Today Miss Vada is 6 months old. Which flew by, seriously, gone like the wind. Just to keep me up to date on all the fascinating stuff that is motherhood, here’s a few thoughts about the last 6 months.
1. Harder Than I Thought:
The first 3 months were real real hard. And really sad. And so un satisfying. If you ask me, women should give birth to a 6 month old, because that would be the REAL pot of gold at the end of vomit-filled-swollen-feet rainbow. A newborn is more like one final kick in the teeth to the “start of motherhood” in my opinion. It’s like, were you totally beat down and exhausted by pregnancy? Here’s a newborn to really push you over the edge! I mean seriously, who DOESN’T have a little postpartum depression? Uh but six months old…it’s a dream. Not only do I LOVE my baby, but I actually LIKE her now too! She’s funny as hell and about the best thing to look at. In the moment though, that rawness that is becoming a mother, drowning in newborn hell, you might not realize it’s that bad. You’re so overwhelmed that you just kind of roll with it. You look for the bright side: she wont be this small forever, she sleeps in my arms, she’s all sorts of exciting. And that’s what keeps you afloat. That and the guilt that…uh…you asked for this, right? By four months, when that personality creeps in and your slump of a baby blooms into a little person, THAT my friends is worth pregnancy….maybe….well, maybe some people’s pregnancies. Also, seriously please add “Did you ever think you could love someone this much” and anything else that refers to the supposed “instant bond” that a mother has with her child to my list of FOOT IN MOUTH sayings. That shit is stupid, and I’m sorry, but it takes me a while to “fall in love” with someone, even if they did just crawl out of my vagina. Saying things like that to a new mom is just rude. You don’t know how they feel, and to set those high standards of instant love and affection can cause a lot of women grief. So yeah, I have no shame in saying it took me until probably 3 months to really feel like me and Vada were pals. Now I love her lots, and probably wouldn’t trade her for a million dollars (;
2. Pregnancy Hell Haunts Me Still:
Natural Childbirth, it was a breeze! I could do it a thousand times! Well, at least what I remember of it. It’s 100% true that you forget how awful it is and you think you could give birth any old day. People told me the same would be true of pregnancy, that I would forget the hell and remember it fondly once my bundle of love was here. I AM HERE TO TELL YOU THAT IS A LIE! I honestly think I have PTSD regarding my pregnancy. I got pregnant in early February of last year, so this entire spring I feel like I am constantly remembering last spring when I was in the THICK of despair. I remember last Easter when we told my Grandparents that I was pregnant, and I ate a bunch of watermelon, and I went home in such gut wrenching pain that I had to go to bed at 4pm to sleep it away. I remember not being able to work in my garden because I felt so awful all day long. I remember as the weather got warmer that I was stuck inside vomiting day in and day out. I have thought to myself over and over “thank god I’m not pregnant this year” dramatic, yes. The day we decide to have another baby is the day I STOP remembering how awful it all was. The sickness, the soreness, the tailbone pain, the indigestion, all of it. No babies any time soon for me.
3. Teeth And Sleep And Eat:
I’m gonna be the first to admit that my baby is a DREAM when it comes to new stages. She sleeps like a champ from 7:30pm-7:30am every night, with only one or two wake-ups where I nurse her for a minute and lay her back in her crib. She got two teeth last week, and besides one day where she had a little rash on her hands and some red cheeks, there was no crying or drama. The teeth popped through and now she enjoys biting everyone who comes near her. Vada has also been going to a nanny once a week, and has been babysat by a couple of people, all with a stellar “she’s so happy” report card. We have also started her on some solid foods (I’ll probably do a post on just that soon) and continues to nurse great, drink from a bottle, eat purees, or eat solid foods just fine. We also recently took a trip 3 hours away to visit my friend for the night, and she was a star traveler. So yeah I believe the worse the pregnancy the better the baby. (:
4. Depression and Anxiety:
About a month ago I was feeling really overwhelmed, angry and sad. I felt like if any situation came up where we were rushed, running late, had to bring lots of stuff, forgot something, was letting someone down, that it threw me into a pit of despair. I melted and lost it. I was so angry at myself all the time. I knew I was fucking up over and over, that I was being unreliable and that people were annoyed with me. I felt like I was letting Vada down, that I was rushing her and depriving her of structure and comfort and stability. I felt panicked all the time. I also became extremely paranoid. I only thought people were judging me, my family, my friends, anyone. In my head I could hear everyone saying bad things about me, making judgements, criticizing who I was, and the choices I was making. I thought my friends and family were all talking about me behind my back. I KNEW that this was in my head, but I couldn’t stop it. I cried and cried to Mr. Gaunt, and he did his best to reassure me, but I couldn’t stop feeling the panic of failure. I sought medical help from my doctor, a friend who is a counselor, and from close friends who have dealt with depression/anxiety/postpartum issues. Everyone assures me that therapy or medication would help and that I should look into it. My. Doctor offered to write me a prescription, and I really thought hard about whether that was something I wanted to do. I felt a little scared, but I also felt some relief that I had options. I also talked with my best friend Mallory about her life, and her family routines, and I realized I was seriously lacking any sort of routine. From there I decided I needed to be stricter about our family routines of dinner, cleaning, bedtime, etc. I also went to my mom (who is my business partner) and basically surrendered to my shortcomings. I declared that I was unable to meet her needs and the 50% of the business that she needed me to be. That I could not do it, that it was destroying me, and that the guilt and anguish I was feeling over failing at being a mother and business owner had become too much. My mom and I talked, and we are actively working towards being more accepting and zen about our business relationship. We both realize that we were hoping that the baby would fit easier into our business lifestyle, and that hasn’t been the case. We are working through this time as kindly as we can, and I think we both feel like this business relationship will continue to evolve, and grow and become more comfortable. As Vada gets older and I become more confident and comfortable as a mother, that my role in our business will evolve and hopefully I can one day be the other half, instead of the other quarter that I am currently only able to fulfill. I am thankful for my hard working mom who is making this sacrifice of her own time and energy in order to let me get my barrings. With all this talk and change, and routine, I began to feel slightly better, but the real change came 20 days ago when Mr. Gaunt and I started doing the WHOLE30. The WHOLE30 is a 30 day cleanse and “re-set” to the way you eat food. We still have 9 days to go, but I will say it has changed so much about us in 20 short days. It actually took me only about 2 weeks to realize my mood was significantly better, even Mr. Gaunt noticed. Now starting week 4, I can genuinely say I feel 80% better. The anxiety is nearly gone. I feel a sense of purpose, I feel strong and clear-headed and genuinely positive about my day to day. I plan to write a lengthy post on all of this after we are done with the 30 days, but I will say that changing my diet has brought new light to my life. I still have rough times, but they are much more fleeting, and I no longer feel paralyzed by my emotions.
5. Go Play:
The best thing about 6 months old is that Vada can play by herself for a substantial amount of time. I mean not like HOURS, but like 45 minutes sometimes! Depending on her mood I can usually get tasks like cooking dinner, laundry, a craft project, even an episode of Shark Tank in while she entertains herself! This is MAGIC PEOPLE! We use to fight through making dinners, it felt depressing and rushed and so unattainable. Now I put her in her high chair in the kitchen and throw some sweet potatoes on her tray and couple of toys and we listen to music and I cook and she babbles and life is so much better. She also screams waaaay less in the car now. 90% of car rides are perfectly pleasant. She plays with her toys and yells along to the music, or takes a nap. Lastly we can now genuinely play with her. She sturdy enough that we can “baby-rough house” with her, and make her laugh, and play little games with her. She sees either of us and gets so excited and kicks her feet and flails her hands and screams in joy. Vada is now sitting up on her own, rolling over, and being a big girl as often as she can. We start swim lessons at the end of this month!
So that’s where we are at. It’s been a really fun, really sad, really frustrating, really adorable 6 months in our house. Every day has its challenges, and every day we get up and try do the best we can. Also we like to take a million photos of our baby and I wont apologize, I’m just one of those moms. (: So Happy 6 Months sweet girl. You can take your time with the next 6 months, thanks!