Thoughts at 5 Weeks Postpartum

So much to write about and so little time! So excuse this very rushed and probably disorganized post.

We are doing pretty well. We’ve had a lot of sickness, which has been really hard, but besides that, things are going well. Mae was sick for almost two weeks. Then I got bronchitis, and we are currently hoping Mae isn’t getting it again. Yeah, not fun. However, through it all, Jimmy and I have remained pretty calm and a team. But it’s tough when someone is sick because no one wants to visit and catch it!

James is definitely a different baby than Mae. I am, of course, still holding my breath for him to become colicky, but so far, I think he is normal-baby fussy. And while I knew Mae was a challenging baby since I couldn’t soothe her most of the time. I didn’t understand what being a able to soothe a baby does for a mother. Every time I succeed in soothing James, it builds my confidence. I know one more trick that works. I become more and more comfortable with him. I didn’t get to have this feeling with Mae until she was much older. Instead of feeling more and more confident, I felt more and more insecure and ashamed of not being able to soothe her or do what a mother “should” be able to. I can actually rock James to sleep. Just rock. I didn’t get to do that with Mae until she was about 18 months old.

I guess I just want moms to know that often it’s not you: it’s your baby. If you had an “easy” baby, I hate to tell you but you aren’t a supermom. Your baby just had a certain temperament. And if you had tough babies, it’s not you, mama. It’s the baby. And someone who has only had “normal” babies can truly never understand the experience of having a colicky baby. I know that now because James is still hard, and so it must be very difficult to imagine just how very much harder a colicky baby can be for other moms.

The other thing I’ve realized is that last time I secretly thought a mother should do more than a father. Yes, I’m a self-proclaimed feminist, but I think deep down I believed a “good” mother always did a little more than a father. So it made it difficult for me to accept Jimmy’s help in some ways and trust him to be an equal parent. All of that is different this time around. I completely trust Jimmy as a father and parent. I know he can handle any situation thrown at him, and that he can soothe and care for our baby as well as I can. And that doesn’t make me less of a mother. And we are sharing things 50/50 this time because I am allowing it to happen.

Breastfeeding is still going well for the most part. James gets fussy in the evening and sometimes fusses at the breast. Last night, I was so tired and he was fussing and not nursing well, and I just wanted him to go to bed so I could take a hot bath and drink a glass of wine. So I tried to give him a bottle of formula. He rejected it, and then nursed just fine. And I’m okay with the fact that I tried to give him formula because it doesn’t mean we were going to stop breastfeeding, it just means I needed a break in that moment. It’s not all or nothing, as it was last time.

So things are normal-hard, I think, which is still hard, but so very different from last time.

We are headed into weeks 6-8, the fussiest period for most babies, so be thinking of us. This also coincides with when Jimmy returns to work, so be thinking of me. I’m taking it one day at a time, though, so I just have to see what the next few weeks bring.

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