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Newborn Blues

Lonely Newborn

Being with a newborn can be a really lonely experience. It can feel like life is passing you by, as you stay inside to care for your little one. There are the hours of nursing (I do mean HOURS), the short minutes spent trying to catch some zzz’s, and then the guilt about the deteriorating state of the house, the laundry, the dishes, the mess, the unmade beds and, well, the feeling of being “trapped” that can arise.

Add hormones to the mix, and it can make for a really difficult time in our lives.

I remember one specific weeknight when my first-born was about three-weeks-old. I had been home alone with him all day, and while I loved it — the smell of his skin, his sweet little bleats (not cries, but bleats) and being able to spend so much time with him — I was lonely!

My husband was due home at 5:00, and by 6:15, I had blown my top. Where was he? Where could he be? Why hadn’t he called?

Hormone induced tears streamed down my face and splattered my little boys swaddling blanket. “What is wrong with your father?” I asked the little being — who, by the way, provided no response. “How can he not be home? Doesn’t he know how long today was for me? How could he not run home to be with us?”

By the time my lovely husband walked through the door, I was a mess. I held it in, wanting him to sit down and have a break before I lit into him. And I was glad I did, because I noticed he was carrying several shopping bags. He had gone shopping for me at one of my favorite bath shops. I had massage oil, and bath salts, and great smelling lotion and a gift certificate for a massage.

I was grateful, and then I lit into him anyway.

“I need you to come home after work, I miss you, and I’m lonely.”

He looked at me like I had two heads.

I guess we can file this under the “husbands/partners don’t get how hard it is to be home with the kids,” but I think this is really specific to the newborn phase and the incredible demand it places on us moms.

There are the feedings every three hours. And it’s not like you feed that baby at noon for five minutes and then you have three hours to yourself until the five minute feeding at 3:00. No no. It’s 45 minutes of feeding at noon, then changing the baby for five minutes, and then walking around with the baby until he falls asleep at around 1:45. Then it’s 15 minutes for a shower and to (heaven forbid) put on lotion, make a bed or wash two or three dishes.

By then it’s 2:30, and just as you settle in and are about to fall asleep on the couch, the baby wakes up and you get to start this all over again.

It’s demanding, there is little interaction with the baby, and it’s lonely.

So, let’s talk about that…shall we?

First of all, we all go through it. And I think a lot of us feel guilty about it — at least I know I definitely do. I love being a mom, more than anything I’ve ever done in my life. I love the smell of the baby, I love that I’m able to breast feed, I love staring at the baby and trying to figure out who he’ll look like later in life…and this newborn phase is really hard.

Nothing wrong with it being hard, you know? It just is. I think if we can actually say that out loud and not be ashamed, then that’s a huge bonus for us because it allows us to actually try and find some solutions and tips for working through it.

Below are some ideas that I’ve found really work for me…

<Tips for Passing the Time During Breastfeeding:

Become a Netflix user! Yes, you read that right. You can get the cheapest package, which is around $9.99 a month. This will allow you to catch up on all your old favorites, you can order some fun movies for older siblings, you can order all those movies you haven’t have a chance to see but meant to, and the time with your little one won’t seem so lonely.

Read magazines with really small print! HA HA. I’m completely serious. If you read Time, Oprah, The New Yorker or even Comso or Glamour, the articles are long so you won’t have to turn the pages often (good when your hands are tied up with the little one) and you can catch up on world events, your favorite authors and feel like you’re in touch with the world without having to watch sleazy “news shows” or really bad day-time television.

General Tips:

Do make dates with your friends as well as your husband. Even if it’s only that they stop by for 30 minutes after they come home from work or stop by for lunch. It’s really important to have that time with people that can respond to your questions and can feed you emotionally as you do for your family.

Make a daily routine for yourself, even in the haze of sleeplessness. If you wear make up, make sure you put it on every day (or at least most days). It will remind you that you’re still in there, and that you do care about how you look – even if the baby doesn’t.

Make your bed every day — even if you just get back in it later on. It brings a sense of normalcy and calm to your day.

Go for a walk with the baby. This will provide you with some fresh air and some sunshine, even if it’s winter (bundle that baby up!).

Use the social networking sites that we all use now: Facebook, Twitter, MySpace or even LinkedIn to stay in touch with people throughout the day so you don’t feel that the world is passing you by as you stay inside with your new best friend.

These are just some ideas that have worked for me, I hope they help. Congratulations on your newborn!! Kiss those chubby cheeks and love that baby up! Your little baby will be big before you know it!

Author: Sarah

If you are concerned that you may have Post-Partem Despression or that you may need some help, definitely call you doctor. Depression is the number one (NUMBER ONE!) complication of childbirth, and it is nothing to be ashamed of.

 

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