Disclaimer: This post is all words, no pictures. It's pretty long and primarily just a compilation of my feelings as of recent. I wrote this post more for me than anything.
In the blogging world we tend to sugarcoat our lives--highlight the good parts of our days and hide the bad parts. That's not how life really is though; that's not reality. Today I feel like being real.
First off, don't get me wrong. I love my daughter and I often play for Mila Ben Folds' "The Luckiest" and feel truly lucky to have the opportunity to be Mila's mother. But, motherhood can be really hard. I guess I had it coming to me since my labor was a breeze. I can honestly say that the transition to motherhood initially was pretty smooth. I had Chase around those first two weeks and then my mother the second two weeks and Mila was a good baby, a golden child if you will. Really, she still is. Also, I did not face post partum depression luckily even though Chase and I honestly thought I would.
But these two months (yep, our baby is two months old as of today!) have not been without their struggles. From the beginning nursing has been difficult. I am so grateful for a patient and caring friend, Misty, who took the time to help Mila and I through some of our early difficulties. You see, in the hospital Mila was introduced to a nipple shield. As a result she was clenching anytime I would try to have her latch to me. This resulted in lots and lots of pain. So we worked with Misty and got Mila nursing without a shield. Shortly after we thought I might have a yeast infection. So I started on medication for that and we treated Mila with Gentian Violet liquid for 10 days. Poor Mila had stained purple lips and tongue. After treating for a yeast infection, I still found my chest just burning between and during feedings. I finally had the thought to pump for a week straight in order to give myself a break from Mila sucking me raw. This helped a ton, but was exhausting. Pumping and then feeding a baby can be exhausting, especially at night. After this experiment I was feeling a lot better, and I determined that Mila has a strong suck and was rubbing me raw. I now can have Mila feed on me regularly, but I pump every so often in order to give myself a break. I can't honestly say that feeding Mila is painless now because it isn't. I don't know if it ever will be honestly. But it's bearable.
Another difficulty I have faced becoming a mother is my own personal struggle with perfectionism. I am pretty anal and stress over doing things right, which has led me to read a lot of books in order to determine how to best mother my child. It's difficult to weigh out all the advice though, which leads me to the last difficulty I have faced.
As all babies do, Mila in the past few weeks has transitioned out of "sleeping like a baby" and thus my life of going and doing what I want, when I want, has quickly come to an end. Mila no longer gets good naps in her car seat so running errands during her "nap time" is out of the question. So how do mothers do it? How do you balance getting out of the house and allowing your baby to nap in their bed? I struggle with this. I have read the books "Baby Wise" and "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" and try to implement what I think is best for Mila, but that results in us being tied to staying at home for her to take 4 naps during the day--a short one after waking up; a long morning nap; a short afternoon nap; and then a longer midafternoon nap. When we ignored this little cycle on Friday in order to go eat lunch with Chase she was totally cranky and fussy all afternoon. When I have a cranky child due to lack of sleep I tend to beat myself up (another weakness of mine) and mark myself as a failure for the day.
Please don't think I'm trying to throw myself a pity party. Not at all. I just wanted to put into words some of my thoughts. I'm grateful to be a mother, but I do miss being in control of my days and nights and feeling confident that I'm doing things right (like when I was teaching seminary). I truly know that the Lord does give us trials in order for us to draw closer to Him and trust in Him. Many a prayer has been offered up to the Lord for help. And, my scripture study has become more meaningful. I find answers in the scriptures in a way I haven't in a really long time. For example, the Lord instructed me as I was reading 2 Nephi 4:28-29 last week. I was reminded that I must not allow discouragement into my life because that is just giving place to the adversary to work on me.
So, never you worry. These difficulties aren't getting me down, or at least I'm working hard at not allowing them to get me down. Luckily Mila's smiles (a tender mercy of the Lord I believe...babies start social smiling about the time you are having more difficulty determining what they need) brighten my down days. She sure is a sweetheart. Hopefully she'll continue putting up with me :)