Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Long, Hard Hours of Being a First Time Mom

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Being a first time mom was somehow simultaneously the most glorious, rewarding, taxing, lonely, and draining thing I had ever done. Most of us dreamt of being a mother. We imagined what it would be like. When I was a little girl, I spent many hours in my room with my cabbage patch dolls pretending to be a mother. I planned to have 12 children. Having a baby via doll was so fun and serene!

The night Brayden was born, it was serene. Labor had been hard (though I didn't necessarily realize that then--I know now). Despite the efforts of the day, I could not sleep that night after he was born. I could only watch him sleep. What a miracle! Those new hours with a baby are such a miraculous time and you feel very close to heaven (not so much if the baby is whisked away to the NICU--I have had that experience, also). 

Time went on and the hours for sleeping came and went over the weeks with me being unable to use very many of them. The reality of motherhood set in. It was hard. While it was a fulfillment of my dreams and I loved it, my reality turned out to be much harder than my dreams were. I went from basically being able to do what I wanted when I wanted to having my life revolve around a baby. If I was super tired and the baby was up, too bad for me. A surprising difficulty for me was the loneliness. I am an extrovert and being home alone taking care of a baby who didn't even smile much less speak was socially isolating. Oh I loved him. I loved that baby. I loved being a mother. I loved holding that little miracle. But I still felt very alone.

To put it bluntly and non-eloquently, sometimes days just sucked.

I write this to let you young mothers know, it is perfectly normal to find motherhood hard and lonely. It is perfectly normal to watch the clock slowly tick by. The years fly by, but the minutes drag. I remember watching the clock closely. If Nate had to be home later than expected, even fifteen minutes, it was enough to send me to tears. 

That aspect of motherhood does get easier. These days, when Nate walks in the door, I typically think, "Wow! It is time already?" I enjoyed the newborn days of Kaitlyn much more than I did Brayden because I had this little two year old who would talk to me all day long. I also had less monotony. I wasn't just doing eat, play, sleep, repeat...I had a two year old to keep things varied and interesting. I also had gotten into the grove of being a mom and being home all day long and had a million ways in my mind to fill my time. 

I know how hard those beginning months of motherhood are. Keep in mind as you are there that you are doing God's work. The difficulty of it all can really turn you to the Lord like little else. It is a growing time for you spiritually. You will come out more kind, empathetic, loving, patient, selfless, and much, much more. 

Hang in there. You will look back soon and find certain aspects of what it was to be a first time mom quite desirable. You will long for time to just be at home with no where else to be. You will fondly remember those quiet hours at home with just you and your babe. As in any stage of life, try to focus on the good aspects before you. There are always good and bad to each situation and walk of life. Focus on the good of what it is and you will make it through happier and more content. 


AllieK said...

Thanks for this post, Val! I felt very much the same after my 1st too; my husband working overtime would leave me sobbing all night. In hindsight I do think I had postpartum depression. I wish I could have seen it back then and gotten help from my doctor!

Vicky said...

I totally agree! I had such a difficult time when I first had my daughter...I literally hated every minute of that stage. It was so hard for that I still am hesitant to go for baby number 2. But you have given me a bit of hope that I can appreciate the next ones baby days so much more and maybe actually enjoy them. It's so easy to forget that "This too shall pass". So glad that I am not the only one out definitely felt like I was back then!

Lys said...

I agree with Val that having the second is so much easier... I was just thinking the other day (my second is 4 months now) that being a mom to two littles is SO much more fun than just one :-) Everything is a little easier the second time around - you know a little better how to do this routine, how to nurse, all that. And then you have the toddler to keep you entertained and occupied during ALL those newborn naps! Another fun part is that my toddler is so delighted by the baby. She regularly makes the baby giggle, which makes HER giggle, which makes ME giggle, and there we sit, and life just doesn't get much better at this stage :-D

Christina Mitchell said...

Thank you for writing this. The part about being extroverted speaks to me.

Valerie Plowman said...

It is too bad ppd is easier to see in hindsight than when you are in it!

Valerie Plowman said...

The newborn time is my least favorite stage, but I will say with each child, I liked it more and more.

Valerie Plowman said...

So very true Lys! I loved adding a second :)

Valerie Plowman said...

You are so welcome!


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