Back with week two of my friend Felicia's reflections on the Chinese tradition that is, The Sitting Month. Here she reflects on her second week as mom to baby boy Kai.
Week 2: Riding the Waves
Kai means ocean in Hawaiian and his name was inspired by a trip Vadim and I took there in April, right when I found out I was pregnant. That trip was our first adventure as the “three” of us, and we loved a name that reminded us of that giddy and hopeful time, that beautiful place, as well as one that connects him to nature, something we hope he will love as well.
It’s also especially fitting for what we’re learning this week. Our pediatrician said it best – as new parents, you’re searching for patterns and schedules, but the hardest thing about newborns is that they have no schedule. The best attitude is to simply ride the waves.
I’ve tried to keep that wisdom and attitude in mind, in this especially tough week. Just when we thought we had a couple of things figured out after Week 1 (I know, we were clueless), the ground seemed to continuously shift underneath us. This week, Kai’s sleeping patterns changed at random and feedings took anywhere from half an hour (during the day) to two and a half hours (at night, 4am in particular).
I still wonder if I’m holding him, burping him and supporting his head properly. I’m still clumsy and slow at diaper changes. I’m still anxious about feedings and wracked with guilt when various people who are more experienced than I am tell me he’s feeding too much/not enough/that I should only supplement with pumped breast milk.
On top of it all, I’m still trying to take care of my own recovering body. This week, I feel like I’m living in a world of Groundhog's Day, attempting (and failing at) the same tasks every day. What helps is reminding myself that it’s all about practice – repetition is the only way to get better, and everyone tells me it will get better. When I get emotionally overwhelmed, I try to picture the ocean, of catching a wave and just going with it. I then look at Kai and hold his little hand as he is falling asleep. Having the reassurance that this is all as nature intended, and that everyone has gone through it, helps me with this very steep learning curve that is Week two.
Felicia, I love your honesty about all of this. I tell you, from experience, yes it does get better. But also it is so special to have this writing to look back on months from now and years from now. It also is really helpful for other new parents to read this and understand that nobody gets it right and that there is no right way to do things. Just do what works for you and your family.
As independent as I believe I am or as independent as I come off, I spent way too much time following what other people told me I needed to do, about breastfeeding specifically. More on that in these two posts from January 2015: 5 Weeks a Madre & 48 Hours Later.
Looking forward to weeks 3 & 4.