Miles is 5 weeks old today. Let’s just let that sink in for a second.
Objectively speaking, things are going well. Miles is a champion eater, which is no surprise to anyone who knows Brandon. He is also a decent sleeper, which is no surprise to anyone who knows me. We have had amazing support from our friends and family, and I am so grateful every day for everyone who has brought us food, come over to hold Miles while I shower or just zone out on the couch for a few minutes, or even just sent an encouraging text or Facebook message. It takes a village, and we have a really good one.
Emotionally, the past month-and-change has been a rollercoaster, to say the least. The fact that over a month has passed is incredible to me–it simultaneously feels like we just brought him home yesterday, while also hardly being able to remember life without him. And the first few weeks of motherhood have been very different from anything I was expecting. Everyone told me that my life would change in ways I couldn’t imagine, but when they would say that, they would mostly focus on the incredible love and amazing bonding I would feel with my baby. Not much was said about the loneliness, craziness, tears, pain, confusion, and even sadness that would also be thrown in the mix. A few of my friends mentioned their experiences with feeling overwhelmed in the first few weeks, but I hardly paid attention. Sure, I thought, of course I’ll feel overwhelmed! But they were right, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. And it has been tough.
The first ten days home were physically very difficult. After a long labor and pushing out a baby with a pretty huge head, it took me over a week to be able to walk normally, stand up from being seated without assistance, or go to the bathroom without wanting to cry (or, most times, without actually crying). Once I hit about the two-week mark, I started feeling better physically, but emotionally things were just getting started. I had the “baby blues” for the first few weeks–crying for no reason, etc.–but even after the more extreme mood fluctuations subsided, I still have been left with a lot of feelings that I wasn’t ready for. To be honest, I am not a very feelings-ey person, so I wasn’t ready for almost anything. But there are a lot of things that I miss about my “old” life, and I’ve started to wonder how long it will take until I feel like I have my feet back under me. I don’t feel super connected to Miles yet, and I’m starting to wonder if and when that is going to kick in. I’m also having a harder time than I expected with the way my body has changed, and accepting the fact that it might never fully change back. More than anything, I wasn’t ready for how literally every aspect of my life would change, or even if I was ready in theory, I thought that I would have a lot of overwhelming lovey-dovey feelings to go with it and make the change “worth it.” So far, I just still feel a little blindsided.
From what most of my friends with kids have told me, you start to finally get your head above water after anywhere from 4 to 12 weeks. So the fact that we’re 5 weeks in and still feeling pretty overwhelmed isn’t something that I’m enjoying, but I’m not super worried about it quite yet. A lot of your comments have also reassured me that not feeling an immediate connection isn’t actually as unusual as you might think, and that a lot of times it takes until the first smile or laugh to feel like there is actually a little human in there who needs you–not just anyone, but YOU–to survive. I’m doing my best to do as much skin-to-skin, babywearing, breastfeeding, and general snuggling as possible, and I’m hopeful that one day soon I will stop just feeling like the Boob Lady, and actually feel like a capital-M Mom. But for now we are still taking it one day at a time. And that’s the honest story from our corner of the world for today.