungle gym kicking her legs wildly and causing rattles to shake. She is happily cooing and smiling as she stares at a faraway spot on the wall because the dangling toys and numerous singing, shaking and colorful items hanging from her jungle gym are just not as interesting as that one spot on the wall. Half the time we don’t know what she is staring at but she seems quite content with simple things. I sometimes wish we were the same…

She sucks on her pacifier and makes a loud noise which is why my husband and I jokingly call her Maggie Simpson. Our baby girl is often impressed with our many facial gestures and lip smacking sounds. She will tolerate a few kisses from me but then start to whine and threaten to cry if I overdo it. She has a personality already and seems to know what she likes and what she doesn’t. She is also very expressive and her pout melts my heart and makes me want to do ANYTHING on earth and heaven to make her happy and not pout anymore.

I write this blog with a few issues in mind.

1) I am becoming so in tune with my baby that I just know what she wants all the time. My husband will look at me and ask “What’s wrong with her?” and I am able to respond “She is tired” or “She is hungry” or “She wants to poopoo”. I think the special mommy data chip that was inherently placed by God in mothers has been activated and now I know best… So when she looks at me now, I can read her mind and her cries. There is nothing more spectacular than guessing it right. It is such a rush when she sleeps because I knew she wanted to or eat because I called it. I feel like an age old line of communication has just been opened and I am privy to every thought and fleeting emotion. It’s a gift and I am both humbled and grateful for it.

2) A secondary, yet equally important, issue concerns the marriage or relationship between the father and mother. I find that there are endless and often senseless arguments that ensue soon after bringing the baby home. I am NOT complaining about my husband but after talking with other new parents, I found a common trend. We are so tired all the time that we start getting on each other’s nerves. There is also the inability to be intimate as well as the added stress of caring for a dependant human being that adds stress to a marriage/relationship. The truth is, I adore my husband and I think I am in love with him now more than ever! However, we find ourselves arguing about the silliest things like how to wash the baby bottles or why the television was too loud and when should the baby sleep in the crib. Wow… apparently we each think we know what is best for the baby and sometimes we disagree on methodologies and ideologies. I am almost afraid of what the future holds when she is two or three or… fourteen! She is not even two months yet and we are being challenged by the very essence of parenting options. So what should we do?

Here is what worked for us- self-awareness. We know when we are lashing out at the other person because we are exhausted and mentally fatigued. We are so aware of it that we state “I am tired right now so please forgive my short temper”. We are both overwhelmed with the task of caring for a newborn baby full-time with little or no time to ourselves. We are also missing the days where we actually spent time with one another and slept in on holidays. So now that we know all this, we communicate regularly, apologize repeatedly and vent frequently. We remind each other that she is a gift and that we are so fortunate to be parents. Then we try and remember to say “I love you” to one another because that was the basis and reason for our daughter’s existence in the first place.

3) Each baby is different and unique. I know this now for certain because three of my best friends have babies and we are all just a few months apart. Truth is, there is no hard set rule and no regimented timeline to when each baby will perform a certain function. So as I fret as to why my baby is not smiling yet, another baby has yet to learn holding their own bottle and while my baby can coo, another baby can only cry. So I learned to respect and love my baby for everything she can do and everything she is yet to learn. Though I must admit, it is very hard to read her a book when she won’t even look where I want her to look but she has her own mind and I need to respect that. I guess she just loves that spot on the wall that is just left of my right ear.

I am also beginning to see humour in the little things in life because that is what she taught me. I really think farting is funny now. She smiles every time and makes me smile too. Her smiles also come after a really loud burp and I have to admit, she sounds a bit like a drunken sailor when she belches. She also finds the quietest and often times, busiest places to share her wondrous bodily functions of gas expulsions. She likes to let the really loud ones rip at church when there is that moment of silence after a prayer or at the grocery store when we are in line. She also loves to cry just as we enter the doctor’s office or friend’s gathering. My husband and I have also noticed a pattern in her behaviour. She is an angel when people are around but at night when everyone is gone and it’s just us three- she turns… Mrs. Hyde comes out at almost midnight and the screaming, playing, alertness and constant need for attention begins. Funny that this is exactly when she used to be up and kicking me while I was pregnant. She is going to be a night owl and we are in for it!

So now she is sleeping and before I sign off to go shower, shampoo, snack and sleep- I would like to share one more thing I wrote in my head as I was feeding her last night at 3 am…

Typical thoughts of a newborn baby (If only we can hear them out loud)

I am hungry, oh what’s this- are those my fingers- whoa, I am starving I need to eat NOW! Where is everyone- oh there is someone holding me, I need to cry louder- what’s this, where is my bottle?? Hello, don’t you know I’m starving- oh did I already mention- I AM HUNGRY, I need to eat something now, oh, what’s this? My fingers again, nope, no milk coming out of this hand, I will try the other one if I can find it now… oh there it is. Someone is talking to me and I have no idea what they are saying but I know that they are not listening- HELLO. STARVING HERE… oh what will I do… it is so hard being hungry, my stomach is tight and I need to eat now… oh…oh… there we go… I feel so pleased now even though it took forever… oh wait a minute why did you take the bottle out of my mouth… BBBBUUURRRRPPPPP… oh that felt good but now I am starving, where oh where is my bottle… ok, here we go… I think I am full so I will spit out the last 10 milliliters I drank just to prove that I am done with this. Oh, I think I did something in my diaper, I need a change, Hello?? Change me!! I need a change NOW!! It is wet and sticky but I am so sleepy. Closing my eyes and drifting- OH MY GOODNESS where the heck is that draft coming from? Oh, I am getting a new diaper… wow, so nice not to feel wet anymore but I am now unhappy because I was sleepy and you zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…

Hope you enjoyed the trip into what I think is my baby’s mind… feel free to share your babies’ thoughts. It is actually a fun exercise!

Until next time…

SMartignani

Motherhood- What a trip!

And I thought learning a new language, finishing school while working, and learning to love myself after pregnancy was hard… wow. I had no idea how challenging parenting can be. This is, by far, the most difficult yet rewarding trips I have ever been on…
My baby is now one month old- already. It is hard to believe others when they say time flies by- especially during the night feedings when I am barely awake to see if she is happily feeding on the bottle or my finger… but time does fly and I am almost saddened by the days gone by. Almost.

My baby was born small and she was so adorable. She is now almost 7 whole pounds and has miraculously stretched in height to a complete 53 cm. That is almost 21 inches. Her head is getting heavier by the day and her wakeful moments are increasing. Every week of the first month something new was happening and I think I took over 1000 photos so far and 50 or so videos with my phone, my camera and the recently purchased HD Camcorder that my husband got for me.

Here are the things I learned so far about being a mommy.

1) Everyone who has had a child will offer advice and know more than me but only I know what is best for my baby.

No matter what anyone says, thinks, imagines, assumes or believes, the baby is mine and only my husband and I can truly decide what is best for our child. It is great to hear experience from others but at the end of the day every child is different and so each piece of information needs to be dissected carefully and taken with a large grain of salt.

2) Breastfeeding is necessary but if the mother is unable to provide enough nutrition or the baby will not latch, then it is time to move to formula.

Ok. I have to vent here so that it is out of my system once and for all. What is with the pressure?? Seriously. Why do random strangers and acquaintances think it is ok to make comments like “Oh, you SHOULD breastfeed- it’s what is best for the baby”- Really? You’d think I would know that since it makes that same exact statement on the Formula containers, the sign in the NICU and every commercial and ad created for new moms. Here is the deal- some women just CANNOT breastfeed. There are a variety of reasons including the child’s inability to latch, the mother’s inability to express enough milk for the child, and most importantly, the mother’s decision NOT to breastfeed because she does not feel comfortable doing so.

I tried everything. Pumping, nipple shield, medicine that made me nauseous and dizzy as well as endless nights of persuading, crying, and yelling at my tiny baby to “just latch please” to no avail. After much money spent, hours spent in the breastfeeding clinic and online researching, as well as incessant pumping, I decided that it is just not worth it. I was so concerned about breastfeeding that I was not enjoying my newborn baby who was just as happy with a formula filled bottle. Before my husband and I made the final decision, I was depressed, anxious, disappointed, angry, bitter and tense. All negative emotions that manifested themselves and were felt by my baby who was beginning to be tense in my arms because she “feels” me. I was headed towards postpartum psychosis and my husband was actually told that a colleague’s wife was full out psychotic as a result of the same issue. So I ask you in the name of all that is good and mighty, next time a new mom pulls out a bottle to feed her child, resist the urge to ask the million dollar question and do NOT proceed to recite the advantages of breast feeding because in essence, every mom knows but not every mom can perform this inexplicably and “un”natural form of feeding for her child. No matter the reason, I feel like an outsider and shame washes over me because I have failed my mission to lactate for my child. But I am now realizing that I have tried my best and my child needs me…not my breast…me. Formula has its benefits as well… especially at the midnight feeding which my husband gladly performs to give me a decent 5 hour sleep! I have come to peace with the fact that she needs to eat and we are able to provide this basic need… one way or another. Now I have more time to hold her, kiss her, and play with her knowing that I am doing the best for my baby.

Ok. Vent completed. Now on to more humorous observations.

3) Every parent WILL get frustrated with their first newborn baby at some point when the crying won’t cease and there seems to be no justifiable reason for the drama.

It is 3 am and she is crying sporadically. She closes her eyes and I think she is about to doze off for three or four minutes then suddenly an eruption of unhappiness flows out. I go through the checklist of things she may be crying about- feeding, check- diaper change, check- burping, check- warmth, check- temperature ok, check- comfortable position, check- spinal cord aligned, check… then what is it???

I hold her close to my chest and it works for two minutes then another scream. I rock and coo and sing and make sounds with my lips that I have never thought possible- nothing. She is miserable and the bottom lip is shaking and I am torn between crying with her and screaming at her. I am so frustrated that I want to just put her down and walk away. Let her cry. If she doesn’t know why she is crying then why would I try and figure it out?
So this is why they say that newborns are challenging, I can’t wait until she starts talking. Then I make the stark realization that she will start talking soon and that I need to treasure every moment even these ones where I am completely comfuddled by her moods and reasoning for being in them. This gives me a new surge of hope and I gently turn her head towards me as she rages at the tragedy of being a baby and I say “Baby, you will not remember this when you are older but I will because everything you do is beautiful to me”. I kiss her reddened face and start humming a soft lullaby and after mere seconds she begins to calm down. As the ire seeps out of her little taut body, she begins to show signs of fatigue and is now slowly closing her eyes as her blinks become lengthier. She just wanted to sleep but didn’t want to leave mama so soon… at least that is what I believe and I am sticking with it!

4) Grandma will do things better than me and make it look easy because she is already a veteran and can take care of the baby and us… two generations at a time.

For all you moms out there who are upset at how grandma decides to hold, feed, lay the baby to sleep and how to deal with all the different moods- I have one word of advice- LEARN. She knows how to do this is her sleep. She is capable and knowledgeable and deep inside she is smirking at how lost I seem to be. She gently reminds me that this is hard and that I should be proud of myself and that I can finally take a nap. Internally, she knows exactly why my baby is crying before I do but she holds back and asks “Do you think she may be tired or hot? Maybe she is just cranky because she has gas?” Grandma knows because as she is taking care of our baby, she is taking care of her baby- my husband and I. I would like to take a moment to thank all the grandmas out there. You are angels and idols. We are grateful for your existence and I promise I will never doubt you… again.

5) Guilt is an infinite and constant companion of a new mom because no matter what I do, I feel like I could, should and need to do more for my baby.

So no matter what I do or don’t do or have done, I feel guilty. I feel guilty when she is crying and when she throws up. I feel guilty when I am 15 minutes late in feeding her because I overslept or because I am just not singing to her enough. I feel guilty when I think of how I need to spend some alone time with my husband. I even feel guilty when other moms seem so much more “in tune” with their babies. I don’t think I have ever experienced more guilt in my life (except when I was 13 and had a secret stash of Cosmopolitan magazines in the third drawer underneath my folded up t-shirts). So I have decided to rechannel my guilt into something productive. Every time I feel guilty now, I hold her close to me and whisper to her that I love her. I remind myself that feeling guilty is a dark shadow on the sunshine she brings into my life. I am now guilty of one emotion- infinite love for my baby!

On a final note- I know, this is a long entry- I want to take another moment to recognize the most important person in my life right now- my husband. A loyal father and an amazing partner, I couldn’t ask for anything more. The things he does for us are incredible and there is nothing sexier than a man who takes care of his family. I can’t take my eyes off him when he is with our daughter and she adores him with every inch of her tiny body but I already warned her- he is mine and she needs to find someone to make her happy when she is older just like him and just like I did!

SMartignani

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