That’s the job of the parent right?… to keep the new baby alive after bring her home from the hospital. You can read, dream and talk about this moment all you want but the moment you get discharged from the hospital, you are now responsible for this breathing, living, growing human’s life. Scary…. yes. More like terrifying…
“Mom guilt” is a real thing. I felt it the moment Amelia came out of my body. Did I eat well enough during pregnancy, did I work too hard to cause an early delivery, am I not competent enough to have her latch to my breasts to properly breastfeed, am I starving her or overfeeding her, she is happy with me being her mom… the list goes on and on. With an anxious personality already, the new parent role constantly triggers my anxiety but I have no choice but to tackle it head on so that I can handle taking care of her. What helps calm the worries is to smell her head, enjoy the cute faces she makes, and really be present in the moment. Whether or not you trust in a higher power like God or not, I HAVE to trust that it will all work out.. and that Amelia and I will somehow communicate to each other that she is getting everything she needs.
Amelia is 18 days old today. She has gained weight and is a champ at eating and sleeping. Me on the other hand is trying to be positive about needing to pump my breast milk literally every 3 hours, all day. That’s 7-8 times a day where I get only 2 hours of sleep at a time. All for Amelia to be able to drink my breast milk. Every 3 hours, I am trying to beat her hunger cues so that I can pump out enough before she wakes up to feed. If I don’t beat “her time”, I have to warm up the bottle of formula sitting in the fridge. Yes, it causes my anxiety but it also gives me great pleasure knowing that something I made with my body is helping her thrive. Amelia and I haven’t figured out breast feeding on my breast yet.. or I don’t know if we will ever. She had a difficult suck-swallow reflex from the start (maybe it’s because she was a preemie) and I had trouble getting her onto my breasts and producing the milk she needed. I worked and continue to work diligently at convincing my breasts to make milk by emptying it out and forcing it to make more milk. She’s luckily gained mastery over drinking from a bottle that I think the best way for me to feed her is to pump my milk and put it in her bottle to drink.
Maybe it’s because I work in a hospital and the only babies I see are the sick ones that have to be monitored for poor nutrition/weight loss or jaundice… Maybe that’s why I am more paranoid and have this immense pressure inside of myself to help her grow and avoid the hospital. Even though I work with kids professionally, this is my first baby… and she is dependent on me to help her grow and thrive. Oh, the anxiety is real… but so is the pure bliss of having her look into my eyes and know that she is a person I created. If there is any time to start believing in God, this is the time. I need someone looking out for me and my baby. I need to be stronger than my anxieties and know that every single mom gets anxious about keeping their babies alive. I need to know that it will get easier and I can enjoy just being with my baby.
Despite all this… Amelia, I love you so very much. Thank you so much for sleeping, pooping and peeing. Thank you for your silly faces that make mommy and daddy laugh and admire you.