Post # 1
So I’m having a freak out moment right now. I’m due in 6 weeks and live 1000 miles away from all my friends and family. It’s just going to be my husband and I taking care of the baby. This is our first one and we’ve been taking all these baby prep classes and I feel like I’m already getting overwhelmed. It will be primarily me taking care of the baby around the clock since husband won’t get any time off from work and has a job where he needs his rest to really be on point. This is going to be a huge change for me and I’m worried I won’t be able to handle it on my own without a break. I’ve tried to line up some babysitters to give myself a couple hours of break a few days a week but honestly I don’t feel comfortable trusting my newborn with a stranger. It would be different if I lived close to family and could just drop baby off to my mother’s for a few hours a couple days a week but unfortunately this isn’t an option.
For those who are with baby and taking care of baby 24/7, was it ever emotionally or mentally draining for you? I’m looking forward to finally meeting our baby but am worried that I won’t cope well.
Post # 2
hspw714: Hard (especially the first 1-2 months) but manageable. (My mother didn’t live 1000 miles away but she was busy with her own job, so I had no daytime help).
Your husband should be able to help in the evenings. There’s no excuse for him not to. So you shouldn’t expect to be the only carer 24/7.
If you’re breastfeeding (as I was), then leaving baby with someone isn’t really feasible anyway. Of course you can still visit people (or have them come visit) which I did from time to time.
Post # 3
It’s hard and overwhelming but you will get through it. If you can line up babysitters, it will still be massively helpful even if you are still at home and just in a different room– taking a nap, showering, or whatever. I did it alone with a newborn who had terrible colic, no family to speak of, and a husband who traveled out of town for work 4 days a week. Those first few months really sucked but I got through it, and you will too. It is truly amazing what postpartum hormones enable us to handle.
Don’t dwell on the fact that you have less help than others, and don’t anticipate that it’s going to be awful. Some infants are really easy and sleep all the time, and some are really terrible and cry all the time. Take each day as it comes and try not to be anxious, because your state of mind can influence your newborn’s mood. Try to get out of the house every day, that helped me a lot. Look for a moms’ group to join (I found one on Meetup). And make sure you get some “me time” every weekend while your husband has time alone with the baby.
Be kind to yourself, and enjoy each stage as it comes. Even with a really high maintenance colicky baby, it wasn’t long before I started missing my daughter’s newborn days.
Post # 4
hspw714: Of course its hard, its brand new! You’ve never had a baby or been a mom before. It will be a whole new experience but you will be fine. Like anything you get used to it, you get better at it and your confidence rises. Instead of hiring babysitters why not hire someone to clean for you? Spend that money to get your groceries delivered etc. Do anything you can to make your life easier. Or hire the babysitters but don’t leave the house, take a shower, blow dry your hair, eat a sandwich etc. The good news is babies sleep a LOT. You will be fine. You can do this. 🙂
Post # 5
My parents live 8,000 miles away, and although they did help out for 3 weeks following the birth of our twins, after that I was on my own. It was overwhelming at the very beginning when they were still here, and them being there didn’t really stop that feeling as it was because I was breastfeeding. Someone literally needed ME (not my parents or my husband) for two out of every three hours, every day, around the clock… that was overwhelming. I cried once or twice.
Once my parents left, it forced DH and I to get into a routine. The routine made a huge difference to my sanity, and the babies were much happier and more content for it as well. We also decided that DH would give one bottle feed in the night, which meant that we both got a solid chunk of 6 hours’ sleep at night. The sleep made everything seem much better.
My top tips for avoiding feeling overwhelmed (or rather, what worked for me) are to get a good routine, figure out a system whereby you can get at least one chunk of restorative sleep at night, get out every day for at least a little bit (even if it’s just to putz around the mall or walk down the road for a coffee), and take a shower/get dressed in the morning… somehow, maintaining that semblance of normalcy helped immensely.
Post # 6
My family and friends all live across the country, but they came out in shifts for the first 4 weeks to visit and help. DH works 24 hour shifts, so I am home alone with the baby a lot. If it weren’t for the help I got from family, I probably wouldn’t have ever eaten or taken a shower, but I have a challenging baby. You might get lucky and have a really easy baby.
Now that DD is 4 months old, I’m more used to handling her alone. I won’t lie to you, it gets exhausting not being able to put her down or have some time to myself, but it’s much easier now than when she was a newborn.
There’s so many emotions when they’re new, and if you’re BFing that can be mentally and emotionally draining in the beginning (although worth it, IMO).
Any chance you’re family can come visit and help you in those first weeks?
Post # 7
It will be hard, but you will be amazing at it. Once you home that baby in your arms you will start to find your groove as a mother. Just remember to talk to your husband and remind each other that the house work will suffer during this time and it should be allowed to suffer.
Also see if you can put together a whole heap of freezer meals so that you won’t have to keep up with cooking. Or sign up for a meal delivery program like Lite n Easy.
Above all, remember to enjoy this fleeting, magical time. 🙂
Post # 8
I didn’t have any relatives anywhere close to us when my former DH and I had my first son. My mother was in another country and my ILS close enough to visit occasionally but far to far away to offer practical everyday help. I also had absolutely NO experience of babies since I was an only child with older cousins.
I still remember leaving hospital and wondering why on earth anyone thought me responsible enough to take this vulnerable little baby home!
I coped and you will too. It is hard work and you’ll get very little time for yourself but you can make life a whole lot easier for yourself if your DH helps. It is his child too so he should be helping with the workload. Regardless of his job. What I found hardest at first was just how long it took to undertake the simplest jobs – take a shower, get out to the shops, wash up the dishes, clean the house – and then the lovely mother of a close friend of mine came round for tea and assured me that I had no need to be Superwoman. The world wasn’t going to implode if a spot of domesticity went undone. Instead, my priority was my baby and enjoying our new life as parents.
So I concentrated on getting feeding well established and some sort of vague routine sorted. My baby was also born in the Spring which was a beautiful time to get us out and about. We also went to a couple of Mother & Baby groups which were great for companionship and the realisation that none of us were perfect and were all finding first time parenthood hard work as well as huge joy.
When people say treasure these moments because they are fleeting they are right too! I couldn’t believe that we would ever emerge from the newborn (and feeling somewhat hopeless!) phase but you do. And the time flies past. When I saw my first baby married last September I couldn’t believe where those years have gone. Oh, and he grew up just fine too. Despite having me as a mother!
Post # 9
My parents didn’t have any family nearby when they were raising me. I know it’s uncomfortable to think of leaving your child with a “stranger” but I think you’ll have to get used to the idea. Thinking ahead to when I have children, there are family members I won’t be leaving my child with, and non-family that I’ll trust to the ends of the earth. My parents had a few trusted babysitters (teenage daughters of friends/coworkers, for example) and in-home daycare that they relied on, and it worked great. When I got a little older I went to a larger daycare and that worked great, too.
If you make friends with other parents, you might find that they have a sort of “babysitting coop” going on where they all take turns watching each other’s kids.
Post # 10
I’ve worked since I was 15 years old and have never been without a job since…and for 5 of those years I worked two jobs while going to school full time to pay for college… and I can honestly say being a SAHM is the most demanding job I have ever had and I’ve worked in some very stressful high paced environments. I put a lot of thought into why I feel that this is the most demanding and it boils down to this… a little person is depending on you for EVERYTHING ALL THE TIME and it is on their time and terms. and my baby is a pretty easy going baby with a pretty sweet schedule but there are no guarantee planned timed breaks… You can’t switch shifts with someone, you can’t call in sick even when you are, you can’t have someone cover for you, there is no clear logic or solution for things, it is ever changing yet you get no prior notice or training on how to handle this new “implementation”, no guidelines, no deadlines, no formulas to input data that output answers, no flow charts.. You get my drift? and sure you have your husband to pitch in and help… but when you hear your baby cry you will immediately go to him. At least that’s the way I am. My DH could be holding him and playing with him and if he starts fussing I immediately come over to see what’s wrong and if I can help make it better. There is just no way my baby is crying and I can just ignore it.. This is because I went into being a SAHM as I do with any of my previous jobs, a workaholic and giving it 110%. But trust me, you need to plan some times when you leave your little baby with your husband and get out of the house! That’s the only way you can truly relax. And it’s important for your baby to bond with the other people thats in their lives. Sure I can settle our little man down faster than anyone else but it doesn’t mean I need to be doing it all the time or that my DH doesn’t need to learn how to do it himself! My DH watches our baby an hour and a half three nights out of the week and one and a half hours on Saturday morning so I can go to my yoga and yogalates class. You need to have some alone time or you’re going to go crazy… And it needs to be away from the baby or else you’re going to hear him laugh and run to him because you don’t want to miss a thing or hear him cry and run to help. SAHM’s arent ever “off”.. They just get sporadic breaks here and there when they can.
Post # 11
It is going to be tough without a support system, no lie. You still have time to build one! Start attending meetings(I’ll list a few below) now to get to know the moms and kids. They will become your new best friends and support you as a new mom. You may even be lucky enough to meet moms with kids the same age. We we met a great group of parents through our Bradley birth class. The kids were born within a month and we get together once a month. It’s great!
La Leche League(breast feeding group) meets every week, lots of new moms, great resource and support
Churches often have new mom groups
Meetup.com has mom groups specific to all different areas
Baby/Mom Yoga classes- I’ve met a great group of moms through a class
Post # 12
hspw714: Hi, I am really interested in the responses in your post! I just found out I am pregnant and have no family around and no close friends. We just moved to a new house in a new neighborhood, and i am already stressing about finding childcare, because I will need to return to work. I wish that I could be a SAHM. My advice is to take one day at a time. And I know it will be hard, because I know I feel the exact same way about a stranger taking care of my baby. Ill be following to see what other Bee’s offer for advice!