Sunday, June 8, 2008

I'm Back

It's hard to believe Isaac is already six weeks old. I've been trying to post since his birth, but without Internet at home and with a new center of my universe, it's been difficult to find time to do anything my mother my little man. And I'm not complaining. That's all I want to do, really. I do wish I were writing more and recording our time together, just because it flies by so quickly and I'm afraid in a year or two I'm going to forget the little moments that right now make up our lives. Ive been working on our birth story since he was born, and I need to finish it before I "forget." While I know it'll be impossible to really forget my son's birth, I do fear that some of the details will get hazy with time, and it's the details I want to make sure I remember.

I have so enjoyed being a stay-at-home mom for the past few weeks. I really can't imagine there being another job I'd rather have, and I'm sort of dreading returning to work. I had been thinking of searching out some other employment, maybe something less rewarding than my job now but that would allow me to be at home during the day and work at night. I'm still considering that an option, but I know that if I return to my 8-to-5, there are attachment and bonding opportunities that I'll miss during that time. At the same time, there are attachment and bonding opportunities I would miss working in the evening as well. Really, there's no good option for returning to work. The only option that sounds appetizing is to stay at home full-time. Unfortunately, John and my financial situation doesn't allow for that, so at least, by returning to Urban Tulsa, I'll be going back to a job that I find satisfying, where I have some seniority and as much flexibility as possible. But the moment we win the lottery, I'm outta there!

So, motherhood has definitely been more difficult that I could have ever imagined. I'm not sure anyone warned me about that. Not that I would have listened if they had. I was talking to Tasha a couple of weeks ago, and we were discussing how no one ever tells you how hard it is to mother a newborn, how frustrating and exhausting it can be in the beginning. And we agreed that people probably don't talk about it because, in the end, it's also incredibly rewarding, and the good times always overshadow the bad. The first three weeks were definitely intense, though. I think it was the sheer exhaustion that made them so difficult. And, there were some issues in the beginning with breastfeeding. In the hospital, we were fine, but as soon as we got home, Isaac wouldn't nurse. I bawled for hours the first night, trying to put Isaac to breast, him screaming instead. I finally broke down and gave him formula the first three days. During my pregnancy, I had been ferociously determined to breastfeed, but, having to fight Isaac at every feeding, I wanted to give up. I think it was guilt and alarm at high formula costs that prompted me to seek help from the lactation consultants at St. John. They provided help over the phone and in person, and with their support and encouragement, I stuck it out, and Isaac and I have been successfully nursing ever since. I honestly could not thank them enough, and I definitely recommend them to any mother seeking help, answers or encouragement with breastfeeding, whether you delivered at St. John or not. We hit a few rough patches during his early growth spurts, but I felt like, by the third week, we sort of fell into sync with one another. I gave into the realization that breastfeeding is a lifestyle choice, not just a way of feeding, and adjusted my life accordingly. I also think that was when Isaac and I really started to get to know one another; I was better able to read his cues and his cries and could figure out how to provide him with what he needed. And the moments when I couldn't figure it out, I just prayed for patience and God delivered. Since then, I've been able to relax more and really enjoy our time together. We still have our moments, like when I'm barely surviving on three hours of sleep and Isaac's screaming at 2am, refusing to be consoled, but, for the most part, every day is a blessing and Isaac is a happy, healthy little man. He's already so strong, so active and so talkative. I can't believe how fast he's growing. While part of me is looking forward to all the things we can do together as he gets older, another part of me wishes he wouldn't grow so fast, that this period of his little life would last just a little bit longer.

The other thing I find myself extraordinarily grateful for is the support I've received from other mothers. Their encouragement (assuring me, no matter the situation, I'm not the only one who's felt this way) has been invaluable. You know who you are, and I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. I only hope I can offer the same support to other new mothers when they need it. I promise, you're not the only one who's felt this way.

At Tasha's recommendation, I've been reading Dr. Sears' The Baby Book. It's a sort of medical encyclopedia for babies with an enormous index that's great for troubleshooting. It also speaks to attachment parenting, which Dr. Sears and his wife advocate and practiced with their 19 children (I don't think they really have 19, but they do have quite a few). It's been really encouraging to read a book that advocates a parenting style I already believe in and that also provides medical evidence to support that style, which comes in very handy when defending myself from those who would accuse me of "spoiling" my son because I pick him up when he cries, carry or wear him most of the day and breastfeed on demand. Dr. Sears points out that attachment parenting can actually help children become independent and better disciplined later in life because the trust and security they feel with their parents gives them the confidence to be independent. They feel comfortable going out on their own because they know that their parents will be there when they come back. Those--discipline and independence--are the areas critics of attachment parenting bring up most often, and while I feel comfortable defending myself and my parenting choices, it's nice to have some medical evidence to back them up. Thanks, Dr. Sears! :) The book's also got great advice on breastfeeding, nighttime parenting and parenting the high-need baby (which, upon further reading, it turns out Isaac may be). I definitely recommend this book to other new parents.

I hope to post more soon. I especially want to share my birth story, which, while it didn't match my birth plan, was still a happy, successful and safe experience.

1 comment:

Tasha said...

Yea! So glad to see a new post! The pictures are adorable...he looks just like YOU! We should plan on getting together with Shelly this week!


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