Friday, June 06, 2008

New Mommy Lessons

Ugh. Last night was rough. And I mean ROUGH. There was a lot of crying (both me and the baby), and very little sleeping (both me and the baby AND my poor mother-in-law, who was "on duty"). Even now we have no idea what was wrong with him and why he just would not sleep. But now that he has stopped screaming and is napping peacefully again, here are some lessons I have learned/need to learn from this experience about parenting an infant:

1. Caring for an infant is not predictable. Just because something worked/happened yesterday, it might not today. That's just how it is. Everybody is still adjusting to this new life.
2. You just have to roll with the punches. Not everything is cause for an emotional breakdown. Nothing about our situation is permanent... If it's bad today, it'll probably be better tomorrow. Everybody is still adjusting to this new life.
3. When the baby cries, it is not a personal indictment against me as a mother. Yes, he's upset and I don't know what to do about it. That does not make me unfit for motherhood. Everybody is still adjusting to this new life.
4. When the baby cries, he is not doing it to personally spite me, so getting angry at him is not a reasonable response. He's crying because he has some kind of need, and we just don't know what that is. That is ok. Everybody is still adjusting to this new life.
5. It is ok to accept help. I feel absolutely terrible about the night my mother-in-law had last night. She was just as frazzled and bewildered at Eli's behavior as I was, but she handled it with MUCH more grace than I did. She definitely saw one of the worst sides of me last night. But there is no way that Eli and I would've survived the night without her, and she was perfectly willing and able to help. So even though it meant she had a terrible night inflicted upon her, I am thankful for her help and will accept it again. These bad nights won't last forever... Everybody is still adjusting to this new life.

So the theme of this post is that I need to chill out and give us time to adjust. Although last night it felt like Eli would be screaming forever, really it was only about 12 hours. And he was so wide awake from the screaming that he ate GREAT at every feeding. So there was a silver lining even to that cloud. The time in our lives that we'll be having nights like this is very short, and so I just need to relax and accept them with grace. God is still present even in the tough nights, and He is carrying us and providing for us all that we need.


Nick said...


Hopefully soon those nights will get fewer and less frequent.

I have noticed that Noah is calmed in different ways than he was just a few weeks ago.

Also I think there are some times where we're just not going to know what is wrong. Sometimes after we've checked everything that we can check, we give him some gas medicine. After that we just have to admit we don't know what's wrong and let him cry for a while.

Know that it gets better, and do depend upon others. Sadly, I think early on Noah's crying stressed me out worse than Ashlee, which blew my mind since she had to fight the battle of getting him to nurse well.

We heard that if you can get through six weeks of nursing, it gets better. It turned out to be true for us, Noah is pretty efficient now, and it takes less time.

John said...
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Kristy said...

Joni - it is so refreshing to hear you say those things. As you know, Price is 9 months old and for the last 3 nights he has woken up screaming for no reason in the middle of the night. So it was good for me to read what you said, even 9 months down the road.

Jackie said...

your honest blogging brings tears to my eyes- tears of joy for seeing my friend learn and grow as a new mom, and tears for myself at what is to come... Thanks for the realistic slap in my face- but it's a good slap... thank you! See you soon-

KarenD said...

Girl, I can SOOOOO relate! And I don't want to just jump right in with advice, but it helped me to know that people knew what I was going through. The range of emotions a new mom experiences is crazy: joy, anger, confusion, guilt, love, frustration... and having to deal with the swings on very little sleep.

There is a video that really helped us out. It's a book, too, called The Happiest Baby on the Block, but the advantage of the video is you get to SEE demonstrations of how to soothe a fussy baby. The premise is the 5 s's, which you may have heard: swaddling, shooshing/white noise, sucking, swaying/swinging, and side/stomach position. It also calls these first few months the "fourth trimester." And sometimes the baby just cries because, like you said so well, "everyone is adjusting to this new life."