I'm finally creeping out of the mind-numbing haze that being a new resident in Mommydom entitles one to. And since I was doubly doped-up from caring for twinfants, my initiation into being a mom was... we'll just say, rough at times... most times actually. I'm reflecting back on those first few weeks wondering how on earth I survived (not to mention the survival of my little munchkins-turned-goblins-at-night).
Here's something I was surprised (and frightened) by during the first three weeks: I didn't like being a mom. In fact, I flat-out hated it at times. Which was completely unexpected. Being a mom was something I had looked forward to for most of my life and I thought it would come naturally. I knew it would be hard, but I still expected to instantly fall madly in love with my sons. Maybe that's how new mommyhood works for some women, but I certainly wasn't one of them and I was totally taken aback by this. My lack of lovely-dovey feelings for my sons left me emotionally impaled with guilt and disappointment. Which made the constant exhaustion, feedings, diaper changes, crying and feelings of being completely in-over-my-head so much more difficult to deal with. Being a mom was harder than anyone could have prepared me for and I felt so guilty for how much I wanted my pre-baby life back.
Had Devin not been there to cheer me on and help me as much as his non-lactating self could, I don't think we would have made it. My deepest admiration for single moms - I do not know how you do it. Wow.
Thankfully, the life of a new mom-of-mutiples slowly started getting more manageable. Not "easier" per say, but bearable with more moments of joy in-between the really frustrating times. I think the thing that helped the most was changing my expectations to match my new reality. When I expected that the twins would need to eat every two hours, 24/7, it was a lot easier to handle it emotionally and physically. Also helpful - getting dressed in the morning. Sure, sweatpants are way more comfortable when you're stuck in a little apartment caring for two newborns, but never underestimate the power of a pair of jeans and a clean(ish) shirt to make you feel slightly human again. Actually, "being stuck in a tiny apartment" reminds me of something else that was hugely helpful for coming out of the new-mommy-blues. Devin started making it a priority to get me out of the apartment as often as we could. Even if it was just strolling the twins to the local park or Starbucks, or heck - even a trip to the grocery store. These quick little, in-between-feedings outings lifted my spirits considerably.
Then something else changed around five weeks that actually did make parenting easier. My sons started to smile. Not gassy smiles or milk-comma grins, but real, actual, looking-me-in-the-eye smiles. Suddenly these little goblins who had been sucking the life out of me turned into adorable little people with personalities of their own. What's more, they liked me and would grin when they saw me or when I talked to them. Melt my heart. Finally, I started falling in love with my sons. Turns out loving your kids makes parenthood more enjoyable (even easier... at times). Praise the Lord for those sweet, life-saving smiles!
P.S. if you are one of those dear friends or family members who came over to help or brought us a meal - God bless you!! I don't know how Devin and I would have slept, eaten or showered during those first four weeks without all of you. You saved all four of us!