Motherhood

Confessions of a new mom

I’m less than two weeks into this new gig but already, the sheer magnitude of motherhood coupled with the fluctuating hormones have already brought me to my knees more than once. Plus, Aidan was warded in the hospital for an additional three nights due to jaundice that was attributed to our different blood types and you can see how this mama turned into a wreck.

I thought I’d just jot this down because I need to tell myself that it’s okay to feel this way, it’s okay to be scared and stressed and worried and anxious. It’s okay to cry, as long as I get back up again.

(And if I don’t, I should seek professional help pronto.)

I miss being pregnant sometimes.
In the days immediately following Aidan’s birth, especially when I was in the hospital, I would get twinges in my tummy. Thinking that it was still my baby in my belly, I would reach down to rub it lovingly, only to be met with soft flesh. And then I would realise that I am no longer pregnant and that my little man is sleeping in the cot next to me.

And I would miss it so.

The bond between a mother and her in-utero baby is so strong. I miss his little kicks and his tiny movements. I miss our little evenings winding down together, him and I.

And I do miss being pregnant, selfishly, because my life hadn’t changed then. I was pregnant and still living my life, and Mr Thick and I were still just a couple.

That’s not to say that I don’t want the little man with me, of course. His cute little milk face, his grunts and yells when trying to take a dump…all these are precious moments that I have kept in my memories. And I am so very glad that he is finally here with us.

I don’t know what the heck I am doing
How many times have I wept in Mr Thick’s arms because I was overwhelmed by the notion of bringing up a child? Do I know what I am doing? Hell, NO.

Then there are questions like do I have enough milk supply for Aidan? Am I doing the right thing in following this routine? Am I screwing up his sleeping patterns by not doing so?

All I have is this sleeping-pooping-feeding little creature who cannot give me feedback on whether I am doing the right thing. Of course, he is all but 11 days old and I cannot expect anything much from him now.

Thank goodness for husband then, who has been nothing but a pillar of support. He rouses during my night feeds to tell me what a fabulous job I am doing and he always, always makes me feel better whenever the waterworks are turned on.

I am grateful for my mother’s help
I know, I know, I was all I don’t want any confinement help. But truth be told, it has been awesome having someone around the house in the day. I don’t necessarily follow nor believe in all the confinement rules and sometimes, I do stuff like bathing with herbs and drinking fish soup for breakfast just to make mom happy.

But it’s been great knowing that I don’t have to worry about chores and meals. And that if I need a sanity break, to sleep or to shower, I can rely on my mom. I am going to miss her when the month is over and she goes back to being my nephew’s caregiver. I predict that I will be spending many an afternoon at her place.

I am not a very nice person to be around now
Just the other day, I almost lost my temper with my in-laws and mother. I had just put Aidan down for a nap and he was still fussing slightly when the in-laws arrived and the three parentals started chatting loudly. They then came into the room and gushed over him at their normal volumes.

I got mad.

My arm was tired from patting him to sleep, he hadn’t slept well in the morning and I was hoping he would make up for it with the nap. When I tried to shh them and explain that he had just fallen asleep, my mother-in-law told me that it was good for Aidan to get used to loud noises when he slept. Which wasn’t wrong but when you are sleep deprived and anxious about your baby, that wasn’t going to go down well. And to make matters worse, Aidan started stirring and woke up right after the in-laws left.

I felt so guilty the entire day, wondering who was this grouchy, horrible person. And it made me want to cry, again.

So no, motherhood hasn’t been all peaches and roses and full of beautiful glow. On the contrary, I am sweaty, tired, in need of a haircut and falling to pieces sometimes. But the little moments are to be savored and these, together with the wonderful support of fellow mamas (like my friends P, Yuling and Squirt) are the timber that keeps the flame going and going.

17 thoughts on “Confessions of a new mom”

  1. I don’t know why I am feeling this way even though it’s still a couple of months before I pop, but I am deeply stirred by your thoughts on motherhood so far. I have been feeling like a bad mum-to-be cuz I don’t know what to expect/do/think/feel/prepare, and your thoughts make me feel that it is okay not to do everything perfectly. Kudos to you for hanging in there, it’s certainly not easy and I know you will manage to overcome obstacles, somehow. You are such a trooper!! Many hugs from me.

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  2. Oh honey, remember, you are doing hell of an amazing job! The hormones are playig up big time especially these first few weeks and I was exactly the same. These first two to three months are going to be the toughest but u know what, after that, everything is going to be balmy and awesome! It will! Hang in there babe, you’re a great mummy and this will soon be just a walk in the park very soon. Big HUGS! xo

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  3. I’m not a mum, but when my sis in law broke down one day, from all the sleep deprivation, having to fuss over the colicky new born, and be so mechanical about it all, AND be without her husband (my brother) who’s in china, I could totally get the feeling, and felt really sorry for her. I knew it’d be hard, but seeing her like that also broke my heart. Then on, i’ve been going over to help out with whatever i can despite the limited baby knowledge I had.
    But despite not changing diapers or doing ‘more’ of the baby stuff, I think my being around helped her boost her morale too, just knowing she wasn’t alone. And, i guess i helped when i relieved her of the baby and she could have her own free time to do other things, or even take a long bath, something which i’m told was a luxury if you had a baby who doesn’t sleep well!
    So well, I guess i wanted to share this, to let you know it’s ok to feel what you’re feeling. When the ‘insanity’ strikes, ask for help. It will never make you be a bad mother just because you can’t handle the baby!
    =)
    Take care!

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  4. Thank you so much for sharing. *big hugs*

    Even though I know that I’d be expecting the little one to be out anytime in the next 3 weeks, I feel terribly unprepared. I feel like I haven’t read my parenting/breastfeeding/childcaring books proper and guilty that I’m already entertaining pre-conceived judgement and behavior on how my in-laws may react after little man’s arrival as a result of hearing what my other friends have been through and little random tantrums they’ve (in-laws) have been throwing of late.

    I am probably worrying way ahead of myself (I hope so), but I’m so glad to know that if I ever feel this way post-partum, that it’s absolutely normal.

    Me thinks that by writing this down & acknowledging your feelings at this point, you’re doing absolutely great as a new mom already. Not to mention the wonderful support you’re receiving from fellow moms & the husband. πŸ™‚

    It’s only going to get better, right?

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  5. hi yann, i just want to tell you that you are not alone. when i was doing my confinement, my hormones went all hay-wire and i was happy one sec and crying the next and there were times when i even hate my bb for causing all this sufferings and stuff. i was being an absolute bitch with complains about everything under the sun. Even till now, 5 months down the road, things are still going tough, but do hang on there, because a smile from my bb makes everything worth it.

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  6. I think motherhood brings out the most complicated of feelings. I remember feeling the pure joy of having a baby, the grief for the end of my pregnancy (I gave birth at 33 weeks), worry for my baby’s well-being, excitement of seeing my baby growing and changing everyday, angry at my privacy and boundaries being intruded (everybody at home wants a piece of the baby!!) all at once. It’s overwhelming. So don’t worry, it’s normal πŸ™‚

    It helps very much to have a loving and supportive hubby. And this motherhood thing, it will surely get better, I promise!

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  7. First of all congrats!! Aidan is gorgeous! Am feeding my baby while tapping on my iPod. That’s the only time surf lately.
    The thing I realized after 5 months is that all the distractions and things that make us forget time – Internet, tv, books, writing, editing photos etc – will mostly be taken away from us. Suddenly we have this alien-like creature (at least for the first three months) that makes weird (lovable but still strange) expressions, grunts, wheezes and make jerky movements needing our attention all the time. For a while I really just wanted my baby to sleep so I could gaze at her lovingly and do my own things. For me the first three months was comparatively fine. She hit the four months sleep regression and everything went downhill for me. It does get better eventually but not before it gets worse. I had to step back and re-wire the way I think, make peace that I have to let go of my old life and practice what I’ve always wanted but was too distracted in the past – be present. Be present while changing the diaper, be present while rocking the baby. Everything became more deliberate and slower and somehow it became a healing process for me.
    Being a mother in Japan is a little different. Here is a culture of cosleeping and I was encouraged to nurse lying down to get some rest. Of course it brings up another set of problems but what I’m trying to say is expert advice from books and Internet have a lot of shoulds and musts and if nots. It brings in a lot of guilt when the baby just doesn’t want to sleep. Don’t feel guilty. The baby will not understand that you are trying your best for him, he will only sense your frustration. I am still learning how to let go of control and roll with it. It’s going to be an amazing journey. Will be cheering u on from this side of the pond πŸ™‚

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  8. *hugs* Just want to tell you that you are definitely not alone. Everyone around me (myself included!) experienced the exact same emotions as you did and we all got better after the 6-8 weeks’ mark. Already, you’re doing such a fantastic job! I remembered that I couldn’t even bear to be around my newborn and cried everytime he did. It was such an emotional roller coaster ride. I blame the raging hormones as well as the stresses of being a new mum.

    Just remember, things will ONLY get better from here. And the next few weeks will only be just a tiny fraction of the months and years ahead. You will forget all about it (and maybe even share a laughter or two with your friends) soon!

    And there is a saying… When the kiddo’s in your tummy, you couldn’t wait for him to come out to say hello. Now that he’s out, you wished he was back in! πŸ˜›

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  9. Chin up! Everything you’re going through is normal normal normal. I have harboured many a murderous thoughts against even the slightest transgression, preceived or real. Hehe.

    Your worry and fretting shows that you are indeed doing a good job!

    And don’t worry about routine. Books will always advise having a routine blah blah. Well well, what do you know? Babies prefer their own non-routinised routine. So there.

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  10. Thank you for your encouraging words, everyone. πŸ™‚
    So, so grateful that I am not alone.
    Taking care of a newborn for the first time is such a challenging thing, I am always worried about doing the wrong thing.
    But you have all given me such a boost. Thank you!

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  11. Hey, the first 3 months of motherhood will probably be the most trying time in your whole life. And all mums go through it. Some got it worse by having complications in their pregnancy or babies etc. Just knowing this should comfort you. What I am saying is you are doing great and feeling like you do and being a bitch (hey, sounds familiar? haha) sometimes is totally normal and acceptable. You are a new mom trying to be as hands on as possible. You are entitled to it ok? Ha. Now just enjoy your boy’s babyhood, do ur best, be flexible over some things, be indignant over others and add in a huge dose of humour. Everything will turn out alright. Oh, rest when you can, do some things that makes you happy when you can. Just know that these trying days will pass. They have to. Look at all the sane and happy mothers all around you! πŸ™‚ Oh I’m so excited for you. It’s a great privilege to be a mum Liyann. Congrats!

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  12. u r not alone and u going to be fine, really.
    I look and felt like i was ran over by a train over & over during the 1st mth (& many more mths after tat) while the little one looks and smells like a princess.
    just take it easy. trust urself. babies are more resilient and strong than we think they are.
    ps. it’s a passing phase… blame everything on the hormones…

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  13. Every new mum I know has a mantra that keeps her going through the rough bits – mine is: “I will never regret time spent cuddling with my baby” (often it was whispered through gritted teeth.)

    My friend’s favourite: “Sleep is for the weak.”

    And another friend kept silently reciting to herself: “This too shall pass.”

    It gets better. It gets better after four weeks, then it gets even better after six weeks when the baby starts smiling, then at some point the baby goes into a rythm and it gets even easier (you get to sort of plan your day again!) and all of a sudden the baby will be a toddler, walking and talking and an actual human being and just so much fun!

    Of course, last Friday as I lay next to my not-sleeping toddler in the spare bed I silently reminded myself that in the future I would treasure the memory of this night which I spend cuddling her soft warm body, even though I’d feel wrecked by sleep deprivation in the morning. But it’s gotten so much better since the first month. I enjoy being a mum.

    Really. I promise. Hang in there!

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  14. You are not alone, although at times new motherhood is incredibly isolating.

    I’m the mom of two girls–one is 3 1/2, the other almost 8 months. I labored under the illusion that things would be “easier” in some ways with Rhi (my baby) because I’d already done this whole mom of a newborn thing once. It wasn’t.

    A friend of mine who is an IBLC talks about the first 3 months after birth as a “4th trimester” so to speak. It is the most stressful, difficult time for a new parent (and I think that’s true regardless of whether it’s kid #1 or kid #6). Sleep deprivation makes everything so much harder to bear, and magnifies everything. Every choice feels so monumental. And you can’t quite believe that you had to jump through a zillion hoops to drive a car….and yet without proving you could so much as change a diaper, the hospital sent you home with a brand new person and now you have to keep them alive and raise them and and and. It is overwhelming.

    But around 3 months of age things will start to click…part of it will be that with experience comes confidence. Part of it will be that your baby will sleep more. They’ll start to smile, and that smile will somehow make you okay with being awake to nurse AGAIN.

    Like Katrjin’s friend, my mantra is “This too, shall pass.”

    A few pieces of “assvice” as a friend of mine calls it
    –Mother and Child at Tanglin has breastfeeding support and a new moms group. They can regularly weigh the baby and help reassure you that everything is okay in the weight/growth department.

    –Post Partum Depression is very common. If you need help, there is an entire department of professionals at KK who do Post partum mental health support. It is a very real condition, and one you need never suffer through alone.

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