Just yesterday my little Stella had her 4 month appointment which really got me thinking about how quickly this whole thing has gone down. It’s so true what they say! Throughout my pregnancy, I was happily surrounded by a large group of friends and family who were also pregnant (no seriously, my cousin, two sister-in laws, my best friend just to name a few) so I had no shortage of resources for asking questions as what to expect and it’s been so nice to have them as support from day to day (and I’ve been using them!). As a new parent, there are so many things happening for the first time and I hate to admit it but Andrew and I would turn to google almost every night when something we thought a bit off was happening and guess what, it was all natural and fine. Reading our search history would be comical and I feel like we’ve only just begun! As I’m writing this and reflecting on Stella’s first three months, it’s amazing how much I already forget but here are a couple of thoughts experiences that stick out and thought I would share.
Feeding a big deal for your little one and I think I only slightly realized how big of a deal until we were in it. I took a breastfeeding course in preparation and felt like I was ready to hit the ground running! While we were in the hospital, with the help of the lactation consultant we were able to get Stella to latch but it wasn’t an awesome one. I literally almost lost it on one of them (they really get in there and grab and squeeze) and I just wanted to get out of there! They suggested that I start hand expressing my colostrum which I basically laughed at the lady for. It was the tiniest, smallest little drop that would come out and she wanted me to collect like an ounce of it. Tedious was a huge understatement. Luckily once I got home and with the help of my mom, we got it figured out and all seemed swell until week 2 when I got mastitis. After that feeding has gone quite smoothly but it was a major hurdle for us and involve some painful feeds.
So yeah, it’s not great! That being said, it’s not all that awful either. I went into this journey knowing that I wouldn’t be getting an uninterrupted sleep for a long time. Years, since we plan to have more children but again, that’s an obvious statement right? What I didn’t expect is how much of a “thing” it is for Stella. It’s like once you pass the breastfeeding hurdle of motherhood (if you so choose to do so) it’s the sleep and then I imagine once you overcome that hurdle, guess what? There’s a new one! For about the first two months of her life, she would sleep pretty much everywhere which was great – she had a serious love affair with her car seat and would sleep in there for hours! For my birthday this year, we went to a pub with some friends and she slept the whole time which was amazing. But we’re now entering a more structured schedule which we’ve actually already experienced great results with. If anything, I have to teach myself to get to bed earlier! I’m such a night hawk and I experience a second wind around 9:00pm and have to remind myself of the cute little wake up calls I’ll be getting soon.
She has many nicknames, Stells, Stell Baby, Stelly, the list goes one but she really coming into her own personality which is so nice to witness. Everyone told us, wait until the 6 week mark, it’s a real game changer and they were right! At first their sight is limited (as well as their cognitive development, naturally) and don’t make connections with your face etc so it could sometimes feel rewardless. But after about 6 weeks we as parents had grown and so had she. We were better at understanding what she needed and were able to be a little more proactive. It’s so nice when they do recognize you and they give a little smile, it melts you! Now that she’s in her fourth month, she’s able to grabs things and loves toys. My living room has been overrun with things that I said I would never keep in my living room but she loves them and it’s great to keep her happy and occupied so I can get other things done as well. I think I underestimate how much fun I would have dressing her and shopping for her. I really have to hold myself back because I could go completely bananas and the sad part is, they grow out of it so quickly but when they have that outfit on… it’s the best!
Me, myself and I
One thing that I’ve learned over these past couple months is acceptance. That may seem strange but I had so many ideas of what life would look like, what I would look like and things I knew I DID not want to happen yet I’m just accepting things as they come now versus having any expectations at all. I’m no longer on my own schedule (which is a major adjustment) and getting little tasks done take me much longer (should be no surprise here but I’m still surprised at how long things are taking me now versus life before babe). It’s exciting to add the role of mother to my life and it’s certainly been, and will continue to be quite the learning experience. In the beginning weeks I would make a list of things to get done around the house. Well that was a big eye-opener. I would be home ALL DAY and not get anything done? It was hard to accept that fact but I had to learn to move on from it. I stopped making those giant lists and started with one task a day. I think I was forgetting that the parenting part was supposed to be number one and that it was OK to not get to the zillion other things I wanted to.
I’m trying to find the balance of being a mom, working part-time, social life and being a good friend and it’s been harder than I thought. I’m sorry if I’ve had to cancel plans with you but I find myself over committing and then having to cut back. This month, I’m trying more than ever to tailor the amount of plans I make so I leave time to be more in the moment, do fun spontaneous things with my little family (Mackie included) and then also just do nothing with them as well. I’m also in love with other moms. I think I lacked something in my soul before – maybe it’s because I wasn’t fully comprehending the task at hand or maybe I was a witch but other moms are the bomb. I was terrible, I would be the biggest eye-roller out there “Oh you have to cancel plans because your baby is sick? What does that have to do with you?”, “Oh, you’d rather go on a vacation with your family than with your girlfriends?”, “Oh you have to leave work to deal with child-care issues?”. Yeah, I was the WORST but happy to report that I have mad respect for moms (you too Mom!) and even more so for those single moms. HOW do they do it? I’ll never know.
Photography by: Laura Collins Design