Meet Me Here...The Past 4 Months
Last time we spoke I was prepping to go back to work full time. Here we are about four months later, a little more stretched for time and reflecting on life in a different way. Parenting has a way of making you a bit manic doesn't it? Not only forgetting everything, but having scattered thoughts as well. My goals and mindset has changed a thousand times over the past months, and my main focus has been working to be okay with that.
Lately I have been thinking about instincts, and by that I mean going with my gut. Being a mom has opened up a whole can of self doubt that I didn't know existed. Doubt about sleeping arrangements, eating (both mine and Morrison's,) my exercise regime, my ability to be a wife and a lover. Pretty much all aspects of my life. I know a lot of you have had the same thoughts so I want to share, in an effort to get some things off of my shoulders and into the universe, and perhaps make you feel less alone, if you can relate.
To start, Morrison is still sleeping in our bed, and nursing for half the night so that I get some sleep. He caught a cold in January and this has been the arrangement ever since. I torture myself reading blogs, articles, and books that say he should be sleep trained in his crib by now, but he's happy and healthy. He's my child and this feels right in my heart so I'm going with it until that changes. The next big topic in baby land is food. Many suggest that starting solids will help sleeping (see above,) including our pediatrician. It just didn't feel right to me, so at our six month check up I lied through my teeth, and told the doctor Morrison has been trying solids (does a tiny fleck of avocado count?!) I think I really will start trying out solids in the next couple of weeks, but up until now my exclusively breast fed baby has been doing just fine. In fact he has gained two pounds in the last two months. As the saying goes maybe mother really does know best...at least that's what I am going with.
The next round of doubt has surrounded my diet and exercise routine. The pressure to have my pre-baby body back is no joke. The fashion industry is brutal in that way. I have kept a pretty consistent exercise regime, but have had to take a few days off from pure exhaustion. It's hard for me to not chalk this up to laziness, especially since I am holding five pounds of baby weight around my mid section. I have also tried to modify my diet in hopes that the excess would melt away, but the only thing that diminished slightly was my milk supply (scary!.) My body craves carbs, and some days I could eat more than most men; I was feeling defeated and ashamed because of it. In truth it's because I am feeding another human. I am so blessed to be able to nourish my son, and I will lose the five pounds eventually. It's hard to remember this a lot of the time, but I am working on it.
And finally a doubt that there is not nearly enough written about, or maybe I just missed it. The lack of feeling sexy, coupled with a decreased libido has made me feel like a subpar wife and lover. TMI? Maybe, but it's the truth. Getting in the mood is simply harder, when your bra is milk stained and you're running on 5 hours of sleep. It has made me feel bad simply because almost all of my attention is now directed towards my son, and I know that my partner isn't getting the back rubs or conversations that he once did. I hear about couples doing date night once a week to reconnect. The truth is I'm not ready to be away from my baby, but I currently have to work full time. The last thing I would want is to spend even more time away from him. Luckily for me, my partner is understanding. I have told him I'm sorry, and that things will continue to change as Morrison gets bigger. He won't be this little forever, and I know that I will regret not spending every moment I can with him. A strong relationship is built on trust, understanding, and communication. So long as I work toward these everyday I hope our love will remain strong.
So that's where I am at. Forging ahead as a working mom, and gaining plenty of experience and insight that I will incorporate at some point into my health coaching programs. In the meantime, I hope reading this has given you a sense of feeling more normal if you are a new parent, or a head's up if you ever want to be a parent. There truly is no greater love than the one you have for your child, it just takes some time and adjustment to get used to.