I have been a mommy for a whole six months. I made it.
It’s been six months of diaper changes, spit ups, sleep deprivation, a little bit of loneliness, breast feeding, awesome morning snuggles and a phone that is constantly running out of space cataloging every second. It’s been six months of discovery, adjustment and pure joy. For all the sleeplessness and days spent in my PJs, I was given the most adorable gummy smiles, contented sleepy sighs in my arms and the excitement of watching my little one discover everything for the first time. It’s been rough and it’s been wonderful and I know that it is still just the beginning.
Over the past six months I have developed, lost and reestablished routines, learning that no routine is forever and to enjoy the flow while it lasts. At almost four months old, Dean hit his first sleep regression and all his 8-10 hour nighttime sleeps were a thing of the past. With hourly wake-ups every single night, my husband and I quickly started falling apart, taking out our frustrations and sleepiness on each other. It was hard, harder than when we first came home with our little dude and we were beginning to feel like failures, not knowing what to do. Why was this so hard? Why can’t he just sleep?? With all of that awake time I must have read every article ever written about sleep regressions, sleep training and the troubles babies have with sleep in general and what I discovered, much to my dismay, was that there was no one size fits all treatment, in fact there was no “treatment” at all. What works for one person won’t work for me, and what works for me probably won’t work for you. So… sorry?
What I learned about the much dreaded four month sleep regression is that it’s actually a developmental milestone for baby, who up until this point could sleep anywhere, any time and pretty much through anything (I used to be able to vacuum while Dean slept in his rock n’ play). During this first regression, baby suddenly develops similar sleep patterns and cycles adults have, not being in a constant state of REM and waking often. The problem with that is, while us wise and weathered adults can just roll over and go back to our dreams of a clean house and a book and movie deal, poor baby doesn’t know how to do that just yet. That’s when all my reading material became about “self soothing”, which, for us, had to come on its own, in Dean’s time.
It wasn’t until Dean was almost six months old that sleep returned to our house. It was a foggy period of time. Poor Dean went through a lot during this time. Months 3-6 saw his first cold, learning to roll over (which would wake him up), gaining the strength to sit up unassisted, four teeth, developmental leaps, starting new foods (and consequently new belly reactions), growing (lots and lots of growing!), moving into his own room and the beginning stages of crawling. It’s a lot for a little guy to take in… no wonder he couldn’t sleep!
Over and over again I would read all of the mental and physical changes my baby was going through and it actually helped me get through the sleepless nights because it gave me an understanding, an answer to the “whys” that I would moan as my head left my comfy pillow and it also told me that this wouldn’t be my forever. So I decided that these 1, 2 and 3 a.m. nursing sessions weren’t the worst things in the world. Some day soon I may just find myself missing them, and the baby that needed me to hold him tight.
But don’t get me wrong, now that Dean sleeps through the night most nights (we still have our bad days) it is a BEAUTIFUL thing. It is simply amazing how much nicer the world looks when you’ve gotten enough sleep!
Enough sleep these days is between 6-7 hours a night and I will take it! Regardless of waking up refreshed or not though, some days I wake up lonely. Being a stay at home mommy who doesn’t drive (insert shame face here) can be very isolating. Though finances may be tight, I know that I am blessed to be able to stay home with my little guy and believe me I do want to be home, but there are days that I just want and need to get OUT. I get sick of my house and sometimes walks around the neighborhood just don’t cut it. It’s never so much as wanting to get away from the baby or mommy-duties, I just need a change of scenery, so that’s something I really need to work on and change. It’s hard though because by nature I am more of a stay at home kind of gal AND there’s this feeling of shame or insecurity that I don’t really have the right to complain about such things but I need to. If I’m learning anything, and believe me I’m on a crash course of life right now, it’s that I can’t keep things bottled up, I need a release for my own sanity. So be it exercise, blogging, or bonding with other moms on social media, I’m doing my best to not let myself get down over things I actually have the power to change. Having the courage to actually put that thought into action though, that’s the hard part, but I’ll get there. We all will.
My mommy-hood evolves and changes week to week, day to day and even sometimes hour by hour. I’ve learned that I will keep learning, I won’t always have all the answers but I will always have my gut and that at the end of the day my little family is doing a great job because no matter our style or method it’s all coming from a place of love and immense blessings. Since the birth of my son I have found that I’ve become more spiritual and reliant upon my faith. Witnessing the miracle of Dean’s birth and growth I have no other explanation than to look to the heavens and thank God. So every night, as I close my eyes I recite a silent prayer and reflect on all of the things in my life that hold true import and try my best to let all the rest just sink away. Parenting is hard, life itself is hard and sometimes, faith or no faith, I think you need to just take a step back to allow yourself a second to be thankful. It’s such a simple concept but sometimes I find it to be hard to actually put into practice, but the important thing to remember is as long as I keep trying then I haven’t failed and I haven’t given up.
In less than six months from now I’ll be celebrating my son’s first birthday. It’s mind blowing to know how soon that moment will be here and exciting to think about all of the milestones and experiences the next six months will bring. I’m sad about it, my lingering postpartum hormones making me cry some days, but also looking forward to watching my son develop into himself and getting to interact with him on different levels and PLAY!
So yes, I have been a mommy for a whole six months. I made it, and there ain’t no stopping me now.