“The days are long but the years are short.”
My daughter is now 2 years old and I was once lost when she was born. I thought I am ready when we had her. I was 27 then, somewhat emotionally prepared, has experience in taking care of newborns, financially so-so and have a husband who pretty much yearns for a child then. As seen on television shows, magazines and Facebook, the first few months of a child is the most calm and serene period of parenthood…
ALL THOSE ARE S**T.
The first 100 days of my daughter were the dark days of my motherhood. Just when I thought that everything is under control, I start to doubt myself if I am ready to take care of another, more so a little, demanding human being. Adulting is hard; as what millenials say nowadays. Some if not all moms and dads can identify with these things in the first few weeks of parenthood:
a. I put my hands above my daughter’s chest to make sure she is breathing. Yup, I am that crazy watching her even when she is sleeping. She is a preemie. She was thin and small when she was born and she usually sleeps so calmly that I am afraid she’s not breathing anymore. Her dad will suddenly wake up at night to check on her.
b. There came a point that my kid has been crying loudly for minutes and I tried everything I know and nothing worked. I started crying too. May it be colic, hunger, sleepiness or just any random reason, newborns have only one way to let you know. They will cry, cry and will cry non stop until they are okay. I got frustrated one time and I started to cry while praying to God that He give me wisdom to understand what Aia wants.
c. I thought I already know everything I should know about newborns, but I was wrong. I took care of my cousins when they were young but having your own is very different. I was afraid to hurt her and commit mistakes. I was afraid to help her burp because she was so fragile. It was until she is 7 weeks that I was able to give her a bath all by myself. I did not know that colic exists or there are certain food that can affect my breastmilk and make my daughter’s tummy gassy.
d. Breastfeeding is not as easy and sexy as what I see in Instagram. I breastfed my daughter for almost a year and when we are starting she was nipple confused. I have to literally push her head to my breast to coerce her to learn how to drink milk from me. The 5th to 8th week was the hardest because she will ask for milk every 45 to 60 minutes and being there, feeding for 30 to 45 minutes. I felt like my daughter just sees me as a milk tank, nothing more. I have to make my breaks in the office quick so I can pump milk for her. I need to choose clothes that are breastfeeding friendly. Bye, bye “skimpy, no buttons in front” clothes.
e. Sleeping is a luxury on the first 100 days of Mamahood. The usual advise that “when your kid is sleeping, try sleeping too” never worked for me. I tried,really! But when it is time for me to finally sleep, she will start crying for milk. She also had a crying spell or colic attack (until now I am still not sure why she is crying during those times following a certain pattern) from 2am to 4am so I am awake, consoling her of the uncomfortable feeling for almost 3 weeks. At that moment in my life, I never thought that a human can actually last for 2 months with just an hour to 3 hours of sleep a day.
f. I have neglected myself and I am not even aware of it until I look back at the photos I have when my kid is less than 3 months old. This is what I call the loshang state of motherhood and I will not be ashamed to admit that I have been there. All those times, I thought I did not change that much but pictures says it all. I did not have time to fix/cut my hair because the first three months are the time that my daughter was very dependent on me. My choice of clothes were all based on comfort and accessibility of the milk tank. My priority is to learn as much as I can and take care of Aia and the rest came in blur. My pre mama body never came back and it is the hardest to take in the first few months.
h. Mamas out there, I felt alone and judged too. The husband away, the Mom is only on the side letting me learn on my own how to take care of my child, people around have every comment on my parenting style, I don’t really know what am I doing; Oh my, it was too much to handle all at once. Everyone around me have an opinion and unsolicited advises stormed me. There was an instance that people insist that I do not have milk and I should start giving formula milk. They will make you doubt yourself even more. Also, because of age gaps and different backgrounds some will judge you of your choices. The trick is be comfortable of yourself as a mom and trust your judgement but do not be too proud too. Remember, you are new to parenthood and you have indeed a lot to learn.
i. As newly inducted parents, my husband and I were overwhelmed by the changes in our lifestyle and we fought but communication and empathy helps. I will really get upset whenever I see my husband’s face frustrated while taking care of my daughter. I felt that he does not want to take care of her but looking back, he is just overwhelmed too. Eventually, he got the hang of helping her sleep and understanding her. Now, my daughter is a certified daddy’s girl.
j. This too shall pass. Saying all of the above, one thing is certain, they will grow and you will too. You will start to understand your child one day at a time. And before you know it, all those dark days are finished and you have adjusted well to parenthood.
When babies are born, they are like adults being kicked out of their comfort zone. If we adults can already talk and understand human emotions, they cannot. They have emotions and they feel things but they do not recognize it; they do not understand a thing yet. That is why it is challenging to communicate with them. It will be a feat at first but with patience and love you will understand your kid better.
So, if you are currently in this stage of life, it is okay to be frustrated at times; to cry with your child; to be lonely; to feel alone. Find support groups that can boost your morale and help you get over this stage. Do not rob yourself of the emotions you are feeling now. But please, also remember that you are stronger now to take in more learning from your child. Be resilient and grow with them. They will only be kids once. They will soon move on and they will stop needing you as much as they need you now.