Postpartum Soundbites: Week 4
Does anyone ever get used to getting five to six hours of sleep in one to two-hour increments? I wish I was one of those superhumans that didn't need sleep, but I'm a walking Mombie. It's true what they say, that your brain can't function when you don't get the rest you need. Every time I turn around I'm like, What was I about to do? Why did I come in here? I was going to tell you something, but now I can’t remember. Dammit!
Supposedly you’re doing okay as a new mom if you get seven to eight hours of total sleep within a 24-hour period, but I don’t even think I’m reaching that goal yet. My son is a hungry hippo and nurses every two hours, sometimes every hour. If he goes for three hours in between feedings it feels like forever and then I’m so engorged that I have to pump a little bit just to get some relief. And of course, his longest stretches of sleep are still during the day, which is when they say moms should nap, but I usually can’t because – toddler.
Having a second baby and planning for it to be my last comes with different emotions. Instead of celebrating all of the firsts and eager with anticipation for the next “leap” of development, I find myself lamenting all of the lasts instead. I already miss holding his six-pound, day-old little body. How do eight pounds feel so heavy already?? The list of lasts has become increasingly long in just a short four weeks. I tucked away his preemie-sized onesie today in the giveaway pile, and I felt choked up for a moment.
My son and I are finally starting to get into our groove. He looks at me now like he sees me, and he has this big gummy smile sometimes when he sleeps. I wonder if he’s dreaming of milk-filled lakes and waterfalls or if it’s just gas. I can already see glimpses into the soul of his personality, as I remember what my daughter was like at his age and realize that so much of who she is today she was already then.
Postpartum comes with all sorts of irrational thoughts and fears and anxiety…oh the anxiety! I have this perpetual fear of my son being dropped, whether by me or someone else. I had the same fear with my daughter, but it was actually much worse with her, almost crippling at times. I fell down the stairs once when I was holding her as an infant and had to call 9-1-1 because my husband was gone, and I thought for sure I had broken her. Thank God she ended up being totally fine, but I about passed out from my own hyperventilation.
Having children really shows you what love is. It’s an emotion so strong, so fierce, so passionate, that you’ve also never felt so scared in your entire life. To love something so much that you slowly have to keep letting go is the ultimate sacrifice, and fear creeps up around every corner. It can consume you if you’re not careful. Knowing this, I have to consciously work really hard to protect my positivity and focus on the good fortune, the blessings, and my intuition. As mothers, we must be so brave and do the best we can in each moment of each day, for molding and holding another human being is our greatest privilege.