A friend asked me this question – “Is it hard being a first time mom?”
With a wide smile, I said, “I’m learning a lot! Besides, I finally get to kiss and hold my baby!”
But in my mind, I was saying, “Ow. Em. Gee! What have I gotten myself into?! This first-time-mom thing is pure exhaustion! Oh, and don’t forget the daily dose of frustration.”
You see, my husband and I did not have a nanny until Rigel was 3 months old. We had a helper but she was young and had no clue how to take cake of a baby. I asked her to put socks on my baby and it took her 6 minutes! It was painful to watch. So, I said she should just take over the cooking, cleaning, and laundry. All the fun and exciting baby-related stuff was done by yours truly! My sweet hubby helps me as much as he can, but I usually let him sleep through the night because he needs to go to work the next day.
So, for first time moms-to-be, here are some things you can look forward to:
10 Hardest Parts of Being a First Time Mom
1. Cry, Eat, Poop, Sleep. Repeat.
You’re in a constant loop! During the first few weeks, Rigel spent her days and nights eating every two hours. I’m lucky if she doesn’t poop after that, otherwise, it’s dirty and stinky diaper changing time! Hooray! (said no mom ever!)
So, after feeding, I’ll change her diaper and rock her back to sleep. Just when I’m about to drift off for a nap, she wakes up and cries! Why? Because it’s time to feed her again. Thus, the loop!
2. Someone keeps screaming at me!
Would you like it if someone screams at you? During the first 3 months, I had to put up with a baby-bossing who shouts at me whenever she’s hungry or cranky. She would stretch her arms and legs and give me a good scolding. To make things even more interesting, we don’t speak the same language!
Me at 3am in the morning: “How am I supposed to know what you want?! Talk to me, small human! Stop crying!!”
3. New mom equals no sleep
If you know me personally, you know that I love sleeping! Before I became pregnant, 14 hours of sleep in one night is easy. But it’s been months since I slept for more than 3 hours in a row. I’M ALWAYS TIRED! And I’m not talking about the kind of tired you feel when you stayed up until 2AM to watch Korean Drama and have a 7AM meeting the next day. No, no, no! It’s the I-learned-to-live-with-my-constant-headache-and-back-pain kind of tired.
Oh, and I think I can use my eye bags the next time I go grocery shopping; saves me the extra charge for plastic bags.
4. I’m a buffet. Open 24 hours.
Breastfeeding, for me, is bittersweet. I’m a first time mom and 100% pro-breastfeeding. It’s wonderful that I can nourish my baby with the “liquid gold” which my body produces. However, it sure takes a lot of my day (and night). Imagine nursing for a minimum of 30 minutes every 2 hours (for other babies). Rigel? Well, she’s no ordinary baby. She would latch on to me for at least an hour until she falls asleep. Even then, if I detach her, she’ll wake up and we’ll do the same process all over again. How am I supposed to get things done? I have important things to do like wash my hair and fix my eyebrows!
5. Messy Business
After months of speed-bathing, I finally got to take a long relaxing bath! It was the best thing ever! But after I feed the baby, a puking incident happened:
Need I say more?
6. It’s painful
After almost a day of awful contractions, the doctor gave me oxytocin to induce labor because my water already broke but my cervix won’t freakin’ dilate (only 2 CM). After 8 agonizing hours of induced labor, my cervix dilated by 1 centimeter. JUST 1 FREAKING CENTIMETER! Are you kidding me?! Long story short, I had a c-section. Then I met my baby, we went home, blah blah blah… Everything’s fine now, right? Wrong! For the next 4 weeks, I felt pain on my abdomen especially when nursing. The doctor says it’s normal because my uterus is returning to its normal size and because I went through an operation. Uuhmm, excuse me? When did pain become normal?!
7. I’m guilty
All of a sudden, I noticed that I keep blaming myself for every single thing that goes wrong. Baby won’t sleep? My fault because I kept her awake for too long. Baby has gas? My fault for eating that spicy chicken. Baby has rashes? My fault for not changing her sooner. Baby is crying again?! Sorry! It’s my fault because I slept for 3 SECONDS!
8. I feel so unqualified
I’ve always seen myself as a confident woman, but after I gave birth to our daughter, I started questioning my skills. Can I really take care of this new human I created? I thought all the research I did before the baby was born was enough. Well, surprise! <insert plot twist>
This is me talking to google: “I did everything you said, but, why is my baby still crying?! Tell me what to do! Please?”
9. Obsessing has become a habit
There were countless moments when I obsessed about petty things like whether or not I should introduce my baby to a pacifier. What if she likes the pacifier more than my breast? Are pacifiers approved by pediatricians? Do pacifiers cause dental problems? What if I ruin her chances of being the Miss Universe 2040 because I gave her a pacifier?!?
10. I cry. A lot!
On one gloomy afternoon, the baby won’t stop crying, so, I joined her and cried too. At the hospital, the nurse pricked my baby’s heel to collect blood sample and it made her bellow. I was crying the whole time too. The hardest part was when I went back to work; tears were falling as I ride the cab to the office. Talk about separation anxiety!
Will I do it all over again, you ask?
Absolutely! Yes, it is painful, laborious, and frustrating, but it’s totally worth it! It warms my heart when she smiles, coos, and giggles. I love seeing her grow and achieve milestone after milestone. She even makes me laugh out loud with her cute expressions and gestures. I feel so blessed to have our daughter, that we are both healthy, and that I get to raise her in a strong, loving, and God-fearing family. That’s why despite all the first time mom struggles, I love my daughter with every bit of emotion I have.
How about you? What’s your hardest part of being a first time mom story? Share it in the comments below. I’d like to read it…