Before Baby Kai was born, I was on bed rest for about a month and during that time I spent many hours daydreaming about how it would be once I finally had my baby in my arms. I pictured myself snuggling my newborn and carefully dressing him in his cute little outfits. I imagined him sleeping peacefully in his bassinet and smiling at his daddy. And I knew that the 10 1/2 weeks that I would have with him before returning to work would be the best of my life.
And I was right. These are the best days of my life.
And I was wrong. Because these are also the hardest days of my life.
When Kai was born and we were staying in the hospital for those first 3 days of his life I couldn’t even figure out how to put a onesie on him. I know how to dress babies. I’ve done it before but he was so tiny and and so fragile that I had to give up on the onesie and put something else on him.
And so it began. Kai is nearly 4 weeks old and I have no clue what I am doing with him. This new mommy has admitted defeat. The newborn life isn’t as easy as I imagined. On the contrary, it’s the hardest thing that I’ve ever done. I’m exhausted and I have to admit that last night, as Kai cried after I rocked him to sleep for the 5th time, I cried out to my husband that I couldn’t get him to sleep and I didn’t know what else to try. After drying my tears, I picked up my baby and rocked him to sleep again. I never did get any more sleep than a 30 minute power nap. Having a newborn is physically exhausting.
And don’t even tell me to ‘sleep when the baby sleeps,’ because I am tired of hearing that advice. I struggle to nap in the middle of the day and often wake up feeling worse than when I went to sleep. Even so, I’ve found myself napping some afternoons when the exhaustion is just too much.
But I think the really hard part of being a mommy is the mental exhaustion. Even now as I type, with my baby strapped to my chest in his moby wrap, I am questioning if I should be typing or if I should wake him up and let him play on his play mat for a while. Maybe he isn’t sleeping at night because he is sleeping too much during the day. Who knows? I find myself second guessing everything that I do. I just want what is best for my baby, you know what I mean? And sleep. I would love to finally get a little sleep. I can’t remember the last time that I slept more than 3 consecutive hours!
I have a new identity now; I’m Kai’s mommy, whether I’m clueless or not! And no matter how hard or exhausting or lonely motherhood proves to be I will carry on. Before I know it, the newborn days will be over and I’ll move on to new areas of motherhood and new challenges. For now, I’ll keep rocking my sleepy newborn and remember the words of 2 Corinthians 12:9, ‘But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.’ If ever I’ve been weak and needed God’s grace in my life it is now!
If you are like me, and you find yourself overwhelmed with a newborn, or an older child, know that you aren’t alone. I’m not sure that anyone really has motherhood figured out. It’s not an easy journey, but it definitely is the best one that I have ever been on.
And now I must go as my Baby Kai is squirming in his moby wrap to get up and eat.