I don’t care how many articles you read, or how many people tell you horror stories and warn you about the reality of living with a newborn; nothing can prepare for what I am calling the Newborn Apocalypse.
I thought I was prepared, I knew I was strong, determined, and ready to deal with sleep deprivation, the lack of food, the inability to take long showers, or use two arms rather than just one….but I was not. In fact, at one point I was coping so badly that I now know that if a zombie apocalypse occurs I will last exactly 5 days before I break down into a sobbing, hysterical, crazy person. Like seriously, at one point I was holding and rocking my baby and just sobbing as I stared at a wall aimlessly. Luckily, my boyfriend found me, and took the baby from me and sent me to bed while he took over caring for the little overlord’s demands.
I think that because I am such an organized, planned, (my BF says controlling) person that my attempts to care for a little creature who had no set schedule and would scream and wake up every time I tried to eat something or lay my head down for a brief nap, completely shattered my paradigm/worldview that anything and everything can be planned for.
Newborns are the exception to all rules when it comes to planning, organization, and logic. Here are some of the things I learned when it comes to a newborn:
- They cry about everything
- They cry when they are hungry
- They cry when they are tired
- They cry when their diaper is messy
- They cry when you change their diaper
- They cry when they are hot
- They cry when they are cold
- They cry when they are bored
- They cry when you put clothes on them
- They cry when they spill formula on themselves
- They cry during baths
- They cry when you put them in their swing
- They cry when you hold them
- Newborns don’t give a damn about a schedule
- They make you think they have a routine, but will change it up at will
- Just because they feed at one time one day, don’t expect them to be hungry at the same time the next day.
- They sleep when, where, and how long they want, and don’t even think you know when that is, because they will change that schedule on you and that nap you thought you were going to get is not going to happen, nor is that shower.
- They will make you feel inadequate, ill-prepared, and intimidated
- I will admit, the first week, my whole goal in life was not to make the overlord cry. Obviously, I failed at this.
- I felt like I was failing at being a mom and was pretty sure that I had already created an anxious, stressed baby who would never sleep or relax
- Things will get better
- Eventually, I learned to stop trying to figure things out and just deal with each day as it came
- I also stopped trying to do everything myself and accept the many offers of help I was offered.
- I forgave myself for my mistakes
- I understood that feeling like I wanted to be far away from my son one moment, and then missing him like crazy the moment he was out of my arms was normal and did not make me a bad mom, it just made me a mom.
- I stopped reading parenting advice sites and what I “should” do and just started listening to my instincts.
- I stopped trying to be perfect and focused on just getting through each day
- I took the time to take care of myself, knowing that if I did not take care of me, I could not take care of my baby.
I know I am still making mistakes and will keep learning as I go with my little overlord, but I am feeling much better about not knowing what I am doing. I think I am starting to relax a bit, and hopefully soon I will feel like a confident, capable woman again….or at least a little less crazy!