After I wrote the last post, I had a breakthrough moment.
That day, I spent the entire morning trying to get Little Fab to nap. After all, everything I read said that newborns should be sleeping A LOT. However, LF does not sleep A LOT. (Although he has teased us with a few 3 hour stretches in the last few days. Trying not to jinx it.) But, being the rookie I am, I really, really thought that I needed to enforce a nap. I shushed, rocked, fed, changed, and swaddled him. Then, I begged and pleaded with him. Through it all, LF fussed, cried, and generally expressed how pissed off he was at my trying to get him to do something he was not willing to do. By the time my mom arrived at my house (she was here visiting from California for 2 weeks), I was in tears.
"Newborns are supposed to sleep a lot!"
"I should be able to get my son to sleep!"
"I'm a terrible mother!"
"I can't handle this!"
"I haven't slept for a month!"
After calming me down, she gently took LF out of my arms and sent me to take a shower. After sobbing in the shower as well, and reflecting on how many days I had ended up in tears for one reason or another, I decided to actually listen to some of the advice my mom offered.
It sounds so simple when I write it here, but somehow it took all that strife for this to sink in. She said that no matter how much I want LF to be on my schedule, I'm really on his. I can set up conditions for him to sleep: holding him, feeding him, changing him, swaddling him, and providing white noise and a dimly lit room. But, if he doesn't want to sleep, he isn't going to sleep. Spending hours and hours driving myself nuts wasn't worth it, because he still wasn't sleeping and I was a mess. Instead, she said, I need to go with his flow and follow his lead. If he won't sleep, play or put him in the car and go somewhere. She promised I would feel better and things would go more smoothly if I didn't try so hard to impose control on the situation.
Anyone who knows me knows what a difficult pill that was for me to swallow. I crave predictability, routine, and control over my life. I research EVERYTHING. I plan out nearly every move I make in both my personal and professional life in a deliberate manner. This is my go-to coping mechanism. In fact, the hardest part of my adjustment to parenthood has been the unpredictability of each day. Hell, of each hour.
Now, I don't always listen to my mother's advice. I'm sure she would say I poo-poo it often. But, what she said made sense. It dawned on me that maybe part of the point of this whole experience is for me to start letting go of needing so much control and go for the ride a bit.
I won't lie - that scares the shit out of me. But really, I have no choice. I have to change the way I approach my days with LF, or else both of us will be miserable. So, I've made an effort over the last several days to let Little Fab lead. When he's awake, I go with it. When he naps, I usually use the time to be productive, but sometimes rest. (Damn, I wish I could nap during the day.) As a result, I've been crying less, he's been napping a little bit more, and life is generally more pleasant. I've also noticed that I enjoy my time with him more - we do tummy time, "play," and hang out together while we figure each other out. Although he continues to have fussy periods throughout the day and night, I do feel like I know him a little better, which also helps me soothe him.
I've also been considering the name of this blog. I was talking to KG about how I wasn't sure if the name "Waiting for Little Feet" was appropriate anymore, considering we were successful in bringing Little Fab into the world. But, he thought otherwise. He said, "Now it just means something different. Instead of waiting for those feet to arrive, now we are waiting to see what those feet will do." So, the name remains, as will the blog. I'm not sure how the content will evolve. But, this blog was never completely about infertility, nor will it be completely about parenting. It will just be.