Life with a newborn is hard. There is no other way to put it. You go into it expecting the lack of sleep, long nights, hard days, crying, dirty diapers, and the lot — but you can’t prepare yourself for what it will really mean; for how your life will really change.
The hardest part for me has been the loneliness. For the past month, Matthew has been working 14-hour days. He leaves the house at 5 am and doesn’t get home until 7:30 pm. It is so lonely here without him. He took off of work for the week after the baby was born, but he’s gone back now and his absence hurts so much. I miss him all day. It was so nice to have him here, to help with little things, even just to hold the baby for a few minutes so that I could go to the bathroom. But now, I am alone, and I’ve had to learn how to do everything on my own. Practically, it is a challenge — but the emotional aspect of it is what bothers me more.
We’ve had lots of offers for visitors but we are keeping a relative quarantine around here until Roman’s two-week checkup. Immediate family have all been around to meet him, but beyond that we’re waiting to plan visits. There has been a nasty stomach virus going around and even a fever in an infant requires a minimum two-day hospital stay. Although we had an amazing hospital experience — we’re not in a rush to go back anytime soon!
Once two weeks passes and we’re out in the world, I am sure that the loneliness will lessen. Right now we’re just going through a little bit of cabin fever around here.
The two other “hardest parts” are (not) sleeping and breastfeeding which are kind of tied together. The great news is that he took to breastfeeding immediately and — knock on wood — we haven’t had any issues there. He loves to eat. In fact, he would eat all day if I let him. I’ve jokingly told Matthew that I have the cure to all of our problems: Just duck tape the baby across my chest and let him stay there, boob at his disposal all day. He would love it! Joking aside though, breastfeeding is the most physically and emotionally demanding thing that I have ever done. The baby needs to eat every two hours, give or take. That is around the clock, twenty-four seven. My life is a series of feedings, one after another. It’s almost as though that’s all there is. Everything else has fallen away. I am nothing except a pair of breasts and a fountain of milk for my newborn boy. And believe it or not, in some ways, it’s wonderful. I am so grateful to be so close to him, to have formed this bond, to be nourishing him with my body. It so beautiful and rewarding. But on the other hand, it is utterly exhausting. Every muscle in my body hurts from the weird feeding position that we find ourselves in at three o’clock in the morning and let’s not even talk about how my nipples feel right now! (And I thought labor was painful…) 😉
He hasn’t been sleeping on his own. He screams and screams when we put him down, so I end up holding him through the night. I’ve read about ten thousand pieces of advice on the issue of sleep and I don’t need anymore. We just have to work through it. That’s all. We make tiny, baby steps every day and I know that none of this is forever. Everything will change with time and as difficult as these first weeks may be — I still cherish every moment.
For now, he is the center of my universe and I am the center of his. We are everything to one another — and as hard as that can be — it is also the most beautiful & wonderful gift. It will not always be this way. There will come a day where I will wish so desperately to have this closeness back. So I do not take a moment of it for granted. The pain, the exhaustion, the loneliness — all of that will pass. For now it’s all about eating, sleeping, crying, dirty diapers, and the most precious little baby boy faces I could ever imagine.
I love being a mommy.