when we got home from the hospital...

>> Monday, March 29, 2010

So, a lot of our friends have been having babies lately, and I got to thinking about when Little Man arrived. The support of my family and our friends was what got me through the exhaustion of the first few weeks. I can't imagine how tough it must be on women who have no one to help. Absent family, distant friends, bum husbands...

My family was amazing, and The Hubby was an absolute saint. No matter what he ever does in the future, I will never forget how selfless and serving he was. He became my hero for life. He ran errands, told me to rest when I felt guilty that everyone was doing everything for me, got up with me every night for weeks, cooked, cleaned, did laundry - you name it.

My parents arrived every day for moral support, to fix meals, watch the baby while I got a shower or nap (although I was so juiced during those first weeks that I could rarely fall asleep).Their advice and wisdom and experience kept me sane. And at that 2-week breaking point, when the sleep-deprivation got to the point of psychological torture, they took the baby all night. I slept for 16 hours straight, knowing he was in good hands.

And my sister was incredible. She cooked enough food to last 2-3 weeks, helped me survive lactation issues, sat with me for nearly two hours one afternoon while Little Man screamed in his inability to latch and I was a sobbing mess. Her medical knowledge (she's a PICU nurse) made me feel that I had someone to turn to when I couldn't figure things out.

Until you've been there, you really don't know how much you need people around. I once thought I wanted to launch into mothering myself. I wanted to have the "space" and "freedom" to learn and explore without interference. But when you bring that helpless tiny baby home and everyone else waves goodbye, heading back to life as normal - it's enough to induce a panic attack.

You may have thought you understood exhaustion. (I used to work three jobs while planning a wedding as a student in college - but I didn't have a clue.)

You may have thought you knew pain. You may have thought you were a generally unselfish person. But until you've been jarred awake from anxiety over tiny baby noises, every 8 minutes around the clock for three weeks straight, or you've put your baby to your breast every 2 hours despite the pain of blebs and nipple cracks - you still have a few things to learn.

My point?

Early motherhood is overwhelming and exhausting no matter how much help you have. The fluctuating hormones and post-birth healing process ain't easy, much less the actual caring-for-your-baby part.

So I've written a few guides (see upcoming posts), based on my observations and experience, for new daddies, and friends/family of new parents.

If any of you have suggestions to add, do leave a comment!

© Sarah K. Asaftei, 2009 unless otherwise sourced. Use allowed by express written permission only.

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