We waited for our due date, and then 11 days more to meet our baby girl at the hospital, in a surgery room. And so, after contraction pain, C-section pain, recovery pain and all that accompanies that, I am now the mother of a 4 month old baby. I learned that no matter how you envision your pregnancy and delivery, babies always seem to have their own schedule and way of arriving in your life. My husband and I had open minds going into our delivery and it’s a good thing we did. Together, at 4 am and after a long night of labour, we had to change our expectations from a natural birth to a birth by c-section. I think because we didn’t have our hearts set on a specific type of birth, it was easier for us to adjust to the new reality and accept it.
Now that she’s here (and at the risk of jinxing it) bing a new mom is in some ways, easier than I thought! I had heard so many stories about how tired new moms get and how messy the house would be, I was prepared for the worst and so maybe that’s why it seems not too bad. Mybe I am just lucky and maybe it’s that she’s only 4 months old, but my baby is a pretty happy baby. She eats and sleeps well, or at least well enough that I get enough sleep to not go crazy and can still maintain a semblance of cleanliness in the house.
That said, there are aspects to my new life tht are harder than I anticipated. Some days feel very long and life feels very basic and tedious. Instead of heading off to work in the mornings, I now spend hours watching her, entertaining her and feeding her. Work meant interacting with colleagues, creating new things and seeing the city. When she arrived, I stopped working and so a large portion of my social life has been put on pause and I’m starting to lose and miss those connections to the world. There are days I feel trapped in my home and can understand why postpartum depression is so common. But then there are moments when I’m cuddling my baby and she snuggles in, or the days that she learned to smile and then giggle that make it all feel worthwhile.
Everyone tells me that once babies get older that parents will be able to go out more and do more things, but those days feel a long way off when I’m sitting on my couch waiting for the laundry to finish/her to wake up from her nap/her to roll over. Now, my baby is napping every two hours during the day, for one to three hours, and that’s the only time I can use for cleaning, cooking, showering and to do other things around house. Because her schedule is not yet regular, it’s tough to plan out a day and get out to the many activities in our neighbourhood and city.
But don’t get me wrong, so far, having a baby has been really amazing for us. It has been incredible to watch her development over her short life and to see how our decisions and choices influence her. We’re finding that it’s not just us taking care of and teaching her, but she’s also teaching us to become better parents. I’m finding that working as a team with my husband is really important and I really appreciate that my husband is so helpful and supportive. We never really talked about the specifics of how we would fit a baby into our life, and so we’ve been navigating our new life by observing our baby and ourselves and thinking about the life we want when she’s older. The result is that we haven’t changed our entire lifestyle to revolve around the new baby, but instead are trying to let her join us as we all adjust to the new family life. And so far, it’s been great.
One last thought, with technology today, you can instantly get lots information, everyday. I personally found the internet very helpful and have found answers to almost every question I had. I have a couple apps on my phone that tell me about babies’ development milestones every week and other useful information about babies her age.
I have found that being open minded, open to the suggestions from books, websites and from my family and friends has been really helpful, but that not every suggestion has worked. Of course, every baby is different! Because something worked for other parents doesn’t mean it will necessary work with your baby. When it comes to it, you will find what works best for you.