We brought Amelie home on April 15th. We had been slammed with 15 inches of snow and it couldn’t have been more perfect.
We had no place to go and didn’t want to anyway. It was so quiet – so peaceful. The blanket of snow muffled all sound except one:
Seriously. Hubs took the week off so we could be together, just our little family. Sure, getting up at all hours of the night wasn’t easy but I kept marveling at Amelie’s newness.
Oh come on, you know I can’t stop with just one picture…
I was beside myself because her legs! They were so scrawny and delicious! Her funny expressions! Her crossed eyes, squishy baby butt, soft skin, and her amazing hair! Her snorts! Oh how I loved her snorts. And dressing her in adorable baby clothes? Forget about it. I almost keeled over every time I changed her from cute overload.
I would look at Hubs with wonder…because we made her?! Can you believe it?
I didn’t think I could fall any more in love with him. WITH THEM. I was soaked in happiness. It was a beautiful beginning to my new life because being Amelie’s Mom was the best thing that ever happened to me.
Soon enough though?
Those feelings fell straight into the shitter. I’m just now able enough to tell you about it. This has been a difficult post for me to write.
How do I sum up the first two months?
You know what? All of these pictures were taken on the same day and I didn’t even bother documenting when things got really gnarly – the “witching hour”- because by that time, I was in tears myself.
Everyone said it would be hard. And it has been. Those weeks were racked with confusion, desperation, frustration, unpredictability, self hate, feelings of incompetence, irritability, worry, resentment, exhaustion, bitchiness, anger, regret, defeat, loneliness, pain, unhappiness and not much else. And definitely NOT bliss. It pains and embarrases me to admit that there were lots of days where I fell out of love with Amelie and out of love with my Hubs. I never started out with much but the little love and respect I had for myself? That completely evaporated.
The nights were crazy rigorous but the days were so much worse. I was intimidated to go anywhere with Amelie. She wouldn’t just cry when were out, she’d choke on her own spit. She’d work herself into a sweat. She cried so hard, she even lost her voice. (Wow, that made me feel especially wretched). So I stayed home, some days I didn’t leave our bedroom. I don’t know if Amelie was a difficult baby or I was a difficult parent, but I suspect a little bit of both. I wanted so badly to love and smooch and snuggle. But instead we both cried. We cried and cried and cried some more.
Two things that helped:
1. The baby swing. Finally, a place where Amelie would sleep that wasn’t in my arms. Turns out when a baby sleeps not in your arms, so can you! Or you can shower! Or you can think about cleaning! Or you can have a bowl of cereal. It’s totally awesome.
2. Time. Amelie and I needed time to fail and to flail and to learn.
(Oh man, more Mommy tears. Do they ever stop?)
Let me be clear, I’m well aware that having a baby is something some folks would give anything for. It’s a blessing; a blessing I was lucky enough to have. Believe me, in those dark days knowing parents were yearning to have what I had made me feel all the worse. It made me feel ungrateful, incompetent and selfish.
I’m writing this post because I don’t want to forget the misery. I don’t want to forget those days that dragged on for forever. I don’t want to forget those lonely evenings on the bouncy ball trying to soothe her screams, while my own tears soaked her swaddle. I don’t want to forget that I begged her to sleep. I don’t want to forget her angry little legs kicking me in my tender tummy.
I don’t want to forget the major sads I had.
And also? I don’t want to forget the phone calls where I couldn’t speak, just cry, and my friend told me that I was a good mom and that I was doing a good job. I don’t want to forget the understanding looks I got at Target instead of glares. I don’t want to forget that Hubs excavated every corner of Google for answers and he rubbed my back when I didn’t even want to talk to him. I don’t want to forget the defeated emails I wrote and the incredibly encouraging notes I got in return.
Most of all, what I don’t want to forget?
After one of our worst stretches, I was feeding Amelie and she looked up at me. A tentative smile spread across those chubby cheeks as if to say, “See Mom? You and I, we’re going to be ok. All we needed was some time.”
Can someone hand me a box of Kleenex, please?