July 14, 2016

I feel like I need to write this post, mainly for myself. Really only for myself. And if it happens to help anyone else out there, that can count as a bonus point. I need to write about the experience I had during the first weeks of Peter's life - my first weeks as a brand new, first time mother. All of my thoughts, questions, and emotions, I need to write about it now before I forget. I know I've already forgotten some of it.

And before I start, I'm really not trying to be dramatic. I'm trying to be real for the sake of keeping a record and being honest with myself in that record. I am definitely not saying this is something everyone experiences with a new baby, but this is what I experienced. And it's okay that I did.

During the first few weeks of Peter's life, I didn't love him like I felt I should. I wasn't obsessed with him. He didn't light up my life. I was exhausted - physically, mentally, emotionally. I was scared and anxious and Peter was this little helpless being that sucked it all out of me and gave nothing in return. Of course he was beautiful and soft and smelled unreal and I knew I was incredibly lucky to have him. But he couldn't interact at all - no smiles or giggles or "Thanks, Mom!" It was draining. I was exhausted.

I was clueless, my emotions were all over the place, and anyone who interacted with me probably questioned whether my head was screwed on straight. I was trying to figure out my newborn while taking everyone else's advice, opinions, and feelings into consideration - I had no idea how to do any of that, so then tack on feeling guilty, overwhelmed, and stressed. And exhausted. I remember every night for the first week or so, I would get incredibly anxious each night. It was like clockwork, the sun would begin to set and I - I don't even know how to describe it. I was just anxious. I felt it through my whole body. Usually I was worried Peter wouldn't make it through the night, like he just wouldn't wake up? And every night Stefan would hold me and try his best to calm me down.

People had warned me about postpartum depression. They said if I even thought for one second I might have it, I should talk to my doctor. So I did. We decided that wasn't it. I talked to Stefan about it. He told me he was feeling a lot of the same things. (He made it clear that he knew he wasn't feeling all of the same things. He understood I was going through even more.) I thought I had understood what I was in for. I was prepared for it to be difficult, but there was no way I could have understood ahead of time how I would actually feel. It was all ten times more difficult than I had anticipated.

Those first weeks, Stefan and I asked each other multiple times, "Why didn't anyone warn us? Why doesn't anyone talk about how hard this really is?" We honestly asked each other if we had made a mistake. We wondered if we really weren't ready to be parents. Everyone kind of jokes about it, "I hope you're ready to lose some sleep! haha!" But it's almost lighthearted. They laugh as they're saying it. People, sleep deprivation is real! And I know a few handfuls of people who would have named me the sleepiest person they knew up until about four months ago, so maybe what I'm saying is the lack of sleep took an extra toll on me?

I understand why people don't talk about it. They're happy and excited for the parents-to-be and they don't want to freak anybody out too badly. I also genuinely think people forget. I think those tiny babies grow up and their parents get some sleep and start to figure stuff out. Then those grown up babies start smiling and talking and - they're still pretty tough to handle sometimes, but - they are so fun and those parents are so in love that they forget those difficult weeks way back at the beginning. I'm sure there are a ton of parents out there who didn't hate the first weeks as much as I did, so they couldn't have warned me. I'm also sure there are a few parents who hated the first weeks more than I did, but even they couldn't have warned me. No one can really prepare anyone else for something so life-changing. Becoming a parent is one of those personal, one of a kind, only you can experience your experience kind of things.

Undoubtedly, the most difficult part of all this was how it affected my relationship with Stefan. We have a great marriage. I'm serious. We like each other and we love each other and we work well together. Sometimes we disagree or feel frustrated with each other, but honestly we don't yell or fight. We're pretty gentle with each other. We both need that. But for the first month, maybe six weeks, of Peter's life we really struggled. I don't know how many times I can use the word exhausted before it gets completely beaten to death, but we were exhausted. We were too tired to talk to each other. When we did try to talk, someone's feelings would get hurt. We said the wrong things, we took silly things personally. We had no idea what we were doing, but somehow we had a lot of differing opinions. I don't want or need to go into the specifics. But I do want and need to put into some kind of words how difficult it all was for us those first few weeks. As Stefan and I have transitioned into this new role of being parents, I've noticed more differences between us than ever. That isn't always a bad thing, but it has been a hard adjustment.

The good news is, there's a lot of good news. As I'm writing this, Peter is a few days shy of four months old, and I am happy to report I am obsessed with him. He is my big, little, happy, funny, sweet boy, and I love spending my days with him. That doesn't mean life with him is perfect or easy, because wow, it sure isn't. But life with him is really great. I would love to write about how I got from those first weeks to where I am now, but I think that's a novel for another day because this one is long enough.

If anyone out there is feeling the way I felt, or feeling half of what I felt or double what I felt, I would love to be your listening ear. Sometimes it's impossible to feel this way - I know - but you really are doing such a wonderful job.

1 comment :

Trisha said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

This is great that you have blogged about this- it's not fun! And more women need to know more women go through it.
I personally had about two weeks where I cried at everything with my first.
But my second, I'm 27 weeks right now and have been getting depression DURING the pregnancy. It's the oddest thing to not really be excited about being pregnant.

So thank you for expressing some of your thoughts/experiences and how it affected your relationship.

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