Wednesday, July 29, 2009

On Becoming a Parent

On Wednesday, a week ago today, I officially became a mom. I had been anxious for this day for the past few weeks wondering when she was ever going to come. I knew I was standing at the precipice of a huge life change yet I didn't know when my life would truly change forever- it is like riding a roller coaster in the dark, you know you are climbing the really steep part slowly but you don't know when the bottom is about to drop out from under you. I can't describe the feeling of seeing our daughter for the first time. When they placed her on my stomach right after being born and she let out her first cry I was completely overcome with surprise, joy, excitement, awe at how beautiful she is, love for my husband, and of course hormones. There really is no other moment in life like that moment. I loved the visitors who came to the hospital as I wanted everyone to see our new beautiful baby, and there was also a measure of assurance and back-up at the hospital because of the staff- I knew they could take care of me and I knew they could take care of Daisy. Going home...that is a different story.

After two nights and three days in the hospital, we were released to go home. We made the 2 minute drive after taking 5 minutes to make sure Daisy was in her car seat correctly - really we could have walked home (well, at least Micah could have while holding Daisy). Micah drove like an old lady, of his own admission, to our house and we unpacked our new baby and all the gear and gifts we had with us at the hospital. Daisy started crying shortly after getting home so we put her down for her first nap in her crib, made our way to the living room, had a champaign toast to becoming a family of three, and then we both cried. We were all the sudden overwhelmed with the responsibility and the mostly unknown and small known of what lay ahead. This feeling continued to evolve with each cry from Daisy that we would hear over the next couple days to what I now can define as feeling a lack of confidence. Regardless of the dozen or so books I read while pregnant on parenting, it was as if I hadn't read a single one, I didn't know how to feed her, didn't know why she was crying, didn't know how to organize my life anymore, didn't know how to put her on a schedule even though I had printed multiple and brought them to the hospital, I just didn't know how to be a parent. We had lots of visitors over the next couple days, family in from out of town, my own healing and recovery still to be had, and not to mention once again the crazy amount of hormones that go through a woman post-partum. Those added to the reflux episodes, one in which Daisy was choking, and unexplained evening and afternoon of crying, and also trying to figure out a schedule for all of us led to me feeling completely inadequate, in over my head, and un-confident as a parent. It is easy now for me to see how "baby blues" are very common. I am still a little weepy when I try to talk about my feelings over becoming a parent. Fortunately, I am not alone in this; I know these same sentiments have been shared by many a new parent, and my husband has had his own moments where he feels similarly, Micah has also shouldered a couple of the more difficult crying episodes where I had not felt capable of easing her discomfort.
I did cut out dairy over the last 48 - 72 hours (the days are running together still a bit), as well as tomatoes, onions, garlic, citrus, strawberries, eggs, peanuts and a few of the other known foods to cause issues with reflux and gas in babies. Since then, it has made a huge difference. Daisy doesn't have unexplainable crying episodes, the schedule is getting a little more defined, we have a happy and content baby, and Daddy and I grow in confidence with each successful feeding, wake and nap time. It looks like it will be a bland diet for me for a while, but it makes such a difference in both mine and Daisy's day. Micah and I also spent some time praying together, re-reading On Becoming Baby Wise the parenting method we personally chose to follow, and developing a little more of a plan for how to shape our days as a threesome. I know I am still hormonal, I know the rollercoaster has taken off and my life will never be the same again and I know I have a great partner in Micah to help me on the journey. I think in the next couple weeks there will still be moments where I will not feel confident in what I am doing, where I will feel overwhelmed by the change that has taken over my life (and only by something that weighs a little over 6 pounds,) but I also know that parenthood has joys unspeakable in our future. It is going to be something for me to work at to find a new life rhythym, to have confidence in God working in me and God working in Micah to know that we are prepared and have what it takes to take care of Daisy and shape her into the person God has destined her to be. I was warned by a few new moms that the post-partum period can be intense, and it is without a doubt - it is everything you think it would be and more.


  1. Cheryl, you are going to do GREAT!!! My best (and only) advice for new moms is to trust yourself and your own instincts above anything you have read. YOU know how to take care of your baby. YOU will find your rhythm together and if it happens to go against something you have read, just know that YOU are the one who knows Daisy, and therefore you are right! :-)

    I know both you and Micah are soaking up these days... they are so precious and so fleeting! Enjoy every moment w/ your gorgeous baby girl.

  2. Hey Cheryl! Isaac had (still has) horrible reflux. It is a rough road and I'm glad you have found improvement with dietary changes. And don't stress too much about schedules, especially this young. It can take quite a while to really find a good rythm that works for you and your baby and you family. But if you ever need a listening ear who understands to cry to when you're sleep deprived and struggling with something, give me a call! =) Love ya!