Three months. That’s what I tell every new mom or soon to be mom that asks me how I survive. You just do. Although it feels like it, time doesn’t stand still. It moves (oh so slowly) but it does. For me, all three of my kids seemed like little terrorists from the moment them crept out of the birthing canal until the day they turned 3 months. Maybe they were better children, maybe I was a better mom, but month three has always come like a breath of fresh air.
Ok, so you had the baby, you’re home and the baby just turned 1 week old. Adrenaline is wearing off and you just realized you’re EXHAUSTED. And not exhausted like how you felt after going to sleep at 3 am and waking up at 12 for brunch. I’m talking terrorist-like, sleep deprivation tired.
In my case it went like this:
6:00 PM—sun starts to go down, my anxiety starts to creep up.
6:30-7:00 PM—bathe baby, massage baby, feed baby. Put baby to sleep.
7:45 PM—baby is asleep, so now I contemplate what I should do until their next feeding at 11:00 PM. Do I sleep? Do I watch tv? If he sleeps through his 11:00 PM feeding do I wake him?
10:50 PM—I ask Santiago what I should do if the baby doesn’t wake up. He’s all for force-feeding the baby, regardless of what the pediatrician says. Although he hasn’t gone to medical school, he just knows the baby needs to eat.
10:56 PM—I’m now in tears because I don’t want to wake him up if he doesn’t want to eat.
12:30 AM—we decided not to wake the baby. He slept through his feeding so maybe he’ll sleep the night. I decide to finally fall asleep.
12:31 AM—baby is awake and famished. I may not even have time to change his diaper.
12:33 AM—I’m preparing the milk. Santiago is changing the diaper. Everyone is crying. I drop formula on the floor. I can’t tell how much I’ve scooped. I must start with a new bottle.
2:00 AM—everyone is quiet and baby is finally asleep. Except me No, I know I’ll be up in 1.5 hours to feed again so I try to power through and just stay awake. That way when he’s done, I’ll just sleep through the morning.
3:55 AM—I’m passed out and Santi is starting to make noises again.
You get the gist. So anyway, this continues for about three months. You think you may die, but you don’t. You survive. The baby starts to sleep the night (don’t worry—you don’t because now his lack of noise may signal he’s dead.) Now, it’s not just sleeping (or lack there of) that makes the newborn stage so tough. It’s a combination of their complete disregard for beauty sleep, your hormones, the milk, the lack of milk!
So you’re not sleeping (this starts to take a toll). You’re having to go to the doctors for checkups, target for diapers, and Publix for food. Not too bad, right? Yeah well you’ve ridded yourself of a baby in your belly but you have not done the same with the baby weight. It’s not a big deal–trust me you’re going to need a year. But your clothes doesn’t fit. Your hair is falling out so you have those little spikey things making you look like a porcupine. All in all, you look fantastic.
I’ve spoken many times about the anxiety I had with infant babies. The nighttime always made it worse, and although Santiago is an excellent father and husband, he thinks I’m an exagerada and gets frustrated with me easily (at 2:53 am). The newborn stage, in my opinion, is also super different when you are a mom of one vs a mom of multiples. You don’t have the luxury of sleeping in if you have a bad night because—SURPRISE!!!! your other children still consider you mommy. The nights blend into the day and there seems to be no end in sight. Diapers continuously need to be changed, bottles are either fill of milk or need to be cleaned and the only one not getting a delicious sponge bath is you. It’s very sad but, such is life.
I will say that you do sleep the night again. The baby sleeps (you don’t because now you’re worried they’ve suffocated in their sleep). One day, however, you sleep. You fall into a deep delicious sleep and you never look back. The baby will get sick or will start teething and you won’t sleep again, but eventually your life is semi-yours again.
But really, in the end you have a baby. You’ve created a family and no matter how shitty your day was, the baby makes eye contact with you and it clicks. You’re doing it all for the human you created and it’s worth it. It makes the sleepless nights worth it, the weight gain worth it, the hormone changes worth it. Those three months for me are the worst but they do end. You come out the other side as a mom and damn, it’s the best.