Meghan and I are so behind that we decided the skip Week 8. That means I only have to make up two weeks worth of missed blogs! WOOHOO! I think I can do it.
Week 9's challenge is to discuss our expectations of motherhood versus what played out in reality.
I'm not sure what I was expecting actually but I sure as heck wasn't expecting THIS. People tell you that having a newborn is hard work. Not that I thought I would breeze through it, but I figured, HEY! I work full time, attend classes at night, commute an hour each way to school, and use most of my vacation time to study. I can handle the work a baby requires, right?
I figured I would handle sleep deprivation like a pro. After all, I was a law student.
Oh, naive, pre-mommy Tamara. There is so much I wish I could warn you about. And yet, sadly, I cannot.
The sleep deprivation that comes with having a newborn is unmatchable. I could pull those all nighters for school like nobody's business. But staying up all night rocking, patting, walking, singing to, nursing, and doing whatever else it takes to get the baby to sleep??? And STAY asleep? Yeah, no. Not at all. There were nights that I got a combined total of 20 minutes of sleep. I just kept thinking, "I'll just wait him out. He has to sleep at some point, right?!" WRONG. Oh, so wrong.
That's another thing people tell you: that babies sleep a lot. No, no they don't. Not all of them anyway and definitely not mine.
People also love to say, "Sleep when the baby sleeps!" Wow! What a wonderful concept. I never would have been able to come up with that one on my own. But just one more question since you're an expert on everything: what if the baby doesn't sleep? Like, ever. Like, not for more than an hour if you're lucky and even then it's only when you're holding him. Oh Wise One, WHAT THEN, PRAYTELL?!?!
I'm aware I sound bitter. That's another thing I didn't expect about motherhood: the naggy, bitter, BITCH that now lives in my house, uses my toothbrush, and forces me to chain eat chocolate to cope my problems.
I cannot explain the physical and mental toll it takes on a person to endure severe, prolonged sleep deprivation. More than once, I was on the brink of mental collapse. I'm talking about handing off the baby to anyone stupid enough to take him from me so I could go and scream into a pillow in the other room and question every decision I'd ever made.
I also cannot explain the toll having a difficult baby took on my marriage. I'm still completely confident that Justin is the one for me. I believe we still have a good relationship and hopefully we will come through this stronger than before. But MAN. This baby has brought out personality traits, habits, and issues, I didn't know existed. In both of us. What once was a near perfect union with open communication, respect, and give and take has been… rocked, to put it mildly. I think we're through the worst of it but if I'm being honest, I still think we'd benefit from some marriage counseling. I have some resentments that I need to work through and I'm not sure I'm capable of doing it on my own.
Another thing I expected in motherhood was for the weight just to melt off of me as I was nursing. That's all I hear from people is how they lost all the baby weight and then some just by nursing! I was SOLD. Bond with my baby, give him the very best nutrition, AND lose weight while doing it?! Yes, please.
So.Naive. Needless to say, that's not what happened. As I sit here, over a year postpartum, I still have about 10 lbs of baby weight left. I am weaning currently so maybe my insatiable appetite will calm down a little. He's also started sleeping through the night which has helped me be more patient and eat less junk. Hopefully that helps, too.
And honestly, I look about like I should for how much effort I've put into losing weight. I eat crap a lot of the time, and I don't exercise near as much as I should. But the way those ladies made it sound… "It's like I couldn't eat ENOUGH calories!" Bitch, shut your pie hole.
So this entry is, once again, all over the place. I should start outlining before I start. :)