A few weeks ago, at my Monday play date, I started chatting with a new mom that just happened to walk by. I do this lot and in most places I’m at. I’m a chatty person and I tend to say good morning to everyone. That’s how I met ALL the moms I know. I’m an outgoing introvert, it’s what the husband calls it. In fact, even before improv, I was pretty good at making people smile and laugh. I have a natural disarming personality, I guess. But only when I’m in the mood.
Like I’ve written before, for a long time, we didn’t have any family down here. So after the kid was born my support system consisted of the husband and …. (insert cricket sound here). My mother in law came to visit after two months, but only for a week, and that was the most help I got for the first year.
So back to the mom I just me, she has a four month old, and the first time we chatted, she pretty much walked me half way to my house. Here’s why: my mother in law always tells me that when she had her children, and took them to the pediatrician, the doctor would take one look at the kid, and ask her how are you doing? Are you sleeping? Are you eating? How are you feeling? And I think I know why. So that’s what I did. I asked her all those questions, and immediately I noticed her eyes widening at my understanding of what she was going through. She began by telling me about the baby, and I said without interrupting her, that of course the baby was fine, it’s beautiful little baby, but how are you? And she begin telling me how little she’s sleeping, which is normal for moms! What’s also normal, it’s for a first time mom, to not understand why the baby wont sleep, and what the hell are we doing wrong?!?!
After I told her about my kid, and ALL the kids I know, I think she felt better! We are not born knowing what is going to feel like not sleeping for more than a couple of hours stretches, for months or more. I know that we all think we know, but we don’t. And it will affect us all differently.
The infant is probably, more than likely fine. If an infant has anything wrong, from as little as gas, for example, believe me they will LET YOU KNOW something is off, they will scream and cry until you fix it. One of the things I learn in one of the classes we took before the kid was born, was that if an infant is crying and you can’t figure out why, you fed them, burped them, changed, rocked them, and everything else and nothing helps, then check their fingers and toes. There’s probably a hair or string wrapped on to tight around a toe or so.
But here’s the thing, moms will not do that. No mom I know will sit there and scream and cry until someone comes and fixes whatever is wrong. Moms will shut up and deal with it because we are to busy taking care of everything and everyone else, that we forget to take care of ourselves. Here’s an example, the first time I went to get a pedicure, after the kid was born, I took of my socks and realized that I had clipped the toe nails of one foot but not the other. That was embarrassing. But not as embarrassing as the first time I peed in my pants at the Costco parking lot. I simply was just not fast enough. And nobody even saw me.
When the kid was about six weeks old, we accidentally met our neighbors and they had a kid a few months older. We chatted. We invited them over for dessert and coffee. We became friendly and then she invited me to some “mommy and me” lunch thing. We’ve been friends ever since. The thing was that, going to that lunch thing was the first time I had gone out, without the husband, to do something fun with the kid and a friend. I realized that I needed to get out more and talk to other moms. And for almost four years now, that’s what I’ve been doing. Every single day.
At this point, I have met a lot of moms. I have chatted with so many moms, that one time I ran into a mom, sat down to have coffee and chat and in the middle of the conversation we realized, we had no idea where we had met. I have some really close mom friends and they are my support system. I’m not an expert. Nor a trained medical anything. Shoot, all of this comes from anecdotal evidence, not an actual study, but one thing that I have learned over the last four years, is that every mom I have met has suffered or is suffering, to a certain degree, of PPD.
I’m not saying that every one is laying on the bed crying. Far from it. Those are the extreme cases. But very mild to moderate depression, for sure! I don’t think that is a matter of “you might get it”. In my opinion, every mom I have ever met, was at some point overwhelmed, exhausted, irritated, hungry, and just feeling completely useless. It doesn’t matter, if it’s the first one or the fourth one. The socio-economics background doesn’t matter, race doesn’t matter, natural, cesarian, or adoptive births don’t matter. The first year after you have a kid sucks-ass. Period.
Today I told new mom that when my kid was four months old, she came to our bed and slept there until the year mark. As soon as the kid learn how to feed herself, I slept much better. And she looked at my with a smile and something about feeling guilty. That’s when I called over an older mom friend (we’ve been friends longer not that she’s older, nor would age be a thing), and without even knowing I asked her when did she move her kid to her bed and she said
“four months. That’s the only way I got any sleep. He learned how to feed himself that way”.
New mom laughed and said,
“Ok. Now I don’t feel as bad. Is just that sometimes, I feel like I’m the only that doesn’t know what she’s doing, and I don’t know how to do this…”
We’ve all felt that way! Shoot, my kid is a planned kid. For two years, we talked, read, argued and compromised about our kid, and guess what, the second she was born, I was like “SHIT! We did NOT think this through!”
But…. it gets better… it really does.
For most of us, the kid will start growing, learning, developing a personality, and sleeping through the night. This last one is important. At one point, your kid will say something along the lines of “I’m building my castle, please keep your dragons away”. And you’ll be able to spend ten minutes in the shower and they will be glorious. In the mean time, if your kid needs a boob to fall asleep, so be it. If you need to put on a cartoon for an inappropriate amount of time, go for it. If you can’t control your bladder cause you JUST had a kid, let it roll! If you need to run away to your neighbors house, without telling your significant other that you’re leaving (that way they can’t ask you for anything), run away!
In the words of my wonderful mother in law: WHAT EVER GETS YOU THROUGH THE DAY!Tags: breastfeeding, mom-friends, new born, playground, postpartum depression