Abbey was letting Janey chew on her finger the other day and said, “Mom I think she might have teeth!” I brushed it off and said, “No, not yet.” And Abbey said, “Mom really something feels pretty sharp.” I looked and sure enough her little gum had broken and a tooth was poking through. What a surprise! For two days she hadn’t taken a great nap and wanted to nurse more than normal, but I thought it was just a growth spurt, nothing as big as a new tooth.
She is such an easy baby now, always smiling, almost never ever fussy, and if she is, all I have to do is pick her up and she is happy again. But those first few months-oh, they were hard. She was a very very fussy newborn, and add that to the nursing issues we had in the beginning, it wasn’t easy at all. I know of course, by experience, that “this too shall pass” but when I was in the thick of it, no matter with #4, or #5 or Janey, (all fussy newborns), it sure seemed like it will last forever.
Each time I felt like every day I was pushed to the max-emotionally and physically exhausted. Fussy babies take a lot of tender loving care from their mommies. A lot of exercise ball bouncing, a lot of nursing (a whole bunch of nursing!), a lot of pacing and shushing and rocking. Of course, Jeff would relieve me when he was home, but if my baby is crying, my brain rattles and my hormones make it impossible to not just take her and do it myself.
One day magically, Janey turned from high maintenance to completely utterly enjoyable. They all did. The hard part is not knowing when that magic day will happen, but with each of these darling babies, it did. The days that were once a blur slowly become days when I might just have more chances to come up for air and it sure feels good. I think what I learned over the years is that it is completely OK to have time stop for awhile-for those hard months. I tried so hard to give myself a giant break-and give Janey a big old chance to get used to this world while giving her as much love and care as she deserves.
I feel sometimes like there is a message out in our society today to “get back to life” as quickly as possible after our babies are born. Back to our old selves, back into shape, back to work, back to our old routines-just keep life going like a truly amazing miracle didn’t just land into our lives. To go on and appear as if nothing ever happened-this makes me mad that this is applauded and praised today-it’s truly ridiculous, but very sad also. It’s an indication of a deep chasm in the most important bond of mother and baby.
I think babies deserve to rock the world of those around them a little. To stir things up, to make us rethink priorities, to bond-totally and completely giving ourselves to them when they need it most. Even if that means little things like fat pants for awhile, or a makeup drawer that goes untouched for months, or big things like lots of “no’s” to invitations and commitments, or everything that once seemed so important plummeting down that priority list and maybe even disappearing. Of course we can rebuild slowly-on the baby’s timeline-but things shouldn’t look the same ever. We all need to move over and make space for this precious new life we brought into the world. Babies deserve it, and we moms do also.