The Life of Bon: Sore nipples and sleepless nights and other worries

Monday, March 17, 2014

Sore nipples and sleepless nights and other worries


Some days I feel very overwhelmed with my decision to have a baby.  There's no going back, now, people.  I can't change my mind.  I've boarded the train, there's no getting off.

There are a lot of things to be afraid of.  I kind of feel like I am entering this wild unknown desert called July and I have no idea what will emerge on the other side.  Will I be the same person?  Will I have the same interests?  Will I ever have time again with just Greg?  Or will my whole life be sucked into this vacuum known as motherhood where nothing emerges unscathed? Some make it seem like all of a sudden I will want to drop everything in life and just be with that baby.  Others make it seem like I will want to drop everything and run for dear life.

Most of these thoughts were brought about this weekend when I was texting a mission buddy who had a baby two months ago.  She shared two articles with me on facebook- this one on the struggles of breastfeeding and this one about how hard it is to have time with your husband once you have a baby.  I'll be honest, both articles depressed the hell out of me.

It was Friday night when this conversation was taking place, and I was trying to be a good wife and keep up with my March goal to do an act of service for Greg every day.  Naturally, that took me to the drive thru line at the nearby burger joint for some ice cream.  The wind was howling and the rain was pouring down and I sat there waiting for my chocolate malt and feeling more and more scared as the texts and articles went on.  Sore nipples.  No sleep for days.  Epidural or no epidural. Say goodbye to intimacy.  Quarantined to the house.  Fussy babies.  Sick babies.  Babies who must be held every minute.  Babies who won't go in a car seat.  It was all terribly overwhelming and I came home with my chocolate malt in hand and tears rolling down my cheeks.  I don't think I am a selfless enough person to do this.

The truth is that most of the women in my life who are close to me have already experienced motherhood.  I will be 28 when I have my first child, WAY older than most Mormon women when they have their first child and three years above the national average.  It's okay with me- I think 28 is a great age to have your first baby.  And so, the problem then becomes that most people close to me have already experienced what I am experiencing and will be experiencing.  As such, they have lots and lots of things to say, some helpful, some not necessarily so.  It is hard for me to weed out the information- to pick out what is useful and helpful to me, and information that is not applicable to me or better left untouched for now.  If my nipples are terribly painful and I cry for days because I can't breastfeed, do I have to know that now or can I just wait to find that all out when it happens?

What I have to remind myself is that others' experiences are not my experiences.  I was old relative to most Mormon women (25, oh my!) when I got married.  Therefore, I heard a lot about marriage and sex before I tied the knot. (Most mormons are virgins when they get married- if you want to know why, I explained common questions about Mormonisn here.)  A lot of what my friends told me about marriage and sex absolutely terrified me and almost none of it applies to my actual marriage.  Greg and I have our challenges, certainly, but they are none of the ones I was so generously "warned" about beforehand.  The same thing happened with teaching.  I heard horror stories of how terrible teenagers were, how low the pay, (yes it is low, but it certainly is not poverty) how long the hours,  how endless the papers!  I have found that very little of this information was helpful to me as my own classroom experiences have been vastly different from others' classroom experiences.  Guess what?  I've never ever ever put in an 80 hour work week!  Not even 60!  And I've never spent ten straight hours grading papers.  And a kid has never pulled a knife on me!  Wow!  It wasn't nearly as bad as what they said.

I in no means want to detract from or devalue my friend's experiences, joys, or struggles in motherhood.  I know she loves me and I know the things she was telling me on Friday are the things that she wished she knew beforehand.  They are her experiences and they are very valuable and meaningful to her, and so naturally, she wants to share them.  It has taken me a few days, though, to "recover" and to come to the realization that my experiences will likely be very different from hers.  I may struggle in totally different ways than she does.  And that's okay.

If I do have sore nipples, a sleepless baby, and a husband whom I never see anymore, you can all be certain of this much- I'll be calling you for help.

I told you all yesterday that we would announce the gender of our baby today.  We do know the gender and I had a perfect picture all in my head to announce it, but the weather today was beyond windy and impossible to snap a pic in.  So it'll have to wait... it will likely be Wednesday when we take the picture and Thursday when the post goes up.  Sorry!

26 comments:

  1. Something I've learned in my one year of motherhood is that you just kind of figure things out as you go. Nothing is all that hard or scary if you just take it step by step a moment at a time and forget all the worrying. Babies are hard, but they're mostly wonderful.

    And don't worry... you'll make time for intimacy ;)

    ReplyDelete
  2. If I've learned anything about being a parent is that winging it is OK. There's no book with all the answers, but whatever that sweet baby needs, you'll figure it out (together), and you'll provide.
    I once read that being a mom means long days, quick years, and more love than you ever thought you were capable of giving and receiving.
    You're going to be an awesome mommy!

    ReplyDelete
  3. today on the radio they had people calling in with the best advice they got. one lady said her best advice was don't listen to anybody. maybe it's good to listen sometimes, but other times it seems like we just have to figure it out. i'm so mad about the weather! it ruined this and my other photo shoot. why does winter think it's allowed to show up 4 days before spring?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hang in there! I know what you mean about all the crazy rumors you hear before you make new life decisions. Listen to the positive commentary more than all that negative circumstantial stuff.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Ahh, can't wait to find out!

    ReplyDelete
  6. All of the big experiences in life are the ones that you can never truly prepare for, even with all of the generous advice and kind thoughts others contribute. I think that's definitely one of the biggest lessons I've learned - sometimes it's bad, but more often than not - the experiences surprise me in a good way :) Also, I'm guessing a baby boy!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I stopped reading all books and articles about that stuff when I was pregnant last year. Reading and worrying about it were seriously worse than actually going through the experience of childbirth and the first few weeks. The trick is not to think about it until it's actually happening - an then you just do it, like anything else in life.
    As far as sleepless...well, pray for a good sleeper and maybe read the Happiest Baby on the Block. I found it very helpful, and we have an amazing sleeper.
    As with anything, life goes on when baby arrives.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Awww...congratulations! How exciting!

    ReplyDelete
  9. the best thing i've learned about being a parent is to not pay attention to the books and articles and people giving advice...what will happen to you will be different from everyone else's experience. you just have to try to roll with it. the best advice i received was: do whatever you have to do to get through the day. it helps relieve the guilt :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. I'm totally with you! I just announced to everyone and already the advice has come flowing in. I agree with previous posters, you've got to do what's best for you.

    ReplyDelete
  11. It's funny that you write about being the oldest in your group of friends to experience marriage and motherhood. I was the youngest! I guess I was typical had I been Mormon (21 when I got married, 22 when I had my first). Two of my close friends are pregnant with their 1st child and we are turning 29 this year so I get to relive my first pregnancy through them and its wonderful! It’s great to watch someone else go through the wonderful time that I went through. It is a wonderful time, and you will find that every step of pregnancy and every step of motherhood with have its great moments. The best advice I can give you is to cherish each and every one of them!

    ReplyDelete
  12. My first is 13 months old. I had the exact same fears as you. I remember telling my friend that labor didn't scare me... it was latching a baby onto my boob that totally and completely freaked me out. And it's hard. It is. Everything about motherhood, not just breastfeeding.

    But I promise you, it gets easier and it is SO worth it. It really is. I remember telling my husband I'd never have another kid and I was stupid for ever thinking it was a good idea, but now I'm totally ready for a second. Don't be afraid to ask for help- both mental and physical! And take time for you. And you and Greg. And you and God.

    You've got this!

    ReplyDelete
  13. It is true that things change when you have a baby but its not the same for everyone and a lot of the change is soooooo good! I used to think way too much about how things would change when we had a baby but they are manageable and you find your way through it with your husband. I learned to never look at my situation and compare it to what others have said. Yes, some of it is true BUT our situations are so different that it doesn't feel the same going through it as it did having read it -- if that makes sense. You're going to do great! Just breathe when you hear those stories and don't let anyone get to you. Being a parents is one of the greatest things on earth! There are trying times but you'll be amazed at what you can get through :) So excited to hear the gender!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Motherhood is such a unique experience, and my 10+ months of motherhood has been completely and totally different than that of any of my fellow mama friends. So much depends on the baby, on your temperament, on your relationship with your husband, on ALL the many different decisions you will be making and how YOU decide to parent. I think it's wonderful for friends to share advice and their personal experiences, but I've learned that very little of what I was warned about was true for my experience....just like you've said about teaching and marriage. You will be a fantastic mother, and you and your hubby will find room for alone time, promise - you may just have to get a little creative! Oh, and if you can push past the first couple weeks of soreness, breastfeeding is SUCH an amazing thing - we're still going strong at 11 months and I couldn't be happier :) Good luck to you!!!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Your fears are my fears. For years and years I said I didn't want kids at all. And now that I've found someone I am head over heels for, I have been discussing babies with him. One of my best friends is newly pregnant and I had a serious conversation with her about whether I want to think about having a family when I didn't in the past. It's so stressful because I don't want to regret my decision (in either direction). I'm a selfish person and I know a baby would take up a lot of my time and money. I keep asking myself "would I regret not having a child when I'm 80 years old?" and I'm undecided on that answer. Advice and warnings from other mothers really freaks me out. I have enough fear about pregnancy on my own, I don't need people adding to it with their own stories.

    Sorry for the long comment! I am so glad you posted this. It's nice to know I'm not the only one that is scared beyond belief.

    All of this aside, I think you are going to be such a fun mom!

    ReplyDelete
  16. I was freaked out about everything while I was pregnant. Books and articles scared me half to death! Now surviving motherhood for 1.5 years (ha I'm no expert!) , I can say that I loved labor and delivery, I probably had sore boobs but didn't care because I finally had a baby (!!!!) There's still couple time, it just has to be planned better. And all the scary studf i read about wasnt as bad as it first seemed. Basically all that bad/scary stuff is way outnumbered by good!! You'll be great!!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Funny- I have a post going up tomorrow about my fears for round two!

    Here is what I came up with though:

    "Walk by faith, not by sight. As you take steps of faith, depending on Me, I will show you how much I can do for you… When I gave you My Spirit, I empowered you to live beyond your natural ability and strength. That's why it is so wrong to measure your energy level against the challenges ahead of you. The issue is not your strength but Mine, which is limitless. [Jesus Calling, Sarah Young, page 74]"

    ReplyDelete
  18. This is so honest and GOOD Bonnie. I just read this article today, and it's so good. I feel like you'd appreciate it too
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sarah-powers/a-letter-to-my-friend-about-to-be-a-mom_b_4942250.html?utm_hp_ref=mostpopular

    ReplyDelete
  19. I was terrified. I think I still am terrified, two years into this motherhood thing. But you honestly just take it day by day. There will be struggles, no doubt, but it's worth it. You adapt, you change, you grow. Don't worry about it until you have to actually worry about it.

    ReplyDelete
  20. some parts of motherhood are hard, sure, but i hate how people only want to share the hard stuff. no one tells you how amazingly wonderful it is to be a mom, and how all the hard stuff is a million times worth it. you will figure it all out and be fine! don't stress over problems that don't even exist yet (and many of them possibly never will).

    and now i will go and try to take my own advice :)

    ReplyDelete
  21. People always told me I would never sleep again. I was so depressed because those first fee weeks were terribly difficult. I wanted to cry every time someone said it. But I sleep trained my baby in 13 weeks and everything was great. Some items warnings aren't as helpful as we think they're going to be. That doesn't mean I'm perfect though. I still say things I shouldn't. But I always tell moms that they WILL sleep again.

    ReplyDelete
  22. The reason I love your blog is that you say these things that others leave out. The long blogs about how pregnancy was the most perfect and beautiful thing ever, and mother's intuition set in the same time that the egg was fertilized and how the relationship with the husband has been/will be perfection, drive me absolutely nuts. What you're going through is more real, more normal to hear about. And every parent, even the 'perfect' bloggy ones....goes through it.

    28 is high for a Mormon, but 28 is very young for a Swede!!! My 28 year old friends are just now barely getting into long term relationships. So don't feel old, it's all relative...and I think your analogy about teaching experiences versus your experiences is perfect: everyone has a different reality. You can take advice, but take it with a grain of salt. Everything will work out just fine.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Hey Bop… you're exactly right… everyone's experiences are their own so don't get too anxious about it all. REally, don't worry. You are going to be a great mom and your life is not going to turn totally upside down. Come on, you survived 18 months in the Argentine jungle. You can handle a little baby who you will love and adore more than you can imagine. The worst is the birthing stories. Everyone LOVES to tell their birthing stories and a couple weeks before i delivered emily I was at a shower and everyone took it upon themselves to tell me horror stories. I was freaked out of my mind. Also, your and Greg's relationship will evolve once baby comes, but in a good way. You will share the yoke of parenthood and no one will love your baby as much as you except for your hubby. He is the only one who will completely understand. Then the grandparents are next. your relationship with Mom and in-laws will evolve too… in a good way.

    ReplyDelete
  24. As always, well said and so true! Everyone does have different struggles and everyone also parents differently, so no two experiences will be the same. I think just going into it as relaxed as possible and open to all the possibilities is best. Game plans will always be changing and you just have to roll with it.

    That being said, there were certain things that helped me the first time round. I too remember being scarred by reading about the potential nipple pain and tortures from nursing. I just thought it came naturally and hasn't heard any of it. And as people told me their good experiences I still dreaded what was to potentially come. And breastfeeding my son for those first three weeks was torture. The only way I can say that reading that blog post was helpful was when it happened to me I knew I wasn't alone, and that helped me. It wasn't my fault and there were solutions and many other women wanting to tear their babies off of them in not so nice ways. It helped me stuck with it and get over the hump and make it to 13 months. And this second time has been a breeze! So really, every experience is different.

    Also, I wrote a post just a few weeks ago : A Letter To A Newborn Mother (Really, to Me...) to remind myself of what was coming and how it would feel and making it through. And even though I just said every experience is different, I think the identity issues and losing/finding yourself are pretty common. Just in case you want to check it out. :)

    http://themurrayedlife.blogspot.com/2014/02/a-letter-to-newborn-mother-ie-myself-in.html

    ReplyDelete
  25. I got pregnant on birth control at the age of 21 (2 months after I got married, I'm mormon too), and even though a lot of my married friends were pregnant or had babies and it seemed like the "thing to do", I was SURE my life was over! I was in no way ready to be a mom, and I felt devastated that I had gotten pregnant and guilty for feeling like it was a step backwards. My baby was born unexpectedly at 30 weeks. When I held him in my arms for the first time my heart changed and I felt so lucky to be his mom. I've never loved anything as much as I loved him. He died 5 days later, and now I suffer from the guilt that comes from knowing there was a point I didn't want him, and I would now give anything to experience all the crap that comes along with having a new baby, if it meant I could have him back. I still haven't fulfilled the same plans I had before, but I still want another baby now, not because it's the mormon thing to do, but because every motherly instinct in me that came out when I held my baby, should have left after he died but didn't. My whole point is I can totally relate to being completely unexcited about the thought of having a newborn and all the difficult things that come with it. Thanks for pointing out that no one else's experiences will be ours, that is something I need to remind myself. And lastly, I don't know you personally so I don't know how you'll feel. But wait until you hold him/her for the first time, I don't think you'll be disappointed:)

    ReplyDelete
  26. My baby is 2 months old and he sleeps great. Things are different, but my hubby and I still have a wonderful time together and have late-night "date nights" after the kiddo goes to bed. Your life will only change in the ways you let it (well, some ways the baby demands...) And even if you do have those super hard weeks/months, try to remember it won't always be that way! You'll do great.

    Also, the sore nipples go away.

    ReplyDelete