Somehow it’s already been 8 weeks since baby Thatcher came into our lives. I wanted to press pause and take a little space on here to reflect on how I’m feeling at this 8 week mark. While I had not yet started this blog when I was 8 weeks postpartum with Hudson, I can tell you from memory that at this time with Hudson I was not doing great. I think I hid it relatively well, but deep down on a soul level I was not in a good place. I was constantly stressing myself out about breastfeeding. It felt like I was either pumping, nursing for an hour at a time (H was not the most efficient feeder + my own inexperience made the process long and painful), or becoming anxious about needing to feed in public (I even wrote a whole post about it on Motherly). Breastfeeding was not natural or wonderful for me. It was daunting and overwhelming and uncomfortable. And I think that took away a lot of my joy in the early newborn days. Not only that, I was so consumed with being the “perfect mom” that I was paralyzed with anxiety + fear over most of the situations we faced as new parents. Each day was a battle of proving to others (and mostly myself) that I could in fact be a good mom.
Fast-forward three years later and this time around things feel so much better. That is not to say that the newborn season is not still challenging. It is. It is definitely still an adjustment getting used to waking up in the middle of the night, but my own heart feels so much more at ease this time around. I actually feel like I can enjoy this season. And I am really thankful for that.
Thatcher really is a mellow baby. He eats and sleeps well. He really only cries hard when we are taking him out of the bath or he wants to be held. He really goes with the flow and at this 8-week point I already feel like we have gotten back into the swing of things. Thatcher really just comes along for the ride and has made it a smooth transition from going from 1 to 2 kids. While Thatcher’s personality is really making things easier, my own experience and confidence as a mom is really changing everything. When he cries or his nap schedule doesn’t go as planned, I no longer take the blame. When Hudson was little, I took everything personally. I was not confident in myself as a mom and I felt like I was failing every time something did not go as I thought it should. And the thing with newborns is that things rarely go as planned. Now that I have 3 years of motherhood under my belt, I have the confidence to keep on smiling even when things might not look picture perfect.
Yesterday, we were going up the escalator with the stroller and Hudson began to fall down. He was falling and Thatcher sleeping in the shaking stroller that I was attempting to keep steady while also making sure my 3 year-old did not get seriously hurt. Kelli 3 years ago would have immediately gone into panic mode. She would have assumed everyone thought she was a terrible mom and there definitely would have been tears on the drive home. Kelli now is much more focused on what matters. I got Hudson up and managed to get all three of us safely off the escalator. I kissed his boo boos and we carried on like nothing happened. I didn’t even have the chance to consider what other people thought. And I think that is part of the reason this newborn season doesn’t feel quite as hard. I have healthy distractions so things are not solely about the baby. My time is pulled in multiple directions so I don’t spend all day stressing about the baby. This is really helping me feel more balanced and more like myself. Along with just being in a different place than I was 3 years ago, here are a few things I am doing differently in this postpartum season:
- I am washing my face and actually getting ready every day. I feel like with Hudson I stayed in my pajamas a lot more. Actually taking the time to get ready and get outside more has helped me feel more like myself.
- I have a more set schedule and routine and I’m fitting the baby into our schedule rather than planning everything around him. This is a big one! I feel like with Hudson, I planned everything around him. This made me a little crazy. Now I’m much happier continuing our active schedule and trusting that the baby will be okay just coming along with us.
- I am not pumping. I started pumping in the hospital when Hudson was born because he wasn’t latching well. I continued to pump almost every day even after he learned to nurse well. This resulted in a freezer full of milk and an overworked mama. I was nursing around the clock and pumping every morning. This was not necessary and I did it because I thought I was supposed to. Thankfully Thatcher is nursing better so I haven’t touched the pump. I only have occasionally used the Hakka and I’m so much happier.
- I am prioritizing other relationships. I was so focused on being the perfect mom, I let my other relationships suffer. This time around, I’m making sure to spend time with friends and to say yes to help so Lance and I can go on dates and get time together. I felt like with Hudson, I always had to be with him to look like a “good mom” but now I understand that to actually be a good mom, I need time alone and time with my husband, friends, and even solo tIme to focus just on Hudson.
- I am moving more! From the beginning of still being in the hospital, I was very intentional about moving more. We did more hospital loops starting the day after surgery. We also began doing family walks around the block just a few days after he was born. I also started to do very short runs (15 minutes) at 7 weeks postpartum. Getting back into moving more has definitely helped me feel so much better. It also has helped with a quicker recovery.
- I am watching less tv. I spent so much time nursing Hudson that I filled that tIme with watching mindless tv. While that was what I needed at the tIme, with Thatcher instead of tv watching, I either just focus on him or read. I have gone through 3 books just by reading during nursing sessions. That is not to say that sometimes I mindlessly still scroll on my phone, I really do try to be more intentional and present during nursing sessions.
- I have trusted God more. I was so fearful when Hudson was a newborn. I feared he was not gaining enough weight. I feared I was failing as a mother. I feared what others thought of me as a mom. My fear drove me to being a bit crazy. I would drive every few days to the hospital to weigh him in the lactation room. I would obsessively nurse him and then put him on the scale to calculate how much milk he was taking in. My fear also drove me to a handful of nervous breakdowns on the bathroom floor. While fear and doubt still has the tendency to creep in, I am not as paralyzed by it. I have more faith that things will work out. The baby will grow and gain the correct amount of weight. The people do not care nearly as much as I think in my head. And I am doing my best as a mom and God will fill in all of my weaknesses.
While there is a lot that I am doing differently, there are also quite a few things that I am doing exactly the same because I learned that it actually worked with Hudson and it is again working with Thatcher. Like those amazing velcro swaddles and having a pacifier always in close proximity. I
I think the main difference in all of this is that I have learned the great power in letting in God’s grace. This mama needs grace still holds true 3 years later with 2 kids and it will hold true for the rest of my life. This mama needs grace all the time, in every moment. In the moments where it looks like I am really nailing this whole 2 kid thing while I patiently read Hudson books in the library, while casually nursing Thatcher at the same time. And also in the moments of chaos when I have one kid falling down the escalator and one hand on the stroller. He is in it all and I need him so desperately. 3 years ago I was trying to prove to myself and the world I was a good mom and I completely failed. Today, I feel lighter, with no expectations or feelings of proving. I know I am far from the perfect mom but I also know that God hand picked me to mother these two boys and I am equipped to do it well. And I know he is with me every step of the way.