It has been a very long time since I have sat down to write a blog about my life, and it probably has to do with the fact that I only write (for the most part) when I feel I can put a funny spin on it. To be honest, the past 4 months have made it really hard to find that funny, blog-worthy spin. BUT, a lot has happened – I gave birth, my babe is 2 months old now, and my spring semester started (and is now close to ending). There is a lot of random stuff to cover, so bear with the disorganized structure – which is a great metaphor to how my life feels right now (yeah, I am fancy).
Birth is not like the movies. Not one bit. At least for me. I have learned that everyone’s experience with birth and motherhood is different (parents who say “kids should be sleeping through the night at (blank) months old” probably had a miraculous perfect baby and great for you – everyone is different), so by no means do I speak for all moms, some might have really enjoyed pushing a watermelon out of their canal – and that is really bad ass. I mean, my mom did it 3 times, wow. I went into labor at 4AM on Friday morning, which was actually really anticlimactic. I basically just sat in my bed while timing my contractions and told my mom and then told my sister and we took the day off, stayed in our pjs and basically just sat on the couch as the pain increased (which was at 6PM). No rushing, no frantic screaming, no crazy car ride – I actually drove through Chick-fil-a on my way to the hospital (maybe don’t bring in fast food when you are going to deliver, because you will get judged).
We make it to the hospital, and the main things I remember are: 1) Not being taken seriously at first (I couldn’t possibly know I was in labor without a husband!) until they realized I was 5 cm dilated and were like “oh shit, lets get you to a room.” 2) My sister (who is soft, and gentle, and nice) was the best birthing partner ever. I thought I needed a super intense, in-your-face push-helper, but her gentleness calmed my off the charts high blood pressure. She never once made a face like “OMG Lexi, a human head is emerging from your body and also destroying your lady bits at the same time.” 3) Feeling so relieved to have pushed that baby out, but also so freaked out because of how “not motherly” I felt.
It wasn’t like this “BAM! Baby is out, so now you feel like a parent with this special bond” for me. For me, holding Zara after the birth was kind of amazing yet terrifying, I mean a human (who was very smooshed) was looking at me (more because she was hungry and literally only wanted to eat) – I was probably as clueless as she was. And that is how I felt for the first month of her life- clueless and simply a source of food for her. (But, don’t get me started on breastfeeding – some might think it is gross, or weird to talk about, but it literally is the EXACT nutrients they need – freaking amazing.)
The first month of Zara’s life – A LOT of crying, like A LOT. From Zara, from me, more from Zara. My grandma and I drove to South Carolina to visit my parents and have my dad meet her for the first time and I am not lying when I say she cried the ENTIRE three days. I know for some people this is trivial, because babies can cry up to years in a row. I don’t know how those people do it, so if you ever know of someone going through that, go over and hold their screaming baby so they can grab an Advil.
I didn’t (and some days still don’t) feel like a mom. I felt like a babysitter who was like Pavlov’s dog and every time I heard the cry, I just whipped my boob out and started feeding a baby. Babies have bad eyesight, so it didn’t even really feel like Zara knew who I was or was looking at me. I started going back to classes, slowly falling behind, trying to squeeze in homework between crying and feeding, and most days I would end the day in my bed feeling like I was failing at school, failing at being a mom, and failing at keeping up with everyone/hanging out/actually asking my friends how THEY were doing. A lot of people told me, the mother-child bond is the greatest, and to be honest, I didn’t feel it right away. I don’t want to be a downer to people who want to have kids or are going to have kids, but you lose parts of yourself in the first months. My schedule for a while was wake up, feed Zara, go to class, feed Zara, go to class, feed Zara, rock crying (screaming) Zara until she fell asleep, go to sleep, and then wake up and do it all over again. Weeks go by and you are like “who the hell am I?”
It’s not all bad, it’s hard, but there are definitely silver linings. My grandma got to come stay with me for 3 weeks, and Zara got to know her great-grandma (who does not look as old as great-grandma sounds). My friends got to meet her, even some friends who went to college in Michigan with me. My mom, my dad, and my sisters all have helped me rock her to sleep, hung out with her, tried to stack cookies on her head, volunteered to change an explosive diaper. I have two friends, one who was due a month after me, another due two months after me who have formed a “mom gang” with me. I have called them to ask if they could just hold my kid while I take a shower, and they don’t hesitate to lend a hand.
This past month has been so much better, it takes every mom different times to finally reach a point where they feel like a parent, where they are connected, and although some days I still feel like a babysitter, I have really started to figure things out and feel confident in my abilities as a student, parent, and friend. These past few mornings, I have had to wake Zara up so I can feed her before I go to class. I walk over to her crib and talk to her excitedly and this kid lights up. She smiles and tries to hide it with her hands, but she really can’t contain it (so much so she usually gets gassy!) I have been in love before, but this love is a very different, very insane love. Zara could cry, I could be rocking her wrong, changing her diaper when she clearly doesn’t want me to, but as soon as I calm her down, she just smiles and tries to talk to me like I am the coolest person she has ever met. Zara doesn’t care that I’m barely making it at school or that I haven’t showered in three days or that I lost my patience the day before. The greatest thing about babies is that they don’t care if you are poor, rich, black, white, straight, gay, skinny, thick, what have you – all babies want is for you to show up. They are beautiful in how non-judgmental, trusting, and loving they are of all types of people.
The past 4 months have been anything but easy, but there are so many people in my life who have helped me do the dang thing. My dreams are not crushed and my life is not over. If you are in a similar situation, feel free to call me if you need some talking off a cliff, because I needed/need it daily. I am already blown away by how much love Zara and I have gotten in her mere two months of life on planet Earth. Thank you to all for your support and encouragement, a few lighthearted jokes and words go such a long way.