Life as a New Mom

A first-time mom adjusting to her new everything


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A saga, in three acts

SETTING: Carolina home, present time over the course of a week

 

ACT I.

A mother-in-law visits.  She is well-meaning and the visit is nice.  She takes many photographs of her grandson, and promptly changes all her Facebook everything to use those pictures.  This is to the chagrin of her daughter-in-law, the baby’s mother, because the grandmother receives outpouring of congratulations on how awesome the grandmother looks with the baby, and demands for more pictures.  The baby’s mother is annoyed that people feel they can demand unlimited pictures for Facebook.  Also, she is likely annoyed by the implication that she has the time to take pictures because clearly babies are easy and all you need to do is throw them at the wall like pasta and a well-cooked picture magically appears.

 

ACT II.

Our intrepid mother takes her not-yet-3-months-old son to the DMV in order to re-title and register a car, along with getting new plates.  This is done early in the morning, in an attempt to beat the lines.  The son has ideas other than cooperation, resulting in embarrassment and frustration for the mother, and annoyance for everyone else because they’re already at the DMV, an uncharted circle of Hell, and now there is a crabby baby in Hell with them.

 

ACT III.

Wherein our mother and baby are besieged by a father-in-law.  This man detests their mother-in-law/grandmother, and is an otherwise pushy and obnoxious fellow.  The heroine of this saga, our young mother, tolerates him with forbearance while making absolutely certain this man will never be involved in caring for the baby.  Perhaps this is unjust, holding a baby as hostage for good behavior, but the mother does not care.  Someone who believes that everything is about him and is older than 3 does not have sufficient empathy for being around the baby. Until the father-in-law establishes a pattern of repeated, respectful behavior with no derogatory comments toward the father of the baby, our young mother has no interest in pursuing a relationship and therefore the baby shall have none either.  This visit culminates in tension and the father-in-law’s departure is met with a sigh of relief and thanks to Odin (because this is a SAGA, and those are all Norse if the literature are to be believed…and I like thinking of myself as a Valkyrie).

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Failing my one job

I had my ultrasound appointment at the high-risk practice earlier this week.  They confirmed there is a cyst there, and they believe it’s on the spleen.  I go back in 4 weeks to see if it grew, shrank, or stayed the same.  At this point, the doctor tells me it’s small and doesn’t concern her because it’s below the diaphragm and there is excellent blood flow to all the surrounding organs, with fetal weight in the 43rd percentile.  All that is good, but I still have one overwhelming feeling.

I’ve failed my one job before this baby is born, and that is to gestate a healthy fetus.
Is that unreasonable?  Probably.  Have I done my best? Yes.  Does that make me feel any better?  No, not at all.

And yesterday, I find out that my husband has told his family about this, right before we’re due to go visit and before I was ready to say anything to our families.  It’s easy to be anonymous, and not have to face the people you’ve told; it’s not easy when I’ll have 3 days of them in front of me, wondering what is the problem/solution/how I am.  I suppose it’s nice to have people that care enough to be concerned, but I don’t feel like discussing this with anyone, or accepting sympathies.  And honestly?  I’m mad at the person my husband told, because THAT person is the one who went and told everyone else.  It wasn’t that person’s news to tell, and I feel my parental boundaries being stepped over.  It’s a shame my husband doesn’t feel that way.


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Holidays…

It should be fairly obvious from all the advice out there that holidays make new and new-ish parents cringe.  I am no exception.

My experience has been that even though my husband and I have been together over 5 years, we still did holidays mostly the way our parents wanted us to.  It wasn’t a battle worth fighting, and we were comfortable in our traditions, even though we had to adopt some of the other family’s in order to make everything fit.  I am slightly shamed to say that my parents made way more of an accommodation than my in-laws, but now that we’ll have a child for the Big Holidays (possibly Thanksgiving this year, though I’m due about 4 days after, and definitely Christmas) I am not willing to go with the status quo.

Until now, it’s been about doing what our families wanted and trying to avoid hurting anyone’s feelings.  The result of this, of course, was that we never really had a good time.  Extra complications arise due to my in-laws being divorced, so there are 3 sets of parents involved.  Where’s the harm in this, you ask?  So far, there hasn’t really been any harm aside from our feelings of stress when we try to make everyone happy and no one actually is happy.

But we haven’t had the chance to develop our own holiday traditions, or find our own holiday identity.

This Thanksgiving, no one is allowed to come down.  That was a rule put in place by me, because I don’t want 9 people in my home either right before I have a baby, or right after, or (god forbid) during their visit.  Christmas is likely going to be delayed, again at my instigation.

I have no problems with people coming down to see us – our family all live 8 hours away and I understand they’ll want to meet the newest family member.  As my sister-in-law T. put it,”we’re not coming down to see you anyway – nobody cares about you!  We just want to see the baby.”  The visit is a double-edged sword since they live so far away: we get to see them, a rare thing, but they never come down just for a few days.  It’s usually at least 5 days, and they stay with us.  That can’t happen this year.

It’s about knowing yourself; I know I’m introverted and social situations drain me rather than energize me, and having them come while our child is barely 1 month old is too much on what will already be drained resources.  I also know that having so many people staying with us before 12 weeks is ill-advised in terms of baby’s immune system.  Our Christmas compromise is this: people must stay at a hotel instead of with us, and they must come in January, so we have the actual holiday to bond and spend as a family.  I’m also not refereeing the non-amicable divorce between my in-laws, so they’ll have to either be cordial or work out with us when the other is coming so paths don’t cross.

I hope this all goes as smoothly in reality as I imagine it happening in my head…