Hudson has officially been living outside the womb for one month—and I think, doing very well. He’s putting on over a pound of weight each week and only gets up to feed once or twice during the night. The doctors are happy, so I’m happy. Mostly. But this post isn’t going to be me rambling on and on about how great Hudson is. It will explore my transition from pregnancy (childless) to the new life of having a small being completely dependent me, 24 hours a day.
Not Being Pregnant
To be honest, I can’t say that I particularly liked being pregnant. I hear some women say things like, “I felt better being pregnant than not.” All I can think is, they either must feel horrible 24/7, or they’re a big fat liar! Although I didn’t suffer from morning sickness and had a fairly normal pregnancy, it was still an uncomfortable experience; not being able to sleep on my stomach, not being allowed to indulge in a glass of wine, being exhausted all the time, and having the sweet feeling of butterflies upgraded to swift jabs and kicks was too much to bear for 9 months. I remember my OBGYN asking me if I would miss the kicks after giving birth, and I immediately responded “no” without the slightest hesitation. She agreed with me—and so far I don’t miss them! It was also tough having my social life ripped away from me. Suddenly there were no more late nights or happy hours with my friends. Instead, it was quiet nights of movies and tubs of Menchies frozen yogurt. I was eager to have the baby so that some aspects of my social life would return. Little did I know…
During my pregnancy I gained 25 pounds—which is ideal—and surprising, considering I found a new love called ice cream and spent a small fortune on McDonalds. But by some miracle, I have lost most of it already (thanks to breastfeeding). I am fitting into my pre-pregnancy jeans, however, IT IS NOT THE SAME! Before (accidentally) becoming pregnant I was an avid runner, was a member of 3 run clubs, had participated in my first half marathon in Sept 2015, and was training for a full marathon. I ran until my second trimester, but stopped when it became really hard to maintain a full workout. 2 kilometers in, and I would be gasping for air with a major cramp. I also convinced myself that everyone who saw me running was thinking “Awww, look at the chubby girl trying her best to start running.” (Totally irrational I know.) Everything I worked towards was slowly slipping away, along with my figure. I was a baby making machine— that’s it. Fast forward to now: my butt is flatter than a pancake, my breasts are constantly engorged and leaking, and my skin is trying to not panic as the hormones from pregnancy are leaving my body. It’s not a cute look. I sweat just thinking about the number of squats I need to do to add some muscle back, before I start running again. As for “down there”—I won’t even go there! Let’s just say, “sexy” is something I do not feel.
Mental wellness is discussed a lot more these days, and postpartum is something I was really concerned about. I have a history of anxiety and depression (most of which was environmental, but that’s a whole other story for another time) and my sister had some bad postpartum depression with her first child; so I knew it was a real issue that I could be dealing with. I’ve been told postpartum depression can start any time up to one year after being pregnant. It may still be too early to say if I have it, or will have it, but I know it’s something I need to be mindful of. I have taken many precautions which include encapsulating my placenta, continuing my prenatal vitamins, getting lots of vitamin D, breastfeeding, exercising, eating healthy, and being vocal about how I feel. Considering I’ve only cried once, (because of how much I love Hudson) my postpartum regimen seems to be working. However, I can still see my linea nigra, which means that my hormones from pregnancy have not totally left my body yet. I will keep you posted in next month or two on how I’m doing.
While pregnant, I remember telling Kevin that I was afraid our relationship would change once Hudson was born, and I didn’t want it to. Another naïve point for me. The fact that I thought our relationship wouldn’t change at all is crazy and a bit selfish. I wouldn’t be the only other person in our house that needed his love and attention. We were bringing a small, delicate child into the world who would need both Kevin’s and my full energy and attention. That may sound like a negative thing, but it’s not. Our relationship has changed in the way I see Kevin. Watching him love and take care of Hudson makes me fall in love with him all over again. Not only is he my partner, but he is the father of my child. There’s something sacred and beautiful about that. We were two and have become three. Our relationship has extended to include one more. It is now even more vital that our love continues to grow, because Hudson needs both of us.
I have a love-hate relationship with breastfeeding. It is my first time breastfeeding, and I underestimated how difficult it would be. I love that it is food-on-demand, catered for Hudson’s needs, and that it burns hundreds of calories per day. BUT, it has its downsides: I’m horrible at getting Hudson to latch properly (even after going to a breastfeeding clinic) and have to pull him off a couple times before getting a comfortable latch; when my supply drops it feels like I’m having a mild heart attack; I get sore nips; it’s difficult to find a private place to feed; and the list goes on. Just yesterday Kevin and I were at lunch with his parents, and Hudson needed to feed. I slipped my breastfeeding cover on, but needed Kevin to hold it open for me so that I could see Hudson, and use both set of hands to hold down his hands and lift his head onto my breast. I was sweating and wouldn’t have been able to feed Hudson without Kevin’s help. I know everyone says practice helps, but will it ever be stress-free!? It has already been a month and has only gotten a bit easier. Maybe I’m just a really slow learner…
You can try to prepare yourself as much as possible before the baby arrives, but it’s impossible to know what each day will bring. I knew a baby needed to feed every 2-3 hours; but with Hudson, it’s more like every 2hrs with feedings lasting 20-40 minutes at a time. Just when you think you have the routine down, a growth spurt hits! Last night Hudson wanted to feed from 7-10pm, and couldn’t get enough milk from me. Eventually, I had to dip into my frozen milk supply in order to quench his thirst. And that’s just feedings! Add to that trapped gas, diaper changes, baths, and a fussy baby. I honestly thought I would be able to leave Hudson with Kevin and some pre-pumped breast milk for a few hours regularly, but it’s not that easy. Sometimes your baby just wants you—and no nanny, babysitter, or Dad can fill that role. I understand now why women say it’s very isolating to have a newborn. They’re right. I get through it by remembering that these days are limited, and that children grow up so fast. I didn’t wait 31 years to have a kid, only to be wishing it away and longing for easier times—meanwhile missing his small milestones every day! We have to live in the present in order enjoy the gifts that each moment may bring.
Being self-employed, I don’t get maternity leave. So I’m still working. Emails and calls have had to wait longer than usual. I’m not chomping at the bit for new clients. These first few months are vital for me to bond with Hudson, so work can wait. I’m not anxious and stressed with work because my priorities have shifted. I am this little guy’s whole world, and he is my main priority. As I get used to my new routine, work will slowly increase. For now I’m enjoying this “time off.”
These are some of the thoughts and experiences I’ve gone through in the first month of Hudson’s life. I know I have so much more to learn and experience. Someone (I forget who) told me this is the easy part—which is a bit frightening. I would like to remember who told me that so I can properly thank them for raining on my parade. Being a new Mom is hard enough. It is beyond worth it. But it’s HARD.