My expectations vs. the reality

A recently turned 11 months! Where has the time gone!? I’ve been reflecting on this past year as she gets ready to turn 1, and trying to remember all the ups and downs of this journey so far. Lots of emotions and I end up wanting to cuddle with her, but all she wants to do is play! *cryyyy* Anyways, as I’ve been reflecting, I thought it’d be nice to share 11 expectations (for 11 months!!) I had and what the reality was for me. I’m sure every person has a different experience, so please don’t take these as generalizations, just solely my point of view! 🙂

1.

Expectation: The bond during breastfeeding is magical, baby and I will get it right away, and my body will know what to do.
Reality: Took me 6 weeks for breastfeeding to feel not even magical, but comfortable. I constantly stressed over “is my body producing enough!!?,” and “is baby gaining enough weight, having enough wet diapers?!” And then there’s the clogged ducts (thankfully no mastitis – yet) that haunted me every couple weeks.

Prior to giving birth, people talked about how magical breastfeeding is and how amazing the bond is between mommy and baby, and while I’m thankfully I’m able to breastfeed, most of the time I’m just scrolling through Facebook while A nurses… Magical.

And at 11 months postpartum, you would think I would no longer stress out about my body’s ability to produce enough milk, but at least once a week I say to Kp, “do you think A is getting enough milk?”.

A momentous occasion for me. 2.5 months in and able to nurse outdoors (at a secluded park)

2.

Expectation: Baby will sleep / nap when tired.
Reality: Baby will play and play until overtired and then be too tired to fall asleep.

The first few weeks we had no idea what we were doing and since at the hospital, A was sleepy all the time, and especially during her jaundice treatment, we just figured she’d sleep all the time and wake up just to eat. But much of our early weeks, we (mostly Kp… okay, all Kp) rocked her, bounced her, walked her… anything and everything to get her to sleep. And then when we tried to follow waketimes, (ie. 1 month old babies can really only stay awake for about an hour at a time!), even then she wouldn’t sleep! For us, it wasn’t until we got her into more of a routine and stopped nursing her to sleep that she started being able to sleep / nap on her own. Nowadays, A will still want to keep playing with us until we put her down in her crib and then she’ll knock out in a matter of minutes (on a good day).

The IDEAL…
Up since 4am… looking bright out..
Early days of do anything to get her to sleep!

3.

Expectation: I’m going to bounce right back from having a baby, physically, emotionally and mentally.
Reality: HA! At 11 months postpartum, physically, still look at least 3 months pregnant. Emotionally, hormones still raging. And mentally, where did I put my phone?! Let’s not even talk about 1 month postpartum.

I find myself having to constantly give myself some grace in these areas (so basically my whole life…). It’s definitely easier said then done when people say, “relax, you just had a baby!” While it’s true, I’ve come to accept that there will be good days and bad days when it comes to how I feel about myself physically, how I’m doing emotionally and how / and if my brain is functioning mentally. It’s similar to pre-baby times (good days and bad days), but because it’s different from how I’ve dealt with it for so long, it a shock to the system. My life is different now, and I shouldn’t expect myself to feel / react exactly like before.

4.

Expectation: I will understand my baby’s cries and respond accordingly.
Reality: When baby cries, I just do everything I know to do and hope one of them stops her from crying.

Especially in the early months when A was ALWAYS crying, I tried really hard to listen for the different cries. The ‘Eh’, ‘Neh’, ‘Owh’ sounds, but honestly, they all sounded the same to me. Maybe I was missing the small window before her cries turned into hysterical crying but we ended up just cycling through feeding, changing diaper and rocking to sleep. Someone recently shared with me a video with real examples of the different cries and maybe this would have been helpful in the early months…

AH!! What does she need!?

5.

Expectation: My house (and I) will look normal.
Reality: Clothes are everywhere, I’ve been wearing the same milk-stained shirt and pants for the past few days, and who has time for makeup and hair?!

Thankfully we were living with my parents when A was first born, so we really only had one room to keep tidy, and we didn’t have to do dishes, AND our community at church brought over meals for us. But even then, our lives were so chaotic! Asides from washing bottles and pump parts, and doing 3 loads of laundry a day (not enough burp cloths!!!) all other chores were forgotten. I remember seeing photos on Instagram of other mamas, and their house would look so clean, they would look so put-together, and I’d just be what the heck?! I just want to nap. Now that it’s been 11 months, I can say, my home does look a lot more normal, and for the most part, I look more normal too.

 

A ‘normal’ photo!! … 3 months after A was born..
When you’re washing this many parts, there’s really no time to clean anything else..

6.

Expectation: I’m going to dress baby up in all the cute outfits that I have.
Reality: Baby spent most of the first few months of her life in pajamas. Although because of all the spit up, she’d go through something like 5 pajamas a day.

Why’d I buy the cute 0-3 dresses and cute outfits!? A was so fragile back then that the easier the clothes was to put on the better. I think we only dressed her up once or twice during her first few weeks. Zip-up pajamas for the win! Now that’s she’s a bit more durable, I try to change her out of her pajamas, even if we’re not going out of the house. It helps me feel like we’ve done something that day… and baby clothes really are so cute and she’s growing too fast!

Both of us dressed up on Mother’s Day, but seconds after this photo was taken, she spit up all over herself and me… back into her pjs she goes!
Pjs all day, every day!

7.

Expectation: Baby will take cute perfect photos!
Reality: Yea, I take about 50 photos to get that one good one. The other 49 are either blurry, baby is not looking, or flat-out, baby doesn’t look cute.

I’ll admit it, the photos I share on my blog, on Facebook and Instagram are the best and cutest ones. No wonder you guys all think A is so cute 😉 It’s close to impossible to get a good photo on the first try, so thankfully with digital cameras now a day, I can take a bagillion and hope one turned out okay.

Take 1
Take 2
Take 3… 4… 5…
… finally a good one!

8.

Expectation: Getting back into exercise once the doctor gives me the okay.
Reality: I exercised twice the few months after my OB gave me the okay at my 6 week postpartum checkup.

I was super gung-ho about it and went swimming the day after, but then I got a clogged duct…. And then suddenly it was a few months later… when I went to my OB for my annual checkup and she said, you’ve put on weight since your 6 week checkup, have you exercised much? -_- Opps. That was sort of a wakeup call to exercise a bit more so A and I went walking for an hour every day for a few months… until it got too cold and rainy. HAhaha, excuses, I know. Anyways, all this to say, it’s easy to make excuses (not like it wasn’t before baby arrived), but I really have to make an effort to stay healthy.

9.

Expectation: I’ll be that calm mom, with a calm baby at Target, running errands like a normal person.
Reality: I’m the mom with the crying baby just trying to finish my shopping list!! Pushing the stroller back and forth trying to get my baby to stop crying, or worse, trying to hold my baby, push the stroller AND grab everything I need.

In my younger, judgmental days, I would see moms struggling to wrangle their kids and think to myself why were they even at Target?! Or why couldn’t they keep their kids quiet?! Oh man, I feel so bad for being so judgy! The days, and errands don’t stop for a crying baby and I’ve realized, I just got to do what I got to do. If it’s pushing my stroller around looking like a crazy person in Target so I can get that toothpaste, then I’ll be that crazy person, people can judge me all they want.

10.

Expectation: I’ll make all of my baby’s food.
Reality: Day three of solids… where are the baby food pouches! I need more!

A few months before A started solids, someone was selling a baby food cooker that I happily bought, thinking I would put it to good use. I thought that I’d make all the purees for her. Roadblock number 1 was that she would not poo for days! I’m talking like 7 days, whereas she’d been going at least once a day before we started solids. The dr. told me to give her some prunes, but how do you even serve a baby prunes?! Someone suggested organic food pouches and once I realized the ease of serving her food from the pouches, I was hooked! At first I’d pour the pouches out into a bowl and then serve it to her that way from a spoon (to make myself feel like I was doing something… hahaha), but pretty soon, I realized she could eat straight from the pouch herself! But, unfortunately I asked the pediatrician if that was okay, and she told me it was okay in a pinch, but not the best for A’s teeth if I only served her food from pouches. Anyways, since then we’ve been serving her more of the foods we’re eating anyways, so I guess I’m making all her food again 😛

Prune puree from a pouch
Yey me! I made her a hard boiled egg!
More pouches..

11.

Expectation: I’m going to love and embrace every second of motherhood.
Reality: To be completely honest, the first few months, there wasn’t much I liked about motherhood. Yes, there were sweet moments, but overall I seriously questioned what we’d gotten ourselves into.

As the months rolled on, and I watched A grow and thrive under our care, I slowly began embracing motherhood. Still, there are times where I just want to think about myself, go shopping, or something… anything… but change another diaper, or play peek-a-boo one more time, but at the end of the day, I can’t imagine life with A. I think it’s okay to not love every second of it but I wouldn’t trade it for anything! She seriously brings me so much joy and I never thought I could love a little person so much!

It’s moments like these that get me through the times of unconsolable crying, waking up at 3am, making a whole meal that ends up on the ground, etc. etc. In many ways, motherhood was not what I expected… and as this list proves, there were quite a handful of rude awakenings for me. However, on the positive side, this past year hasn’t been as difficult as I thought it would be. I’m able again now to do many of the things I enjoyed doing in the past, and as a stay-at-home mom, I’ve been able to purse new hobbies!

There’s less than a month now before A is one, and if you run into me and I’m super emotional about it, please don’t mind me!

<3

 

 

 

 

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