Mama and Papa

2:30a.m. Mama is trying to sleep in the bedroom but is covered in sweat from hormonal changes. Papa is with the baby who is in his bassinet in the living room, Papa on duty while I sleep, giving me time to further recover from this surgery.

I am thinking about our roles. Abt the astonishing transformation that happened when we came home from the hospital. I was in a great deal of pain from the C-section and would occasionally collapse on the floor crying from a sharp shooting pain on my right side. ST would cry and I would cry at the same time, and Papa would rush between both of us, taking care of us. He was in charge of the nest at these moments and soothed us both without blinking an eye.

When we first came home from the hospital, everything was chaos. There were piles of stuff everywhere. We had no help from family so we had to do all of this organizing and cleaning and putting things away while taking care of this little baby peanut and while taking care of me. On top of this, ST was tongue-tied and could not breast-feed until we had his frenulum snipped, so I was supposed to be pumping 8 to 12 times a day, for 15 to 20 minutes, every two hours. It was impossible to keep up with. But I tried. More on this later…

But what I want to write about is the immediate transformation that happened in the hospital and when we got home. Almost immediately after his birth, DH and I started calling each other Mama and Papa. It came as naturally as if we’d been doing it our whole lives. “How much did he eat this time, Mama?” “Hey Papa, come look at this!” “Can you help me with this Mama?” “Thanks for doing that, papa.” It was amazing and matter-of-fact at once.

Nature is extraordinary. We just became these other people. Our relationship changed dramatically in a nanosecond.

Now I’m noticing our tendencies in these new roles…I think DH has some insecurities about his own masculinity, and has a tendency towArd being worried about fragilizing ST. He doesn’t baby talk as much and he doesn’t worry as much. During ST blood draw, DH was going, “Good man, ST! Good man.” To a one week old with a giant-looking needle in his arm. While I was cooing and singing and stroking him, tears streaming down my cheeks. That moment captures the difference perfectly.

I want to be sure that we are carefully caring for this new life, and I’m constantly aware that we are new parents who are learning every day… And we have a lot to learn. I’m more protective, I think.

Just wanted to jot this down before what I hope will be a few more hours or uninterrupted rest. It’ll be interesting to see how this dynamic plays out. For the most part, we work together so well it shocks both of us. It’s like we are made for this and for doing it together as a team. But I think I want him to be less concerned about STs masculinity and toughness while he wants me to be wary of fragilizing. I said to DH, jeez he was just born…he’ll be a man for most of his life. It’s okay for him to be a baby now.

In other news my parents are here and we had a lovely visit today! My mom and I gave ST his very first bath in the bathtub (fits into the kitchen sink). Boy did he like having two ladies cooing over him, washing his little creases, pouring the warm water over his little belly.

Mama’s gotta try to sleep now…

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2 Comments

  1. It sounds like you are going through many of the same things I did when my son was born. I also had an unexpected c-section, breastfeeding troubles that led to round the clock pumping, and a baby diagnosed with conditions that kept us running to specialists in the early days. Hold on, mama. Although it sounds like you are not in quite the dark place I fell into, these are all really hard things. All of them are risk factors for PPD, as is infertility itself even once a baby is born. All I can say is to keep loving on your baby. That is what helped me the most. I cuddled and kissed and wore him as much as I could, while also taking naps each day when I could. At three weeks, he had more neck control and I felt safe enough to sleep with him in bed, and that was very helpful to my healing as well.
    I felt quite alone. Hee I had waited for years for this baby, and then it was so hard.
    But it will get easier, day by day. Four weeks was a turning point, and then seven weeks, and it just continued. I didn’t write too much on my blog because I was exhausted and upset, but perhaps it would have helped,
    Keep loving your baby and I hope that the health issues work themselves out. Hugs and strength to you.

    Reply
  2. Same here. Definitely some similarities. My water had broken unexpectedly so when I came home, there were the pants I had peeled off still lying on the bathroom floor and our lovely dinner sitting untouched on the table. It was like returning to the scene of a crime.
    Those first few weeks had me running (well hobbling my broken c section body) btwn two different NICU’s, breastfeeding one baby around the clock and pumping like a mad woman for the other. My supply was the pits because of all the stress and had to supplement with formula. I feel completely fine about that now, but felt like a big failure at the time.
    Anyway, just take it as it comes, get sleep when you can get it, ask for help when you need it. And just keep drinking in that sweet baby love.

    Reply

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