Thursday, October 20, 2011

Ramblings of a new mother

This post is going to be all about me.

My thoughts, my feelings and basically an entry where I can put into words my current state of mind.

Mom.

Oh boy, I still can't believe that I'm a mother. When I was younger, I always knew that I wanted to become a mother when I met the right guy.

Stephan is the perfect hubby and Daddy material. Sure we're both still trying to find our rhythm in handling a little baby but hubby has been nothing short of amazing in adjusting to his role.

He hasn't had the easiest time either. Two weeks ago, he started on a new job. Needless to say, this period of transition ain't a piece of cake for him either. He said that he can no longer work on "automode" but has to learn everything from scratch. Even if he's in the same job (a tax consultant), a new company still has a different accounting system and different way of handling issues. He's also had to learn how to work with two new bosses, new colleagues and to top off the cake, he has an additional 2 -3 hrs of daily travelling time.

*phew* I feel tired just typing all that!

When he was working at home for 4 weeks, I had him all for myself and Sammy. And for the past 2 weeks, I've had to "share" him with his new company.

Needless to say, I became "jealous" of his "new wife", even if I was proud of him for being so brave to take on this new challenge in his life.

Maybe its just me, but I feel the pressure of "having everything under control". In Germany, most women manage everything on their own. Many live far from their parents so parental help is not the norm here.

Even though I told myself to be mentally prepared to be a Mom, I still felt that this change is like being thrown into the deep end of the ocean and you're forced to swim with no idea where or when the next shore is going to come up. Some days, you feel like you're thrown a float to give you a breather, other days you feel like what you thought was a shore, was nothing more than a shadow.

I'll be frank. I'm a woman who loves her sleep. I used to sleep 10-12 hrs a day if I could. And its not a form of escapism, its simply that I enjoy sleeping - especially in Germany where the weather is cooler and I savour every second when I can snuggle in my cozy bed.

Hence, to be jottled out of my bed every couple of hours by a crying baby who sounds like he's going to die if he doesn't get food THIS VERY SECOND, was such a blow to my system!

Having a little human being who's so utterly dependant on you for his existence can be overwhelming but still give you a sense of invincibility.

My days are broken into 3-hr cycles in which I know that at the end of these cycles, my baby would be hungry again. Nights are a different story altogether. It's like baby's 3-hr routine gets thrown out of the window once its dark. He wakes up at 1-3 hrs intervals and I have no idea why.

I drive myself crazy trying to figure him out. I tried cluster feeding him in the evenings, ensuring that he gets a full feeding each time, researching on the internet to figure out new solutions etc etc.

And now I've come to the point of "Let's see what this night brings".

For a person who treasures her sleep so much, having a baby who wakes up frequently at night feels like having the meanest joke played on me.

But I know its all nonsense! And baby is a human being with his own personality and will. And God has made him special. And unique.

And that's when I feel crap!! Because I feel like I'm frustrated at not understanding why my baby wakes up so often, but I feel like I shouldn't be frustrated at all! Plus, there's this siren in my head that tells me that instead of complaining, I should be utterly grateful to be a Mom in the first place.

But I'm human after all. And to say that "Oh, everything's great!" if someone asks me how I am, would be a blatant lie.

I'm so thankful for the lunch meet up the other day with fellow Singaporean ladies whose babies are pretty close in age in Sammy. We talked about our experiences and it was just sooooo good to know that I'm not alone trying to find my way in this wilderness called "Motherhood".

I love my baby with all my heart. Looking at him feed in the wee hours of the night still makes my heart melt.

But this is soooo much work! Everybody tells me it will get better and I'm trusting that God will give me the strength and perseverance to keep going on.

The weather's getting colder in Germany and my 5 years experience in Germany shows me that I ain't my best in cold weather. That, coupled with constant fatigue of caring for a 6-week old does not look very promising to me.

But I need to tell myself that by the time winter really strikes, baby's age would be countable in the months and not just weeks anymore.

And I need to tell myself that "where the will of God leads me, the grace of God will keep me". And "I am more than a conqueror in Christ". And "He will never leave me nor forsake me". 

I need to trust God so much more. I need to release hubby to the plans that God has in store for him and not make him feel guilty for not being able to be there for me and baby as much as I would like him to be.

I know this journey may not be easy, but I need to remind myself that God is on my side.

I guess I want to be able to enjoy baby in all its fullness. That I don't have to enjoy him in my daze of half-awakeness. But today while talking to a friend of mine, she said that what I'm going through is "very normal" among young mothers and I got to be patient with myself.

That is so true. I need patience. A baby is not a mathematical equation that I can solve if only I tried hard enough.

I need to surrender my need to have everything under control. And its ok to be honest and say "I love baby but this is hard work!" I don't have to feel the need to meet up to my own personal expectations of being a Mom.

I will tell myself that "His grace is sufficient for me, for His strength is made perfect in my weakness".

For all you mothers out there, how did you get through those sleepless nights of having a newborn?

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

You are doing fine as a first time mother...in times of weakness..God will give you strength. Each of us has our own challenges and there are so many things to thank God for it. Samuel is wonderfully formed and made. He is so healthy and lovely. Good that he cries in the middle of the night for milk rather than keeping mum and having gastric the next morning. He is so smart to request for feeding. It is just like a song that fills the quietness of the night. Indeed you are so blessed to see him so dependent while feeding. May God grant you appropriate change of lifestyle for his glory. Amen...

irene said...

Hey Pris, God knows we have emotions, and hey its ok to ramble....remember Paul said....I count it pure joy all my trials....Praise God for His timing and blessing for your hubby with new job, new chapter and remember God the creator, He makes all things new!

There will be circumstances beyond your control, bring them to his Holy Spirit, He's our teacher, counselor, comforter and ever present in time of need. Perhaps you want to start singing Sam some praise songs as you lullaby him....I sing open the eyes of my heart Lord to few babies, and they do zzzz... Praise God that you are a full time mom, and hey 12 hours for an adult is perhaps a little too much...don't you think?

hugs from sunny malaysia....

Anonymous said...

You went through childbirth and you and your body need to heal too. It is difficult to heal when you're the main carer.

Is there a friend who could come watch Sammy for 2 hours in the afternoon once or twice a week so that you could sleep/rest? From what I hear, babies will eventually sleep for longer periods between feeds so this phase won't last forever.

You sound like a fantastic mother. All your Dear Sammy letters move me to tears. Your healing process is important too, so don't feel guilty. Ask for help and support where possible. I'm sure even some new-German moms struggle.

God bless.

Pris said...

Anonymous (Dad)

Thanks for your encouragement. :)
You're so funny lah "song that fills the quietness of the night".... I think its more like of a symphony of high-pitched tones.

Pris said...

Hey Irene

Thanks for your encouragment too. Yah, 12 hrs was like once in a blue moon.....maybe once in a couple of months or sth...or when I was preggy and was mega tired.

Thanks for the tip of singing praise songs as a lullaby. I haven't done that yet, cos baby tends to fall asleep on his own. :) I do sing to him when he's awake though.

Pris said...

Anonymous - Thanks for your encouragement!!! I do get my in-laws to come over and friends have helped out too, to babysit so that I can get some shuteye.

I do ask for help, quite thick-skinned at that. Guess I'm still trying to find a routine that works for me and a hubby who's trying to find his rooting in his new job.

My body still struggles with the constant wake-ups at night but I do hope that it will adjust well in time.

Anonymous said...

Spiritual songs and hyms will calm the little one as well as us down with peacefullness, joy and contentment. Play such songs and music whenever he is awake. It will helps alot....

Summer Lace said...

Pris,

I thought that that was such a well-written post because it summed up everything you've been going through and feeling.

It's not easy and it's not a mathematical equation like what you said. New experiences and situations in life takes trial and error to figure out what works best.

Hang in there and I'm sure with time and patience, you'll work out a good pattern for yourself & Sammy, as well as spending time with Stephan!

Speak soon! Have a blessed Sunday!

Sarah said...

Babe, you are doing great! I know I survived those sleepless early months by "sleeping when the baby sleeps", really and truly. Kinda threw the whole "night time is my sleep time" mindset out the window and just went with the flow. A lot less frustrating, a lot more enjoyable. But of course, I do prefer my nighttime sleep these days! Jiayou, it's already been 6 weeks, time will fly and soon he'll be sleeping thru the night and you'll miss seeing his face by the glow of the moonlight. I know I do :) Hugs!

Pris said...

Anonymous - I do play Christian music sometimes. I tend to turn on the radio so that I can get some intellectual input thru the news and DJs.

Pris said...

Hey Andrea!

Thanks for encouraging my writing! :) Really sweet of you! Yeah everything is very much trial and error at this point. :S

We'll arrange to talk again ok?

Pris said...

Sarah - Thanks for your comment.

Did you have any social plans during those "sleep when baby sleeps" weeks? I would like to meet other fellow moms but find it hard to do so, when I got to "free" up my time so that I can "sleep when baby sleeps" you know what I mean?

And if he doesn't sleep, then I feel "Oh man,I should have gone out to meet so-and-so".

Anonymous said...

Maybe want to consider formula milk for him before he sleeps at night. Normally, the forumla milk is much filling and you know the sufficient amount to give to Sammy. Whilst breast feeding is a kind of hit and miss adequacy and probably Sammy could not have a full milk and had to wake up in a short while for feeding as he could be hungry...

Pris said...

Anonymous - I would consider pumping milk, but haven't done so as I haven't had the time to. But formula milk is a no-go for me. Not when breastfeeding is working so well and Sammy's growing so well.

Sarah said...

I did go out during those early months, and in fact it was kind of easier, because whenever he needed to sleep I just put him to sleep while carrying him in my wrap. So he basically slept on the go with me :) if I'm at home, then I'd recline and get some shuteye while he's sleeping on me.

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