Aurora is going to be 2 months old soon and it’s been an emotional whirlwind for me. There certainly are many thing mothers don’t tell you about motherhood. But I guess it’s because every mother is different, just like every child is different. And every experience for each individual is different as well. What I can say so far is that It is definitely not easy. For such a timid person like me, sometimes I think back on when hubby and I decided to have a baby and wonder how I even dared to want one from the start. It is, after all, what people call the hardest job in the world. From the endless worrying to the sleepless nights. These are things you read and hear about but when you experience it yourself it is so different. I guess this is what they mean by the term ‘tip of the ice berg’.
I thought tonight I’d share with you some of the worries I have had. They say writing things down is cathartic. Hopefully this helps.
1. Sleepless nights
Aurora had a period of cluster feeding. That kept me up for many nights. Literally from after dinner time till sunrise. But this isn’t the only type of sleepless nights you can experience. Aurora can’t fall asleep on her own. We have tried different ways. Music, giving her a soft toy, even pacifier. She needs to be rocked to sleep. And even then, when you put her down, she sometimes wakes up and you’ll have to rock her to sleep all over again. This can take from 15 minutes to an hour. It is OK during the day. But at night, when every one is asleep and I’m the only one up at 1 in the morning, I start to feel really lonely. Especially so when you can hear the snores from hubby and when the streets are extremely quiet. And this lonely feeling eats into me and keeps me awake.
Even when Aurora is fast asleep, I need about half an hour before I myself can fall back to sleep myself. And the whole time, all kinds of emotions and thoughts that are brought about by my sense of loneliness run wild. Sometimes, I feel like crying. Then I worry I transfer this negativity to Aurora.
We know that we have to make decisions together. But we don’t always see eye to eye. There are so many decisions to make. From insurance, to schools, to parenting techniques. The list is endless. And you can’t always be on the same page all the time. I am not exactly the type of person who is easy to talk to. I am a little slow in picking up stuff. Hubby on the other hand is very quick. He is always a few steps ahead of me. So when we have discussions about important things, we tend to get impatient with each other. This isn’t a good recipe for discussions. There will be arguments. There will be disagreements. And sometimes, we forget that we both want the best for Aurora.
I think if we only remind ourselves that, we can meet in the middle. But when it’s late after a long day at work, and the only time you have left to talk to each other is the 1 hour before bed time or before Aurora wakes you up again, and you’re tired, it is easy to forget. And you realize that that 1 hour is too precious to get into arguments and all you want to do is have a peaceful sleep.
But almost every night, I stay up feeling lonely putting Aurora to sleep. And so I fall asleep feeling lonely too.
3. Thinking Ahead
Insurance, education, mental, physical and emotional health. All the things we have to think about. Hubby is good with thinking ahead. I am not. I must say I’m lucky to have a hubby who knows all these things. He knows what insurance to get so that Aurora is well taken care of, especially in our country, where insurance is a must. He’s even read up on schools, preschools and what not. All I have considered are her emotional and mental well being. I worry about what kind of effect the things I do will have on her. Should I be or not be doing this or that? I worry about her getting too dependent on us, or me getting too possessive of her. I worry that I will be the cause of all the things that she will grow to dislike in herself. And then when I think about all the feelings and thoughts that go through my mind, I think about all the other mothers who have it much tougher than I and I feel very incompetent and weak. Another cause for sleepless nights.
It is late at night and Aurora still can’t fall asleep. When the clock struck 2, that pacifier is starting to look very welcoming in helping her sleep. Then I think about all the other mothers out there who will judge me for using a pacifier.
Aurora is a spitter and I have to constantly put a bib around her neck, even when she sleeps. I don’t want her sleeping in wet clothes and the bib can soak up her spit. But sometimes it causes her to have tiny rashes around her chin. I worry others will look and blame me for giving her rashes.
We judge mothers all the time. When you see kids on their iPads at dinning tables, kids playing their hand held devices when out with family, I even have heard stories of kids who can’t speak until they are 3. We are very quick to judge the parents for the fault in children.
But we forget that parenting does not come with a manual. You don’t have a trial run first before having kids. And I think we face enough stress to be judged by one another. Still, I worry about people judging me, telling me what I should and shouldn’t be doing.
5. Am I Doing Enough?
Aurora needs to be carried around often. So after she feeds and gets her burp, and after we’ve held her up for about half an hour after her feed (doc’s recommendation to reduce her spits), she would sleep for about an hour before she cries for attention again. Mostly because she has an upset stomach and needs to spit out. Once she’s done spitting, she’ll go back to sleep. Shortly after, it’s time for her next feed.
In that short amount of time, I sometimes forget to brush up or clear my table, or do whatever I should be. Instead, I go online and try to find some release. Maybe do a little online shopping, catch up on celebrity gossips. Then I immediately feel guilty for not doing enough. Should I have read her a book to sleep instead? Should I have carried her more, burped her more, fed her less? Am I doing enough?
At times, i want to pick up my make up brushes and just try on the new things I’ve bought for myself. Then, I feel like I shouldn’t. Maybe I should be doing something more productive. Like read up on education here, or get to know her insurance policy better since I’m quite blur about these things. While hubby is busy working hard, here I am wasting time on the computer. I constantly feel that I’m not doing enough.
6. Self Image
I have become so lazy that I don’t even shower in the morning. I told myself countless times that this is the day i will start my 30 minutes work out and it almost never happens. I tell myself I will cut down on food, so much so that sometimes when I reach the fridge, a sense of sadness overwhelms me and I suddenly don’t feel hungry anymore. Of course this lasts for an hour or so and I’m back to going to the fridge for that bowl of noodles, or that bar of chocolate. Right now, I’m high on bubble tea. It’s as though I’m making up for all the bubble tea I was refused during my confinement.
I have stopped my beauty regime, which was already close to zilch to begin with. I stopped putting oil on my stretch marks; I’ve given up hope on it ever disappearing. I’ve stopped putting sunscreen before I walk our furkid. I’ve stopped my trice weekly facial and foot scrubs. I think the only beauty thing I’ve done so far is clean up my brows.
Well, the one good thing is that I’ve lost 10kg since giving birth. I think its the confinement food. Thanks mom.
I’ve gone to Qoo10 to get some new clothes recently as my old ones don’t fit anymore. Plus, I needed to get some breastfeeding-friendly clothes, like maxi dresses and buttoned shirts. I had to choose sizes L to XL and when they arrived, a couple didn’t fit; they were too small. That didn’t help my self image at all. To top that off, I learned that my waist line is the same as hubby’s. And those of you who knows my hubby will know that he isn’t exactly slender, seeing that he is 1.8m tall.
But hubby reminds me every day that I look beautiful. Don’t misunderstand, I am proud of my stretch marks, hubby always tells me they are the mark of my motherhood, so wear them with pride. It’s just that I guess I feel bad trying to find time to do the usual stuff that I used to do. I mean, I take an hour to just put on make up (mostly because I’m not very good at it). I’d rather not trouble everyone by spending so much time on such things.
7. Being Understanding Towards Your Partner
Of all the worries I have, being understanding towards hubby is the worst. I expect him to come home to make me feel better, which is totally selfish of me because it is easy to forget that he’s had a hard day at work too. Sometimes I wish life were easier for him, or that I was stronger, or more independent. And at times when I try to do something, I end up making things worse. I know he has a lot on his shoulders and I don’t know what they are or how heavy it weighs on him. And I sometimes wish I didn’t need him as much as I do. But I do.
I guess at the end of it all, what is most important is to stay happy and positive. Smile more, joke more. It really isn’t that hard once you start trying. I’ve started to try to joke more with my mom, and not cry over spilled milk, literally and metaphorically in my case. But there are still nights where I feel less than competent. And I guess this is one of those nights.