One of the reasons I started blogging again was this very season, this season of “parenting a newborn”. It can be so incredibly isolating and tiring on your soul. And today, today I lost my cool and got snapped back into reality by my 5-year-old. The physical and mental exhaustion, and constant attention needed got to me, I found myself taking out my frustrations on an innocent 4-week-old.
I find the newborn phase the most challenging. Even after 3 kids, raising a newborn requires a certain amount of patience that I don’t possess. Both my boys were colicky, but both had slight reflux as well. I would walk up and down with them for hours and broke down in tears many times. Raya Maryam certainly hasn’t been “colicky” yet but come 4pm everyday all she wants is her mama, and her mama’s boobs 🙂 Should you not give her any of those things the crying begins. Along with that of course, comes the winds. Each time she falls asleep, I lift her onto my shoulder to burp. Occasionally one or two come out straight away, but then the rest of the time I feel her little body pull up and tenses up completely. She arches her back and starts complaining and sometimes, like tonight, there is just no calming her down. You can try different methods, the shoulder burp, the “leaning forward and rubbing her back” method, the over the knee method, nothing helps to calm her but the boob. Fast forward 3 hours of playing on the “merry go around” of feeding, falling asleep, trying to burp, her little body cramping up and crying; I could feel myself patting her back a little TOO hard. Rocking back and forth a little too hard and shouting at my baby to “stop it”. Like a 4-week-old can understand and listen to me. The frustration was taking over, and I was putting it on my precious baby.
The boys were falling asleep in their beds on either side of me and my 5 year old, sensing my frustration and change in temperament, sat up in bed and said “Mummy let me take her, I know how to take care of a baby” “really?”, “Yes” he proclaimed, “my teacher showed me, hold them gently like this and move and sing softly to them, you are being too rough.” BOOM. Snap back to reality that I so needed by my sweet son.
I took a deep breath, said a prayer, kissed my sweet little baby and I gave her patience that I pulled out from the deepest corner of my soul. Hubby wasn’t around at the time, but if he was I certainly would have passed baby onto him earlier on. I remember being at this point with both the boys when they were newborns too, on that snapping point from sheer frustration. Its scary. Its scary to realise how fine that line is and I’m so grateful to have realised beforehand, before I tipped over and accidently hurt my child.
The point of this article of not to get judgement, nor to look for advice on “what could be wrong”. I know I know we need to get into the feed, wake, sleep cycle but that’s something I have always battled with in the early days. I feed on demand for the first few months.
The point of this article is to let all new moms out there know that “it will be ok”. As a first-time mom the experience of motherhood can be incredibly lonely and isolated. I want you to know that at some point we all will get “frustrated” with our babies. It doesn’t make you a bad parent. Most people will not admit to “getting angry with their baby”, but I’ve been where you are. I’ve cried while my baby cried, I’ve stopped myself from rocking them a little too hard. I’ve felt my nerves reaching snapping point and wondered if I may have hurt my baby. I’ve felt so guilty that I’ve broken down in tears. Motherhood is wonderful and magical and at the same time awful and hard. Even on my 3rd child I still have these moments.
Don’t be afraid to refuel and recharge. The beautiful thing about motherhood it sometimes all you need is a 5-minute break. Don’t be afraid to just put baby down and walk away for a short while, your sanity is the most crucial thing. Babies also feel emotions. If you are tense and frustrated, they wont be settled. They need soft love and care (one of the reasons my babies settle easier with me typically and not dad).
Don’t be afraid to reach out to someone, another mum. We have all been there and I promise, most mums I have met will never judge. Don’t feel ashamed for your feelings or your response to motherhood. By speaking out you are getting help. Finding a group of mums that you can talk to or that have children similar ages can be a God-send. Just getting out and talking about it airs your frustrations.
No excuse me while I go and kiss my precious bundle. Tomorrow is a new day and a new start, with hopefully a recharged milk supply for this lil monster 🙂