Sunday, May 20, 2018

You don't have to love every second


This past week I've struggled a bit. Things had started to really improve. I'd say from around the time our little girl, who I'll nickname Mini for this blog, was around eight weeks, I felt like I had finally gotten into a nice rhythm and had been able to really enjoy being a mum. I started going out to meetups with other mothers to get out of the house. Of course it still feels a little strange at times to be part of this world now. I'm finally a member of the exclusive parent club which I'd struggled for years to join.

The girls from my birth preparation course meet up once every week or two and it's been nice to make new friends. So far we have just been meeting in each other's houses or apartments but hopefully we'll start going out to cafes soon as well. Some of the women feel uncomfortable about the idea of breastfeeding in public. I've already fed Mini several times while out and about now! It has gotten easier with practice. There are ways to be discreet about it, but Germany is very open about breastfeeding which is great.

There's a group of english speaking mothers in the German town where I live who regularly meet for brunches at kid friendly cafes. Anyway I got chatting to one of them and she mentioned that her and her husband had a very difficult time trying to conceive their daughter. We didn't go into details about how long it had taken or what treatment she had undertaken but I also shared that it wasn't easy for us. Her child would have really bad crying spells and she was telling me about how difficult it was. Also the fact that her daughter was such a miracle, she would feel a lot of pressure to enjoy every moment even the hard ones. She said she had to allow herself to accept that sometimes being a parent is really hard with bad days and not feel bad about not appreciating each second.

That resonated with me and helped me when we were having a really bad week. There's this app and book called the Wonder Weeks. Babies go through developmental leaps during certain times and it affects their behaviour. Some children don't change that much but for other ones who are more sensitive, they are really affected. Mini is one of them!

During leap 3 she would cry really easily but also much louder than before! A loud screaming cry. It was awful, I hated seeing her like that! Most of the usual "tricks" to calm her down wouldn't work. There was also a sleep regression. Two nights in particular were awful. She had been sleeping one long stretch of around 4-5 hours before then. One night the previous week she even slept for 6 hours which was amazing. On these two bad nights during leap 3 she only slept three hours. The rest of the night she wouldn't settle and only napped for really short amounts like 20-50 minutes.

Since I am exclusively breastfeeding, it can feel like I never get a break. My husband has been extra busy in work lately and hasn't been able to offer me much support. One of the downsides of living so far from home is that I don't have my family around. My sister and Dad were over visiting a few weeks ago which was great but obviously I can't spend time with them as often as if I lived at home.

My husband's mother has been a good help. She comes to visit once every week or two and usually cooks something. Usually I can hand Mini over and she'll happily nap on my mother in law and I get a little break. This time, probably due to leap 3 she was especially clingy to me. I would get her to sleep and gently hand her over but then she would wake and cry for me again! Mini also wanted to breastfeed a lot. There's a three month growth spurt and I just felt like I was stuck on the couch for hours on end. I remember one day where I had to skip dinner because I just couldn't find a moment to eat.

Parenting can be really hard and it helps to not feel guilty when you have moments where you struggle!

15 comments:

  1. Isn’t it funny how it’s sometimes easier to reassure someone else than yourself? I’m glad you made a connection with someone in your group. Glad the wonder weeks app is helping: i never paid much attention but it is true they change all the time and as a new parent especially you are improvisi g a lot of the time. Does Mini self soothe at all? Dani became much easier to put down when she learned to suck her thumb. Other people use a soother; we never really did so can’t comment.

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    1. I've been working on trying to put her down sleepy at night in her cot hoping she'll only learn to self soothe but only having limited success so far. She won't take a soother, I tried several different brands! Mini has found her hands and chews them a lot but not her thumb yet.. maybe that will happen soon. She has been sleeping much better at night this week actually though so hopefully that will continue!

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  2. It's totally ok to not love every second because sometimes it's just plain hard!! But it does get better for sure :)

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    1. Yea several people told me recently that it gets a lot easier once the babies are six months or so! And this week I've been managing things better too

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  3. Amen, sister! These days my son's (6 weeks old today) schedule is bizarre and hard to predict. Some days he just eats and eats, other days he sleeps and sleeps, and he seems gassy lately to the point that it wakes him up regularly. Sometimes he just fusses and fidgets at night for hours, even after we try to burp him and help him fart as much as we can. During the day he'll rarely sleep except on top of me, and right now he's been asleep for hours (on me on the couch), and it's killing my tailbone, and I'm hungry, and I'm just trapped under this adorable tyrant :P

    But I love him like crazy, and no phase will last forever, and I'm trying to take the good with the bad, and at the same time not pressure myself not to be massively annoyed when he's preventing me from eating and sleeping -- the very things that would enable me to be a better mom!

    It's just not easy these days without a "village" to take some of the pressure off. Still marvelous, but certainly not always a glamorous, effortless walk in the park!

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    1. Yes absolutely! I've been reminding myself that this hard phase won't last forever and trying to appreciate the sweet moments when I can. I hear ya about being trapped under a sleeping baby for hours and not able to eat/drink or even use the bathroom. I try to make myself tea and grab some biscuits now before I sit on the couch with baby to feed just to have something to keep myself going. Mini had bad reflux and would make noises and not settle at night but as she has gotten older that has improved a lot! Hope it will be the same for your little guy!

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  4. This is really funny. I remember the hard times with my daughter when she was an infant. She was a screamer! My husband worked 10 hour days and would leave for work days or weeks at a time. I always reminded myself that I asked for the baby! Parenting will make you find your grit, that's for sure. Prepare for exponential personal growth :)
    Each stage presents new challenges, but it never gets any easier. First it's the crying and not sleeping, then it's the crawling and standing and getting into everything. Then it's tantrums and learning to talk.. it just changes and changes. Parenting requires a lot of strength, a lot of patience and a lots of perseverance.

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    1. yea it does seem like every time I think I'm finding my groove and getting the hang of things, everything changes again and I feel clueless again! Mini is a screamer too! Sometimes she's all mellow and chilled but if she gets over tired, will scream the house down! But fights naps.. Haha, about the personal growth! I think I'm learning to be less self conscious anyway and just roll with the punches more. My husband is having to learn to be more flexible.

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  5. firstly first it's okay to do what you can do

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  6. I completely relate. With my first daughter, I struggled with this perpetual happiness thing for ya least the first five months. Then I started letting myself feel and let go of always being grateful and happy... being sleep deprived alone is enough of an issue let alone breast feeding, hormone changes, recovery... and having a new person to care for! It’s hard. Having been through the trenches it’s easy to feel bad about not loving every moment... but you can’t. Having come through that experience will definitely make you a more mindful parent though, in the long run! Be kind to yourself and know it’s ok to need space!

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    1. Thanks for your comment. I sometimes feel so guilty about wanting a "break" but I find I'm a much better and patient parent if I manage to have a few moments to myself now and then! Trying to find a good balance

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  7. I've never thought that parenting was going to be all fun and roses and perfection, so - from someone who didn't get to join that club - you absolutely have the right to find it hard, and to complain about it! Guilt not allowed. lol

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    1. I think I might have imagined parenting to be a lot easier than it is actually! I didn't really think about the sleep deprivation aspect that much.Thanks for your comment :-)

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  8. I think it's so important that people know that new parenthood is not all sunshine and roses and that it is really, really hard. That acknowledging that it's hard doesn't take away your gratitude for being there, but do you really need to be grateful for sleep deprivation and sore nipples? It's such a cruel dichotomy that so often those who struggled most to get to parenthood are implicitly told (or internalized) that they should be grateful for all the experiences and that any feelings of "oh dear lord this is awful" should be met with crushing guilt. It's not fair, and I'm glad that you are embracing the good and the difficult alike and sharing that it's just freaking hard. I've watched my friends go through it, and feel alone while breastfeeding exclusively in particular. That app looks great, what a wonderful thing to have ins and outs of tiny stages that can make such a difference behaviorally and give you a heads up on future hiccups! Sending you love!

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  9. I am glad to hear you're getting the rhythm of things and conquering the parenting. I'm sure she'll grow into a bright young girl.

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