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post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I'm very very slowly making my way through the process of acceptance (planned but still unexpected pregnancy, didn't think it would happen so soon!) and I think I've reached a point where I'm hitting a snag.

I've accepted and am now comfortable with the following:
  • Being Pregnant
  • Getting bigger
  • Changing my wardrobe
  • Having permanent changes (stretch marks, ect)
  • New financial goals
  • Labor & Birth

I'm just having a really hard time with the fact that when this is all over I'll have not just a baby but a NEWBORN! So far no amount of remembering all my experience with babies (all 3+ months) or book-learning is helping. It makes everything I've done so far in life look pretty easy. I'm scared he's going to cry and I'm not going to know what to do or he's going to have colic and I'm going to resent taking care of him. I'm scared I'm going to have terrible PPD (my mother had it and was hospitalized for it). I'm scared DH isn't going to bond with the baby before he deploys and our son won't know who 'Daddy' is...
post #2 of 9
Big hugs!

It's going to be ok... your babe will cry and you'll figure out why and how to soothe them. If they have colic, you'll come here and find BTDT support and ideas to try. You can record your partner's voice and play it to your belly, then have dh record stories to play for your babe so they will know their daddy even if he can't be there for a while. Stock up on PPD remedies (Mothering magazine had a great article, and check the forum), let your care provider know, and tell your family/friends what to look for. You'll get a hang of nursing, and diapers, and napping, and sleep, and crying, and dr visits, and nail trimming and all the million and one other things that happen when there is a babe in the house. And you're going to rock! In a few months you'll look back and be amazed at all you know and can do.

Till then... can you go to LLL meetings or API, NINO, or Holistic Moms meetings? You mention deployment... is there a family support group you could start visiting now? Just a way to start "being around" other infants and building the community bonds you'll need when the babe arrives? And see if there are any doulas in the area who offer free/reduced price services to military spouses. A post partum doula might be a great gift to give yourself!
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
Well I might have my mom down here for a week afterward but she doesn't have a whole lot more experience with brand new babies than me (she's my stepmom) and all the doulas I've found are birth doulas. I'm not totally sure on looking into the support groups either because I'm not going to be staying here when he leaves. I hate being alone and I figured it would be better for us if I went back up to Michigan and lived with family for the year.
post #4 of 9
Being near family makes sense, as long as you get along with them.

Let's see... ask the doulas you've met if they know someone who does post-partum care. Some doulas who have children of their own find it easier to offer pp care since the hours are easier to plan. Often a pp doula will help with light housework, offer breastfeeding assistance, watch the babe while you nap or shower, and help with baby care. There are more formal "baby nurse" services but I don't know a lot about those.

If you are moving right after the birth, can you find out what groups are available in Michigan? LLL, API, Holistic Moms, NINO, or something similar? Maybe check the Finding Your Tribe forum here for ideas? That way you'll have some social networking already underway when you move.

For now... the local groups might still help. Often moms bring their babies and I'm sure they'd be happy to "show off" their babe and accept your help in holding (or changing ) the babe, especially if they have older kiddos they're watching at the same time. LLL and baby wearing groups often love having pregnant mamas visit the meetings too... you wouldn't be the only "almost a mama" there.
post #5 of 9
It will totally be okay. It is a scary life transition but you will do fine. It will be hard if your DH deploys and you are on your own, but I bet you will sort it out. When might he be going?

I worried about the same things and while we had our moments of frustration, they were pretty rare. Some things that helped me besides help (if you can hire some or even that week will be nice 'cause your stepmom can take care of YOU while you figure out the baby) were to have a stack of DVDs to watch in the middle of the night, a really comfy nursing spot with some favourite art around, and new pjs.

One nice thing about newborns is that although they have a crazy sleep schedule (although it gets crazier) and need to eat often and all that...they aren't saying "mummy why is your hair all crazy?" and so on. They are so in the present moment. It's hard to explain but it can be kind of peaceful.

In other words, it's not all disaster and despair.

Although it's not completely AP I think the Happiest Baby on the Block is a nice intro because it has a really sensible positive tone.
post #6 of 9
I think a lot of people underestimate how difficult it can be when you are totally on your own. My husband is former military, but he traveled for 3 wks in a row when DD2 was 2 weeks old.

When my first was born, I was a bit afraid I wouldn't know how to take care of her. I felt akward holding other people's babies, and I was worried I wouldn't know what to do or what she needed.

When she came, I just knew. It came from inside me, the ability to care for my baby was already there. The less I listened to advice and the more I just did what I felt like doing, the easier it was.

I doubt you will need someone to help or teach you to take care of the baby. I think such help is often counter-productive. What you need is someone to take care of YOU. Someone who will bring you water before you ask for it. Someone who will bring you food, clear away the dishes, do the laundry.

I know that doesn't sound realistic (it's not really in our current society, which is an awful shame). But aim for that goal as much as you can. Even if its stocking up easy freezer meals that you can just nuke, eating off of paper plates, ordering delivery groceries, whatever help you can get.

DD1 was a tough birth, she was a tiny baby with some issues, I was sick, but I was supported PP and was surprised at how easy she was to care for. DD2 was totally healthy, "perfect" easy birth, calm baby, but I was NOT supported PP, (was up and vacuming and doing dishes at 4 days PP, NOT reccommended) and I struggled, and had trouble bonding, trouble healing... If there is a next time, I will scrimp and save for a postpartum doula, or a housekeeper, or whatever so I can focus on mothering and healing for the first few weeks.
post #7 of 9
As for crying and colic, I suggest reading up on all the new baby forums here on MDC. You can get a wealth of experience from other people, and maybe ask a few of your own questions ahead of time. (Try the sleep forum, breastfeeding forum, life with a babe, and the ddcs with newborns). It's repeated ad nausem on the gentle discipline forum, but not as much with babies...expect them to act their age. Expect a baby. One that cries, and is awake all night, and doesn't nurse well, and ruins every single outfit you put on them. And then, when the baby turns out to be easier than that, it will be a pleasant surprise. A lot of people have a lot of unreasonable expectations, and then feel like a failure when they can't achieve them. Expect it to be hard, then you can be thankful when it's not.

PPD. I would be very proactive about this one. Figure out ways that you can make your household the most effecient NOW, so that you can dedicate any time you have to rest and your baby. As a military wife, and a Mama of 4, ages 5 and under, I have found it to be absolutely necessary to streamline my life. Everything I do needs to be as simple and quick as possible. It's worth it to put a little time and money into organization, etc. After the baby comes, I would make these things a very, very strict priority: sleep (not just rest...sleep), vitamins (iron and B complex especially), social time (don't let yourself get lonely or isolated), and you time (take a shower daily, etc. eat and drink plenty. you still need lots of water and lots of protein.)

Deployments. BTDT. We've had 3 deployments and 4 babies in 5.5 years. He'll be leaving for 2 months when our newborn is a month old. Counting all his training, he's been gone a little more than half of the time since our first was born. Here's what I've learned:

1. It's only as big of a deal as you make it. Be matter of fact with yourself and your children, and your life will just be what it is. Don't try to make it something it's not, and don't feel guilty when well-meaning people offer sympathy when your dh is gone. This is YOUR life, and it's okay. Don't feel like you have to mold yourself into feeling bad that your ds doesn't see your dh every day, etc. It's not your norm, and your children won't be scarred for life by it. My children are MUCH more bonded to my dh that most children/daddy combinations I've seen. It's about who the Daddy is, not what he does for a living.

2. Dh left on his first deployment 16 days before our first was born. She was almost 7 months old when he got home, and it was obviously she "recognized" him. The look on her face was the same as a newborn looking at its parents for the first time. They had no trouble bonding whatsoever. I showed her pictures of him ALL the time, and talked about him ALL the time. Daddy was always an exciting fun thing to her. (I work really hard to make sure he STILL is, and to all our children. Daddy means party to them.)

He read books on tape that I could play in the car, and I also played them while I was nursing. I figured that she would be associating something pleasant with his voice that way. I was also carefully relaxed about their meeting because I didn't want to project any tension on her. Oh, and we made a "Daddy book". We took pictures of him all over the house, doing regular things, so she could see him in our regular life. I've heard of children getting confused because the only pictures they ever see of Daddy is in uniform. So, we took lots, and in different clothes. We put words with the pictures (just slipped them all in a small photo album) to describe to her who Daddy is. We talked about things he liked to do and eat. Things that were important to him. I took pictures of when he left and included those in the book. In very simple terms, I explained where Daddy was and what he was doing. It turned out that one of the pics I took looked like he was getting off the bus instead of on, so I used that to talk about when he was coming home. There were lots of assurances all through the book of how much he loved her, and of the things he'd do with her when he got home. I know she was tiny, but she understood far more than we thought she would.

When she was 18 months and he left the second time, we had also made videos of him reading to her, and playing with her. The reading thing is commonly suggested, but, and also according to our friends, our children have responded much better to the videos of him actually playing with them. They remember it and really identify.

We've done similar things through each deployment and separation, and our children DO know their Daddy. We've had ZERO adjustment issues. Well, expect a few weeks of cranky...the sort of ambiguous fussing teething might bring...when dh leaves and when he comes back.

You CAN do this. You CAN do the baby thing, and you CAN do the deployment thing. Embrace who you are, and your challenges. It's what makes life good.
post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thank you. This is our second deployment but he'll be leaving for a year when James is 2 months old (we're hoping he doesn't miss the birth while at NTC, I'll be 34-39 weeks while he's gone). It would be easier if we had shorter deployments but I guess that's not how they do things around here. I'm going to try to put together picture albums... I've been procrastinating on that since before I got pregnant. Hopefully we'll have skype again, even if the hours are all messed up, so they can get to know each other a little while he's gone.
post #9 of 9
I can't help with the military part, but it seems like you have good advice.

With the new mama part, yeah, it is pretty gosh darn scary at first. My sister had never changed a diaper before she had a child. I had more experience with the 3+ month set, but not so much a newborn. And you know what? We figured it out. And it was fine. So fine, that her MIL (a nurse) was upset when she got to my sister's place and we were all humming along with no issues (because she did not feel "needed"). My sister's boy had projectile vomiting and thought sleeping at night was crazy. And yet, my sister did great. She had moved to her apartment 1 month before giving birth and had NO friends or support locally. In fact, all her stuff from her house came when the baby was about 7 days old. I unpacked her while she took care of the baby (and had her super organized before I left . Now, to do that to my own place......

We used the Dr. Sears Baby Book as my nephew's "user guide" if we had any questions about whether something was normal or not. But other than that, we went with the flow. And we just seemed to know what this baby needed.

I would ask the birth doulas if they know anyone who does PP work. I would also go ahead and arrange for someone to come in and clean your house (I am thinking of doing this and I HAVE people coming over to help). I would also look at some of the freezer meals and there are some companies that you go and make up the foods at their place and they are meant to be frozen at home and come with instructions (I can not remember the names right now). I am also considering a diaper service so I don't have to wash dipes for the first month.

As for PPD, talk to your care provider and see what they can do for you if that need arises. And scope out resources in wherever you think you may be living. I am going to be encapsulating my placenta for this reason (my midwife's assistant does this).

You will be fine mama. I was so scared I would not love my son when we was born. And it took me so off guard to find out how much I completely and totally fell in love. Head over heels in love. It took a few days, but I just remembering sitting there and smelling him (and feeling so happy to just do that). I can't wait to see how much my heart expands when I have 2!
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