I didn’t like my daughter until she was about 4 and a half months old.
Before you judge or call family services I LOVED her very much and I wanted more than anything to care for her and keep her safe. But I did not LIKE her.
Maybe I need to start at the beginning to really explain.
One of my friends who became a mother years before me told me something when I was pregnant. She said,
You know that scene in HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS when his heart gets so big it almost explodes? Well that’s the best way I can describe how it feels the moment you see your baby for the first time.
In case you have been living under a rock (or, you know, Jewish like me and living under a rock) see gif below.
Well here’s the thing: my story was a little different than my friend. When I got pregnant with my son I was over the moon. It was what I wanted more than anything.
However, pregnancy was not my thang, shall we say. I could not wait to meet my son. I talked to him. I took care of him. But I couldn’t say,
I loved him already.
I loved the idea of him…but I didn’t know him. When he came out and I saw him I was feeling immense…
Relief. And some love.
Then about 6 minutes later he was clean, I had calmed, the room was quiet, and he latched on.
Then I felt like…
Like the Grinch.
Where was I? I got distracted because said son, now 3 and sick, came out of his room and gave me puppy dog eyes asking me to lay with him while he tried to fall asleep. I complied.
Oh yes, my beautiful easy first child who made me think I was parent of the year.
So fast forward 16 months later and I’m pregnant with my daughter.
If I didn’t like pregnancy the first time, it was worse the second. I mean everyone is more tired the second time since there is no napping because, you know, you already have a kid on the outside that needs you.
On top of being tired, I had more uncomfortable complications as time went on. Baby girl was not easy inside and I was just praying she would be easier on the outside.
The problem was she wasn’t any easier.
She was jaundice. Not enough to have to stay in the hospital, but enough to warrant an early visit to the doc. Discharge orders were to supplement and feed every 2 hours to try and get her to poop more often to improve the condition.
So after 24 hours without pooping, numbers were up and docs were acting worried. This prompted 5 straight days of bringing her to the doc and the lab for blood tests and less sleep than imaginable because by the time I fed her and kept her upright (I’ll get to the digestive stuff next) then cleaned up the projectile spit up, changed her, and got her to sleep, I would have to wake her up to start all over again.
No one was sleeping more than 20-40 minutes at a time. Luckily this was better after the first 2 weeks.
She also had/has horrible acid reflux with projectile spit up. She was in pain and so tense. The whole “moments of joy sleeping cuddly on my chest thing”…not happening. Don’t get me wrong. When she was eating well or sleeping and I could keep my eyes open, she was so sweet and beautiful.
But there was so much spit up! And no napping.
I would say,
Well it’s ok that I’m exhausted all day because I’m getting some sleep at night.
She started sleeping from about 10pm to 5am. But then she learned to roll over… and so she wasn’t sleeping at night either. It was different every night. Some nights we would be up twice, then four times the next night, and one the next. It was not fun.
Did I mention she never napped?
She was not fun.
She was grouchy, and tense, and making life hard.
I was so worried I might never like her.
What if her personality was just negative? Babies are born with a temperament right? I mean I got one easy going kid maybe this was a cosmic balance?
My gut told me this wasn’t forever though. My gut told me I couldn’t accept this was who she was because…well I believed she was suffering too.
So we took action.
We pushed the doctor who gave us a medication to help the acid reflux.
I went to the Bloom Event put on by this very blog and met Dr. Anastasia Lander who explained how chiropractic care could help my baby. I made an appointment.
The medication seemed to help the pain. Dr. Lander seemed to help the projectile distance and the frequency of the spit up (which if you haven’t gotten the memo yet, was…all..the..time!). At 11 months, she still spits up (and let me tell you once they are eating real food it is grosser than gross). But it is like once every other day and a small amount on most days, so I can live with that.
Or to be more accurate the never-once napping and the completely inconsistent night time sleep was making me useless to the rest of the world.
I hired a sleep consultant.
At first I felt a little weird about it. After all I wasn’t new to this parenting thing. When I needed to get my son sleeping through the night I made a plan. I was confident I knew what he needed. It took under a week and done.
With her, I had NO IDEA what to do! She was so different than my son, had different needs and wants, and I needed help.
So we got help.
Now the digestive help came first and I started to notice, my girl was becoming more PLEASANT…maybe even SMILING. Then when she started to nap and get real sleep…GAME CHANGER!
She was smiling…and BELLY LAUGHING.
She was…well, FUN!
I loved her every minute of every day, but I was finally – around four and a half months – starting to actually LIKE her. Now don’t get me wrong. There are days where I don’t like either of my kids. One is a three-nager, and the other is dramatic and willful.
But overall I like them AND love them.
How did I get through it?
Well the most important thing was I NEVER judged myself for how I felt. I got help. I advocated for me and for my daughter, and frankly for anyone who was going to have to be around either of us!
I look forward to all the ups and downs to come in her life, because I know I can do it.