Two days ago, my daughter Rosemary ‘turned’ seven months old. I had grand plans to write about what she’s up to at seven months, but I didn’t. I didn’t write because when she was napping I wanted to nap, or watch TV, or take a shower, or work out. So, I didn’t write. Instead, I did laundry and dishes, and I cleaned the kitchen, vacuumed the living room, and made beds. When all that was done, I would lie down to nap. Inevitably right after I closed my eyes, I would hear a little squeal, which would grow into a fuss, and I knew, if I didn’t get up soon, I would have a screaming baby AND no nap. Such is the life of a mother. And that’s okay. Really. It is, after all, what I signed up for the day I took
five that test, and saw two lines.
Seven months ago today was my first night home from the hospital. It was the first night that I spent with my daughter when I didn’t have a nurse a call away. It was the first night that I was completely in charge of this little being. So many moms told me that when they left the hospital, they thought to themselves; “wait, what? They’re letting me leave with this baby? I have no idea what I’m doing.” When I left the hospital, I, surprisingly, had no such thought. I was so, so, so ready to be going home to my own bed, my own TV, my own food, and my dog. It wasn’t until eleven at night that the doubt started creeping in. Only, it wasn’t so much doubt as; “holy Jesus, shit, fuck, what???? Why??? WHO IS LETTING ME TAKE CARE OF THIS BABY? AND OH MY GOD, I HAVE NO CLUE WHAT I’M DOING! AND HOLY SHIT WHY WON’T SHE SLEEP?” And, really, excuse my language, but, I’m sure if you could have heard my thoughts at that point it would have been much, much worse. My husband was asleep. He had to work the next morning. I wasn’t going to wake him up. So, I cried, and cried and cried and cried. I looked at my baby and she looked at me, and we both cried. And then, I did what any mature adult new mom would do. I called my mommy. AND SHE DIDN’T ANSWER HER PHONE! And then, I really lost it. And, then, I changed that baby’s diaper, and she peed all over, and I laughed. I grabbed her some jammies, put them on her teeny, tiny body, I nursed her, and rocked her to sleep. We slept together on that couch for two hours. When she woke up again, I was a new woman. I felt better. I had started to figure out my baby girl.
The truth is, it is hard to have to totally take care of another person. It is even harder when you have just been through the most difficult experience of your life (labor), and your body is not even close to normal. Everyone talks about being in “survival mode” for those first weeks, and it is totally true. You walk around with spit up in your hair, pee on your pants, and sometimes forget the last time you took a shower. It is the ultimate definition of putting someone else’s needs before your own. It doesn’t matter how selfless or selfish you were before that baby came into your life, you will be utterly shocked when you HAVE to put another before yourself. I got used to it. Those first few weeks were tough, but I look back on them with some nostalgia. That was when I learned to know my little girl, and when she got to know me. I will never get those days (or nights) back, and it will different when we have another baby. I do have to say, when my mom walked in after my first night home, I was so relieved I cried. I cried and cried and cried. She hugged me, put out her arms, took the baby, and said “I know; I know EXACTLY how you feel. Now, go take a shower and a nap.” The truth is, sometimes, you just need your mom; the one who always put you first, and continues to do so every day of her life. I know that one day, when Rose has a baby, I will do the same thing for her, because, honestly, the only person in the world that can understand you in that moment is your mom.
So, the past seven months have flown by. A lot has changed. I’ve defiently become a little more sane (sleep helps), and don’t smell quite so bad (showers help), but, I can say, when something goes awry, I still call my mom, and, usually she tells me she knows just how I feel. Either that, or, she brings me back down, and tells me that I am just slightly crazy, and that perhaps I should up my meds.