The First 6 Weeks: How I’m Doing

Hi, friends!

Over the past several weeks, I’ve received a number of comments about how I make life with a newborn look “easy.” Sure, I do! It’s the Internet. It’s like reality TV. I only show you guys the “easy” parts. I mean, would you really want to read a website that is all complain-y and negative? I wouldn’t. Who has time for that?!

Caring for a little person is hard work. It’s actually one of the toughest things I have ever done””both emotionally and physically. But, of course, it’s all worth it (smiles! snuggles!), and I wouldn’t want my life any other way. Even still, the first 6 weeks with Q definitely weren’t a walk in the park either, so here are some honest thoughts and tidbits from my experience so far.

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If I had to grade myself on how things went during the first 6 weeks, I’d give myself a B/B+. Things definitely weren’t perfect (far from it at times), but overall I think I adjusted to motherhood without too much trouble. Of course, there were times when I felt totally overwhelmed and frustrated, but, for the most part, I felt like I coped well and developed the new mommy skills that I needed to properly care for Q.

The first several nights home from the hospital, I didn’t sleep at all because I was worried that I wouldn’t hear Q when he cried. Every little noise he made would jolt me awake. My heart would literally skip a beat, so I was on edge the entire night. The only way I could sleep was if I knew Mal was with him, so I’d often go to bed around 7:00 PM while Mal was on baby duty. Over time, however, I realized that I would, in fact, hear Q if he cried, so I eventually got over it and now I can sleep when he does.

I spent so much time sitting on my butt breast feeding Q, I thought I might get bedsores. Truthfully, I hated being so sedentary and asking Mal to do so much for me, but Q needed to eat, so I eventually accepted it and made the best of it. (Instagram photos at all hours of the day? You bet!)

With regard to breast feeding, Q and I were lucky that things went so smoothly. The little guy takes after me and loves to eat, so he got the hang of it right away. If anything, I was the one who was awkward and weird in the beginning! I didn’t know how to hold him and got all anxious when he didn’t latch on right away. But we kept at it and we’re pros now.

I haven’t had any postpartum depression symptoms, but I definitely experienced a case of the “baby blues.” I cried at least once a day for probably a week straight. I’m typically not much of a crier, so I thought I was losing it””I think poor Mal thought I was too! I knew I was being crazy and emotional from postpartum hormones, but I couldn’t stop myself from crying over the littlest things. Eventually, I guess my hormones regulated themselves because I haven’t had any crazy crying bouts since.

Speaking of crying, there was one night that Q cried and cried and cried. I was home alone with him and there seemed like there was nothing I could do to calm him down. When I finally got him to relax, I immediately burst into tears. It was such an intense reaction, it actually surprised me. Seeing my little guy so upset for so long totally broke my heart. I don’t know how parents do it!

At times, I really missed my old social life. Mal and I have great people in our lives, but things are definitely different nowadays. With a newborn, you can’t take an impromptu trip to New York City or stay out all night boozing face without some serious planning or coordination. (Well, at least we haven’t figured it out yet.) Getting to know Q and his schedule has slowly helped us get back into the swing of things, but, truthfully, the first 6 weeks were kind of lonely.

I still have anxiety about taking Q for car rides. Not so much him actually riding in the car, but getting him into the car and hoping (and praying) that he doesn’t get upset. Driving with a crying baby totally stresses me out because I hate not being able to comfort him.

I have moments when I feel like a sucky mother, like when Q spits up all over himself or he turns beet red because he’s crying so hard. I’m trying not to be so hard on myself, but it’s still tough. Mal has been great about giving me pep talks and keeping things in perspective, so life with a newborn gets a little bit easier everyday.

Moms, how were the first 6 weeks for you? Any advice?

104 Comments

  1. This was a beautiful post! I have a wee one arriving in Jan and although VERY excited, the trepidation is INTENSE as well. I also like that you compared your blog to “reality TV”, I may just have to borrow that for my blog, as I agree, I write to keep things upbeat and positive. But you sharing this today did not feel negative, it just felt like an honest, wonderful look at the truth. Keep up the amazing work as a mum and a blogger that I always click to when I need a smile;)

  2. Just thought I’d share a funny story along the “my baby is in bed and I’m smothering them” vein but more lighthearted. Sometime in the first two weeks of Layla’s life I woke up to my husband trying to put his finger in my mouth to suck on (what we did sometimes when she wouldn’t take a pacifier) and soothing me by touching my head and saing “Shh, baby it’s ok”. Lol!

  3. Right there with you Tina! Thanks for being so honest! Hang in there, we’re doing a great job 🙂

  4. The first few months really are hard. I have a 5 week-old who is my third and I still don’t have it all figured out! I can say that at least one decent night of sleep makes you feel like a new person and having a supportive/helpful partner makes all the difference!

  5. My baby is 3 weeks old and so I really appreciate this post and hope you’ll do more of them! I’ve been so impressed seeing you leave the house for crossfit, etc…because right now I’m lucky if I get a 10 minute walk with the dog on my own. Everyone keeps saying things will get easier…so I’m just keeping that in mind. Not sleeping sucks!

  6. Hi Tina,

    The first six weeks were harder in some ways (and easier in other ways) than I was expecting. This was because I had to have a c-section which I wasn’t expecting, so the recovery and postoperative pain was tough. After everything I’d read with regards to sleep and breastfeeding though, things were relatively easy. (My baby just happens to be super easy-going). The only advice I can give is that things do get easier, and now that my baby has finished breastfeeding I have my energy back in a BIG way and I just feel the urge to go running a lot (and I try to as much as I can!) On that note, you are very inspiring and I absolutely love reading Carrots’N’Cake! I have not written to you before but now seems like a good time as we are both the same age with new babies, we love exercising and positive thinking, and so I feel that we have a lot in common even though we’ve never met. I recently started my own blog: Hot Tea, Travel, and Thyme, and it focuses on travel (I’m an Australian living in the USA), fitness, food, and everything else healthy-lifestyle-related. http://hotteatravelandthyme.blogspot.com
    Thanks for the motivation and inspiration and all the best with your new baby x

  7. It is nerve wracking but totally normal. Soon this phase will seem like a distant memory. Good for you for getting active again. I wish I had done that sooner. Maybe if I have another one I will get my butt in gear faster! I’m sure it helped with improving your mood and energy. Also kudos to Mal for being such an involved father!!!

  8. Love this post! As a mom of a 2.5 year old, I look at all these newborns around me and think oh I what a time of being a double edge sword. While its great, they don’t go anywhere, they sleep all the time, they also wakeup all the time, can communicate well, and are pretty demanding littly buggers. I remember a J&J commerical came out right when I had my son, it was a mom bathing her baby, and I remember sobbing every time I saw it, the Message was ‘ your doing alright mom’ IT was a great message. THose first few weeks are tough and overwhelming ,but after about 6weeks you start to get into a groove and routine, gain some confidence. Just remember, you are doing all right!

  9. I have a four month old and if there is anything I have learned, it’s that the second you think you have the “mom” thing down, baby throws a curve ball at you! I used to get so down on myself, but I quickly realized that this is going to happen ALL the time and that as long as I love her, I’ll figure it out. The first couple weeks can be tough, but once their personality really starts to push through and their laughs, smiles and cooing become daily activities, you’ll know you are doing everything right for your little man 🙂

  10. Thank you for this post Tina. Truthfully, I was a little turned off by the lack of realness happening! As a blogger and single mama to a busy almost two year old boy, I feel like I need to share both the good and the bad about my life. Of course my blog isn’t a big complain/whine fest. But I do like to be honest with my struggles and show my readers that my life is far from perfect. I personally think that the internet lets us perceive our lives as being perfect, and that others strive to reach that level of ‘perfection’ in their own lives and are becoming increasingly more unhappy because it’s just not how life works. So, I’m glad that you opened up about your struggles in the first few weeks. All of those things are completely normal and a lot of new moms struggle to realize that. There will be many moments of feeling like a sucky mom, but trust me, you’re not. You’re doing a great job, even on the hard days. Keep it up, and keep sharing the real part of your life, not just the good.

  11. It gets better, I promise! My little guy is 4months old , and he
    Just started riding in the car without screaming. My husband couldn’t take
    The crying in the car so much that I would ride in the back with the baby to
    Keep him happy! We didn’t have the best luck with breast feeding, due to him being
    In NICU, so we do breast and bottle.. So good job!! He’s precious!!

  12. I love your honesty! My baby girl is not 6 months old, and I can honestly say that the first 6 weeks were some of the hardest for me in terms of sleep. I didn’t get PPD either, but I did get the blues each night before bed because I knew I wasn’t going to be able to sleep. It gets better! You are doing an amazing job mama, and you are such an inspiration for me in terms of exercise!

  13. The first 6 weeks were super hard for me too! The first week I barely slept, and then our daughter had horrible colic from 2week on. Im talking literally crying from 9pm-2am every night and there was no calming her down car…it turned into crying all day and night until we realized she had a severe milk allergy and eventually had to bryon put on special formula and it cleared up almost literally over night. she’s 18 months now, and all i can say is it definitely gets easier as they grow 🙂

  14. I had a tricky adjustment with the social life aspect but it helped when I joined a mom’s club. I would definitely recommend doing that! 🙂

  15. The first 12 weeks for me sucked. I’m just not a “newborn” mom. I like other peoples newborns but I like my sleep. I like being the mom of kids who can talk and who have more predicable schedules. Unfortunately, we found out at two our son has hearing loss (he wears hearing aids now) so it has taken longer for him to speak, but now he’s doing well. It’s ok to not like all phases of your kids development and still love them! We are better parents at some ages than at others.

  16. I’ve always loved your honesty, its one of the reasons why I keep coming back to this blog. But I think you are pretty spot on how those early weeks/months go (my daughter is now 6.5) especially hitting on missing your old social life. What I had to keep reminding myself was that those events that, for now, I couldn’t attend will always be there waiting for my husband and I when we could begin socializing again. Motherhood can be incredibly isolating and luckily Mal is home with you before school starts up for him again. Once he goes back, I recommend finding a mom/baby group to join; that group was my savior during my six months of maternity leave.

    Also, remember this when you are having a rough day (of which there will be many): the days crawl but the years fly. Good luck Tina!

  17. The first six weeks are always an adjustment, especially with your first! Don’t worry, the social life returns slowly but surely. You’ll get the hang of taking him places for dates ( babywearing rules!) for the first few months and then having a sitter will be less stressful as he gets older.

    They get to be much less maintenance over time too, after a bit they no longer get gassy, they feed someone less and get a lot better at it, they sleep more (!), and communicate better. Plus, you become a pro after a while and it isn’t nearly as consuming when you don’t have to think so much about each thing.

    You’re doing great and I’m so glad you have a supportive husband to help you. It’s a blessing!

  18. Sounds like you are doing a great job and remember no one ever said this mom thing was easy…. the best piece of advice I got when my daughter was young was “if they are crying the are breathing”, a if you let them cry a couple of minutes while you take a deep breath or eat something they are learning that you will come and save them. Taking a couple extra minutes to pick them up is okay as you need to take care of yourself sometimes… if it’s only to go pee. 🙂 Enjoy every second it goes by too fast….

  19. Although I can see how negative/whiney posts can be annoying – honesty and being upfront is really appreciated and valued more than blog posts that are just 100% positive and hiding the bad stuff.

    Being a parent brings on the “new normal” – your life will never be the same again. But you will get somewhat used to it (especially the lack of sleep because yeah, until they are teenagers….). As baby grows, things change and some things intensify. For example, my son can pretty much tell me what he is crying BUT in the 3 minutes that I’ve sat down to write this comment – he has completely destroyed my office and taken out all my heels and is now walking around in them. Even working out may be completely different in a couple years – I do not bring my son to the track – he just goes psycho and wants to run all the time – which sounds cute, but is awfully dangerous when there is 6+feet guys jumping hurdles 🙂

  20. Tina, this post was SOOOOO refreshing for me. I love your blog, but I have to be honest and say that I was getting frustrated by the lack of realness in your posts since having Q. I agree with you that you don’t want your blog to be a whine-fest or negative, but I think being real and truthful about your experiences also keeps your readers coming back because it makes you more relatable. I loved this post because it reminded me of the adjustments my hubby and I had to make when we had our son almost 2 years ago. We missed being able to pick up and go too and also missed social functions etc. These are all very normal feelings and I’m so relieved to hear you share some of what you’ve been going through. Thanks for that! You are doing amazing and keep the honest posts a-comin ~ there’s a big difference between negativity and honesty and your writing style isn’t negative at all. 🙂

  21. The whole first year was hard for me. I didn’t take to the sleep deprivation well (who does, really?) and I really, really missed my old life. Now Squish is 2 1/2 and we’re expecting our second in November. The husband and I keep looking at each other like, “what are we thinking, doing this again?” but I know this is the last baby I’ll have and there are so many good parts (such as the smiles and snuggles you mention!) that I’m good for a do-over, and will be more present this time instead of wishing things would be different/easier!

  22. I love this post. I went through a lot of similar experiences and it brought back memories of having a newborn. You are doing great! Everything you have experienced is totally normal and even though stressful now you will cherish the long hours spent with just you and baby. Even the ones where you’re both crying!

  23. My goodness girl, you’re doing great! I have an almost 2 year old and there are still days I question what I’m doing! Truth be told, we’re all learning as we go! Just know nobody has the answers and you’re doing the best you can!

  24. Hang in there!! Something magical happens when you get to three months and things start to get easier! Definitely normal to miss your social life- its one of those things people don’t seem to warn you about. I found it really helpful to try to find other moms with peanuts somewhere around the same age to get together with. That way you’re being social but can talk about what yall are going through. You look fabulous btw 🙂

  25. Aw Tina! I felt all those things with my first – the baby blues and crazy hormones, the missing my social life (like crazy!), feeling like a crappy mom sometimes, and OMG the driving with a newborn in the car is HORRIBLE! But ya know what? I felt the same way again with my second! Haha! I knew intellectually that everything would pass, and that I’m a good mom, but ya just can’t help how you feel sometimes 🙂 it goes with the territory! And it’s totally okay.

  26. Your post had me in tears… because even though I don’t have a baby (3 & 5 years old), it never changes! Taking care of tiny people is HARD and tiring and don’t expect anyone who doesn’t have tiny people to understand the constant hardness. Even people with older children won’t remember the daily struggle to just accomplish life. Right now, I choose kids over cleaning most of the time. My house is a whirlwind, although we always wear clean clothes and eat off clean dishes (ooooorrrrr use paper).

    Having a child is like having someone take one of the most important pieces of you and removing it from your body. Now you have to worry and care for something that isn’t completely in your control. My oldest goes to Kindergarten this fall and I tear up just thinking about him being in a different environment and not getting to play all day and a million OTHER things that don’t really need to be worried about. But we do… and it is OK. It is OK to worry.

    And in the end, it is SO REWARDING!!! I didn’t realize how a smile or a hug from such a small human could just make everything so wonderful! From the smiles, hugs, wet kisses… awesomeness.

    Thank you for keeping it real, sharing your struggles as well as joys is so awesome for other mothers to hear. We read your blog because that is what you do, you don’t hide and only tell the great stuff. You share life!

  27. Hi Tina,
    I have been a long time reader, but this is my first time writing to you. I have been reading your blog for 4 years or so now and I have always found that your posts were enjoyable to read and relatable. I have to disagree with you though when you say that no one wants to read about your struggles. To me, that is what keeps me coming back to blogs. As a new mother myself, I have found it hard to read your blog because I haven’t had the easiest time transitioning to motherhood, and I know many women who have felt the same. I haven’t been eagerly getting back into shape, breastfeeding has not been easy, and I agonize over my daughter’s dirty diapers and sleep schedule. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a wonderful and amazing experience and I love my daughter so much, but it can be very overwhelming and hard. I think mothers are ashamed to admit when they feel sad, tired, unhappy, stressed, etc. When more women are open about these feelings, it helps relieve the mommy guilt and shame of not bouncing back and naturally LOVING life as a new mom. It’s been nice to get a glimpse into your life as a mom and to know that it’s not always “easy” for you. I appreciate the times you are honest about your struggles just as much as I enjoy reading about your CrossFit journey and great new recipes you have tried.

    Please don’t take offense at what I have written. I just hope it helps you feel more comfortable to share the tough times, because we have all been there and it’s good to know you aren’t alone.

  28. I follow your blog regularly and I read this post before I had my baby who is now two weeks old. My reaction when I read it the first time was so very different than when I read it just now. I totally feel like I can relate now and feel like I’m not a horrible mother when they are times that my little one has inconsolable crying fits that there is nothing I can to fix, just like you describe. Or if we are having a not so great feeding and all I want to do it make it go smoothly. Thanks so much for your honesty. Its good to know that sometimes this full time mommying can be frustrating and its okay if we don’t get it perfect 100% of the time.

  29. Pingback: Quinn Turns One

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