Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Post-Baby

I said in the last post that all I write about is Atlas because he is my life now. That's true. My days are filled with only baby things, and I love that big little bean more than anything ever. But I think a lot of the time, moms forget about themselves. A "me" existed pre-baby, and a "me" exists post-baby, too. I'm not the same person completely, but I AM still my own person, and it's easy to forget that when I have basically no time to think about myself these days.

But after this typical 2am feeding wake-up call, I can't get back to sleep. My anxiety has kicked in to overdrive. Yes, that's still there. My brain won't shut off. It's usually focused on Atlas, but right now, it is focused on myself.

I thought it might be good to write about that.

The reality is that I feel like a wreck most of the time. Just now, I thought to myself how my hair feels so gross and my mouth is dry and I really want to shower. I just showered yesterday (doesn't always happen, as any new mom can admit), but I still can't shake this feeling of yuck.

My mind wanders to how I wish I had appreciated myself more before I had a baby. I had such anxiety about food and picked apart every "wrong" thing on my body, but now, a lot more is "wrong." I have mentioned how I'm more comfortable in my own skin than ever before, and that is true, but I also don't have much time to focus on the negative. Except for nights like this, where I can't sleep despite exhaustion. Then, I think about how I should exercise when I wake up, but I have no energy. I lost the baby weight, much thanks to this awful elimination diet, but my skin is a little loose from losing the muscle mass, too. Every time someone tells me how great I look for five months postpartum, I want to tell them how much I wish I could binge on pizza and beer. But if I could do that, I would probably be anxious and depressed about my weight. Will my mind ever let me be truly at peace with my weight? The grass is always greener on the other side. My back and joints hurt. My hair is falling out. I have permanent dark circles and wrinkles. My belly button is bigger than it used to be.

I am usually proud of myself for growing a human. It really is a miracle. But right now, I just feel old and gross.

So, as you can see, I am still the same anxiety-riddled wreck.

HOWEVER, now that I am not in the thick of the newborn stage and Atlas seems to be making good progress, I am starting to think about how I can begin to take care of that part of myself again. I miss reading. I miss my piano. I really DO miss exercise. And the beach, and the nature center, and breweries. Atlas is still not a great napper, so I don't have a huge chunk of time to do these things. We don't have any family here to watch him at the drop of a hat for free. But I am starting to think about how I can get to do these things again, whether I find a way to do them with or without him.

I need to find time to be myself again. Myself is a little different now, because part of me is Atlas now, but part of me is still ME. And I WILL figure out how to make more of an effort to nurture ME again, so that I can pass on those good parts of myself to Atlas. But also so that I don't go crazy and can learn to love the new-and-improved mom version of Lauren. I still matter.

SO, if you are reading this and you are about to be a new mom, or are still in the thick of being a NEW new mom, know that you will get through it. You might feel anxious, unsure of your new and changing body, and/or like a frazzled mess right now, but you will get to a point where you start to find yourself again. If I can, anyone can, believe me. And if you are just a regular old friend or family reading this, thanks for reading my rambling, sticking with me through all my new mom wreck-ness, and dealing with my usual typical Lauren wreck-ness. Hopefully, there will start to be less wreck as the months continue to pass by.

Monday, January 9, 2017

So This Is The New Year

Surprisingly, we've started 2017 off on the right foot in this house!

On New Year's Eve, we went to Kristin's for a little gathering. This is the fourth NYE we've celebrated in Florida, which is hard to believe. The first year, we ate sushi and went to Guanabanas. I felt like the luckiest person in the world to be able to party outside by the water, under stars and palm trees, instead of freezing my ass off. I knew I was starting 2014 off where I was meant to be.

With Heather, Kristin, and Katie at Guanabanas THREE years ago.

The next two years were spent at Kristin's house, since she had a baby. 

The start of 2015
Last year, with my glass of champagne, aka sparkling cider that no one knew about.
Now, this year, THREE of us have babies, and TWO of us are pregnant. Chloe slept in her big girl room, Katie put Valentino in the new nursery (Kristin is cooking baby #2!), and I stuck Atlas on the floor in Ben's office. I swear I'm not a horrible mom. That DockATot is a lifesaver. It has breathable sides, and we can bring it anywhere with us. For all his issues, you'd think the kid would have a problem traveling around, but nope! He's usually pretty good about sleeping at other people's houses. He just hates sleeping around me. :P We weren't sure how the night would go, since he was clearly going through a sleep regression, but ALL THREE KIDS slept the entire time. I couldn't believe it.

The start of 2017!
 I think we spent New Year's Day in our pjs like all day. Atlas finally rolled from his back to his belly, and he napped well in his own room. He has been sleeping in there ever since, day and night, in the DockATot in his crib. I feel very emotional (not to mention anxious as hell) about putting him in his own room, but I really think it is the right thing to do for all of us. He still fights sleep hard (and our attempt at sleep training failed miserably...), but he stays asleep a bit better now usually. He can move himself around, whether he is on his back, side, or belly, so I am confident he will be okay. And finally, Eric and I have our room back to ourselves. I didn't realize how much of a disruption having Atlas in our room was to our daily life. I can get things done in there while he naps now, I'm not up LITERALLY all night staring at him in the pack n play next to me, and I'm not tiptoeing or afraid to move in my own bed out of fear I'll wake him up, which has happened before. I wasn't sleeping, he wasn't sleeping, and the place was a mess. It feels like a huge relief to have my room back, and Atlas has been super happy (yes, even happier than usual) the past few days, because he is getting rest. WIN FOR ALL!

Besides that, Atlas had his 4 month checkup last week. He hasn't been eating very well, which the doctor said was normal. Babies this age start getting distracted as they become more aware of their surroundings. Plus, he is definitely teething. Keep your fingers away or he will try to nom them off. He's still gigantic, now in both weight and height! He is meeting all his milestones, including being a little roly poly boy, sitting better on his own, and wanting to be held in a standing position. He likes to pretend he can walk. He thinks he can run away from me, but he can't. I'm his mommy, and he won't ever escape me. Muahahahaha.

At his most recent GI appointment, we determined that he is doing much better than before. We are doing some additional testing to make sure we are on the right track with healing his intestines. Atlas has always gained weight well (CLEARLY), but it wasn't until we started eliminating foods that he became this happy, smiley baby. He used to have (TMI warning) awful bellyaches and cry in pain every single time he ate, never slept, couldn't be put down, threw up (NOT spit up) all the time, bad diaper rash, blood and mucous in his stool... Sorry to be gross, but I wish I had someone to tell me that these were symptoms of a food allergy. I wish A DOCTOR had told me, instead of them brushing it off and me taking two months to figure it out on my own and start advocating for my child at his doctor appointments. I wish I had realized it from the get-go before it got to the point where there was blood. I am confident that we are figuring out his issues. It has just been a longer and bumpier road than necessary to get there.

So, besides all that, what is life? That is life. All I ever have to write about is Atlas, because he is my life now. I spend my time on his play mat in his nursery, teaching him things, singing to him, talking to him. I spend the rest of my time trying to get him to eat and sleep. We try to see people as often as possible, because he loves to get out and look around. We go to the park, get coffee, go shopping, and meet friends. Once in awhile I will get out for a couple drinks, but that is rare, and I can only have like two glasses of wine before I feel like I need to stop. Caffeine is my drug of choice these days, which is fine, because I prefer being up UP UP! all the time, ha. Life is different, and it's weird, but it's good most of the time. On a scale of 1-10, 10 being awesome and 1 being hell, I would rate pregnancy a big fat 0, and mom life a 9. It would be a 10 if I had a child that took naps and allowed me to eat pizza.

First family selfie of 2017

I think we will have a crawler sooner rather than later

My Catcher in the Rye shirt. Atlas's middle name, Holden, is named after the main character in this novel. Too bad he spits up on it every time I try to wear it...

Dad left the car seat in his car and went to work! We were stranded at home! My feelings exactly, Atlas. Cute onesie courtesy of Aunt Linny.

Baby rocker chic

Snuggle buddy fighting sleep

Snuggling in our winter clothes. It was a chilly 55 degrees the other day!

More snuggles

HI!

Baby giggles are the best

He really has been extra snuggly lately. Teething, I tell you. No sleep, but lots of quality time together.