Tuesday

Is there life after baby?

As much as possible, I try to keep this blog light-hearted, positive and uplifting. But today I think I need to vent a little... (my apologies, in advance)


I know everyone says the first three months with a new baby are hard, but I had no idea they were going to be this hard.
I don't mean to complain. I am so grateful to have a beautiful boy in perfect health (that's all that really matters in the end), and Zachary is the absolute love of my life... it's just that he's also the only thing in my life these days.

I wonder if Vanessa as an individual will ever exist again? She used to cook wonderful meals, and blog about the decadent restaurants she'd visit. She used to take pictures of the places she travelled to (instead of merely from her bedroom window). She used to enjoy clothes shopping and listening to music way too loud. She had a career that she spent the last 10 years working her butt off to attain. She was a doctor. She had a brain that functioned properly.

But these days it seems that girl is long gone... 
I am now a milkmaid. A human pacifier. Cooped up in a house in the great north, with temperatures steadily below minus 25... too cold to bring a baby out for a walk. Too busy to cook a real meal or take a guilt-free shower. Never getting more than three hours of consecutive sleep. Is this really who I've become?

People say it gets better. They promise me it gets better. I really hope they're right.


(Update: Ironically, just after I typed this, Little Z had a long nap and gave me 2 hours of me-time!
And on a more positive note: we are going to Florida in February for a week, and I know it's going to do me a world of good!)

27 comments:

  1. It gets better, it really does, and before you know it they're older and out on their own, so enjoy it while you have it!!!

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  2. Oh boy I got teary reading this. Hang in there, besides the fact that I really do think it will get better, I just want to remind you that all of this IS very much you - whatever it is you do, you always seem to do it so very well, whether thats being a doctor, in the kitchen, behind a camera, or creating something from nothing. Its no wonder you are having a hard time now as being great as a new mother seems to involve giving yourself over completely to your baby, which is exactly what you are doing. Though its tough, take it all as indication that you are being true to you: total dedication and awesomeness. As he gets older, being a mom will also include being more of the pre-Z you, so that he can get to know his mom less as the provider of comfort and milk and instead more as the amazing person you are. It will make those moments when you teach him about things that are dear to you all that much sweeter.
    ...Also, FYI, I baby-sit for free and will not tell a soul if you decide you'd like to drop him off in Princeton for awhile and take a vacation ;)
    Love to all of you. You are doing a wonderful job and Zac is so lucky to have you as his mama. xoxoxo

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    1. Thank you, Natalie. You're such a sweetheart! You really lifted my spirits. xoxo

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  3. Hi Vanessa,
    Your life is so different now than what you are used to, it's only normal that you would long for some freedom. Zachary est un petit glouton! Are there any mother's groups or play groups in Chissassibee? I always felt better getting out of the house for a bit. I did a lot of reading when Ryan was nursing, it kept my mind busy. Keep in mind that this is one year in your life that is devoted to Zachary and that you will see incredible changes in that span. If his mind is as bright as yours and Adrien's, he will soon be interested in plenty of other things besides the boob! Love Joanne

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    1. Thanks Joanne, I know you're right : )

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  4. I can't speak from experience, but it'll get better and you'll get to have more YOU time in a bit. Hang in there! : ) *hug*

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  5. Hang in there, Vanessa! The wonderful, individual you is still there, but your role has just shifted. While you may not be creating exquisite meals for you and Adrien, Zachary is benefiting from the from nutrition and meals you are providing for him. While taking pictures out your window may not compare to pictures your travels, a few years from now, Zachary will look at those pictures with wonder and awe at the place where he spent his formative year(s), and he will be astonished by the the journey his parents took to be doctors in such a remote place. Plus, you have an adorable baby boy to be the unknowing subject of your photography. ;)
    Like Natalie said, you are so fabulous at all that you do, and we all know you are being a fabulous mother to Zachary. As baby Z gets older, you'll have more time for the things the "old you" used to do, but for now, try to cherish every one of those baby moments.
    Love to all three of you! PS. As Natalie said, there's plenty of babysitters here in jersey! ;)

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  6. New reader! I stumbled upon your blog and I totally get you! I became a mom at the age of twenty! I would not trade it for anything in the world, but it is a difficult work. The most rewarding things in life always are. You are goin to grow and develop into a whole new person. One even better than before. Refining just sometimes hurts. But I promise it will get better and bring you one of the greatest joys life has to offer. Say a prayer...hang in there!

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    1. Welcome to the blog, Brittany. Thank you for your sweet words of encouragement : )

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  7. Yes, it gets WAY better. The first three months for me were the hardest and I said the exact same thing...i didnt know they'd be THAT hard. :) Believe me, a few months from now you'll look back at the first three months and think "that went by so fast!"

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    1. It's nice to hear I'm not the only one who felt this way. Thanks, T : )

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  8. I too was a little teary eyed reading this, feeling for you and being intimately understanding of where these thoughts and words come from. I had my babies in the days when doctors were unable to take maternity leave without a great loss of income. There were many nights where I would be on call in the hospital with a babe at home, pumping breast milk, storing it in the hospital doctor lounge and feeling so guilty and alone. It does get easier as they become less attached to you as their sole source of nutrition. It is a wonderful time to read all those books you have been wanting to read while she is nursing, audio books are wonderful too. I also used to knit while my babies breastfed and none of them, no not one, lost an eye :)

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    1. I can't even imagine if I had to do night call right now... at least I'm allowed to be off with my little one. That must have been SO incredibly hard!

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  9. As a non mom, it is hard to tell you that things will get better and life will go back to normal .... clearly I have no experience in what you are going through. What I can say is that so many people that I love are new moms and watching them go through it as an outsider, is truly beautiful. What you may not see is that to the people around you, you have added to all of the things that use to be you. You are still Vanessa, you have just added to your list, mom. I think that moms are too hard on themselves for not being able to be everything that they were before, right away. They forget that they are so much more than just who they use to be. Take comfort in that you have a wonderful partner that you can hand Z off to when he is home from work and go outside for a walk, take a long guilt-free shower or make a really good meal!! Sending you some love from Ottawa. xo

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  10. aw your trip to florida will be amazing! since i am so wise now with my 3.5 month old...;)...my biggest piece of advice is to relaaaax and don't be too hard on yourself. a guilt free shower? oh my...if wesley was full, clean, and safe...i took a shower even if it meant he had to cry for a little bit! take care of yourself so that you're a happier mama :)

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  11. As you know I'm not a mother, but my sister has two little ones (one 3 and a half, the other almost 6 months) and I have stood by her as she's dealt with the big ups and big downs of motherhood. I can only imagine how difficult it is, how often you question your parenting skills, your sanity and sometimes check when the last time YOU ate or took a shower!

    You should always vent what you feel, so I think it's healthy that you're writing these posts. Nobody - certainly not me - will think that you're taking Zachary for granted or are unappreciative of him or your life now. It's totally understandable that life changes immensely after baby and that, at least sometimes, you might miss the "old" Vanessa. She's still in there, though! She may be on hold a little right now, but if you can, try piece by piece to bring her back out whenever you get the chance. I bet those little things - even if it's making yourself a nice lunch, or having a super hot shower when he's sleeping (with some fancy body wash!) will make yourself feel more like you.

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    1. I really like the way you said that, Yasmeen. xo

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  12. I too, like Marge can intimately understand where these thoughts and words come from - she said that so well. And having said that -- it must be hard though being cooped up because it's too cold to go outside.

    I wonder what the native women do there to shed that? Maybe they have family around to ease the mother and give her a break? (But maybe something to look into - what do they do or where do they go)? Do they meet up at a community center? I signed up for a new mother's group at our local community center -ended up 2 of them were doctors - and we'd meet every week for a coffee at each others houses or go for walks, go to the market together. I think we saved each other during that first year or so. And funny - i just had coffee with 2 of them yesterday (10 yrs later - one of them now living in Australia came here to visit - with her 3 kids and to go skiing) - maybe there's something like that? Or as Marge says - like knitting, or even an exercise tape would help.

    I remember being completely in a blur (sometimes worse) - many times wondering if I'd ever find myself again. Haha - sometimes I still feel like that....

    No need to apologize. : )

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    1. thanks, Jan. So unfortunately there aren't any women's/mommy groups up here.... but maybe I should start one!
      xo

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  13. This post really resonates with me. When my son was born last winter I felt liked was drowning, I had no idea it would be that hard. It was cold out and being cooped inside was suffocating. I felt like it would never end. Spring was a literal breath of fresh air, when we could get outside for greater stimulation. it's true what they say though, you forget the difficult parts - just like labor.

    And now as we approach the one year mark of little man's birth I find myself yearning for a newborn!? I'm shocking myself.

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    1. it's nice to know I'm not the only one!

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  14. Vanessa- I often come to check out your blog because it's so beautiful- the images, the food, the travel, everything is just gorgeous. Life with baby sort of does throw all that for a loop. The ability to pull together a great meal, or an awesome outfit, or even some time to just brush your hair or omg- get your nails done- seems to be a faraway place that just won't exist for you ever again.
    But it will. And you'll treasure it even more because you'll have worked hard for it and this baby will make you more proud of all the things you've achieved already, but he'll also make you into more of an amazing woman than you ever thought possible, even if now you feel like you're being torn apart at the seams and pieces of you are falling out from everywhere.
    It is extremely hard. If someone says it isn't- they are lying or delusional. And just because it's hard and some days really truly suck, doesn't mean it isn't exactly what you are supposed to be doing right at this moment.
    Hang in there. A few more months of insanity are likely coming your way, and I will say that every time you think you've got it figured out there's a new challenge coming your way, but you'll adapt and the essence of who you are might change. You may need to shed some aspects of yourself that don't work anymore and pick up new traits that make your life just as beautiful as before. In the end, you'll see you're exactly who you want to be, even if right now you have no clue where you are.
    xx
    Megan

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    1. Oh Megan, thank you so much for saying all that and mostly for acknowledging how hard it truly is. You have no idea how much I appreciate hearing stuff like that from women who have been through it themselves. xo

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  15. Vanessa! You had a baby!!! I am obviously extremely late to the party, but I'll blame that on my 12 month old baby boy ;)

    I just had to leave a comment (while Edwin is napping) as your experience of these early months sounds incredibly similar to my own. It was so hard to do a complete 180 when my son was born, I felt those first few weeks I was in mourning over the loss of me. But I want to say that you will come back - you will be a more efficient, more empathic, more honest, more vulnerable, more powerful, more amazing woman than you can even imagine. I'm serious. Surrender to the crazy that is the first six+ months and you will find that you will emerge having learned so many lessons and a new way to be. You'll never be that same girl you once were because you have a magical little person in your life who will forever be with you in everything you do. Try and enjoy it, because it goes by so fast!! xoxoxo

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