A dear friend asked me recently how having a child has changed my life. I heaved a heavy sigh as people don’t usually want the nitty gritty but I know she would be up for the conversation, plus this will be her reality soon. This is a fusion of our conversation; I would say a very honest conversation.
Question: How did your lives change after having the baby?
U become a zombie. Especially in the first 6-8 weeks.
You are on someone else’s schedule and this is someone that sleeps and eat and poops every 2hrs. So basically you’re working round the clock. Then God forbid something out of the norm happens and you have to figure out what’s wrong. The baby can’t talk so you have to study him. Study his cries, facial expressions, cycle. You have to be a keen observer. All while accepting that his cycle changes often as he grows. U basically have to learn someone new who keeps changing. On top of that, they have all these things they go through, like wonder weeks, sleep regression, growth spurts and that bitch teething!
In my case, I didn’t know shit about babies, so it was even harder for me. There’s nothing I’ve been through that I could compare it to; no familiarity. Plus, I am so used to being on the move and babies slow u right the fuck down. I think that’s one of the hardest parts for me because I was like the road runner. I found the business of staying home hard as I’m used to being on the go. Every day I was somewhere. I worked a full-time and a part-time job, plus a side job and went to school full-time. I even walked superfast lol. Prior to being off due to the baby, I couldn’t tell u the last time I stayed home all day. In my bones it feels like I should be on the move, to work or school. Instead, I have this sweet little baby watching my every move; depending on me. All I can do now is crash in the couch or bed all day with him.
There’s also those moments where you feel like you’re losing grip and you just want to snap. Since that isn’t my personality, I have learned to hold it in. People will mess with your head no matter how simple it is and a lot of times you feel under pressure and want to just snap! You would snap on your spouse, people, yourself, your kid, you just want to snap. Especially when people are stating the obvious or you’re trying to multi-task and barely making it. You honestly have all the patience in the world but you have to work very hard to have patience with other people. You have to try your hardest not to attack people.
You know what too, for the first month of his life hubby was home and it was nice. He knows a lot about babies, we had a system and we were good. The not knowing much about taking care of babies leave you very vulnerable as well, especially when people say do this or do that and you’re unsure. Or when things happen and it weakens your soul because you don’t know what the fuck is happening! You just become threadbare. We’ve had so many moments when he’s crying, you’re crying and the doctor tells you everything is fine and what’s happening with him is normal! Our last visit was because he cried ALL night, the doctor made a big sigh and said guys…’this is what they do, you have on bad night. Deal with it.’ We went home so ashamed, we haven’t been back since.
I just appreciate the support I get from my friends though. Not having a mother or grandmother around was my choice and when my friends came around and made us feel like adults again it felt good. You will go crazy without adult interaction. Honestly, help with the baby is ok, it’s not necessary but adult interaction away from the baby is very important. This is one of the things that can lead to post-partum depression, especially if you have a fussy baby or a super attached baby.
I must say though, through it all, you have a sense of gratefulness. Not even love. You’re just so grateful. He’s happy and healthy, you and your partner are happy and healthy. All things considered, you develop a very deep sense of being grateful and you learn how to appreciate people more. No matter how people judge your parenting and try to tell you what to do, your bottom line is that he is alright either way. It’s kind of therapeutic saying these things out loud. Every one act like a baby is all smiles and giggles when they take a lot of hard work. If you have someone around you that knows the ropes, of course it’s easier. Opinions and beliefs may clash but you find a common ground and carry on.
I’d never change my experience though; from during pregnancy I learned to be very grateful for health and strength. When you see rich women, poor women, black, white, yellow women go through so many struggles and you and your family is ok, you just have to be grateful and humbled by your journey.