It's around 2AM. Another long night has begun. I've just fed my baby, changed her diaper, and successfully put her to sleep in my K'tan baby carrier. My husband took the night shift last night because I wasn't feeling so well. And now, he's completely knocked out - looks like I'm on my own for a while! I'm rocking side to side in my chair to keep my baby sleeping for the time being. She'll be up again soon. She's going through yet another growth spurt/cluster feeding, which consists of short and frequent nursing and fussiness - very labor intensive!
I see why this stage of parenthood is often described as dreadful. I've heard so many horror stories about this period - about the sleeplessness, the crying, the never-ending feedings, the diapers... It's a completely new territory for first timers like myself. There's a learning curve. But you get better with practice, and things get easier - hopefully anyway.
Some parents say it only gets harder as you go because babies get bigger and more complex. And oh the dreadful teenage years! Everybody who's been there loves to warn you about the teenage years.
I believe it. It will only get more complicated. And right now - with this newborn who's so tiny and completely dependent on me - will be the easiest thing in hindsight, so I should enjoy it while it lasts. I agree, and I am. That's how life seems to go. Whatever I have right now will not ever be back, or be the same. I have to absorb it now, or it's gone forever.
I knew early on a baby changes everything. Duh. But I mean, it really changes EVERYthing. And I used to be one of those young people who's scared of the changes. I was never eager to start a family. I only vaguely knew I eventually wanted children. But for a long time, I feared the commitment. Wouldn't it take away my independence? My freedom? My precious solitude? What about my youthful body? Wouldn't a baby ruin everything?
Having just had my first baby after being married for almost nine years, I've gotten a lot of questions and comments from various places about this topic of babies and parenthood. It was annoying as heck, and I still think it's really none of anyone's business. And I personally think all these fears are valid and should not be ignored. I took my time, and I'm glad I did.
I marvel at this tiny, beautiful creature on a daily, or more like.. hourly basis. There's a constant, overwhelming sense of love. Yes, I'm exhausted. And I realize my days of being spontaneous are pretty much over. But surprisingly, I am not bothered by it. I am quite at peace with all of it. Life flows, and I'm moving along with it. It feels right. Things are changing as usual, and I am still me - fortunately, a version with enough perspective to not dwell on the past or the future, able to take in the good stuff. And this, right now, is good stuff.