First off – please excuse my lack of posting/commenting as of late. I’m still trying to figure out this whole coaching/blogging/facebooking/instagraming/feedlying social media balance thing and I haven’t quite got it down yet! If you’re wanting to follow along on the Facebook Party CLICK HERE. I try to post there everyday!
6 Months. Holy smokes. It’s been (more than) 6 months since I last felt that little baby wiggle inside me. 6 months since her heart beat was still a part of my body. 6 months since I held her in my arms for the first time. 6 months since her NICU stay.
I’ll talk about my mind first. I struggled. For probably the first 3 months, I struggled hard. To have your little baby spend her first 6 days in the NICU… being poked, and prodded… not sleeping next to you… needing to be hooked up to monitors… having a different nurse every shift assess and find things wrong… I was tested and pushed to a limit I didn’t even know existed.
Being a brand new mother with limited family support and watching helplessly as your all of this is happening to your baby, while being a nurse and understanding to some extent why this is happening, but not always agreeing with the assessment of others is so hard. It is beyond difficult. Those 6 days were the hardest 6 days of my life. Hands down. I was told very conflicting information from the nurses. Quinn had a different nurse every single shift (even though they would come back the next day they would be assigned elsewhere so there was no consistency). Quinn was assessed by FIVE different doctors while she was there. I was told I was starving her (I wasn’t.) and I should give her formula. I was told I shouldn’t cuddle with her as she slept because she needed the restful sleep of being in the cot undistubred (WHAT!?) and that I didn’t need to do skin to skin with her. My hormones were raging uncontrollably meaning I felt all of this as extreme heartbreak. I was exhausted, worn down but on edge, hyper vigilant, protective,
Working in postpartum I felt like I “knew” baby’s for their first 3 days of life. I’ve worked with them a lot – I know that to look for, how they should be changing those first few days of life. I wasn’t worried at all about having a newborn. I thought the labor would be the hardest part for me. A vaginal delivery seemed unattainable, but caring for a newborn? Easy peasy. So when I got home on day 6 with a newborn I felt ripped off… like I was thrown into this newness without even getting to experience those first few precious days with my baby. Like I knew nothing. And most of all I was terrified I would miss something or mess something up and she would end up back in the hospital. That was the worst part of it all – the long lasting fear I had when she came home.
All of this impacted my initial bonding with Quinn. I loved her. I knew I needed to care for her and protect her and all of that. But I hadn’t yet fallen IN love with her because that is hard to do when you are being watched 24 hours a day by nurses and other health care professionals. I second guessed everything I did. I felt like I couldn’t be authentic with her. I get a lump in my throat just thinking about missing out on that precious time with her. I’m making up for it now though, don’t worry. I would say it took me a solid 6 weeks to feel bonded with her. My midwife would say “Amie, I can tell you are really fulfilled by being a mom” and I felt like such a sham. I was struggling and I didn’t know how to change it or ask for help or what help I even needed for that matter.
I felt resentful for all of my friends who had their own mothers come out and help for an extended period of time. Friends who are reading this who had their parents come and help – I’m sorry I felt this way. I hope I didn’t let it show and if I did I apologize. That wasn’t fair of me to do and I wish I could take that back. I felt angry at my own mother for being a shitty mother.
I also felt tremendous love and support from people I didn’t expect to feel supported by. I had an incredible outpouring of support from friends and other family members who came to visit and cuddle her and listen while I cried. I felt this constant mix of anger, love, resentment, happiness, sadness, fear, and joy. It was crushing.
Matthias went back to work 5 days after we got home. So I felt almost thrown to the wolves in a sense? I think I felt this way because of the crippling fear at the back of my mind that she was going to end up back in the hospital.
I struggled with resentment towards him… which was also undeserved, and I feel sorry for that. He was (and is!) the most amazing dad to Quinn, a loving and doting husband and partner, and my very best friend. I was mad at him because he could still play video games and I couldn’t do what I wanted to do. So petty. I’m glad I worked through that, it wasn’t fair to him.
I struggled with Quinn having colic. When that reared its lovely head I just about lost my marbles. My poor baby, who I had yet to fully bond with, seemed to dislike me. She cried and cried and cried some more. She wouldn’t sleep in my arms. She wasn’t soothed by me unless I fed her. This made me feel like an awful mother. And so I continued to feel like a sham.
I missed my independence. I missed working out. I missed being able to read a book and take a bath and relax without being interrupted by a crying baby. I missed feeling like I had a purpose besides being a mother. I yearned for bits and pieces of my old life. I wanted SOMETHING to make me feel like more than just a milk machine.
I grieved. For 3 long months, I grieved. Our NICU stay, not having a mother of my own, Quinn having colic, my changing identity and all of the things that I needed to give up/alter to fit my new life.
It was a process. And at the 3 month mark I was just emerging from the dark side of it. Quinn started to seem to hate me less (haha) 😉 I was able to find some time to do things for me, I felt like my hormones were finally level. I started to embrace motherhood. I really started to accept this new path I was on. I started to find more joy in my life, and instead of wallowing I sought out that joy.
So now, after that giant word vomit, I’ll talk about how I’m feeling mentally at 6 months. Have you made it this far? GREAT.
I’m feeling tremendous. I feel blessed beyond belief. I feel more love and joy than I ever thought possible. I feel insanely protective of my sweet little goose and insanely happy I get to watch her grow and learn and smile every day. She is so bright and full of life and love. I am so in love with my husband, for putting up with my shit, for being amazing with Quinn, and for being supportive with every en devour I take.
I am lucky. How did I get to be this lucky? I don’t fully know, but every day I am grateful for it.
Before I was a mother, I wasn’t sure I even wanted to be a mother. Then, when I decided I did, I wasn’t sure how I would be AS a mother. And now that I am a mother, I know that I was meant to be her mother.
Okay, BODY. Well, you all have read about me becoming a Beachbody Coach. I gained a ginormous amount of weight in my pregnancy (SIXTY FREAKING POUNDS.). Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda on that front. Shoulda eaten more vegetables and less bagels and blizzards, woulda worked out during my first trimester had I not been disgustingly sick for nearly 8 weeks, coulda toned down my eating in all trimesters instead of it being a free-for-all. Whatevs. It happened and I learned. I’m now 7lb above my pre-pregnancy weight and beyond that I’d like to lose a maximum of 10 more pounds. So I’m about 15lb away from where I want to be. Physically I feel great. I’m fitting into most of my clothes. Working out consistently. Doin’ my thang. Hah 😉
All in all, these last 6 months have been eye-opening, difficult, and rewarding beyond anything I could have hoped for, and I wouldn’t change it for a damn thing.
Here’s to a lifetime more of being your momma sweet girl.