I'm sitting here holding Owen while I type this and he is happily asleep on my chest, wrapped up snug in a blankie. The last few days/nights, he has decided that any SIDS recommendation can go to hell and if Mommy and Daddy are complying with it, he wants nothing to do with it. In other words...sleep in a crib with no soft, warm blankies? Hell no. He only prefers to be held or wrapped up snug in his Mamaroo. I can get him completely happy-passed-out-milk-drunk-asleep and then put him in his crib next to the bed and five seconds later - BOOm. Awake.
I'm doing much better since I wrote my last post. I have been starting to try to fight back against the hole I was sliding into. Baby blues? What a stupid, condescending term. I know they are trying to separate it from full Post Partum Depression, but give me a break. That is not just "the blues," it is an emotional roller coaster. So, being a psychologist, I'm trying to fight back and recognize warning signs to avoid moving into PPD. I am working on restructuring my thoughts to avoid thoughts that include words like "always," "never" and "impossible." I am looking toward the future and setting fun dates for myself to look forward to. For example, my birthday will be right around Owen's 6 week mark and we are going to celebrate by going to dinner and letting my sister babysit.
I am also trying to take a more positive approach toward breastfeeding. I am working on forcing myself to get a good latch and to get it quickly, rather than fuss around, work up myself and the baby, and then accept a less-than-perfect, painful latch. I am trying to have a sense of control over it in order to not feel so fearful and helpless. I went to a La Leche League meeting and the leaders freaked out when they saw my nipples and told me they can't believe I am still feeding. They even recommended pumping and bottles for a while to give myself a break. But the original LC I have been working with came over again yesterday and gave me some more moral support (it's not really latch support we need - it's more emotional at this point) and talked me through some of my fear reactions to the pain. I also got some APNO ointment which I'm hoping will help with healing. So, at this point, I am still feeding with torn, skinless nipples, but I have less pain overall while feeding and a better sense of confidence and control. I am walking a knife edge though because a bad feeding or a sleepless night can throw me back at any moment. I just have to remember how to stay ahead of it. And, I'm not going to lie...if my nipples don't start to heal soon, it is really going to wear down my positivity.
Although it's hard to separate breastfeeding from my feelings about being a mother, I would say that I am feeling more confident and secure in my role as each day goes on. I think that taking him out of the house somehow affirms this role for me. For example, being in La Leche League meeting surrounded by other mothers, I realized that I have a strong sense of pride that this is my baby and I am his mother and I know best how to care for him. Not to mention, he was clearly the best baby there ;) I also think going on outings helps me in my identity as a mother because it is starting to assimilate my identity into the real world, which makes it something more sustainable. I mean, I cannot imagine a long-term, sustainable life in which all I do is lay on the couch and feed the baby or take naps. It just doesn't work for me. Being out in the world gives me energy and hope.
So this is a long disjointed post in which I suppose I am trying to say - this is hard. I don't know if it is this hard for every woman, but for me, it has challenged to my core my beliefs about who I am, who I want to be, and how to overcome things I am not so proud of. Most importantly, this post is about not giving in the the temptation to feel depressed and overwhelmed, but rather to twist my new reality into a shape that I can fit into comfortably. While I know I don't yet have too much control over this new reality, as long as I can create the perception of something that I can maintain and that allows me to still hold on to parts of the old me and blend with the new...well, that is something. In the meantime, I keep falling in love with my son more and more each day. Which, as you know, is the whole point. :)