One Thing I Never Prepared For

The time is 11:20 PM, Mike is sound asleep in our bedroom, The Bean is (noisily) asleep in her bassinet in the living room, and here I am, on the couch across from her, plunking away at my computer. I know, I know, “sleep when the baby sleeps.” I’ve got a cold and I’m exhausted, so I should be sleeping like a baby (ha!), but I have a hard time sleeping when something’s bothering me. Prepare yourself, because we’re delving deep fast: Why is it that during the happiest time of my life I sometimes feel so, I don’t know, empty?

For starters, and I know we’re (i.e. new moms) not supposed to say this in “public,” but I’m lonely. Example: I had the television on because the sound was keeping me company, but the light would cause Ellie to stir, so I turned it off. I’m embarrassed just typing that. It makes sense though: I spend every moment I’m awake with a 7 week old infant, and I have very little interaction with people my age, or people capable of carrying on a conversation for that matter. I would not trade a second of my precious time with Elliott, but the matter remains; I feel like part of me is shriveling up as a result of lack of use. Couple that with the guilt I have for feeling the way I do, and you’ve got yourself the ingredients for a late-night confession in blog format.

I miss my friends, and I miss my coworkers but most of all I miss my husband. (There’s a sad kind of irony that he’s sleeping soundly one room over, and here I am feeling like I’m slowly being emptied out.) Let me save you the time of telling me what I already know: I know it won’t always be this way, and I know some of my sadness could likely be attributed to all of the recent hormonal changes, and I know that my life is actually perfectly wonderful and I’ll look back on this time later in life with warmth and nostalgia, and I know that comparatively my life is a cake-walk. I’m so blessed to have such a perfect little daughter, and a wonderful, loving husband, and the ability to stay home and care for our adorable tiny treasure. I know that, and I believe that, but man, I miss myself you know? And how I used to be fun and creative and social.

Maybe this is the time where I’m supposed to reflect on the woman I was before the pregnancy and birth, and look forward to the woman I’m becoming? I already know that this experience is changing me for the better, and I look forward to growing into a new, more refined version of myself that I see on the horizon. I guess I just wish I wasn’t so alone in the process.

I’m sure my sentiment in this matter is not unique; this is probably something many new moms go through, but I was not prepared for this. Breastfeeding, diapering, swaddling, I over-prepared for everything. But loneliness? This is an entirely new arena for me.

I’ll attend another moms’ group tomorrow (I already belong to one) with the hope of meeting some new moms and maybe talking about something other than the adorable smile Ellie makes before she toots. (You haven’t lived until you’ve seen it– it’s magic.) And hopefully, albeit slowly, I’ll replace whatever it is I’m losing with all of the wonderful things I’m gaining.

And as always, if you’ve got practical advice, I welcome it.


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7 Comments

  1. Awweee… I’d like to say, “it’s just a phase, it’ll be over soon” but once it’s over, it’s never the same again, you know? But I just have to believe that it’s got to be better. I’m super proud you’re looking for “new mom” groups, etc., it sounds like you’re going in a good direction. Just… don’t forget to tilt your head upwards once in a while, eh? He’s not just there for therapeutic purposes, but being all-powerful, and the only one that TRULY knows you inside and out, stuff like that isn’t that much harder for him either.

    love you and miss you!
    Eunice

    Reply
    • It’s funny how much that makes sense, but how I never thought of it until you said it. Practically speaking, I could really use this time to get back into scripture, you know? I’ve totally been lagging in that regard. Thanks for the inspiration! (And I miss you too!)

      Reply
  2. Heather

     /  September 16, 2010

    You shouldn’t feel ashamed, I am 21 years old but several of my friends have had babies and I know you are not alone. I think all new mom’s feel this way. I admire the fact that you were able to write about it, honestly I think the worst thing you could do for yourself is bottle it up. You will make it hun, keep faith.

    -Heather

    Reply
  3. You should not feel guilty. I remember when my sister had my niece and she was always saying “there are times when I just want don’t want to talk about being a Mum.” As much as a wonderful mother she is and what a beautiful little baby she had. It is so easy to forget that you had a life before baby and pregnancy. So I made the effort to go out with my sister (Niece being lovingly doted on by Grandma) and went shopping for her things, cinema, out to lunch. And even though she would say how much she missed Carys she always felt so much better for it πŸ™‚

    Seriously get a video of that smile before she toots haha πŸ™‚

    Reply
  4. Jason

     /  September 17, 2010

    First off, congratulations on being a new mom! I’ve kept up with you on and off since the 2008 elections and it’s been quite interesting. πŸ™‚

    Your blog post sounds exactly like my wife’s experience when we had our newborn daughter almost six years ago. She went from being a career woman, to a stay at home mom nearly instantly. She experienced the same loneliness just due to the fact that the baby would wake her at all hours and her schedule just wasn’t in sync with anyone except… other mothers.

    The mom’s group move is excellent. Other moms will be your social outlet for a while, and as you already seem to know, things will get easier. One bit of practical advice I can give you is that as long as the hours might seem now, the years go by incredibly fast. If you’ve already experienced the revelation that years get shorter as you get older, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. So enjoy every waking minute you spend with your baby, and then toddler, and then pre-schooler, etc… He will change quickly, unpredictably and you will always be surprised. After all, he’s another person that you’ve just met.

    While he might depend on you for a lot, he has his own interests, opinions, and tastes many of which WILL surprise you. Discover who he is and do it as soon as possible. He’s already giving you clues in the way he looks at you, and what he responds to. Even before he has any words to tell you what he wants to, he will understand how you feel, what you are saying and what is happening around him. Try to find ways to bridge that communication gap early on just by talking to him. I know you can’t have a conversation with him right now. But he is listening and he’ll remember more than you would expect. This will pay off later and you’ll be glad you did it.

    And smile…

    Reply
  5. Annie

     /  September 18, 2010

    When my boys were born, we lived in Sacramento (still do), with none of my family or friends around to support me. My mom came to stay after awhile, but her presence (as you can probably guess) wasn’t exactly welcome.

    So I did much like you’re doing. I didn’t join a “mom’s group”, specifically, but we sort of made our own. I had a few friends from Sac State who were new moms, and I threw myself into spending time with them, playing with the kids, and beginning the time that I would spend with my most important teaching job- teaching my children what they needed to know.

    But the other people who are posting here are all right too. 1. There is nothing wrong with feeling lonely. 2. Though I did, too, and still do sometimes, you don’t need to feel guilty. 3. Seriously, find a babysitter and go out on a date with your husband. Go see a movie. Go take a walk on the beach. Go. Do. Something. Check on the baby once or twice via phone- or you’ll worry. But spend some time being the person you used to be before she was born.

    If you are happy, then you will be a happy mama. And as one of my very good friends always points out to me- when Mama is happy, everyone is happy.

    Loves and Hugs sent your way-I’d love to stop by and see that adorable smile next time I come to see my Dad.

    Reply
  6. Laurbubble

     /  September 20, 2010

    I saw you tweet and checked out your blog entry.
    I’m afraid I don’t have any advice but just wanted to wish you all the best with the moms’ group tomorrow and I hope you start feeling better!

    Xxx

    Reply

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