Our little girl turned one a couple months ago and I’m having a hard time figuring out where that year went! I must have blinked. It took us a few years to have our daughter, so the fact that she’s here at all is still hard to believe. I regularly catch myself just staring at her … luckily she’s not old enough yet to find that creepy. With all the sleepless nights and intense emotions, this motherhood journey has taken me for quite a ride. I might be just getting started, but I have already learned several important lessons, which I am coining as mom-isms: The Jinx Theory, Don’t Eat That, and Crying Over Spilled Milk.
Jinx Theory – Mom-ism #1
When I found out I was officially pregnant, I was only five and a half weeks along (fertility specialists are notoriously prompt). I will never forget the conversation I had with the clinic nurse after my final confirmation ultrasound; she asked me if I was feeling nauseous and when I said, “No, I feel great, no nausea at all!,” she was so happy for me and congratulated me for being lucky. Apparently all the drugs you take during IVF can cause early and severe morning sickness. I shrugged and thought, “Oh those poor other pregnant women.” I probably don’t need to go on to tell you that I was … very shortly thereafter … struck with intense morning/all day sickness that carried into my 30th week of pregnancy. Ugh – nothing like living off of oatmeal, ginger chews, and club soda for 8 months! Sadly, I did not learn my lesson the first time.
My second case of Jinx Theory occurred in the hospital. The first night in the hospital (…and before you attack, just remember I’m a rookie!) our baby was so sweet, nursed perfectly, slept like an angel, and (I swear!) was adored by the entire neonatal staff and every visitor who stopped by. I slept well, considering, and just gazed in a drug-induced stupor at my perfect child, and perfect husband, blah blah blah. Night two, I may have considered an exorcism around the 12 hour mark. She was a completely different baby, and she stayed in our room, so I know they didn’t swap her out on us! Now, in hind sight, I’ve learned this “first night angel, second night good luck” thing is completely normal, but at the time I was cursing my preemptive confidence.
I’ve also experienced Jinx Theory on numerous other occasions including: nursing, sleeping through the night, teething, and doctor visits. Each of these went from easy to painful as soon as I opened my big mouth to talk about how well it was going. This phenomenon is one I now refer to as the Jinx Theory, as in keep your mouth shut – no bragging! New mommies – consider yourselves warned.
Don’t Eat That – Mom-ism #2
This one is simple: babies want to put everything in their mouths, so I have said this over a million times and I’m only a year in! Think you get awhile of being able to keep baby contained? Wrong! Even at a young age, babies don’t happily hang out in one spot (maybe some do, but I certainly have not met that baby). It’s a constant race around this house. At 10 months, my little rascal was already crawling, scooting, and stumble-walking all over our house and no this is not #mommybragging. I wish for a baby that would happily sit and play with the plethora of baby toys she has at her disposal, that are also perfectly safe to put in her mouth if she chooses. Nope! Instead she will find the tiniest piece of plastic on the floor, or that wad of dog fur from under the couch that I didn’t even know was there and then deftly sticks it in her mouth. I have mastered the cheek squeeze and finger swipe though, so no ER visits yet (ugh, here I go again, breaking my Jinx rule)! Words to the wise, and this also applies to you Mom and Dad – let’s just say, never question what’s under your fingernails, it’s never chocolate. So…Don’t. Eat. That!
Crying Over Spilled Milk – Mom-ism#3
Oh, breastfeeding. Such a natural and beautiful thing. I dreamed of the bonding and nurturing moments I would have with my daughter as I eagerly listened in our Birthing and Baby classes at the local hospital. I knew it could potentially be difficult, but I was determined and that’s all I needed, right? WRONG. As I mentioned above, the first few nursing sessions after babe was born were a breeze and she latched perfectly (excuse me while I dust off my shoulder as if I had anything to do with that). Fast forward to day 2 and suddenly, no milk, no way, no how. I was nursing every hour and she still wanted more. I consulted a lactation specialist, I talked at length with our pediatrician, drank the grossest tea in the world, made “booby cookies” in my non-existent spare time (okay, technically they were called lactation bites, but I think my name for them is better .. and they worked btw), and read every online discussion board there is on the subject. I pumped and nursed, nursed and pumped. I measured ounces of baby milk like I was a professional scientist. I eventually had to, gasp, use formula to supplement for a few weeks. It was a long and torturous process and I think I may have cried more than my baby. It took 3 full months, but I did finally get it down just in time to go back to work. Then came the joy of scheduling time in the shared “nursing room” and carting my pump, milk, and supplies back and forth every.single.day. Some days I swear navigating that schedule with several other nursing moms at my office was harder than my work itself. I continued breastfeeding and pumping for 12 months and while I am very happy with that, I paid for it in blood, sweat, and tears! Literally, I once spilled a whole bottle of milk in the nursing room at work and I could not stop crying about it all day long. I had to consult a mom friend to talk me down from my hysteria. So, to any struggling mamas out there, just know that there will be hard at times. Please go easy on yourselves and know that as long as you are feeding, loving, and caring for your baby you are doing an amazing job. Oh, and definitely find mama friends willing to cry along with you and help you talk it out!
Being a new mommy does also have its perks: that new baby smell and the friendly, adoring smiles you get from strangers when they see your little squishy baby. Let’s not forget all the amazing milestones like smiling, giggling, clapping, and talking. I’m sure I will look back on this in a few years and laugh at how silly I was to get worked up over the little things. I am truly loving this baby-raising-roller coaster, and I can’t wait to see what’s around the next curve. Any other mamas out there have some funny “new mom-isms” that they’ve learned along the way? Please share!
Are you a new or expecting mom? Do you know someone who is? We are gearing up for our most anticipated event of the year on Saturday April 30th, which is perfect for new and pregnant mamas! Click here for all the details.