I’m trying not to say it too much, but it really is 100% true, being Conley’s mama keeps getting better and better. Conley is the sweetest baby, and I am loving watching her grow and change and take in the world around her (also simultaneously crying because it’s happening all too fast!). I can’t believe we are officially out of the “4th trimester” and my little teeny girl is no longer a newborn. The newborn phase flew by, but also I can’t remember life without her and I wouldn’t ever want to!
I feel like there isn’t much too update on this month, besides the huge fact that she is officially sleeping through the night consistently. I shared in her two month update what big fans we are of Taking Cara Babies and Moms on Call, but it’s true these two resources are what have helped me figure out a good routine for our family and have helped her to sleep 11-12 hours at night. I hope that you know that I share these resources to hopefully help you as well, fully knowing that not all babies are the same and what works for us may not work for you. I will say I think we were blessed with a “good sleeper.” I won’t say that there haven’t been times that we’ve been frustrated and the newborn phase was definitely so hard at times, we have a pretty even tempered little girl who is happy probably 90% of the time and who sleeps really well at night. We also transitioned Conley out of the bassinet and into her crib this month. She is still sleeping in her dockatot in the crib, but we will try to transition out of that soon. I will say that having an Owlet Care monitor made the decision to transition her to her crib much easier, knowing that it keeps track of her heart rate and oxygen level gives me so much peace of mind. I highly recommend this monitor to any and everyone you know having babies, I don’t think I ever would have slept without it.
Bath time is still her favorite part of every day, and she has begun to start playing by herself on her play mat. She rolls very rarely from her tummy to her back, but it is usually when she is frustrated with tummy time. She is now trying hard to roll from back to tummy, but I think it’ll be awhile before she gets there thankfully. We’ve also been better about getting out of the house more and more. Conley and I now frequent Target, and she has been out to dinner with Kyle and I and we enjoy taking her with us with less fear than before. My favorite thing now is listening to her little voice coo. She talks ALL the time and it seems like there is so much she wants to say. I love every sound she makes and take a million videos of her because I never want to forget the sound of her sweet little voice. Kyle and I put her down every night around 7:00-7:30 and then watch videos of her all night and wish we could go wake her up, we are a little bit obsessed.
One thing I wanted to talk about in this post is my experience postpartum. I shared about my recovery after birth and how I was honestly surprised with how my body recovered so quickly. I wasn’t in terrible pain, and I was able to get around quicker than I had expected. People talk about childbirth, and then they talk about how sweet yet exhausting having a newborn is, but people aren’t quick to talk about everything that a woman goes through emotionally postpartum. I knew and had read about postpartum depression, but no one really told me just how thrown off my hormones would be. I had seen in movies that women were very emotional after giving birth, but I never really thought of myself as a super emotional person. However after having Conley I experienced some pretty crippling postpartum anxiety. Everyone had told me that becoming a mother would be so instinctual, and that becoming a mother and nursing would all come so naturally. I did not experience extreme mothering instincts right away, instead I felt like I knew nothing about babies at all. When becoming a mother didn’t feel natural, I felt so full of anxiety. I felt like everyone my close family and friends all around me we’re looking at every move I made and watching to make sure I did everything correctly (they weren’t, but I was so in my head). I also felt so full of fear that my baby could get sick. As a nurse I’ve seen so many teeny tiny babies with RSV and I was convinced Conley was going to get sick and it paralyzed me and I wanted to do everything I could to protect her. After visitors would come over, even family, I would sit in my room and cry because I was so sure that someone was going to give her all their germs. I felt completely inadequate and like I had no idea how to take care of my own baby and I looked to everyone around me to give me approval that I was doing an okay job. I was shocked by how completely flustered I felt, I mean I am a pediatric nurse for crying out loud, but I had no idea how to care for this little baby who was depending solely on me to make it through the day. Breastfeeding felt so confusing and I had no idea why Conley wasn’t gaining weight but to my knowledge was eating ALL THE TIME.
And I cried. I cried so many tears, probably more in my whole life combined in those first several weeks postpartum. Any and every little thing made me weep, and I think Kyle was very concerned that I would never be the same again. If the sun was setting I was crying, it’s almost like I was afraid of the dark because I knew bedtime was coming and I was so exhausted, yet not sleeping.
But then day by day, little by little, the clouds cleared and I started to feel more like myself. I knew the truth that I was the mom that God had picked for Conley and I know that His strength is made perfect in my weakness. God meets me in all my doubts and insecurities as a mother and He gives me the strength I need to get through the day.
I say all of this to tell you that if this was your experience or if you are in the early days of postpartum it really is just a season and the days will get better. You’ll get into a routine and you and your baby will learn more and more about each other, and you WILL sleep again. (Okay, I can’t guarantee the sleep will be soon, but you will get MORE sleep). I also share this to remind you that if you think my experience was EASY, it was far from easy, and still isn’t always easy. I am still struggling with anxiety more than ever before, but every day is a new day and every day I am learning more about the mom I want to be. I’m learning that while anxiety postpartum isn’t “normal” it can be pretty common, and there are other women who want to talk about their experience as well. I have another blog post coming related to this, but I’ve found it super helpful to talk with other moms who went through similar emotions postpartum. It is way too hard and definitely not as fun to go through all the highs and lows of motherhood alone.