I’ve now been a mom for two months and little Rose is the coolest baby I know. She not only looks adorable in any outfit, she is playing with toys, smiling, giggling and talking a lot. She tells all sorts of stories and her favorite word is “agoo” which I learned translates into “Let’s Rock”. I knew she was cool from day 1 and this just proves it.
But as any new mom will tell you, there are the difficult days too. Like every day this week except for yesterday and today. That is because sleep deprivation can do amazing things to your mood, coping skills, ability to keep things in perspective and pretty much every other brain function humans are responsible for. But two nights ago, Rose slept for 5 hours straight and last night she did a 6 1/2 hour stint. I’m not exaggerating when I say it change my life. Before she learned to sleep like this and show mommy that there is a god, I felt like I was at my breaking point. A good friend told me that children eventually “break their parents” which he said in jest over a few beers as his toddler ran circles around him. But I saw a glimmer of seriousness in his tone. I was 8 months pregnant and laughed it off. This week, his words rang true.
And when I was feeling like there was no end to the fussiness, no way I was doing anything right, and definitely no light at the end of the tunnel, I totally felt like Rose was breaking me so I did what anyone would do. I called my mom. Then I called, texted, and emailed about 10 other people sharing my frustrations, asking for help and pretty much sending up a bat signal. I got lots of support, nice words of encouragement, but no one swooped in to fix it like my delusional mind sort of thought would happen. And that was OK in the end, but looking back, I realize that the thing that ended up being the biggest help is a group I joined of new moms through Isis.
This is a group of 11 moms and babies thrown together for an 8 week class on babies and motherhood. We spend a few hours together once a week and usually grab lunch together as we line up strollers, juggle car seats, and all sit there scarfing down salads with babies bouncing on our shoulders. Even though we are a diverse group, I think we all get so much out of the time together. There aren’t any other women I can talk to about my favorite topics: latching, nap schedules, poop colors and pumping techniques. These ladies have so much knowledge, strength, and even experience given the few months we’ve all been at it. We all try to help each other where we can, we get to ooh and ah over each other’s babies and connect with one another in a way that every new mom needs.
So when I was at my breaking point and pretty sure I was the only mom of a two month old who didn’t have any semblance of a nap schedule underway (I blame blogs for making me feel this way, ironic, eh?) I forced myself to go out with Rose and husband in tow, to a little party with these women. It was such a fun night and even though I only had half a glass of wine and 2 appetizer bites, it felt like a super fun and wild night out. Because it was night time…and we were out! But what I found most helpful during those challenging couple of days, was all of these women were going through the same thing. They weren’t nearly as worried as I was and their confidence and flexibility was contagious. I decided an attitude adjustment might be more helpful than a sleep schedule and then BAM, Rose slept for 5 hours for the first time. Coincidence? Who cares, it was sleep and I am sane again. Until the next time things become overwhelming of course. Which they will.
Until then, I am grateful for my faraway support group and even more thankful for the 10 strangers that feel like friends and reminded me how to navigate the chaos that is my new life.