When I first started my career, I was very timid. I was always afraid of not being good enough for everyone. It took me three years to realize it was not worth it to stress that way every day in my office, and every night at home. I cannot remember exactly when I came across this great piece of advice about writing down the things that I feel I have done well for the day. This sense of accomplishment is supposed to lift up my spirits and encourage me to feel good about myself. And so, I did write. In a little notebook the size of an iPhone. I believed it did work in releasing some of my tensed up thoughts. Also, it forced me to think what positive, feel-good, things I have done, be it for myself or others. It can be very daunting having negative thoughts and apprehension constantly cloud one’s mind. Perhaps, it is just my personality or the upbringing of my childhood that influenced me to be this way. My paternal side of the family has a history of depression too. Although, I think much of the world today is filled with depressed people. It’s just that no one talks about it because it is considered taboo.
Looking back at those hard working years, and after reading yesterday’s list of parenting survival tips from Dr Sears, I told myself that I should start writing again. Parenting Emma has not been easy. I want to feel more involved in this journey of motherhood. I want to feel happy being a mom. Yes, maybe my expectations of Emma to not cry at all is unrealistic. All babies should cry right? It wouldn’t be normal if a baby did not fuss or cry. Moreover, all this guilt that I have been feeling needs to go out the window. It is not helping at all. I keep getting into this mulling-over-my-baby’s-behaviour cycle. For example, just now … I came across a friend’s photo of his wife and newborn baby boy. His wife was still looking so pretty while waiting in the labor ward to give birth. She was smiling from ear to ear. I don’t remember myself being that way. Then, I started to feel down. She only took 3 hours to give birth naturally to her baby. How easy it was for her. I, on the other hand, struggled for 15 hours, and had to be cut open after an oxytoxin drip, which did not progressed. There I go again, comparing myself, asking why wasn’t I as lucky as her. Then, I start wondering, is her baby sleeping well? She is probably breastfeeding while I’m not so her baby is getting more benefits than mine?
Stop. Stop. Stop.
I need to stop comparing. Well, here goes. Let’s see what I have done today that I am proud of.
Emma woke at 1.30 am after her midnight feed. I was puzzled and wasn’t quite ready for a crazy night. But I mustered up the courage to not pick her out of the crib, and just gave her back the pacifier. I waited a while until she was fast asleep. However, she awoke again at 3.30 am … this was confusing as I was debating whether or not she was hungry. So, I trusted my instincts again and just gave her the pacifier. When I went to her, she smiled when she saw me but I maintained a neutral expression. I was not going to signal to her it is play time. I turned her to the side, and gently pat her back to sleep. Voila … it worked! I was quite surprised really, but too tired to further analyze the situation. I went back to bed, and the next thing I knew she was babbling at 6 am. I am proud I was able to keep her night wakings under control. In a way, she still needs the help to go back to sleep … but I’ll worry about sleep training later. I don’t think I am ready emotionally to put her through something so harsh.
This morning, I felt good about bringing her for a morning walk in the stroller. I don’t know if she enjoyed it because she looked a little grumpy. I think she just doesn’t like to be strapped in to anything – stroller, carseat, baby carrier … she likes to move around freely. I feel as though she wants to walk before she even masters sitting. This little girl …
Emma didn’t nap well today. So putting her to bed was challenging. She cried real hard whenever I gave her back her binky and walked away. I wasn’t sure if she didn’t want to sleep, or she just wanted to be with me. It was probably both since she associates me with everything – feeding, playing, cleaning … But I’m glad it all ended peacefully at the end. She stopped crying and went to sleep. I walked away feeling alright. No tears. No gulit-ridden thoughts. I just accepted the fact that maybe she is just being clingy or playful and is protesting sleep.
The day is nearing to an end. Soon, it will be a new tomorrow. I wonder what Emma will bring on. I may not look forward to those piercing cries of hers but I look forward to her smiles and laughter. She is getting sweeter each day.