It’s been seven weeks since I crossed over to Mother and I’ve felt every minute of it—even the ones I might’ve had an eye closed. For months and months I studied books and articles, I dreamt and imagined the future, I conjectured and dialogued in every direction I could—I researched the fuck outta pregnancy and birth. Finally, fifty days ago, biology pulled the trigger and made me a flesh and blood, “this is not a drill” Mother responsible for another life. Responsible 24/7, all shifts, all the time.
It has been seven weeks of being inside my house in an effort to protect Dotty from germs and the flu and figure out what the hell im doing. New Mom hyper vigilance has kicked into gear and tells me this is the right thing to do. In these confined times I’ve been given the chance to learn my little girl’s insides and out. Literally. I pick at her skin like a monkey. I clip her tiny nails. I decipher her cries, I soothe her, I entertain her. I pump, I breastfeed, I massage, I Haakaa, and I leak. I’ve developed a single titty system of sustenance—one for nursing, one for pumping....and leftover nursing. I guess piercing your nipples three times before 20 years old makes em a bit of a crapshoot for breastfeeding. We bathe, we dance, and I sing so she’ll crap her pants. We go from nuance to panic in a few hours and even consider the possibility she’s already cutting teeth. (A trip to the Ped snuffed our that worrisome thought) I stare at her at all times. I take one billion photos of her and then as I’m staring at her, flip through the photos of her so I can stare at them too. I marvel in her alertness and wonder. I marvel in everything... We go from being worried she’s sharting in every diaper to not sharting at all.
Here is an actual internal (that was probably half external) dialogue I’ve had multiple times over multiple things the last fifty days—this one happens to be shart related:
”This diaper is too clean. It’s been two hours. Why isn’t there more in this diaper? Why isn’t my baby sharting anymore??? How’s her sphincter control?? Is she ok? Constipated? How’s the color of her poop? Hows the color of her poop been the last four poops? How’s the texture? The odor? What’s the quality of her bowel movements? Does she seem relieved? Is there more? Do I change her or wait? Did she empty both boobs? Is she too full to shit more? Is that even possible? I’ll google it.”
This has been my life for seven weeks...now, imagine this...this...lovingly strung out Mom re entering society for a few hours, expected to converse and socialize.
Like Wednesday Addams.
Like a soul sucked Podling.
Like I haven’t slept more than four hours in any twenty four period.
Like I’m drunk on baby and meth’d out on Motherhood.
I have nothing to say that’s remotely relatable to the non-Mom population right now.
I can’t even relate to my best friend. The only thing on my mind is the stinging of my nipples, the load of laundry still in the washer, and the fifty five things I need to do while I have both my hands free. I don’t drink, I don’t go out, haven’t seen any movies, certainly haven’t met anyone—I’m a blank face of unamusing. Sure, I can listen, but I have nothing to add to the conversation...unless my social audience wants to hear about milk ducts and baby bouncers.
How do I articulate the changes?
That I went from being literally unable to hold my pee to only holding my pee cuz I’m in baby jail.
That the pooping alone days are over.
That a half glass of wine is not worth the sweat.
That I sleep sitting up.
That my feet are even more neglected than they were nine months pregnant.
That I’ve forgotten deodorant for at least a week.
That I love being alone with my child.
That I think about having more children.
That I don’t miss life before.
That I’m happy and complete in her company.
That how I look is secondary to her comfort.
That the weight I’ve gained only matters when I’m gearing up to leave my house.
I went to a play today and the notion of having to talk to people shrouded over every syllable I barfed out actually talking to people.
I’m even more awkward now and the Prozac isn’t hiding it anymore.
It is beginning of the night shift and I’m, again, full of naive hope. It’s been five weeks of scavenging for sleep and the puzzle to achieve it changes every day. Nuggles is... particular:
She likes to sleep on her back then her belly then her side and always on me.
She does her best farting with a death grip bundle of my hair in her tiny renegade fist.
Her tiny egg-sized belly is the decider of all punctuality and timing.
She enjoys JeepJeep but dislikes wearing beanies.
She dislikes swaddling, but also dislikes scratching her face.
Baths and showers are soothing tools of comfort...until THEY ARE FUCKING NOT AND HOW DARE I!?!?
She prefers guitar over piano and female vocalists over male (unless it’s Hendrix or Gregory Alan Isakov).
Pacifiers suck. Nipples por vida.
Just to name a few things.
I'm at her disposal really and it's a steep curve of learning in order to function.
(as I sit here, attempt #15 to be productive, with my Boba wrap on and empty, breastfeeding on my boppy pillow, propped up at my desk awkwardly typing one handed over a little boob princess)
The good news is....last night... I GOT SOME SLEEP.
I'm not quite sure how much... or when... but prolly around five hours total. And. AND! I got it in my bed. In my beautiful, big, comfy bed. Nugget slept in the basket beside me and... it was heaven.
As a new first time Mom, you read and research and compare and re-read articles and books. You listen politely and often blindly to the advice of others and come to decisions through imaginative deductive future reasoning. I've read about car seat safety, safe sleep safety, breastfeeding safety, germ safety, bath safety, babywearing safety, food safety... all....safety.
And I can't help but wonder how many times these individuals and organizations have been sued to compel them to preemptively declare all this safety and for the world to get behind and push it down throats. Meanwhile it's the older generations of Mothers who tell us new Moms about how she used to do it.
"When you were a baby I would..."
"You used to be able to..."
"I dunno about all that, but I would...."
"If I were you I would..."
"Maybe you should..."
There's a lot of listening and reading woulds and shoulds as a new Mom.
*****and no, Mom, I'm not just picking on you*****
In the end, you have to do what works for you, not just the Kiddo. How do I keep my sanity being a single parent responsible for my five week old 24 hours a day... every day?
We cat nap--we attempt.... to cat nap. We attempt in chairs, on couches, in bed, in bassinets, in cribs, in swings. We try everywhere and everything. We try it in the morning, we try it at night--we try it at noon time, what a delight!
It usually boils down to me stuffing pillows and baby blankets along my sides in the recliner so as to lock me into position. I feed her on the boppy, slowly and delicately remove the gummy nipple at the end, and carefully place her on my chest... eventually we recline slightly... and maybe we get an hour or two nap.
As a matter of fact, it's time for another attempt.
Wish us luck!
There are so many little moments, it's hard to doodle just one.
They come flying through my line of sight like all the little light torpedoes in warp speed... the way that snow flurries past headlights onto a windshield on mountain storm night.
Trying to hold onto just one little moment long enough is a scramble.
I feel like that person in the tube of fast air trying to catch all the money and shove it in pockets before the wind ride lottery is over.
If I'm lucky, I can jot down ideas.
Pens are everywhere.
I very often have one half a hand free to do anything and my toes still aren't trained in script. I have to rely on my Mom memory which is running on two to three hours of sleep a night.
I love so much.
The way she looks at me and tries to understand.
The way she turns into a little boob zombie, crashing her open mouthed head into my clavicle over and over again when she wants to nurse.
The way she sleeps with her mouth open like her Mom.
The heat of her on my chest.
Today's precious is brought to you by laundry.
Nugget is between diaper sizes right now. Well, she's between like five brands and two sizes of diapers. Her hips are newborn while her thighs are size one and that makes for a fair amount of blowouts which makes for a fair amount of laundry.
And I love it.
I love it all.
The way her little clothes wrap into mine in the dryer. Her little socks trapped in the tumbling magnitude of my nursing bras. The way all the pink and white off sets the black stretch fabric of postpartum fashion. The way she doesn't give a shit when she shits herself.
I wish I had that kind of ease and confidence.
Newborn unfuckwithable confidence.
I love being a Mom.
Someday soon here... I'm gonna get to type with TWO hands.
Mallory Kate is a blogger, artist, single mom and funny girl outta Nevada.
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