Monday, June 17, 2013

Building Immunity

Yup, I'm that blogger that went back to work and didn't write ONE post in the last few months. I never wanted to become her, but here I am.

I have lots of reasons: I was finishing a very tough school year. I was learning how to balance being a mom, wife, teacher, friend, daughter, etc. Hell, I'm still learning. I was so busy that I only had time to work, eat, sleep, and be with LF and KG.

The truth is, exhaustion and family time won out over my blog. I just wasn't willing to give up my 8:30 bedtime while everything was so overwhelming. But, now that my school year ended, I'm hoping to make a blogger come back. Other than going to the CVS Minute Clinic for an ear infection (mine, not LF's), blogging was first on my list for summer vacation. I'm feeling a little rusty, so hang in there with me while I get my writing legs back.

All in all, LF is turning into an amazing little man. He does new "tricks" often. The latest: turning back to belly in his crib, over and over again. Too bad this is often when he is supposed to be sleeping! He smiles, laughs, and plays his days away. He loves to "talk," grasp things, play with new toys, touch and explore faces, and watch the world with wonder. He is close to sitting on his own, and is loving daycare, despite being sick a lot (more on that later).

The transition back to work went better than expected, and actually helped me get over the hump with my postpartum depression. I missed LF every day, but having a piece of my pre-mommy identity back was incredibly good for me. Selfish or not, I know I improved enormously in the last few months. Of course, the series of colds and viruses that have plagued LF make me feel very guilty. Luckily, there's no choice in the matter. Both KG and I have to work for our financial health, so I can only beat myself up so much about it. He's building immunity, right?

Speaking of building feels as though I've been building some of my own lately.

There have been several moments since LF was born that I've said, "I'm the worst person to be his mother." That might sound awful considering what it took to get LF in the first place. But, since he was born, I have discovered parts of myself more vulnerable and raw than I ever knew existed. Although I theoretically knew motherhood was a tough job and unexpected things would happen (babies get sick, babies cry, babies do things that are unpredictable) I did not know when I was pregnant that I would often be unable to emotionally process those things without completely losing it. Seriously, I see moms who can let all those things roll off their backs without ridiculous amounts of worry or anxiety and I am green with envy. I on the other hand often freak out. Actually, not just often: ALL THE TIME. Illnesses, sleep disturbances, eating, reflux, you name it. Something with LF throws me and I can't eat, sleep, or smile. So, I get these moments when I feel like LF deserves a different mom. One who won't turn into a neurotic mess at every sneeze and sniffle. One who is a pillar of strength all the time. I know some moms like this, and I so wish I could channel their abilities.

Most recent example? LF ended up with a terrible virus that landed us in urgent care on a Sunday when his temp reached 104.4. During the week he battled this fever, he also had to have a chest xray, a botched blood draw, and more. I wanted to be strong for him. I really, really tried to put on a brave face and distract him with smiles and songs. But, there were many times when I could. not. do. it. Instead, I wept right along with him and had to lean on my mom (who just moved here with my dad from Los Angeles! OMG!). At one point, I asked a nurse in his pediatrician's office whether my crying was marked on a list to give nurses a head's up. She smiled kindly and told me that most mothers would be on a list if that was true.

Still, I know I take it too far. It is counterproductive and wastes time and energy I need. Plus, I'm going to be in this job for a long, long time. KG reminded me of lots of things to come: teething, injuries, teasing in school, heartbreaks. It is all coming, ready or not.

I know I need to toughen up. I know I can't continue to make myself sick with worry. It isn't good for me, KG, or LF. But, I'm just not there yet. I especially know that compared to some people very close to my heart, I have nothing to worry about. LF is a happy, (sometimes) healthy baby who is going through all the normal bumps in the road.

Perhaps with every new experience (both the scary kind and the wonderful kind) I'll build a thicker skin and a little more immunity.


  1. Wow, the difference from 4-5 months is astounding. This 5th month has been so much fun with Ever. I'm sorry to hear LF has been so sick. Ever has been having constant small colds that come and go since I've returned to work, and then we get them too.

    I'm glad to know I"m not alone with the anxiety! Yes! Anything that happens to the babe makes me worry so much. I think because we tried extra hard to become mommies, we feel so much pressure to do it just right, and we lost that laid back idea we always dreamed of having with our kids. It's a tough balance.

  2. So happy to see this post!! I know you've been busy and there's been a lot happening in the last few months. So no beating yourself up, okay? This space is here for you when you need it.

    Very sorry to hear about LF being sick. One of the major disadvantages to day care, but in addition to building immunity, he's also building social skills and learning how to interaction with strangers. A huge advantage when it comes time to introduce babysitters. So hang in there.

    I'm also glad you wrote so candidly about the anxiety you've been facing. I agree with Lanie, I think it's fairly common. Years ago, when I taught swimming, we had a designated area for the parents that we referred to as the "crying area." We always had new parents in a constant state of anxiety during the lessons, often due to separation and fear that something would go wrong. It usually wasn't until the 2nd year of swimming, when it was clearly demonstrated to all involved that the child could easily cross the pool, that the anxiety started to decrease (usually with the kids rolling their eyes at their mothers). My point is I was witnessing all of this almost 20 yrs ago, so don't be too hard on yourself. As LF grows, it will get easier as you get use to all these news aspects and are figuring things out.

  3. I am so happy you had some extra time to let us know how you and your family are doing. I do miss reading your blogs, but TOTALLY understand that you have to prioritize and your family comes first.

    I think that you sound like you are doing a wonderful job as a mom and there are many times through this that you will have mixed feelings with some good and some bad.

    LF is just adorable and I truly can't believe how much he has grown. Thank you so much for sharing the pictures of him.

  4. I have to try very hard to be a strong mamma. Whenever I can't sooth Coop, I freak. I break down because I feel like I should be able to do this. I should be able to figure out how to help. But I have to remind myself that I can't always do something. I can hold him and try a few things, but in the end there are limits. I think we want so badly to fix and keep our child happy and healthy and it's so hard when it's out of our control. IVF was all about control after all.

  5. HUGS to you. I have heard it takes a good year for immunity to all the daycare germs to develop. We've been going through that cycle ourselves (it's no easier with a 2 year old) and I can't imagine how that works for a family with two employed parents since we've had LO out at least 1 day per week per month since she started in October and I've shared a good 75% of the illnesses. Some weeks/months were much worse!

    As for your reactions to the major/minor bumps with LF, I guess you could say I'm the one who appears strong. And I too feel guilt for being the "strong" one who didn't cry along with LO when she needed stitches on her face at 26/27 months because she tripped and fell. But thinking about it in general, I'm not a crier unless I am extremely frustrated or embarrassed or angry or everything has built up. And for some reason, not being able to cry easily makes me feel like less of a woman - typing that makes me feel extremely silly - so I guess we all need to be here to balance each other out.

    If it gets to be too much, talk to your Peds/Gyn/Other doc you trust. There's no shame in getting help to overcome something interfering with your quality of life/parenting experience.

  6. HRF: Welcome back! You are doing a beautiful job no matter how you are feeling on the inside - look at that smile on your little guy's face - that's proof the two of you are doing well caring and raising him. It's never easy to see your little ones needing medical help esp w/the pokes or something invasive. I read somewhere that having a child is having your heart walking around outside your body (Elizabeth Stone I believe said this). It's true, I see and feel that with every new thing my kids do, especially as they get older and do more w/friends and school. You never want to see them hurting and always want to protect them as best you can.

    Wishing you a beautiful summer and a whole new set of experiences looking through the eyes of LF! Best wishes mama.


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