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Not the kind of mom I want to be...

post #1 of 37
Thread Starter 
I'm wondering if some of you more experienced mamas can offer any advice here. Our life with dd has gotten off to a bit of a shaky start. We've had tons of bfing issues: cracked/bleeding nipples (now resolved), thrush and vasospasm (unresolved), and now lots of fussing/screaming from dd while eating (perhaps a reaction to the meds we're on). I'm on an extreme sugar-elimination diet to deal with the thrush (no wheat/gluten/flour products, no sugar, no fruit, no dairy except for organic plain yogurt--and I'm a vegetarian), and we're now in the throes of purple hell because we're using gentian violet as well. I'm having a minor allergic reaction to the Diflucan I'm taking, so I itch all the time. I have long-term yeast issues, though, so I'm really reluctant to go off of it until things are cleared up. I'm also suffering from bad insomnia. Even though dd sleeps for decent stretches of time, I'm not falling asleep when she does. If I'm lucky, I get six hours in two 3-hour chunks. More often, it's 4 hours a night (in 2 2-hour chunks) or just 2 hours a night. Napping during the day is impossible for me (it always has been).

With all of this to deal with, life with a babe isn't exactly as I had expected. I feed her, and then dh and I find ourselves just trying to get her to sleep so we can stash her in the co-sleeper. When she wakes up, my heart sinks a little. Don't get me wrong--I love her, but I feel pretty exhausted and overhwhelmed...I'm always just waiting for her to sleep so I can have a few minutes to rest. I pictured myself as this great AP mom, but I feel like I'm not doing anything meaningful with her most of the time. I've tried slinging her around the house, but I'm having trouble getting the hang of it, and it hurts my back to keep her in there for more than 10 minutes or so. I'm relying on plastic baby storage containers much more than I ever anticipated.

I don't have any friends in the area who are moms (and who don't work full time or more), so I don't really have anyone to hang out with during the day. My mom is visiting once a week (from out of town), which is nice, but she's only able to be here from around 11am to 4 pm because of the travel time and her job. Dh is working like a madman (every night and weekend, although he can do this from home)--he's in a particularly busy time at work, and, even though I know it will be over in a few weeks and even though he's doing as much as he possibly can around the house, his attention is necessarily divided and I'm trying really hard not to add to his stress by being *too* demanding.

I dunno...I guess I'm just looking for some reassurance that this will get easier and that I'm not scarring my dd for life by not being the fabulous, connected mom that I thought I would be. We definitely have some good moments, but right now it just doesn't feel like there are enough of them.
post #2 of 37
Hey! I'm not in your DDC, but I have been in your shoes! Give yourself a break, Mama! It is not always sunshine and roses, and it is very easy to feel that you are not doing something "right" if you read all the AP literature. It makes you feel like a crappy mom! That being said, of course, things would probably be harder if you *didn't* practice AP. Being a new mom is just totally overwhelming and hard!

Girl, you have *got* to get in a playgroup right now. Everyone knows that at this age, playgroups are for the *mothers*! You need to be with other women like you. Try to meet some moms through LLL or the "Finding Your Tribe" forum here on MDC. Having my friends saved my life. Quite literally. And friends understand things differently than your DH. Different perspective, you know?

It is hard now because you don't have anyone like this. But, be encouraged b/c it is not hard to find. I wish you lived by me; we have tons of very cool mamas in my neighborhood. But you live in NYC, right? That is like a coolness hall of fame, I think, so it should be easy for you.

I see you are a hyena mama, too. Go to the diapering board and announce that you'd like to meet other CD moms in NYC. You know how friendly and uh, "enthusiastic" those moms can be!

Your DD is getting so much of your energy right now, and it is very important for you to take care of yourself emotionally. And that is just about impossible without a support system.

Edited to add: and things *will* get easier! (I can't believe I forgot to say this!) This is the most intense time for you and DD. It is going to be okay!

Thinking of you,
Jean
post #3 of 37
It will so, so get easier. With dd we had such a horrible start with nursing, and I was miserable for the first month. Absolutely exhausted b/c I was pumping around the clock, so all I ever wanted to do was sleep. I was crying all the time b/c I was so disappointed that nursing wasn't working out like I'd hoped. It was really tough. Dh and I agree that it was the hardest month of our marriage. We were both exhausted and stressed out.

BUT...we both agree that it was so worth that difficult period. Dd turned out to be a great nurser after that first month, and for the next 2+ years I was always so thankful that I stuck it out. It does get better.

I don't think I have any advice, b/c I don't think there was much of anything anyone could have done or told me that would have made it better. In my case, I just had to push through. But I do think it was one of the hardest things I have ever done.

I hope things get better soon.
post #4 of 37
It passes mama, I promise. Years from you won't even remember half this stuff. My oldest is getting ready to turn five, today I came across some of her newborn clothes. I can't believe she was ever that small!

It takes time to be connected. Yeah, some moms and babies seem instantly attached, but for many it takes time. My second was in the NICU for two weeks, I didn't even get to hold her till she was 5 days old... so far from what I had planned. I felt horrible when she got home and there were times she drove me up the wall! I thought I must be the worst mom ever. But it's draining and exhausting and it gets to you. It doesn't mean you don't love her with all your heart, it means you're human.

Slings can take awhile to get the hang of. How are you putting her in? I could never get my daughter to lay down in hers. WHen she was a wee one, I put her up right, chest to chest, and pulled the sling snug around her.

I would try not to use the plastic baby holders as much. I don't think they're evil or anything, but it's easy to over rely on them! Babies have a very real need for contact. If she doesn't get enough of you in the day, she'll be more likely to wake frequently at night. Does that make sense? I know that if we have a busy day and dd2 doesn't get held, she's a super fussy sleeper, but if we have a busy day and I make it a point to still hold her a lot, she's usually fine.

This all sounds pretty normal to me! You're doing a great job mama!
post #5 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by NYCVeg
With all of this to deal with, life with a babe isn't exactly as I had expected. I feed her, and then dh and I find ourselves just trying to get her to sleep so we can stash her in the co-sleeper. When she wakes up, my heart sinks a little. Don't get me wrong--I love her, but I feel pretty exhausted and overhwhelmed...I'm always just waiting for her to sleep so I can have a few minutes to rest.
I would try to let go of waiting for her to sleep. You will only set yourself up for future disappointments.
Do you like to read? Watch movies? Think of things that help you 'escape' that you can also do with your baby.
I love reading and it was easier for me to put baby on the breast while holding her and reading, kwim? It also let me 'escape' yet still hold my baby and be ready when she wanted to nurse.
Also, just laying in the garden/yard with her and enjoying the moment.

Instead of waiting for her to sleep, try to find ways to enjoy life with her, rather than without her. Then when she is older and more independant you will find it is much easier and less exhausting than trying to do your thing when you are waiting for her to sleep/be independant.
post #6 of 37
Thread Starter 
Let me respond to some stuff...

I'm actually in Washington, DC now, not New York (which is part of the problem). There is an API group here, as well as a bfing mamas group, but getting anywhere is very difficult for me. We don't own a car, and I don't know how to drive. I live in area which doesn't have a metro, so my only option is the (very bumpy) bus/shuttle bus. I can't manage a stroller on the bus by myself, so I'd have to take her in the sling...and she's still so little and floppy, and I'm still so unsure of the sling that I'm not quite comfortable doing it yet. I also really need to find a way to wear the sling so that it doesn't hurt me after a few minutes, which is the biggest problem. I could deal with the rest of the transportation issues otherwise. I've even thought about taking cabs, but this one is also tricky...I don't feel she's safe just in the sling, and I'm not strong enough to manage her carseat by myself.

I'd love some advice on ways to nurse with one hand so that I can read! The only thing I can currently do while nursing is watch TV--I'm still such a novice (and super careful about latch, b/c of all the problems we've had) that I require a ton of pillows and two hands to nurse her. If I could do other stuff while nursing, I'm sure it would help immensely. I'm not sure what the learning curve is on this...the LCs have told me that at about 6 weeks it gets easy, but that still seems a long way away.

Same goes for holding her. If I'm not using the sling, it requires two hands to hold her. I'm trying to have her in my lap more, but, again, all I can really do while I'm holding her is to watch TV...and, honestly, watching this much TV is making me feel *more* stuck, rather than less.

I don't want to sound like I'm doing nothing. Dh and I are going to pow-wow tonight about using the slings more successfully and more often. I'm trying to take the baby on two walks a day so that both she and I get out more (first one is short, with the dog, using the sling...second one longer, but in the stroller, again b/c of problems with my back using the sling). I guess part of the issue is that I am only 3.5 weeks post-partum, so I'm just starting to feel like I have more energy to do things...I feel so much better physically than I did a week ago, so I assume this will continue to improve as well.
post #7 of 37
Amanda... I don't really have much in the way of suggestions except, have you tried a mei tai or similar carrier yet? Audrey loves the mei tai, she practically passes out as soon as I put her in it (and since it distributes weight evenly unlike slings/pouches it's more comfy for longterm wear). OTOH, she squalls like crazy in the pouch.

Hang in there... it's a big adjustment and you've had a lot to work through learning to breastfeed and all.
post #8 of 37
your story sounds exactly like mine...I remember it well...

things will get much easier...take it one minute at a time and try not to set up too many expectations. Soon you'll get used to not sleeping so much!
post #9 of 37
it does get easier-otherwise I would have stopped at one with everything you have going on it may be a little while-but at 3 months she will seem so much sturdier.The sling will be the easiestthing to do then when riding a bus. The best AP moms will tell you that they didn't feel like ap moms until their babe was little older-at least the first time around. for now your online friends may seem like the only company you have. I so wish I had them when ds #1 was born-but that was 15 years ago. I had no car and lived outside of houston-talk about one bored lonely mama.
keep working on using the sling and maybe try a different carrier-or spend some time on the maya sling site trying some of the different positions. it can take a little while to get the hang of it enough to feel like you can do it for long periods of time.

lots of hugs to you!! I promise it will get easier!!
post #10 of 37
get a moby wrap. they are relatively inexpensive and way more gentle on your body than slings. they're great for new, floppy babies b/c they get to be upright and hug their bodies. once they are asleep, they can stay in there and you can do "other stuff" or nap with them, or whatever. you can easily take her in that on the bus or shuttle. honestlyl, once you get the hang of it (and it's way, way easier than a sling, which i didn'tuse with my first until 5 months when i could have her on my hip) you'll never forget it.

naking now... but for all the other stuff, i hear you. no one tells you about the tough first few weeks and sometimes months, but you are being a great mom even if it doesn't seem AP to you.
post #11 of 37
Amanda,
That sounds so hard! You've had to overcome so much already in such a short time . I can only assume that it gets easier (first-timer here too). With all of these challenges make sure to watch out that ppd doesn't sneak up on you, especially with the insomnia. I've been nervous about that a few times myself and at 5 weeks and starting to feel out of the woods...most days . In so many ways I've felt like nature did a lousy job on post-partum adjustment; your exhausted, physically compromised and trying to master the hardest, most important job of your life! I second the wrap recommendation, it's saved me.

Keep at it...coming on here to discuss it is a great first step at trying to change something.

Huge hugs to you and your little girl and keep posting updates!
post #12 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by NYCVeg
I'd love some advice on ways to nurse with one hand so that I can read!
I laid my babe on my chest and held the book with both hands (also used pillows to prop myself in a reclined/kinda sitting up position, but not so sitting up that babe would slip off).
When my babies wanted to nurse, i laid on my side and nursed them and held the book open with one hand and the other hand held the breast in place....I finally found my camera and now need to recharge the batteries...maybe someone else has a picture, or I will try and get my oldest dd to take a pic of me so you can visually see what I am writing about.
post #13 of 37
Oh Amanda It WILL get better!!!!

Quote:
We've had tons of bfing issues: cracked/bleeding nipples (now resolved), thrush and vasospasm (unresolved), and now lots of fussing/screaming from dd while eating (perhaps a reaction to the meds we're on). I'm on an extreme sugar-elimination diet to deal with the thrush (no wheat/gluten/flour products, no sugar, no fruit, no dairy except for organic plain yogurt--and I'm a vegetarian), and we're now in the throes of purple hell because we're using gentian violet as well. I'm having a minor allergic reaction to the Diflucan I'm taking, so I itch all the time. I have long-term yeast issues, though, so I'm really reluctant to go off of it until things are cleared up. I'm also suffering from bad insomnia. Even though dd sleeps for decent stretches of time, I'm not falling asleep when she does. If I'm lucky, I get six hours in two 3-hour chunks. More often, it's 4 hours a night (in 2 2-hour chunks) or just 2 hours a night. Napping during the day is impossible for me (it always has been).
I don't know if you have the resources for this but I would *highly* recomend seeing a professional homeopath. I think s/he would really be able to help you with these challenges.

I agree with the PP who said find a playgroup. Post-natal yoga, MOMS club, LLL....whatever....build a network of support around yourself...it makes a world of difference.

And keep posting here. We're all here to support you!!!
post #14 of 37

Life with a newborn is so overwhelming sometimes. I hope things smooth out for you.
post #15 of 37
I am only a few weeks ahead of you in this whole thing. It is an enormous adjustment. I have really had to let go of the need to get anything done.

I was the same way for the first couple of weeks - no BF issues, but I just wanted her to fall back asleep so I could sleep too. That has been my toughest adjustment...I like sleeping, always have. My mom thought all babies slept thru the night because of me.

At about two and a half weeks, I made a conscious decision to smile at the baby when she woke up. I just sort of had the realization that if I was grumpy every time I woke up -neither one of us was feeling good about it. That helped my mood a bit - sort of a fake it till you make it kind of thing.

As for DH, my DH went back to work and I tried to do the "non-demanding" thing. Didn't work. Made me feel like I was the only person doing anything with DD. DH is super busy at work too and hasn't been home as much as I would like (came home at 9:30pm the other night.) but the fact is, sometimes I need him to hold her for 10 minutes. Or I need him to get up and change her at night. And after a long conversation with DH about it -turns out he felt like he was missing something when I tried to do it all. So now, i just make clear what I need from him and when, and when he can do it - he does. When he can't we figure it out. This idea that once dad goes back to work mom is 100% of the childcare is bogus. And I think it leads to some very unhappy, pressured mamas. I KNOW I can't be "on" 24 hours a day...and neither can he.

It does get easier - the difference between 2 weeks and 6 weeks is night and day. It is amazing.

I am going to second the Moby Wrap suggestion. I can't get dd in the ring sling right when she is awake...but the moby has saved my life. I can put her in it and she will calm right down, I can walk around, do little things around the house, fix myself food...and they aren't terribly expensive...something to think about.

It is tough, and it is a HUGE adjustment. Even though we all know that intellectually, it didn't hit home for me for a while. Give yourself a while to adjust. I feel much better about how I am doing now than I did at 2 and 3 weeks, and I still have days where I think I am the worst mama ever... But DD is growing, and knows my voice and is getting smiley. So clearly I haven't broken her yet. Hang in there.
post #16 of 37
I can't say that I can relate to any of your issues. I have been blessed with a relatively laid back baby.
What I can say is that it sounds like you have the same mindset that I have, and are doing what I might do myself. You have just been chosen to be the parent of your dd who is probably a more "awake" baby than mine!
It's not your fault your having troubles! It sounds like you're really actively looking for solutions. I know how painful the cracked nipples can be! Sends chills down my spine just thinking about it. Glad you've worked it out
I second the prev post "Fake it till ya make it!" I'll be praying for you!
post #17 of 37
I understand what you are going thru. It is not easy but trust me, it will get better. My dd is only 1 week older than yours and I can say that 1 week does make a big difference.
I am also alone; I don't have family in the USA other than my dh. I was so depressed when I brought the baby home and I remember wondering how I would endure the days ahead of me. The pain from the episiotomy + bf drove me insane. I am still struggling, but when I look at this tine little baby, so innocent, so dependent on me, it makes my day and she takes all the pain away.

It is a good idea to take your dd outside for a walk and refresh.
I am still learning how to nurse comfortably, but the boppy nursing pillow helped me a lot.
Also, you should watch the DVD called "the happiest baby on the block". Those are awesome tips on how to sooth your baby to sleep.
http://thehappiestbaby.com/

It is OK to get frustrated and feel overwhelmed. I guess all new mothers felt the same way one day.
You are a great mom and trust in yourself that you are everything this baby needs and wants. Things will only get better and soon you will look back and laugh at these days...
post #18 of 37
Oh Amanda - I so remember the feelings you are having.

The first child is SO hard - I remember literally - one day my life was my life and BAM - the next day everything was totally different FOREVER. Plus I had PPD - it sounds like you may have a touch of the baby blues - not surprising with all the difficulties.

I promise - It WILL get easier. Get a wrap or practice at home with your sling - I could not live without mine. Having a newborn IS hard work. nothing harder if you ask me - you give up everything to care for a baby! We are the only species born 1 year too soon - between feeding and changing and holding and sleep - ugh. There is barely time to get in the shower let alone have ME time.

I do agree with smiling at your baby when she wakes - it will make you both feel better. And when she smiles back at you your heart will melt!

GET OUT of the house! VERY important! When my DD was 6 weeks old (or was it 12?) I signed up for Gymboree - not for her, obviously, but so I could meet other moms - I have 3 friends STILL from when we met 4 year ago now. Mommy N Me is also wonderful - I have met so many great moms there!

Having a network of friends has made #2 SOOOOOOOOOOOO much easier.

I wish we lived closer so I could help you out. It will get easier and you are so not alone in feeling this way.

post #19 of 37
Amanda

When my DS was born 4 1/2 years ago, I felt the EXACT same way. He fussed and cried, we had major nursing issues, I was horribly sleep deprived and I felt like screaming, "Is this it!? Is this what I've been waiting 9 long months for???" Adjusting from no children to one was by far the hardest for me.

I do think you need to keep an eye out for PPD. The isolation, the lack of sleep, the fact that your diet is so limited, and the BFing issues can all contribute. It happened to me after DS was born.

And yes, it does get MUCH easier! Otherwise, I would have never had three children . I second the recommendation for reading Happiest Baby on the Block. All three of my children drifted happily to sleep to the sounds of the vacuum cleaner at this age. The author basically says that human babies are born 3 months too early, so we need to replicate the womb environment for them. Anyway, see if your library has it because it made a lot of sense to me and worked really well for both my DDs.

I wish I lived in DC still. I'd definitely get together with you. Unfortunately, DC is a little far from St. Louis....
post #20 of 37
Hugs Amanda . I agree w/the PPs. This is my 1st also and it's such a huge adjustment. It can be pretty overwhelming and isolating at times. Definitely find some other mamas. I'm in the process of trying to build a group of mama friends myself. We don't have a car either so I understand that frustration. I'm sure you're doing a great job mama.
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