So like, you have a baby. Hopefully your labor is easy and there is minimal to no pain. That’s typically never the case but, we’re trying to be helpful here guys. You’re breast-feeding, your bottle feeding–everything’s easy, everything’s perfect, everyone in the hospital is helping you, everyone’s calling you mommy–you love it.
It’s now day 3 in the hospital and you start seeing a small shift in the way the nurses are acting with you. They’re not rushing to help you change the baby’s diaper, they’re not coming in to help you burp the baby after every single feed. Do you know what they’re doing? They’re weaning you off. They’re preparing you for the inevitable, which is your first night home without help.
People talk about pregnancy and people talk about parenthood. People never talk about after birth and they most certainly never talk about your first night home. Why? Why must this be a topic that is off limits?
Let me paint you a picture. I got discharged with Santi at night. He was born in the winter so by 7:30 PM it was pitch black and I was getting home on the coldest day of the year. We went upstairs, talked about how we may die of how tired we were (HA-HA) and then ordered a pizza. I took a shower, fed Santi approximately 150 times and then never slept again. The end.
The entire time I was taking a shower I was worried that Santiago wouldn’t be able to deal with baby Santi’s noises or his cry. Those thoughts were so encompassing to the point that I was only mentally able to last 5 minutes in the shower. Then Santiago wanted to shower but I didn’t want to be alone with Santi. People were asking for photos, all his clothes was big on him, I forgot how to swaddle. Everything I was forced to learn in the past two and a half days had magically disappeared into my mom brain and I had no one around to remind me. I’m typically a quick study but I was sleep deprived, hormonal and confused.
His cry was more shrill than I remember it being in the hospital and I was sure I would kill him. I was now responsible for a human life and I didn’t even have the day at home to prepare. Nope, I was sent off in the dead of night to fend for myself and my child. And like with every aspect of life, everything is worse at night. I didn’t sleep for fear he wasn’t breathing or that I’d miss a feeding (yeah, like he wouldn’t cry if he was hungry)… No one ever sat me down to say “Look, it’s going to be hell. You’re going to be disoriented and confused but you’ll survive. We’ve all been through this–you got this!” Not the nurses, not my mom, not my aunts or cousins or sister in laws. Hell, I’ve had friends who’ve given birth and I didn’t say anything. You come home, feel like you know nothing and probably feel like a failure, I know I did.
It’s awful and nerve wrecking and it feels never ending but guess what? It does end. The sun definitely comes up the next day and it’s one more day you survived, that your kid survived. It’s a hell of a night but it’s true what they don’t say–you’ll come out of it a better momma!
By the way, don’t even get me started on what it’s like to come home with a newborn and a baby at home. Now that’s a trauma…