Christmas Eve gift!

Is it odd that I post more with a newborn than I did before this small creature, whose survival depends on me (and my boobs) came into my world?

So we have a 3-week old (close to 3-1/2 weeks now) and things are going about as well as I think they can be. Despite my fervent hopes (and my apparently misguided belief that I am a laid-back person), I do not have a terrifically easy baby. Thank heavens the opposite is also not true — I do not have a particularly difficult baby — or at least I don’t think I do, but what do I know? First baby!

We’ve been dealing with a lot of different stuff lately — some breastfeeding issues, that seem to be mostly resolved; some colic-like issues (but pretty sure we’re not dealing with colic, as it’s a little too early for the classic presentation, and most of those issues can be traced back to the aforementioned breastfeeding issues); some weight-gain issues; and some mommy issues. At the risk of this being a little too TMI, we’ve been weaning off a nipple shield (which we did successfully, despite my belief a week ago that it would NEVER EVER happen); but that seems to have caused some freakouts by my baby when confronted with WHOA MILK; at our last weight check (before we left off with the shield) she still wasn’t back to birth weight at nearly 3 weeks (though she was gaining, and I am so happy we have a pediatrician who was very relaxed about the whole thing and never once suggested we start supplementing with formula, which I would do if she needed it, but would rather not do if she doesn’t). And the mommy issues…well, let’s just say I always hoped I’d be a laid back mommy, but it turns out that I am a huge ball of anxiety.

Maybe that last bit shouldn’t surprise me — I am, after all, the kind of person who always wants to “win” at stuff. I like to think that I’m not particularly competitive, but I’m really just deluding myself. Which is not to say that I am particularly competitive vis a vis other people. No, it’s more that I just want to be good at (OK, OK, the best at) whatever challenge it is that I’m undertaking. In some cases (cough cough, law school), that necessarily required me to compare myself to others, because I (and all of those others) were being evaluated on the same scale. But in other contexts (mommyhood), the metric is really just whether I’m doing all The Stuff Mommies Are Supposed To Do — and doing it well. Does my kid sleep well? Does she cry a lot? How does she poop? (Seriously.) And, critically to me right now, how does she eat?

Needless to say, my ambitious, achievement-seeking personality has had a hard time dealing with a kid who has not wanted to do all of those things that babies are supposed to do on certain timeframes. There were early pooping issues. (GOD, this is super TMI.) There was the shield issue. There’s the weight gain issue. And there are more potential issues looming on the horizon: potential Introducing A Bottle issues, Introducing A Pacifier issues, and continued Has She Gained Enough Weight issues.

And in the midst of all of this, I realized today that it is Christmas Eve. I mean, I knew it was Christmas Eve, but it wasn’t really something that was front and center of my consciousness. Part of it is that this is the first time I’ve ever spent Christmas away from either my family or Mr. D’s family. We’re not traveling for the holiday this year (obviously), and that’s made it easy to sort of forget about the holiday. Don’t get me wrong — we haven’t dropped the ball on the holiday. We’ve ordered and sent all of our gifts (and those relatives who are peeved at getting gift cards 25 days after I gave birth can suck it), we have our tree up (that was done before the baby arrived), and we have (perhaps ambitious) plans to make a special, though not super labor-intensive, dinner tonight. But I (still!) haven’t really internalized that today is Christmas Eve. Or that tomorrow is my little girl’s first Christmas, and our first Christmas as a family of three.

I’m not really sure what the point of this post is, other than to say that new parenthood is hard, and doubly hard at the holidays. I hope that I’ll look back on my anxious self in a few months and shake my head at what sleep deprivation wrought. I hope that I’ll look back and cherish this first Christmas. But for right now, man, it’s tough.

2 Responses

  1. It is REALLY hard. It doesn’t matter that it’s a universal thing and nearly everybody goes through it. Having a new baby is just really hard, especially for the mom who is recovering from childbirth and dealing with breastfeeding, and the first eight weeks are the worst. You won’t look back and shake your head later, you’ll look back and realize what you went through and be amazed that you all survived intact! Don’t beat yourself up too much, just be kind to yourself and try to get through it however you can. Hugs!

  2. Yeah, this is a super hard time. I was also surprised at my anxiety after my first was born. It was the hardest thing to live with – though it has simmered down considerably. For me it took about 3 months to get more into a rhythm, for both of my kids. And they were born in the spring/summer – I think a holidays baby would be so much pressure, all at once.

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