April 2011 Moms

Still emotionally transitioning to motherhood?

Does anyone else feel like they are still making the transition into motherhood? It's been barely 5 weeks here and I'm feeling rather anxious this week. Part of it is due to my husband traveling for work so it being just me caring for the baby all day long by myself with no break unless she's napping...it's lonely during the day with just me and a baby and I really look fwd to when he comes home at the end of the day. I have a friend coming over tonight and lunch plans tomorrow, which helps, but it's still very monotonous caring for an infant.

I also can't help but think about how much life changed with a baby. Everything became much more difficult (from running simple errands to planning a vacation - DH wants to go out of the country next summer and have his parents come watch the baby but I feel like I can't get excited about it yet because we need to depend on other people to make the trip happen. As in, we can't go w/o childcare arranged.) Even something as simple as going to test drive cars - we're planning to trade my car in for a SUV - requires someone to watch the baby and in my other post asking about what kind of help people have, I mentioned we don't really have too many optons for people to watch the baby...

Guess I'm just struggling a bit still with the transition from life being relatively uncomplicated (oh, sure, I can just pick up and dash off for a quick Target run with no problem!) to way more complicated (when did the baby last eat? Do I risk taking a sleeping baby on an errand and waking her up putting her in the car seat? And so on...) 

I feel like there's so much you trade in when becoming a Mama and I know there are so many rewards, as well, but it's hard to see a lot of them when you're consumed with endless diaper changes & feeding schedule at this point and baby isn't really interactive much now. I don't mean to sound ungrateful for having a healthy, generally happy little girl, either. Please don't take it that way - I'm not looking to get flamed! I'm just having a tough time emotionally transitioning to this concept of being someone's mother...and hoping I'm not alone.


Big Sister ~ Little Brother

Re: Still emotionally transitioning to motherhood?

  • Hey, I worked long and hard to have my daughter. And I feel this way all the time. No flames here. It's not easy or even as natural as I thought it would be. I love her more than I even imagined I would, but that doesn't mean I don't have moments of missing my sleep, time w/ DH, time to myself, the ease of just picking up and doing what I want, etc.

    Wouldn't trade being her mommy, not for anything, but it's human to look back at your previous life with a little bit of "I didn't know how easy I had it."

    I just remind myself that this is the hardest it's going to be (well, until she's a tween and sassy). Eventually, she will sleep more, eat less, be potty trained...this is not how it will be forever. That helps me to remember how fleeting this time is, and to cherish it. As much as I can on four hours of sleep, that is.

  • kje120kje120
    Tenth Anniversary 5000 Comments 250 Answers 500 Love Its
    image Scout05:

    Hey, I worked long and hard to have my daughter. And I feel this way all the time. No flames here. It's not easy or even as natural as I thought it would be. I love her more than I even imagined I would, but that doesn't mean I don't have moments of missing my sleep, time w/ DH, time to myself, the ease of just picking up and doing what I want, etc.

    Wouldn't trade being her mommy, not for anything, but it's human to look back at your previous life with a little bit of "I didn't know how easy I had it."

    I just remind myself that this is the hardest it's going to be (well, until she's a tween and sassy). Eventually, she will sleep more, eat less, be potty trained...this is not how it will be forever. That helps me to remember how fleeting this time is, and to cherish it. As much as I can on four hours of sleep, that is.

    You took the words right out of my mouth.

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  • I think it's completely normal to feel this way! I remember going through the same feelings when I had DS1. I don't remember exactly when I stopped feeling this way, but it got easier and less stressful within a few months. I feel it a little with this one, because I feel like I'm always looking at the clock and basing what I do on his feeding schedule.

    On a side note, DH and I went to look at and test drive a car yesterday, and we just brought both boys with us. I just let DH take it for the test drive and I looked at it and watched the boys. It's actually going to be my car, but I drove one about a year ago when I got the car I drive now. It wasn't bad at all. The baby slept for part of it, then I held him as we talked, and at one point I stepped aside and let DH deal with the rest while I nursed DS. I saw another family there with their toddler too, so if your up to it, you could bring LO with you.

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    My LO is my third with a space of 16 years between the second and third.

    I do miss getting up and just going because you can.  I miss the time with my DH so much.  I miss the extra money from my earned wages, I miss socializing with co workers.

    But I also love being a mother to a baby again, I love how she has added even more love to our family, I love when we go out people tell us how beautiful she is.  I realized how close I am to my older DDs by just raising Olivia. 

    Yes there are sacrifices and there are rewards but in the end it is so worth it. 

                                                 Mom to 4 wonderful daughters
                                 Breanna, Ellie and 
                                 our 2 rainbow babies.

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  • Sometimes I feel like I'm still transitioning emotionally to motherhood and I've been a mother for almost two years!!  Yes we know that we all love our children more than anything etc etc...but there are those moments where you consider just walking out and driving somewhere, anywhere, just get away!

    The emotional stuff has been one of the hardest parts of motherhood for me.  You can learn to change diapers, figure out breastfeeding, come up with a hundred ways to soothe them...but I don't think there's not much you can do to speed up your own emotional/mental transition.  IMO, the only solution is time and talking - sharing your feelings with DH, your parents, your BFF, other moms, internet peeps - whoever!  The more you chat with others and realize that this is how everybody  feels, the better you'll feel!

    My friend recommended a book to me "Mothers shock: Loving every (other) minute).  It addresses this whole transition in a really honest, humorous way.  It was a fun read.  If you don't have anyone else to talk to, maybe read that book!  

  • Oh, absolutely!  There has been so much self-doubt since my daughter was born: was this the right time?  Am I cut out to be a mother?  Is DH having these same thoughts?  Am I a freak of nature for feeling this way?

    DH and I used to say we had the perfect life: we were always traveling, going hiking, trying the latest and greatest restaurants.  We had tons of (child-free) friends, not to mention so much more disposable income ... 

    And I worried that we had turned everything on its head and here we were on Memorial Day weekend going to bed at 9pm on a Saturday night.  I also felt smothered by our parents who were monopolizing every weekend/all our family time by expecting us to visit them.

    I will say things started to get better last week.  I joined two mom & baby classes and I'm excited to start making new friends and make this my new normal.  My daughter is getting more alert and more fun everyday.  She's sleeping better, sort of.  She still has (terrible, horrible, gut-wrenching) colic, but it's made me see DH in a new light -- sometimes he's the only one who can stop her tears.  And I've also made some room for my old life -- we started giving her formula on occasion so that I can see my friends for a few hours each week ... or go for a run ... or get a pedicure ...

    You're not alone.  And I hope you start feeling better soon. 

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  • QTeeQTee
    Ninth Anniversary 10 Comments

    Also - consider the idea of taking your child with you when traveling. Our daughter, now five years old, has been to the grand canyon, Colorado, Iceland, the Virgin Islands, Hawaii, Mexico (years ago, it was safer), and the Galapagos Islands. It's really fun to travel with her and watch her experience everything too. Of course it requires some adjustments with how you do things, and in some places we even managed to arrange childcare for a day that we felt comfortable with. We're generally going to places where there's more outdoor activities (beaches/hiking/swimming/etc) and less things like history museums. It's really funny when someone asks if she's seen a penguin and she says like it's no big deal, "Oh yeah, I saw those in the Galapagos Islands". The traveling has made her a more adaptable kid willing to try new things.

    Now that we have a baby again... we may stay closer to home for awhile. I'm not sure though, I'm already getting the icth again! I love visiting other countries.

  • Oh geez I can't imagine ANYBODY flaming you for this!! I feel the exact same way. I actually feel guilty feeling like it also because we've had someone here with me for at least a couple hours in the morning/afternoon to watch him while I take care of my horses. I know there are people with no help and I feel guilty saying that I'm still a wreck even with so much family close by.

    He was on a pretty much 24/7 schedule of sleeping 3-4 hours and waking for 1, which I was getting the hang of. 4 straight hours of sleep was GREAT! I assumed his sleep would just keep getting longer. HA! The past 3 days (I haven't been on here much needless to say) he's been awake ALL day with little cat naps here and there (like he's wide awake, all of a sudden crashes, then wakes up bright-eyed 10 minutes later). He's gassy and screaming/crying all day. You can hardly pick him up to console him because he goes rigid as a board. He's been sleeping for 1 hour at night then awake 2-3, ALL night long. I sit there sobbing while he stares up at me with his big bright eyes, nursing away on his bottle. I feel like the world's worst mother because I'm looking at my son and bawling my eyes out asking him "why won't you just sleep".

    So needless to say, I'm still not used to motherhood. I miss leaving the house easily. DH has been driving my car to save on gas and I can't take LO anywhere in the truck with no back seat. With NO sort of pattern in his eating and sleeping lately I feel insane for even trying to take him anywhere. Especially since we live in the country and it takes 30-45 minutes to get anywhere.

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  • I agree with the PP who said this is the worst of it. At least, physically and demanding-wise. I think as they grow it gets harder emotionally. Rules and other kids and teaching them the world. But this, this is the hardest when it comes to being tied to your couch/house all.the.time.

    My 5 year old is wonderfully self sufficient. And has been, I guess since she was potty trained at 2.5. That's when it really got easier and then slowly she learned to do more things until I found myself bored because she doesn't need me to get ready or do things.

    PLUS, they aren't really much fun this little. I remember when DD1 was like 8 months or so. That was fun. No talking or walking but giggles and playing. Good age if you ask me, lol. Once the walking and talking starts you're in for a whole new experience, lol. 

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  • You are SO not alone feeling this!I love DD so much but mourn my former life at times... those times are usually when I am completely sleep deprived with a LO crying inconsolably in my arms. I have always enjoyed time alone and now I am never alone... I miss having a romantic relationship with my husband... I miss going out for a coffee and poking around a thrift store or a great meal in a restaurant. With a super fussy LO that cries a lot, and sharing one car with a husband who works all week, those things seem like far off goals.

    It's so rewarding but so challenging. 

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  • I am right there with you and my DS is 7 weeks old. Like pp mentioned, I didn't realize just how easy I had it until after my son was born. I love him more than I ever imagined I could, but it is difficult when you realize the things you can no longer do. Also, the things that used to take you 5 minutes to do that now take an entire hour. For example, I need to run to the post office yesterday to get stamps so I could mail out his birth announcements. That normally would have been a 2 minute trip up the street. Now I have to get LO ready and in the car, drive the few blocks, take him out and carry him inside, get what I need, take him back to the car, drive home, and get him back in the house. The whole time I keep my fingers crossed that he doesn't start screaming or blow out his diaper.

    I definitely realize that I have lost a lot of my freedom that I certainly took for granted, until now. I never realized just how emotionally drained I would be at times and crying because I so desperately needed a nap or a shower. My DH is in the Air Force and works evenings, so I do everything on my own from 2pm until about 1am. Some nights he doesn't get home until 3-4am and those nights I feel like crying because I just want a few minutes to myself. I never expected that I would need my DH's help just this much, but I am so thankful that when he's home he helps out a lot until he has to sleep.

    I love my DS with all my heart and even though it is really difficult sometimes, I know this stage is just temporary. He'll eventually grow up and won't need me like this anymore. I know when that day comes, I'll miss it, and want him to need me again. Keep your head up because I'm pretty sure every new mother can relate!

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  • Thank you, everyone, for all the replies! It really does help hearing that other moms can relate. It's not easy adjusting to this HUGE life change and it pretty much goes without saying that while we all undoubtedly love our children, it doesn't mean we aren't allowed to feel a range of feelings about the way our lives also changed once they arrived. Bottom line is that I love my little girl and wouldn't trade her for anything and it helps to know it's okay to miss parts of my former (easier in some respects) life and I don't have to feel guilty about that since 99% of other moms with infants are probably feeling similar feelings!

    One thing that helped me from yesterday to today is getting more sleep...and connecting with friends. I had a friend over last night and a nice chat with a neighbor while I was out walking with the stroller. I am very lucky to have wonderful friends & neighbors here. It also helps to get out and do little things every day - like I did a quick trip to the store and picked up a few things and felt like I had gotten out.

    Today I have lunch plans with my parents and another friend is coming over tonight to walk with me / make a coffee run afterward. I made sure to also set up several lunch dates with friends / coworkers for next week as well so I am getting out of the house and have social things (with adults who can talk back!) to look forward to. It also helps that DH will be home tomorrow night so he will be back after work in the evenings next week.

    My perspective is better today. I'm going to try very hard to remind myself that DD won't be this little / helpless forever and soon she'll be on to a toddler stage where there are a whole new set of challenges and rewards. Right now the challenges are big - caring for every aspect of her well-being and existance. The rewards are also precious - snuggling with her and enjoying her sweet little coos and noises. Soon enough she'll be off and running and I'll miss the days when she was so little and would sleep in my arms for hours.

    Our babies will get more independent as they grow up and we'll all start to get more of our freedoms back. And one day they'll be off to school and then college and gone! I guess my mindset today is to take it all one day at a time and remember that while it seems overwhelming at times now that she's already one month old! In one year she'll be doing lots more...in 5 years, 10, and so on...time does fly. She's already outgrowing her NB outfits. :-)

    Big Sister ~ Little Brother

  • You are not alone.  My husband leaves Monday am and gets home Friday night.  My DD1 is now 20mos and I had a lonely maternity leave with her.  My best advice is to join some moms groups, maybe thru meetup.com and get out!  The beauty of bfing is you can do it anywhere, I'm more modest so I always park in the last parking spot and do it in the car if need be.  Set small goals for yourself, meet one friend a week for coffee or somehing..Exercising made me feel better too.  My baby wasn't much of a napper but I'd pop her in the swing and do the 30day shred.  Every day really does get a little easier.
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