The Here & Now

In today’s “Things I never thought I’d do with a child”: Sleeping with a lovey.

My anxiety was SO through the roof with my first. I truly worried every day I was pregnant and was convinced she would come out impaired or deformed in some way. Then when she was born I was convinced she wouldn’t make it to thirty alive. I was so afraid the doctor would make me supplement with formula (which she honestly probably needed tbh because she didn’t want to hold still long enough to eat) that I didn’t take her for months. 🙈🙈🙈

I put this outfit on Olive today that I remember hanging off of Story at the same age, maybe older? And the guilt still comes in waves.

But overall I do feel myself relaxed in so many other ways. This is a new, very different child, and I already have very very different experiences with her.

It started with her birth. With Story I didn’t even let myself contemplate anything in a hospital or any kind of intervention or drugs. Turns out four days of labor leaves you fucking exhausted and NOT ready for pushing or birth or breastfeeding or even existing.

I didn’t get an award for that. I did get third degree tears and some ptsd thinking about how awful that birth was.

I’ve never even written a birth story about it partially because I hate to relive in and partially because I’ve blocked so much out.

This time around I went into birth giving myself so much more grace. I gave myself 30ish hours of labor before asking for an epidural and that fucking thing was EVERYTHING. I was able to finally get a little bit of rest. Even just to lie on my back was just such an incredible relief.

Then when Olive came, I was able to focus on the pushing rather than the pain. I didn’t tear at all despite her being 2 lbs heavier at birth than her petite sister.

Even with breastfeeding I gave myself permission this time to give her formula. Fed is best. She’ll be fine. I repeated it over and over to remind myself. (But tbh I hoped to breastfeed only because formula is expensive as fuck.)

I ended up back in the hospital for eclampsia (a whole fun other story) but that extra time there gave me time to find a way to bf with a Lactation consultant’s help in a way that worked for us. I was tending my shoulders for the pain I knew was coming and still find myself doing it…and have to remind myself that this is not my experience this time. There’s no pain.

So back to this lovey thing. I always said I’d never go against recommendation to not put anything unsafe in a crib before one. Well…this kid doesn’t take a paci. Is this ideal? No. I don’t let her sleep with it at night. I sneak in after she’s asleep and steal it back. And for naps I tuck it under her so it can’t get over her face, and continue to monitor her.

But my point is I’m such a different person these days. Once I acknowledged my anxiety and started getting help it helped me develop coping mechanisms.

Reminding myself things are different.

Focusing on an outside thing and bringing it into focus. A mug. A plant. A picture. A smell. A memory. Something that disrupts the cycle and helps your whole body refocus. Deep breathing. Mentally pushing your shoulders back down out of a tense position like that Lactation consultant did for me in the hospital.

You got this, mama.

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