Friday, September 22, 2006

The Honeymoon is Over

I have been bitchy lately. I thought it was PMS bitchy at first, but it isn't. That is a much different type of bitchy--a much more raving lunatic type. No, the bitchy I am feeling comes from that uncomfortable, where do I fit, what is my role kind of bitchy. The honeymoon is over. I don't think I really understood, well how could I, what it would mean to have a baby. I know my list from yesterday could have been much, much longer, but I was in a rather negative mood. I am feeling much better now that I know what the underlying cause of my bitchiness is.

In a few short months I have gone from working woman, grad student, and wife, to mother, and mother, and mother. I understand the depression women go through. I don't know that I am depressed--I'm pretty sure that I am not. I am not sad or depressed about the adoption. Minow is the greatest thing in the world. He lights up my world like nothing else. He makes getting out of bed 3 times a night worth it.

I don't know if there is an easy or graceful way for me to make this transition. My son is completely dependent on me. I have to take care of him all the time--I am not complaining about this. But, at this point, he is first. I cannot completely take care of him, myself, my marriage, my dogs, and my husband. Right now Minow is the priority, but because of this, I feel as though I am failing in the other catagories. I try to get to the gym, they do have day care, but it is hard, as there are so many other things that I need to do to, that it feels frivolous to work out, when the laundry hasn't been done, and there are dishes in the sink. I also feel guilty leaving Minow in daycare at the gym, while I work out. I know that I need to find a way to take care of myself, as if I don't then Minow will suffer.

I don't know my role anymore. I know that I am a mother first and as long as I am taking care of Minow I am successful, but what about all the other things? I know there will be a time, when Minow is a little more independent and I can get other things done. I am just curious about what my role is and where I fit in it. I have lost many of the things that use to help define me. There really isn't time, energy or motivation to do those things anymore. I am in a trasition period, I have a new role, new expectations, and I don't know what to do with them all.
Motherhood is so completely life changing. I was not prepared for that. I didn't understand the complexity of it. I knew things would be different, but I was not prepared--I don't know that you can ever be prepared. I know I will find my place and feel comfortable, but I also know that it will take some time. I live for my son, at this moment. He is the most amazing boy. I will find a balance. It will come in time. Until then I will take care of myself as well as I can, I owe my son that.


Anonymous said...

I can't tell you how much your sharing is appreciated. We were in adoption process when I got pregnant and put on hold for adoption. We will continue adoption, but for now I am days away of delivering the baby. I know that I will be able to hang on to your words, about where I fit afterwards, when the realitiy of motherhood sinks in. I already grieve the time I have with our dog! Our walks at any time--- she's been my "baby" for 8 years now. I know that the love for a child can't be compared. I didn't even think about the focus moving away from my husband, too. I think it's got to be good to grieve our "old lives." I'm thinking of you and praying for all of us as we go through difficult/new life changes.


Jenni said...

Dawn! I FINALLY got a spare moment to catch up on the huge wide world of the blogosphere. And may I just say...Wow. Your munchkin is freakin' adorable.

Welcome to the less-than-glamorous world of motherhood. It really does have some crappy moments, doesn't it? Reading all of your posts takes me back to the days when Rhys was a newborn. The babes may evoke the most incomprehensible love from us, but no one ever thinks to tell you what a shitty job New Motherhood can be.

If I am capable of providing any consolation at all, know that it does get easier. Eventually you will figure out how to be your unique self AND a wife AND a mother. Take it one day at a time, one day at a time.

I must say, though, based on all those pictures of one truly happy- and healthly-looking adorable baby, you must already be doing a kickass job. So good job, Mom, good job.

Jenni said...

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that I absolutely love that picture of you holding Noah with your hubby standning next to you with his arm around your shoulders. I think you had on a pink or maybe coral-colored shirt. You know the one. It's a great photo.

Anne said...

Hi, Dawn,

You have my empathy. I remember when I had my first baby, coming home from the hospital after having an emergency c-section, and feeling many of the feelings you're feeling right now. It was very, very hard to adjust to having a little person so dependent on me 24 hours a day (my husband at the time was pretty much no help at all).

It took me about eight months to finally get my equilibrium back -- but for those eight months, I remember thinking "I just have to get through this day." I was in survival mode. It was so hard to see the light at the end...

And fatigue just makes things harder. You've had a seismic shift in your life and things need to settle. I remember practically hallucinating I was so tired!

It's hard to compare life before kids to life after kids. I have found that even though there are heartaches, agonizing worries, midnight ER runs, loss of sleep, and a much messier house, life is so much richer and fulfilling with children to share it with. The joys are more joyful, the hard parts are harder -- everything goes to 11.

Hang in there -- I promise it will get better. Be easy on yourself. You are still you, and this phase will pass. Noah is obviously thriving and his mama will, too!



Anonymous said...

If its any consolation - I found the transition from 0 to 1 kid to be the toughest. There's a book called "The Mother Trip" - read it, I promise you'll feel better (-:

I always ask myself: can I get this done with the kids or do I have to get it done alone? 95% of the time I can do something with the kids. Slower, not to perfection, but done. And its good for them to be an active part of the daily work, IMO! Then when they're sleeping or happy on their own, it is time for ME. And my 3X a week 20 minutes workouts are sacred. I figure thats the minimum amount I need to keep my heart healthy - I owe to myself and my family, and often I get more in. Noah will be fine for 20 minutes of gym-daycare, or for a stroller ride, or laying on a blanket next to you while you do a workout tape.

BTW, some of our laundry became so smelly in the basement today that my husband simply went down and threw it away. My sink has dishes in it at this very moment. And I won't even tell you what I fed my family for dinner. But as long as everyone is fed and dressed and smiling, who cares.

Be selfish!
-Lazy MP

Anonymous said...

I just couldn't resist posting a response today, though I have been lurking for a while. (We "met" a while ago on the EthiopiaAdopt board.)

When you deliver a baby, the docs tell you do nothing for six weeks. No one listens, but what they docs mean is that you are supposed to do nothing but play mommy for six weeks. It's important physically and mentally. Reading your recent posts made me think that the adoption agencies should give similar advice: "Throw your schedule out the window. Do nothing but bond & play mommy for six weeks." It would at least give you a warning, perhaps even permission to do NOthing!

I've had two bio kids, and both times I thought I had "ruined" my nice little world for about the six months. But little by little I figured out how to get the laundry done, work in healthy meals, look decent by the end of the day - sometimes even before that, and run the errands that need to be done. You too will learn. Hang in there!

jen (friend of chocolate)

Bek said...

Great advice above. I only have a few things....

Find other friends who have kids and lean on them heavily. It is improtant to see that you DO get thorugh it and having friends who are a few steps ahead on the road is helpful. It is also important for someone to be able to listen and remember what it was like. There is a cliche that once you are a mommy you only have friends w/ kids.....sometimes that can be a GOOD thing. Only another mother can really understand how it feels to love seomthing and feel SO FRUSTRATED at the same time. Find an ear and someone that you can "trade" with. It is nice (even with a baby) to have an hour or two to just sleep or read. :-) It defies logic that a small being who doesn't even MOVE can take up so much space, energy and time!! Honestly, my toddler is the easy one right now...

If it makes you feel any better, our third just turned two months old and yesterday was the first time I felt like the world would be right again. This last time the transition felt like when we got used to having one!! I get what you are saying. I am living it again. You nailed all the emotions. when I read your list I felt like I had written it. I fogot how hard it is.

My advice? Don't worry it is normal. Do the best you can. Get as much sleep as you can...everything seems worse on no sleep. Finally, just hang in there. Live minute to minute until you can live hour to hour and at some point (and I PROMISE you this) it will all seem routine and the world will be right aging. The first few weeks w/ ANY baby (and I have had both) are AWFUL... don't get me wrong...good and sweet too, but pretty awful when you think about it. :-)

Jill said...

Dawn- It's so hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel while you are in the thick of it. When you are tired, and run down, and new at it all. We have three bio boys and it was so hard with each one of them at first. We always waited for that magical "four month mark". It really took us about that long to have everything click into place. And once it does it is SUCH a different story! Everything just suddenly makes sense and you get into a rhythm. As my DH always told me when we brought a new baby home and I was having a hard time "this too shall pass". Yes - I did want to smack him when he said it! But it always turned out to be true! - Hang in there Dawn!

PS - Noah has the cutest dimples I have ever seen!!

darci said...

Hey girl, I don't know you at all other than reading your great blog (thanks!) but I wanted to send you a cyber hug and a 'hang on'. It really does get better. I know EXACTLY how you feel..the other moms are right that it is hardest with the first. Life changes so completely, and I know it is hard to feel like you will ever be..YOU again. But you will, just better. :) If you have to just survive for a while, just survive. There will come a day when you exercise, have a shower, pet your dogs, kiss your husband, love your child, and still fit in a chapter or two of a good book..really! hang on! darci ;)

Anonymous said...

Hey D, I think that I may have written this to you before you got Noah, but I wanted to remind you. When I felt overwhelmed at this point with Ivy, I kept a small journal that listed ONLY 3 things that I did: for myself; for my kid; for Chris. This helped me so much at the end of the day when I felt worthless as hell. To know that I did the three things for everyone, even if it was brushing my teeth, or saying I love you, I saw on paper that I was doing well. Hang in there doll. Having a 3 year old and a 1 year old now I can say that for me it did not get any easier, not one bit. But, I have learned to adapt and cope with the difficulties (and sometimes I don't) but a groove comes over you at some point. Love to you. Email if you need anything, even if you just need to type the f-word 100 times!


Anonymous said...

PS. I have to second the recommendation of Ariel Gore's The Mother Trip from MP. Also, Operating Instructions by Anne Lamott. You may think that reading is a thing of the past, but these books are worth the cost of spending your much needed sleep time on the words of mamas who have been there.

Also, Chris and I were talking about if we won the lottery, what we would spend the $ on. My pick? A nanny. Keep your chin up.

kerrij said...

Your post is very telling. Quite honestly I think that every mother out there goes through this. I remember with my first I had the same feelings. Hang in there and use your husband for support when you can. You'll feel better soon and you'll find your place. Women have a remarkable ability to handle it all in time!