It's a prince!
I woke up this morning to the happy news that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have been blessed with a son. It's always such a joy to hear of new additions to the family (royal or otherwise)!
To say that having a child changes you is an understatement. It changes your whole world. Some people embrace it as soon as they find out they are expecting. For me, it took about a month after N was born.
(Ok, this wasn't where I was planning to go with this post, but let's go there and see where this takes us.)
Don't get me wrong. I was excited about having a baby! I just wasn't sure what to expect. Finding out I was pregnant was a shock in itself, it took a few days for it all to sink in. I loved being pregnant. (But not the 50lbs that came with it.)
N was already gorgeous, right there in the delivery room. I found out later that the nurses in the nursery nicknamed her 'Baby Beautiful'. And, like all babies do to their mommies, she just got more and more beautiful.
Then we took her home. My mom and mother-in-love were there to make sure my transition to mommyhood would be as smooth and as stress-free as possible. Bless their hearts for their intentions, but obviously, it had been a while since they had little babies, and I'm not sure if the addition of any newborn into a family can ever truly be stress-free. As they cooed and gushed over their granddaughter, I felt like was put in a washing machine of emotions ('rollercoaster' doesn't quite cut it, because a rollercoaster can be fun), sometimes feeling like I was trying to get my bearings as I was swished around while hanging upside down.
I was happy, but I was exhausted. I felt a lot of love and tenderness towards N, but I also felt that she, innocent and beautiful as she was (how could anyone fault her for anything?), took away my life as I knew it. I remember just staring at a wall as I nursed her one night, not really looking at anything, and feeling completely overwhelmed at the responsibility of caring for this person, this human being for the next two decades of my life. (Well, now we know it doesn't end at 20.)
I felt a fantastic new bond was formed with my husband, but at the same time I felt very lonely. I resented him when I had to get up several times at night to soothe N and nurse her, while he snored away. Don't get me wrong, he was wonderful and supportive, and did what he could (but he drew the line at nappy changing), but my hormones were having a party to which I wasn't invited, and they let me know it.
Now I know this is what they call the baby blues, or a mild form of postpartum depression. I know that I didn't have it as bad or as long as other mothers did (and do), but it was still a lonely place to be. Everyone around you is ecstatic about the baby, and you feel all this love and excitement when they are around you...and then it's a screaming kind of quiet when they leave. (And I have no idea why I'm crying now. Anyway.)
If you are reading this post and finding yourself in the same situation (or worse), please talk to someone about it. Also, postpartum depression doesn't just happen right after giving birth, it can happen up to a year after delivery.
Looking back, I realize that there were quite a few things that helped me keep sane.
1. I spent a lot of time in prayer. And I mean, A LOT. I spoke them, I sang them, I thought them. Never, ever, EVER underestimate the special blessing that God gives new moms. One of my favorite Bible verses is found in Isaiah 40:11, which says that God gently leads those who are with young. I truly and wholeheartedly believe it. There was no way I could have survived all those sleepless nights without getting sick!
2. I had support. I found a lot of this in my husband. I remember how at the lovely baby shower Ayen and Franco threw for us, Franco said that a great deal of the strength that a new mom will need will come from her husband. This was SoTrue!
There were times I would cry on R's shoulder and I could feel his helplessness. He didn't know what to do with me. We were going through all of this together, and for the first time. I found a lot of strength in the words he shared with me while I was still at the hospital, unsure of how to deal with motherhood. He said, 'Mia, it's just like me before I have to do a show.' My husband is a singer and an extremely shy person, FYI. 'I just step onto the stage and open my mouth and trust that God has put me there and He will see me through it.' So yes, while there were times I glared at him in the dark as I walked to N's room to nurse her in the unholy hours, I still think my husband rocks.
I also leaned a lot on my mom. She moved in with us for the first five weeks after N was born (my husband is an angel), and she was great. I had all my ideas about how to take care of a baby, and SHE LET ME BE. She stepped back, even when I knew that the things I was doing were completely opposite what she would do. She had gone through a difficult time postpartum, too, and swore that if her daughters went through the same thing, she would be there for them. And she was. But you know what, she didn't really know that I was going through it, she didn't know I would cry to my husband at night while she watched over N in the next room. What was important is that I knew she was there.
I had a friend. If you are pregnant, I suggest you find a friend who is pregnant, too. If you don't have any, make friends with someone who is. I cannot tell you how big a help this will be. For both pregnancies, that friend was Rheea of Rainy Days and Mom Days. Both our kids were born within six months of each other. So if I was up at 3am, I could always count on Rheea to text back when I texted her. With D, my sister Georgia and I gave birth to our babies just nine days apart, so you can imagine how many hundreds (possibly thousands) of text messages were exchanged between us!
Our texts wouldn't be heavy or emotional or anything. It was just to let each other know that someone else was there, doing the same thing at the same time. You find great comfort in little things.
3. I am an info junkie. I like to read, read, and read. My husband cannot understand how I can spend hours on the internet, just reading about anything and everything. And so, even before I gave birth, I already knew my hormones would be out of whack. And when they finally went out of whack, it helped that I had somehow expected it, and that I could tell myself that a big part of what I was feeling was caused by my horror-mones, and that things were going to get better.
By the time D came around, looking like this (an old man):
I was a lot more chill as a mom. I had a major cry one night at the hospital, and after that I was fine. (Again, this may not be the case for everyone, so please, I repeat, talk to someone if you're feeling even just a bit blue.)
Let me post a photo of D here, just so you know he turned out looking okay:
Going back to the royal birth.
I am so happy for the Duke and the Duchess of Windsor! Hooray for babies! I truly wish them the best in this new journey.