Motherhood Over 35: Month One
By Kathy Zucker
Being a new mom again has been simultaneously familiar and overwhelming.
Photo credit: Kathy Zucker
What is different this time? My recovery was incredibly fast thanks to being in great condition when I became pregnant. Four weeks postpartum, most people cannot tell that I just gave birth. This is not always a good thing; when I go into children’s stores the shopkeepers ask about my kids’ ages, which has led to lectures by Asian and African women about how I am not supposed to leave the house for the first month after delivery. With two older children and two businesses to run, staying home is not an option.
What is the same? My fatigue. Waking up every three hours every night in the last month is taking a toll. I am much more tired now than I was a week after delivery. I had to write things down even before giving birth; now I find myself forgetting what I was going to write on my way to the notepad. My blood pressure is also still an issue; my doctors tell me it takes six weeks for pregnancy to leave my system, so I am trying to be patient and keep taking hypertension medication every eight hours.
With my first two children, my fatigue levels peaked at four months. I usually stop driving around now because my depth perception becomes seriously impaired; I smacked the parking column in my garage at least four times when I first became a mother. I am praying that the fatigue peaks earlier this time, but since I am exclusively breastfeeding, I can’t count on that happening.
Why am I exclusively breastfeeding? Because nursing has gone incredibly well this time around and since I am taking all the night feedings (hubby takes care of the older kids in the morning), I might as well breastfeed. It’s a lot easier to roll over in the middle of the night and pop the baby on my boob than it is to get up and prepare a formula bottle. Also? The baby is thriving; her one-month pediatric checkup showed she gained over three pounds and grew more than two inches. Who knew breastfeeding could produce numbers like that?
How are my older kids adapting to the new sibling? My five year old daughter is enthralled by her baby sister, racing home after school to wash her hands and hold her. I have gotten her to take baths by telling her that baby sister is sad to have a smelly big sister. The new baby is an unqualified success with my oldest child.
My four year old son is having a difficult adjustment. He frequently wakes up in the middle of the night calling for a milk bottle, and then comes and gets in bed with me and the baby. He is much more clingy and possessive, but he is also endearingly interested in the new baby, wanting to give her piggyback rides and asking why she is looking at him. I am trying to spend some time with him one-on-one so he does not feel completely displaced.
My biggest challenge? Trying not to get back to normal too quickly. I have to remember not to push myself and the baby to get out of the house. It’s going to take a while to establish a new routine with three kids; I need to keep reminding myself that it’s not going to happen overnight.
Kathy Zucker, serial entrepreneur and mother of three, writes about juggling career and family in an urban setting. See what Kathy is up to at her blog, on Twitter and Facebook.
Tags: parenting, postpartum