To say that these have been an eventful few months would be an understatement. I sit on the floor next to the bouncy seat with a beautiful, happy baby–my how times have changed. John Benjamin “Jack” was born June 3, and our life has been a blur since then.
He is a really great baby–laid back disposition, good sleeper–all things of which I cannot claim ownership! I am not an expert–just grateful.
What have I learned these last ten weeks?
1. There is no way to prepare for sleep deprivation. Why, oh why, can’t we bank up time?
2. I need my husband a lot. I have seen that when I have been at my weakest, he has been a huge gift and vice versa.
3. Everybody has a hot sports opinion on how you need to do EVERYTHING in taking care of a baby. (I do not look forward to these opinions growing and growing and growing as life with a child gets more complicated.)
4. A lot of a baby’s life right now is not about how good of a parent you are but the disposition of the baby. Everyone takes credit until it gets hard:) I do not know how you should raise your baby, and I am going to try hard to not tell you my advice:).
5. Post-partum depression is a black hole–a scary place where it is seemingly impossible to think on truth. I crashed hard–got help quickly–and had many people who were understanding and had been there.
6. This is yet another area where I see my sin so clearly–to want to be approved by everyone, to please them, to be worshipped and admired. Yuck! The biggest area where this has come out has been with breastfeeding. Greg and I were very much about wanting to breastfeed. I took the class, read books, prayed and prayed. Everything seemed to start well with the lactation consultant praising me in the hospital. Then the first doctor’s appointment Jack had lost too much weight, so we had to supplement. He immediately was a different child because he was not hungry all the time. I then nursed, supplemented and pumped. Every 2 1/2 hours during the day and 3 at night I practically danced a jig to get Jack to be awake to nurse. I began to loathe the time–and I did not enjoy him in any way. I felt myself sinking deeper and deeper and deeper into depression. I drank water like it was going out of style–took herbs–prayed and prayed. When I could sleep, all I did was have nightmares. I would pump only from time to time to see how my milk production was going—and it was very very meager–depressingly meager. We had to sit as a family and weigh the wisdom of me going deeper into the black hole while not producing much more milk or feeding Jack formula and engaging him more. The day that I quit breastfeeding, I became a different woman. I began enjoying him and enjoying being a mom. Am I sad it did not work? Yes. Do I worry about the loss of health benefits? Yes.
The hardest part of the whole deal now is telling people I do not breastfeed. There is a lot of judgement! The friends that were most helpful to me were the ones who struggled as well with production and depression. If breastfeeding was not too much of a struggle it is easy to judge those who do not. Having women to talk to that I trusted was invaluable. I know God uses all things to make us more like Him, and I know this is one of those areas where I cannot please everyone. He is teaching me to get approval from Him and not the particular parenting group philosophy.
7. Everyone thinks their way is the right way–and yes, even I do! Ha! There are so many “camps” to how to do things. Big ideas–how and when you feed your child (schedule or on demand), where they sleep, who sets the pace of life, what kind of diapers the kid wears (cloth/disposable), breast versus bottle. We can all get so caught up in these things that we forget these choices are not our identity.
Enough of all this heavy stuff…here are some pictures!