Sunday, July 17, 2011

Lets Be Real

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 :)


Teh Wifey said...

For the thrush-what medication did you take and for how long? Did you also treat yourself with gentian violet? Sadly I have had chronic thrush since birth so I am all too familiar with what you are going through. I have found (and with a lot of research suggests) that the more aggressive treatment should continue at least 10 days AFTER you are feeling 100%.

I want to say you are awesome for sticking with it, breastfeeding in general is very hard issue free, with thrush it is so hard to keep pushing through! If you have any questions about nursing, please feel free to ask!

C and K said...

Thanks for being honest Christy and it is definiately an adjustment in the first few months cause their schedule changes weekly it feels like!!! After three months it felt like Roman was a different baby cause his sleeping schedule was consistent and that made him happier! You are doing an amazing job and from my little bit of experience it only gets better every month that passes! Miss you three!

Steven and Melissa said...


nursing was extremely hard for me also, i'm hoping with this one that it'll be a little bit easier. don't beat yourself up over the challenges that it hands you, patience. The longest i've made it is around 5 months and i just couldn't do it anymore.

I've found that when the baby is still really little like that, you only leave the house for short amounts of time and only do the really important things that HAVE to do. The other stuff can get done later!

Holly said...

The adjustment is definitely difficult. I feel like I'm STILL adjusting, and Calvin is 5 months old! (I even had a little break down the other day because I, too, feel like I can't ever leave the house!) Calvin was definitely the most difficult right around 2 months, then it started getting better. Then we started the sleep training thing, and it got really hard again. Now we're getting on more of a schedule, and we're doing better again. One thing I have learned, with both Tucker & Calvin, is that everything comes & goes in waves. Things will be really hard for a few weeks, and then they'll ease up for awhile, then it will get hard again. (All with different things, of course. Nursing, sleeping, eating, teething, etc.) Hang in there! I'm sure all mothers feel the same way. Also, good luck with nursing. I had a VERY difficult time with Tucker--we had different problems than what you're experiencing, but we still had a really hard time--and it wasn't until probably 6ish months until I felt like we FINALLY had everything worked out. I hope it doesn't take that long for you, but my advice would be to just hang in there! (But of course if you decide to move to formula or something we won't judge you at all!) Once we finally had nursing worked out, I was able to nurse him until he was a year old. Motherhood is definitely NOT easy. I thought I learned all the patience I needed to learn with Tucker, but now Calvin is giving us a whole different set of difficulties to deal with. :) It does get easier over time; not EASY (for us at least)--but easIER. We're thinking about you guys & we'll keep you in our prayers!

Chase Gunnell said...

I want you all to know what is not posted in the blog post. Christy is an amazing mom. In fact, it melts my heart every time I see Mila get excited to see her mom. Mila loves Christy more than anything else. Even if I am holding her and Christy walks by, Mila follows Christy with her eyes and then looks at me practically begging me to hand her over to Christy.
Additionally, Christy has made the transition to motherhood amazingly well. If I were stuck at home all day I would die or go insane, but Christy has embrached her new role wholeheartedly. Over the past three weeks that she has been in San Antonio with me she has: made me dinner every night, finished multible apple books (they are the modern version of scrap books that apple prints out and sends to you) documenting our third year of marriage and Mila's first two months, finished editing multiple videos that have been on our to-do list for months, all the while working out, reading her scriptures, reading dozens of books, and spending hours with me.
Christy honestly is the most incredible person I know. Even though this blog post points out some of the struggles Christy has had, she has transitioned to motherhood as flawlessly as anyone that I know.
I love you Christy!

Mark and Elaina said...

Oooh I miss you! I think one of these days we should talk - for real. I love talking motherhood and sharing stories. I bet you are just doing wonderfully!

Leanne said...

Oh boy. Reading your post brought back so many feelings of life with a 2 month old. I feel for you Christy! (wait..I am doing this whole thing AGAIN?!) The absolute hardest adjustment part for me was from about 1 month to 5 or 6 months. It sounds like a long time, but it will pass, and you WILL be back to normal soon. I remember wondering if I would ever run an errand again. I am not perfect at all and really have no room giving you advice, I mostly just want you to know that you are totally normal! All us new mothers (most anyway) are tired, sleep deprived, and at our wits end more than we ever expected to be. I would just keep on pushing through and focus on getting Mila the sleep she needs when she needs it. Because a cranky baby is the worst. It wasn't until Bradley was about 6 months and taking 2 main naps duing the day that I really felt like I could run multiple errands. I remember calling Garrett one day beaming because I had gone to 3 whole stores in one outing that day.

Have you asked your doctor about Newmans Ointment? I'm not sure if you are still really sore, but that stuff is amazing.

I have no doubt you are an amazing mother. I am so glad you were honest and real about your struggles though. Because in the end, now is the time when you get to lean on others and there are PLENTY of mothers here to support you!

Megs said...

I second the recommendation for Newman's Ointment! Oh, how I know what you mean about feeling like you have no idea of what to do, or feeling like you are totally messing things up, and trying to stick to a schedule...I was in tears just yesterday about it. (Still over my 2-year-old - she just never fit the mold described in Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. I'd feel like a total failure after reading that book. Great advice, but sometimes it's best to just put it away for a while...;)) Love you guys!

(Holy Cow, how do you manage to still get all of that stuff in?!? I had the hardest time with daily scripture study. Wait, do you sleep?)

Page said...

I know exactly how you feel!! I don't have any magic tricks or anything, but I can say that I think it is hardest with your first baby. I had less of all the feelings you described with my second, and even less now with my third. So quick, have another baby! (Just kidding.) Also, are you guys moving to San Antonio? Rick is about to do a month-long rotation there, and then we could possibly move there in a year.

sam and brittney said...

I totally feel for you!! I felt the same way. Being a mom is HARD!! Harder than I expected or anyone tells you! I think at six months and on it gets better. Once she can sleep through the night life seems a lot brighter!! I know it is hard to do in the moment but try to enjoy it bc it goes by so quickly! And with nursing-it was hard for me too. Just keep pushing through it. It gets better. So my advice with all of this is-do what you feel is right for you and Mila no matter what books or others say. The Lord will help you.

Kendra said...

Ive been meaning to post a comment on this. I'm sorry I didn't get around to it until now. Honestly, I was really happy to read this post because it made me think you are actually human. I saw how easily you and Chase transitioned to being parents and I was sorely jealous and it really made me feel like I was a failure in some regard because it wasn't easy for us. So hearing that you have had struggles (while I don't wish them on you, nor am I happy about it) helped me feel like you were normal and not some perfect being.

I'm so sorry that nursing has been hard. It was a huge struggle for me too. I really hope you can get to the painless part because I did and I never thought I would. So it is possible! Also, I have a hard time feeling good about myself as a mother because (as I already stated) it's so hard sometimes and there are so many women out there that get SO much accomplished and seem like they are super women. But I don't think that's reality, nor expected of us all. I think you are incredible and far more accomplished than me. You are a great mom and will continue to be. I have always trusted you 100% with Owen. Don't be too hard on yourself. If ever you're feeling down, just come to my place and see everything I'm NOT doing. It'll make you feel better in a jiffy. ;)