Wednesday, November 30, 2011

He knows I’m an amateur

I think my almost 2-week old newborn can smell fear.

Jake has actually been a pretty good baby so far. But during his occasional moments of intense fussiness, it seems like those with parenting experience can effortlessly calm him while I stand by and watch in a state of jealous awe.

For example, my husband Brian – who has done this before 11 years ago – is like the Baby Whisperer. I feel like it takes him half the time to calm Jake down compared to me. And don’t get me started on Grandmas’ magic touch. Once you set him in the arms of a Grandma, it’s like someone pressed the mute button on his remote control. And he can stay that way for hours like he's in some sort of baby coma. Are they slipping him a sedative?

It’s hard because I’m his Mother for crying out loud! When it comes to soothing him, shouldn’t I be the best person for the job? That’s what I so naively thought before. But smart little Jake has me all figured out: I have no idea what I’m doing, and he smells my fear.

Does that ever change? Or do you have to wait until child number two before you’re inducted into the Baby Whisperer club?

This is merely a footnote on the Things I Never Expected in Motherhood List, and I’m only a week and a half in.

For example, I never expected myself to handle labor and delivery as well as I did. It turns out I’m much stronger than I thought.

I never expected breastfeeding to be so difficult, or that I would become such an emotional wreck when the road got bumpy.

And speaking of that bumpy road, I never expected our first couple of days spent in the hospital to be so stressful for me due to the breastfeeding troubles. I thought it would be all bliss and bonding, and instead I spent most of it obsessing about what an inadequate mother I was. I couldn’t have made it through without my wonderful husband and the amazingly supportive postpartum nurses at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth.

I never expected to be so unfazed by being puked on and peed on. There’s something about your own child’s bodily fluids make you less grossed out than normal. I had always heard this and never believed it before now.

I never expected to hate being away from him for even just an hour.

I do expect this list to grow exponentially. Right now, I'm just trying to take it day by day and do my best to hone those baby soother skills.

What’s on your "never expected" list?

Megan Brooks is a Sr. Public Relations Specialist for Texas Health Resources, Stepmom, and a Mom to an almost two-week-old son learning to balance expectations and reality.

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