Monday, February 1, 2010

Climbing Out

About two weeks ago, our little guy started sleeping 12 hours a night. Jeff and I feel like we hit the jackpot in having the most agreeable baby. Since the first day, he's been the healthiest eater and a very sound sleeper. When awake, he smiles and giggles constantly, and when we put him down in the crib for a nap, he falls asleep without too much fuss four out of five times so long as we put him down before he gets overly tired. Even though we had worried about him getting dependent on the pacifier when we first started giving it to him, he started spitting it out several weeks ago. I don't think it gets much easier.

Despite this, I've found this transition to motherhood challenging. Surprisingly, the physical aspect has been the easiest. Sure, we had our sleepless nights the first few weeks, but once Jeff and I started splitting our nights into two shifts about 3 weeks in, we managed to get about six hours of solid sleep each night (we surprised almost all of our friends by how well-rested we looked). And it took me a while to realize that the baby is actually mobile -- that I could take him place with me, like the grocery store and the coffee shop -- instead of treating him like a fragile piece of glass I have to keep protected. And then I've had my breastfeeding challenges, which made me break down in tears and feel incompetent in the most fundamental way, but slowly over time, I decided that I could live with it.

The more difficult aspect about becoming a mother has been emotional and psychological. They were driven more by concerns about me than the baby. I've been surprised by how much having a child of my own brought out so much of the anxieties I've had about my family growing up. And how that process made me notice the mental and physical barriers I had built over the years to keep my anxieties under control. I think just the process of being exposed to my anxieties again left me feeling incredibly vulnerable and psychologically exhausted.

Somehow, today, I feel like I'm on the other side of those anxieties. As if they are under control again. Maybe it's because the hormones are finally settling back down (let's hope!). Or maybe it's because I spent the day working while Jeff watched the baby, and I had a little time to step back and appreciate all that we have. Or maybe because I decided that I needed more community involvement and signed up for a volunteer position with the Golden Gate Mom's Group. Or maybe because I've had four months to process all this, and I'm feeling more in step with my day to day routine. Or maybe it's because I've been going to sleep at 8pm for the past few nights.

Whatever it is, I feel like I'm climbing out. And ready to start planning for our second baby!

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