One Month Postpartum-What's It Been Like to Be a Mom
On July 24th, Reid and I welcomed our baby girl Ellie, into the world. For months prior to her arrival, we were going through name after name unable to pick one that we both liked. One sunny day in June on a drive to the North Shore of Oahu, the name Ellie popped in my head. Reid's late grandmother's name was Eleanore but many knew her as Ellie for short. We both liked the idea of naming her after our grandparents (Ellie has my grandpa Haru's name in her middle name) to keep her connected to her past and to appreciate the loved ones who came before her.
The name "Ellie" which means light or bright, shining one also seemed perfect because we had such a challenging time conceiving (click here to watch our story). Her presence even as an embryo in my belly felt so magical and bright. The overall birth went well (click here to watch our birth story!) and now I am one month into being a mom. The days have felt long, but the weeks have flown by.
It's 11 pm and as a lay on my bed, I look to my right into Ellie's basinet. There she is tightly bundled in her muslin swaddle sleeping so calmly and peacefully. I can hear soft sighs and light breathing coming from her. I think to myself, I can't believe that she came out of me. Minutes later, I hear a little movement, some light whimpers and then soft crying because now she's hungry. I pick her up slowly, wrap her tightly in my arms for little bit to try and calm her down. Her eyes light up when she sees the boppy pillow because she knows that she will be eating shortly. I feed her until her body is calm and her eyes start to glaze over and close. We end our nightly feeding ritual (which happens every 3 hours) with a diaper change and a gentle rock on the rocking chair till she calmly goes back to sleep.
The first couple weeks of motherhood was a shock to my body. Not only did I have to heal from actually giving birth, but as a new mom, we are expected to breastfeed every 3 hours around the clock (which literally means no sleep), know how to console and soothe baby when he or she cries, and adapt back to the daily responsibilities and expectations that were had before baby. Honestly, it's a lot...and that first month of "being a mom" is probably one of the most challenging months that I've gone through so far.
My days have felt long but the weeks have passed by quickly. My daily routine was filled with me sitting on the couch to feed Ellie or to pump. While she took short naps throughout the day, I wrestled with my limited choices of taking a short nap, eating something, cleaning (like doing laundry) or using the time to pee or poop. Other than these things, I really didn't get much else done. Since my husband Reid had to return to work a week after she was born, days felt lonely sometimes. When Reid returned home from work, he always did his best to help with any household chores and cooking dinner. Some days felt longer than others (depending on how tired I was) and on some days, I would feel more frustrated than others when I wanted to get simple tasks done but did not succeed due to baby's needs from me that day. This is the reality of my postpartum experience during the first month. I was incredibly grateful when family and friends would stop by and bring us food or just give words of encouragement. Everyone said that it gets a little easier...
Now as I'm writing this, I am going on 6 weeks postpartum. Life with a newborn is definitely changing. Ellie and I have a routine for breastfeeding now and we both feel much more confident with the process. She is growing rapidly and sadly no longer fits newborn diapers or clothes. She is able to sleep for 4-5 hours on some nights and overall just feels much sturdier when we pick her up. These of course are all good things, but as a mom, I realize how fast this time with her is going to pass. I constantly am reminding myself that every stage is temporary and it's so important to enjoy every stage that Ellie is at. It's so important to have the right perspective when going through a challenging time like the first month of postpartum. Everything is temporary...
Of course all this goes with the understanding that my heart is completely full of love and gratefulness to have our baby. I've never felt so much love and fear for someone at the same time. I remember being pregnant and always feeling a little bit of worry for the little one in my tummy. Is she alive? Is she developing okay? Now that Ellie is here, I realize that my worry as a mother will probably never go away. I will always wonder if she is okay, if she is healthy and well, and if she is happy. The amount of responsibility that I have for my child as a first time mom is quite overwhelming and honestly, at the end of the day, I just want to feel like I'm doing a good job as a parent.
I'm learning so much everyday as a mom and I will continue to share my thoughts and perspective on motherhood. Ellie is teaching me a lot about myself and how to be a better and more patient person everyday. Thank you for reading!