Saturday, February 18, 2012

Wisdom from an Older New Mom

“You are at an advanced maternal age.”
This is what I was told by my doctor when I found out I was pregnant. I own a maid service in Savannah, Georgia. I recently had my first child, Jedidiah, at age 39. I had a very difficult labor (30 hours) and had planned for a natural birth but ended up having NuBain & an epidural by the time it was all said and done & my poor little guy came out with eyes wide open looking completely freaked out. Things were harder from there as I was determined to breastfeed and did not know what I was doing. This meant he went from 8 lbs to 6 lbs and we both were horrified. But with the wonderful help of lactation consultant, Pam Holland, and the staff at Dr. Ramos office in Savannah we rebounded to a healthy weight but oh, the trauma! It was not how I had envisioned it to be.
Luckily, the lactation consultant turned my little guy into a breastfeeding machine because he would latch on and not come off the nipple for 4 hours at a time! In between these marathon feedings I MIGHT get 20 minutes to do number 2 or wash my arm pits, but never both! My son is what is called a “high needs” baby. He needs me ALL the time! He’s not quite colicky, but pretty darn close, and you know what, I’m okay with that. Whatever he wants is what he needs right now and if I am his liquid love and human pacifier so be it. I have accepted that I am just not going to get things done right now which is very hard (deep, deep breath).
I like things a certain kind of way and I have totally had to give that up. In my bathroom I look down at the floor in the water closet and see hair and dust and I can’t clean it. I look at the empty toilet paper tube and see it hasn’t been thrown away by dear Husband and I can’t put it in the trash because the trash can is full. There are now 3 piles of laundry in chairs in the bedroom and I don’t even want to look in the closet. This would never have been allowed in my life prior to giving birth. Once I begin a task I have always completed it, however small. Now my home is littered with incomplete tasks that mock me minute by minute and it drives me crazy! What is also disconcerting is since I am breastfeeding I always find myself in the most uncomfortable positions when holding my son and or nursing him because once he is settled as fussy as he can be I don’t want to move!
As a business owner and a person who is used to being in charge having to give up running things and focus only on my baby has been a well needed life changing experience. It has made me observe what has been taught to me culturally about how a woman is supposed to take care of her baby in modern day society. I have had to be rebellious and do everything different than what I have learned. I can’t do everything and raise my baby the way I think he should be raised. I have had to give up running my business entirely. I cannot even go to the grocery store right now. I breast feed ALL the time! But these choices have forced me to slow down and smell the roses, let my body heal and succumb to the natural rhythm of babies and motherhood, I know my son needs it right now in his life. So while I languish as the holy cow with the holy udders I do a few things to keep me from going insane.
1.      Have a large bedside table and keep everything within reach. Get little baskets to store everything so you don’t have to search and get out of bed. Have everything you need within an arms reach of bed. Medicine, sanitary pads, adult diapers, bottled water, snacks, baby wipes, etc.
2.      Don’t look too closely at the mess, it’s not worth it.
3.      If you do get blood on the plastic toilet seat cover when you first get home from the hospital wipe it away as quickly as possible, otherwise the stains are not coming out.
4.      If your newborn is sleeping with you in your room have a diaper changing caddy filled with supplies right next to your bed. I change my son on my bed and use a towel underneath him. We also have a plastic mattress protector over the mattress.
5.      If you must clean only do the things that absolutely drive you nuts, you know what they are! Don’t worry about the rest. It doesn’t matter and in the great scheme of things no one is going to judge except yourself – you just had a baby! If you feel guilty, go see the video of you giving labor, you’ll be kinder to yourself.