A dear friend of mine just delivered her first child last week and is having a really hard time. I stopped in to see her over the weekend (exactly a week after delivery) and was a little surprised by how NOT well she was. For some reason, I thought that she'd be one of those people who effortlessly slipped into motherhood. I think she did too (which is a big part of the problem).
The issues she's having are completely normal- motherhood isn't as easy & natural as she'd expected, nursing isn't as easy as she'd hoped, everything she does involves 10 extra steps, the baby doesn't want to be anywhere other than snuggled on her chest. I reminded her that, even though it seems like forever, it's only been a WEEK, and things would improve as everyone got used to the new set-up (baby on the outside). I offered her my Moby to help her feel a little more independent and efficient. I assured her that these things are completely normal.
The one thing I haven't been able to help with is her accepting the loss of complete control that comes with having a baby. She's a serious Type A personality (she's the first to admit it)- she's used to being very organized, completely in control and her life having order. As we all know, newborn babies don't work that way.
Unfortunately, I'm not a lot of help because I'm completely laid-back, play-it-by-ear, no more structure than is completely necessary.
Can anyone give some sage advice that I can pass on? Or give me some sort of resource/book/forum regarding Type A motherhood?
I've faced PPD following the births of both of my children and I've dealt with depression during my current pregnancy, so I KNOW the pain and anxiety that she's feeling. I've known her since high school and we've been fortunate enough to go through our pregnancies (her first, my latest) together. I just want to help her. It's just strange because we're coming to the same point from VERY different directions.
Any advice would be appreciated.
---Jessica---Livin' my life from A (1/05 ) to Z (4/08 ).....and z (3/11)
Unfortunately, I have yet to find specific resources (in the form of literature or online articles).
However, I couldn't read this post and not reply. I am a new mother (my baby is 6 weeks old) and a type "A" personality. The struggle with control and trying to keep it is an ongoing battle for me. Some things that I can recommend based on my own experience:
- If possible, avoid situations and people that you are uncomfortable with or feel the need to perform in front of during for the first few weeks. This means extended family and friends that you are not close with who just want to see the baby. Do not feel pressured to attend any functions, or to host any guests. You will know when you are ready to ease back into all of that. Before agreeing to have someone in your home ask yourself if you feel comfortable having the baby spit up all over you in front of them, breastfeeding in front of them, or being disheveled in front of them, if the answer is no then they can wait.
- Try to avoid all the unnecessary activities that add chaos to the day. If possible get help with runs to the grocery store or other stressful errands (have a partner, family member, or friend go instead).
- Be kind to yourself and try to come up with two things that you have done well each day (mastered changing a diaper, managed to take a shower...).
- Rather than trying to implement a schedule based on actual time of day, instead establish an order of operations that manifest rhythm. For example, I do not eat breakfast, play with the baby, take a nap, sweep the floor, or go for a walk at the exact same time each day, but I try to do them in the same order. Knowing what comes next without the pressure of the clock has given the baby and me space to make mistakes without feeling as if everything is going to fall apart.
Of course control is an illusion, but preserving my sanity has been about striking a balance between letting go of the extra and holding onto the things that matter most. I value a clean home and do not feel happy or fulfilled when entertaining guests in a mess. So I don't. I have not had anyone over when I have been unable to get the house together and it has taken a lot of the pressure off. I really don't like being dirty and so I get up extra early each morning before my husband has to leave for work to shower and dress. Figure out what little areas you can manage and focus on the small accomplishments. Things get easier and more manageable with time.
Mama~Blogger~Artist~Homemaker. Family = DH (married 6 years), baby Elinor, and our puppy Frances.
I literally LOL'ed when I read this title. You're talking about me!
My DD just turned 1 year and I must say it was a life changing year. The only advice I have is to learn to let it go. You CANNOT control everything anymore. I tried. I got frustrated. I got angry. I resented my husband. I resented my baby. I cried (and cried).
So now when my husband asks me what's on my agenda for the day I reply, "Who knows! Let's see what kind of mood the baby is in". If I don't get certain things done today, I don't fret. There's always tomorrow. What is most important that your, your baby's, and your spouses basic needs are met. The rest can wait.
I will also mention that around 10m pp I caved and went on depression meds. That helped me a lot.
My final thought is my facebook status on dd's birthday: "Instead of turning you into the baby I wanted, you turned me into the mother you wanted".