It’s a miracle that I’m even able to type these words with my little miracle permanently affixed to my breast, burp cloth hanging off my shoulder, and spit up all over my shirt because burp cloths are actually useless for catching the many mysterious things that babies eject.
But here I am, writing my first post since I became a mother. The keyboard feels strange as my hands have mostly been used to help release trapped air from my baby’s belly. The computer screen looks fuzzy given the lack of sleep in the eight weeks since I gave birth. I should get a medal for being able to compose coherent sentences since it also seems that I won’t be sleeping for the next 18 years since giving birth.
When I was advised to get all the rest I could during pregnancy, I scoffed and dragged my swollen feet all over town to combat any FOMO I might experience for when I would be home with a screaming infant. Pregnancy and babies are ripe topics for unsolicited opinions so you can be sure I was ignoring everyone who gave me their endless and annoying advice. Unfortunately, as I was forewarned, the serious lack of sleep started as soon as I delivered. Not because of the baby needing to feed every two hours but because of…
The “visit someone as soon as they pop” people have always been a rare breed to me. Within minutes, an influx of guests started swarming into my hospital room to kick off the post-birth party.
“Oh my god, you look so tired!” they exclaimed, perhaps unaware that I was in a hospital bed, not a spa chair.
“Make sure you rest!” they said, as if they didn’t realize their presence was preventing me from that very thing.
And my favorite: “Are you sleeping?” they loudly asked, while hovering over my hospital bed while I was – you guessed it – sleeping!
Before baby, I never understood why friends and family immediately flocked to the hospital. I found it inconsiderate that mom couldn’t recover in peace. However, being surrounded by lots of people actually helped me combat any post-pregnancy blues. It’s so important that you don’t feel abandoned as a first-time mom. Plus, it took my mind off the fact that I had no clue what to do with my new addition once I was home alone!
I saw the world with new eyes when I left the hospital. Not just because my heart was overflowing like my milky chest with the arrival of our son, but because the past few days had made me a different person – one that I’m still trying to get to know.
My contractions started intensifying at 10pm on a Thursday night. By 4am I was keeled over on the bathroom floor wondering what unearthly form was clawing my insides. My panicked husband rushed me to the hospital at 6am, but my cervix decided it wasn’t ready yet. I lay in the delivery room waiting in torture, gripping the metal railing on the side of the bed each time I felt a surge of pain.
It took a total of 18 hours from when my contractions began until the life-changing moment that my doctor said I had dilated enough to receive an epidural.
For four hours, I remained in a euphoric state. I could no longer feel pain, but my baby was not experiencing the same bliss. The epidural had slowed down my labor irreversibly and was causing fetal distress. I was rushed to have an emergency C-section.
While I have no regrets about how my delivery transpired, it was bittersweet. This was the first time I truly understood what it means to feel helpless, while knowing this was one of many moments where I would learn to value another life over my own.
Then I heard that first cry. It sounded surreal and distant, like a recording. Even though you have almost 10 months of pregnancy, giving birth is such a flurry. I barely had time to process anything. Suddenly I’m responsible for a real-life human forever!
I’m adjusting to my new role, while the other part of me is bemoaning my disgusting toenails and yearning for the days I could get a pedicure without a second thought. I’m also amazed at how dark under-eye circles can get, which leads me to believe that the whole cosmetic industry was invented purely for new moms. My tiny treat each night is indulging in a disgustingly luxurious eye cream with a name I can’t pronounce.
I’m using (and also highly recommend) the over-the-top product that is the Dior Prestige Le Concentré Yeux to banish signs of fatigue. It comes with a gold-plated applicator because why the heck not?! It’s so ridiculous that it even has a YouTube video on how to apply it. Trust me, even if for two minutes, find time to pamper yourself each day to remind yourself that your life isn’t all about actual pampers now.*
(*Yes, you’ll be staring at the baby monitor whenever you take some time for yourself, which kind of defeats the purpose, but it’s better than nothing!)
I often heard that becoming a mother is an extremely humbling experience. I completely agree. In a short time, my son has taught me how to be patient, compassionate and find strength I didn’t know I had. I have learned that he thinks the appropriate time to poop is when I’ve taken his diaper off. He will cry for more milk as soon as I clip my nursing bra shut. He wakes up whenever I think I’ve finally got him to sleep in his crib. I guess he’s the real rebel!
But mostly, I’m coming to terms with the unfair truth that babies are darn cute at all times and in every situation while mom ends up looking like crap! That’s my real sign that I’ve fully embarked on the journey of motherhood!