It’s been a whirlwind of poop, late night feedings, baby cries, frustration, self doubt and worries. But…that’s not to say it also hasn’t been a whirlwind of warmth, admiration, pride and love.
I’ll be honest…the first two weeks were hard. Really hard. Personally speaking, before Eleanor was born I was already pretty emotional (i.e. tears flowing over Apple’s Christmas ad this year). So take that and load me up with 5 (…okay 7) extra heaping tablespoons of hormones post-labour…and well…I’m surprised Rob didn’t need to make a trip out to the liquor store to stock up on rum. No one really warned me about these nasty hormones taking over. They are awful, awful things. They made me doubt every thing I was doing, question if I was “cut out” to do this, freak out that because in the first week we could only get her to sleep in a swing. Which therefore I was obviously ruining her future of ever getting into a good school because she would only be able to ever sleep in a swing for the rest of her life. And what school would accept large swings in the dorm rooms? Hmm? Oh yes, these thoughts existed.
These hormones also put my regular happy emotions on over-drive. For example, Rob, myself and little Eleanor were out driving when we came across someone with their car stuck in the snow. Rob pulled to the side, put the 4-ways on and helped push the strangers out of the snow. When he got back into the car I was bawling. With a look of worry on his face he asked me what was wrong, as if something had happened to Eleanor while he was gone. Nope. I said “It was (blubber) just..(sniff) really nice of you (sob sob sob) to help those strangers.” Yep. Lots of crying.
If I could go back in time just a few months ago and tell my pre-baby self what the first month of having a baby would be like I would tell myself….
…To to not only expect but to embrace the feelings of fear, boat loads of anxiety, hormones that will make you feel some of the lowest of all lows. But, more often than not you are on the other side of all that…and you will get to experience your heart growing, re-living those feelings of butterflies in your stomach when she smiles at you for the first time and it will all be amazing. Trust that those feelings of uneasiness and fear are normal. As are those cruel, cruel hormones. You’ll be reminded about how blessed you are to have the family and friends that you do as they are all there to lend helping hands, shoulders to cry on, open doors and advice. They will be there to answer their phones when you call in tears because you don’t know why you are in tears. You’ll be reminded every minute of the day not just how lucky you are to have Rob by your side but how lucky Ellie is to have and call him “Dad.” You’ll get to be there to have her little hand wrap around your fingers, take comfort that she wants you to comfort her, how she fits perfectly in your arms, be lovestruck when she just looks at you with her big eyes and just studies you, and of course how undeniably cute she is. You’re going to doubt yourself, blame yourself that she’s crying (when really she just has a dirty diaper), be way too hard on yourself and expect too much of yourself. But remember to take a step back and look at the big picture and the support system you have around you. Use them. Admit that you may need help because you can’t do everything you did before the baby and MORE and that there’s no shame in that. It’s not always going to be what you expected it to be… it’s going to be frustrating, incredible…and sometimes incredibly frustrating. It’s going to be a whole new world of love and wonder. Remember that you and Rob will be there for all of these new experiences for this new little person…and you get to be in the front row.