Five weeks after giving birth, the family, especially I, have been adjusting to the new norm. It feels like wearing a new pair of shoes with the same design that you had before. It looks the same, feels a little familiar but totally new. Has it been easy? In some areas, yes. Is it harder? In some areas, yes. It has been a roller coaster of emotions really and I am not even experiencing PPD (postpartum depression) this time around. New laughter and joy is definitely around but tears and heartbreaks have been experienced by everyone in our little family. Celebrations were made at the same time challenges were faced. What have I learned so far? Nothing is always the same.
Being a new mom to Marcus is smoother than my experience with Lucas. I am more relaxed with him now. I had to download all stored mom-of-a-newborn skills I had stashed away in my body’s memory drive, but all’s well. You know the feeling when you are asked to play a sport or do a skill that you have mastered but you haven’t done in a long while? Yep, that’s how I felt during the first few days. I don’t get all panicky when he cries, nor do I worry every time I see a small red patch on his skin. I carry him with more confidence now and even give him a bath without fear or doubt if I am doing it right. Even the “skill” of waking up in the middle of the night because you know it’s feeding time has become natural to my senses again.
I do have to relearn mothering a new baby because well, he’s different. He may be doing the same, expected activities that an infant his age should do, but moms, each infant is different. I had to stop myself from comparing him with his brother when the latter was a baby because Marcus is different. I reminded myself that if I continue with the comparison, I will lose the moment to cherish his daily milestones that are ever so precious at this stage in his life. I am relearning to be focused on my baby again. I am relearning the conscious curiosity I have for him as he himself is curious about the wide wide world that’s slowly opening up to him. I am relearning motherhood so I can be a present mommy to Marcus.
There are new things that I am simultaneously learning now. Top of the mind is learning how to breastfeed and understanding all the joys and pains that go along with it. I was not able to breastfeed Lucas before but I am determined to do so with Marcus for as long as he wants. I joined sites to equip myself with the knowledge on breastfeeding so we can be successful. I am learning the art to be patient with a little baby who wants to suckle 24/7. I am also adjusting to my body’s demands as my baby demands for sustenance. I frequently visit Chronicles of a Nursing Mom for awareness and guidance. I also connected with my mommy friends who have been successful in breastfeeding. Five weeks after giving birth, I am still exclusively breastfeeding him.
I am also learning how to be a mom of two. Honestly, I didn’t think it would be that difficult to be a mom to a preschooler and a new born. I thought to myself, “how hard can it be?”. Very.
Taking care of 4-year old is easy. Taking care of a new born is also easy. Taking care of both at the same time…that’s difficult. I admit tears poured from me and Lucas. My Lucas, my panganay. He has been battling with an emotion that he probably felt for the first time and he doesn’t even know what it is. He tries so hard to get my attention even to the point of being naughty. Just today, he wrote on our white walls and today is just one of the many times that I have raised my voice to him since I gave birth. I know it is not helping and there is no excuse but when your head aches and your baby doesn’t want to be placed on his bed, seeing actions like this really makes me lose my patience. But then I feel guilty because I haven’t been spending a lot of time with him. I tell you, it breaks my heart to a gazillion pieces especially when he cries after I raise my voice to him. I am learning to be more patient with Lucas. I am learning how to talk to him more because I want him to know that I still love him. I want him to know that I am so proud of him for facing this emotion and adjusting along with the rest of us. I want him to know that I love how he loves his baby brother. I never saw any kind of animosity over Marcus from him. In fact he likes it when he helps take care of his little brother. I am so proud of him. I know he misses me because since I had a difficult pregnancy, we don’t do the things we both enjoyed doing (like running around the house) and I miss him too. I remember the first night we came home from the hospital and I was dead-tired, I woke up briefly from my sleep because I felt him slide his hand to mine. Every night I pray to Mama Mary to guide me to be the mother that she was to both of my sons. It’s difficult, it’s heartbreaking, it’s an unpleasant feeling when you feel short of being a mom to one but this is something that I need to face and to learn. I know I will be a better mother and woman when I grow from this experience. I am confident that my love for them will prevail.
I am also learning how to be a wife who has two kids to my husband. This is the time when intimacies are almost non-existent because it has been replaced by early morning feedings and diaper changes. One day I felt I really miss him. I miss our talks and dating. Our talks have been replaced by cries, demands from an active little boy and sleep (because we both need it). Dates have been replaced by trips to the doctor for check ups. The husband should never be taken for granted even if the wife is a new mom. I am learning to focus on his love language and I try everyday to be present to him as well. I try my best to still have short talks with him even if it’s only for ten minutes. I give him a peck on the cheek or a smack on the lips as often as I can. I say “thank you” for his support to me as often as I can. I know that he is facing similar challenges as a new dad and in our new set up and the least that I can do is to make him feel that I am his partner in this journey.
I am also learning to appreciate myself this time around. I am learning to listen to my body and what it needs. I am learning to take care of myself because if I am healthy, I am at the best condition to be a parent and a wife. I am learning to appreciate my body with all the scars, bulges and fats (in all the wrong places) because this is the body who carried a baby for nine months. It is the same body that is nourishing the same baby and provides unlimited hugs and kisses to that baby’s older brother. I am proud of this body.
I am learning to look for silver linings. My goodness, with all the challenges a new mom faces, she can drown from pessimism if she doesn’t look at the brighter side of things! I limit my time browsing social media sites especially if they cater to so many negativity from other people. I slide through the feed fast and I have a set of people and hashtags to check that I know will brighten up my day (thank goodness for hashtags). I chose specific blogs to read too. Social media is a great distraction from exhaustion but choose who and what you want to see.
This is why I blog. I may not be posting a lot for the past weeks for obvious reasons but I want to share my experiences now. I am reminded of why I started a blog in the first place. It’s not just to document my sons’ milestones. I learn from blog and I want to pay it forward. I write to impart my struggles and successes this time as a mom of two. I would like to help other moms who could be in the same position as I am and hopefully make them feel that hey, they are not alone and whatever heartaches you are feeling at this point in time it’s ok. I am not saying that my experiences are absolute. Motherhood does not have a manual. Motherhood is different from one mom to another. I do believe that it doesn’t hurt though to seek guidance from others to be better. I have been guided well by some great women whom I haven’t met but has reached out to me through their words. I hope that my words will do the same for others.
So yeah, life now is totally different. Motherhood really is a learning journey. It’s fun, fulfilling and scary. All I do for now is pray, hope, and don’t worry. Join me in unraveling this new path? 🙂