Seriously tho. Other parents and other soon-to-be parents, across the generations are notoriously judgmental and condescending. This fact is compounded by the fact that social media is such a huge part of our lives, and with the ability to hide behind a computer screen, people feel the need to say anything that comes to their heads, without any consideration or tact (or regard for grammar or spelling).
It’s a disaster.
With our little Ace, i had an epidural. Not part of my plan. I was “supposed” to do this all naturally, my high pain tolerance working for me, and everything being challenging but feeling motherly, like a “true woman” and empowered, like everyone says you do. But, after writhing around in bed, ready to rip the bedrail off with each contraction (which were 1-3 minutes apart from the second my water broke, so i had that going for me at least), i asked, and they gladly gave it.
As a result, Ace’s delivery was amazing. I may definitely have not felt like a “true woman” in the sense everyone else refers to, but i felt like me. It took the experience from traumatic to “I might potentially want to have children again.” I pushed for half an hour and with the help of a small epis, Ace was here, in just over 9 hours. 🙂 He was perky, lifting his head up and trying to nurse right away; a picture of perfection. Despite it being different from what i planned/wanted, he was here, and there was no signs of him being worse for wear. (Also, how can you truly know what you want, when you’re in the comfort of your home, NOT feeling like your pelivis is coming apart from the middle out, and you’re being impaled thru the back…every 1-3 minutes?)
The night we took him home, he refused to sleep in our room, or by himself at all for that matter; we found out later it was too cold. I was paranoid about co-sleeping in a bed; i was worried I’d be too comfortable and sleep too deeply already being so sleep-deprived. So i slept upright in a chair in the spare room for two weeks, and then i would sleep downstairs on the couch with him on me, and we’d sneak him down for naps in the pack-n-play in the living room. I started him sleeping up in his big crib in the spare room for naps at 3 weeks old because he was doing so well, and we were excited to return to our bed. That resulted in nothing but stress and crying (both him and me) and sleepless nights, every single night until finally, after i had spent the night with 2 and a half hours of sleep, at 6am, i took him out of the room. Marth asked if he could help and i said “i just want to f****** sleep.” And walked downstairs, turned on the tv, and we slept together on the couch until 9:30. It was then with a heavy heart at my progress going backwards, that i had to move BACK downstairs and start over again essentially. Not what we had planned, and i can hear the co-sleeping and lack-of-routine judgment already. But I NEED. F******. SLEEP. I wasn’t sure what else to do, as pride-crunching and frustrating as it was. (Is it even “right”??? I still don’t know.)
He breastfed amazingly, right from the start. Even the pediatrician told me I should give lessons. Until week 2, that is. It was like he’d never seen a boob before. It became BEYOND painful for me. When we were alone in the house, the two of us would sit and cry and sweat and struggle; it was awful, and i couldn’t believe this was happening. Long-story short, i switched to exclusively pumping, for the next 2 and a half weeks, which then caused us to over feed him and he was bloated and cranky. Even when we figured out the problem, and we started limiting him to an ounce an hour it resulted in him not getting enough hindmilk, so he wasn’t pooping enough and still always seemed hungry and like his stomach was upset.
Literally took me until last night at 10:30pm, after my husband had been holding him for an hour trying to get him to sleep, I attempted again to breastfeed him and braced myself.
It was nothing short of a miracle. For real tho; i couldn’t believe it. He latched instantly, and fed from both sides until he fell asleep.
Both of these situations summarize the last month for me in a nutshell: Having a plan, and an idea and doing research and wanting to stick to it, but ultimately changing in order to accommodate what works. I have no clue what I’m teaching him to be comfortable with, and i may be kicking myself later for teaching him bad habits i don’t even realize I’m doing, all because I’m young and clueless and tired.
I’m not quite sure what’s going to happen from here, but man, All this said and done, the last thing i want to do is be judged for any of it, or have anyone say “well, *I’M* going to do it this way…” (Emphasis on the tone; people are allowed to do whatever they want) but it’s just one of those things that you’ll have no idea about until you do it for yourself. I’m thankful that unless I’m in a crappy mood or sleep-deprived, I’m able to look at other parents/soon-to-be parents and give a beaming smile and say “well, this is why we were each given our own kids, so we don’t have to agree! ^_^ ” but other times it really brings me down and i just want to say “Oh, just you wait until yours are born/such-and-such an age, and you’ll find yourself making difficult decisions, and wanting to die too!” It’s far easier to say “oh, screaming is the only way they know how to communicate; you should be more patient with your poor baby, you should do _____, ______, ______ and ______ and maybe then you woulnd’t have these problems.” And I’m just like “AAAAAND MAYBE I SHOULD PUNCH YOU IN YOUR FACE AND THEN YOU WOULDN’T HAVE THESE PROBLEMS.”
The only thing that makes it better is learning that children are a cross that everyone will bear, because no matter how easy we make it look, how badly we want them, or how good of people we seem to be. Every parent will end up at a boiling point, no matter who they are or whether it’s their first or 9th child.
Parenting isn’t for the faint of heart. And I’m learning not to punish other parents with my words, opinions and judgments, because their children will do it for them, and far better than i can.
As each parent spends their own sleepless nights, and deals with the doubts, fears, and frustrations they cause, the issues other parents have with your decisions are the least of our worries.