This week we hit six months. Six months of life outside the womb for André! And six months postpartum for me. Both of those things are very different, but also very connected.
André’s Six Months
This little boy is an absolute joy. I’ve spent a great deal of time listening to the parenting stories of friends before this life came along. I, of course, witnessed a lot of love and happiness, but I also know that not every baby is a walk in the park. While André has his quirks for sure, he’s overall a very happy, easy-going, and loving little human.
From day one, he’s really never cried much unless something is terribly wrong (like, he’s desparately hungry or those weird moments in the middle of the night when we’d wake him up to change his diaper and he clearly has no idea what’s going on). But truly, he is just so content.
He withheld his first smile for a while - wasn’t until at least two months - but it was so worth it! And he hasn’t stopped since. Laughter followed not too long after, and it’s the sweetest sound Kevin and I have ever heard.
From a very early age, he’s developed a love for cars/trucks/buses. We have done nothing to cultivate this - biology, am I right? Just the other day, I was nursing him in the car while Kevin ran into a store and he kept getting distracted with the cars driving by. It’s cute.
Early morning André is the sweeeeeetest. We co-sleep/bedshare (we have zero concerns, works for us all really well) and he often will wake up and then just be wide awake. He just turns his head eagerly side to side looking at both me and Kevin with the brightest smile, ready for the day.
This boy is an early-everything type of baby (except those smiles). He’s had wonderful head control forever, began rolling over before two months, started crawling at five months, and now is getting four teeth (which seem to not really phase him).
He’s also a big boy! Fully breastfed. Started off at 8 pound 9 ounces, and while we struggled with weight in those first few weeks, he’s now a whopping 17 1/2 pounds. Pretty dang healthy, too. Praise God!
He loves people. He comes to work with me once a week, and is perfectly content hanging out with a complete stranger. He’s gone to Mass with people (without me), anyone can hold/watch him - he’s just a joy.
He loves Kevin. Like, loooooves him. On the days when I bring him to work, as soon as we get home and I hand André off to Kevin, there is an explosion of smiles and laughter. It’s the best!
The most difficult thing about André? He loves to be held like 80% of the time (the other 20% he’s on the move). I say difficult because it does make it harder to do things, but Kevin and also love this about him because we’d rather he love to be held by us than the opposite. So we embrace it.
André has really given us the best introduction to parenthood. He is such a blessing and I try to have the most grateful heart because we absolutely do not deserve him.
Mama’s Six Months
I just described the best baby in the world, right? Correct. But motherhood is still motherhood and I gotta talk about it!
It’s a big change. To go from praying for children to having a child. It’s a big change.
Let’s start with the physical. I was blessed with an awesome labor & delivery. Wouldn’t trade it for anything. Hurt like hell, was fast & intense, but very satisfying and empowering. However, the quickness of it (especially for a first birth) plus a big baby left me a little messed up. Nothing that’s incurable, but I’m still working on my recovery. And recovery comes slower because I don’t have time for all sorts of appointments or to devote to special exercises - when I’m not working, running errands, or cooking/cleaning, I’m nursing André (or taking care of him in some regard). While I have a very supportive husband, self-care has just been difficult.
On the other hand, I have so far been fortunate to evade the thing I had been dreading: sleep deprivation and exhaustion. This is a gift. Thank you Lord. I have NEVER been one to handle lack of sleep well. Not my strongsuit. I actually once was given a name (by a close friend, used often by Kevin) for my nighttime alternate personality ‘cause some serious attitude would come out when I was tired (luckily, for Kevin, this has gotten wayyyy better over time!). But through some miraculous work, my energy levels have been great. It’s not that André sleeps 12 hours a night (laugh) - he actually nurses throughout most of the night (basically reverse cycling since I am away from him a few days a week for work). But through a combination of co-sleeping (I don’t have to get out of bed to nurse), taking my placenta pills (yes, I did that and I recommend it), and lots of grace, I function pretty well as a full-time working new mom.
Let’s talk breastfeeding. I was quite nervous before giving birth that this wasn’t going to go well. And it wasn’t easy in the beginning (to be honest, I blame a lot of the nursing staff at the hospital for this - they caused undue worry and stress and I am hesitant to do another hospital birth because of this experience). But once we figured it out, all was well! André is a snacker - he does not sleep through the night, and it’s hard to be away from him outside of my planned work time because he just want to be with me and eat. But I am so grateful we are able to still breasfeed full-time.
Speaking of how it’s hard to be away from him because of breastfeeding - I think this has been my biggest challenge as a new mom. I’ve loved it and I’m quite happy spending lots of time with him and Kevin. But not having alone time can be hard. If I go grocery shopping, he comes with me. If I go to Mass or adoration, he comes with me. If I meet a friend for coffee, he comes with me. (Now lest you think Kevin is being a neglectful dad, that is not so! He has plenty of demands that make it more prudent for me to watch André when I can - after all, they’re home together when I’m at work.) Not being able to go to a movie (really just Avengers) because he’d need a bottle prepped and I’d have to find a way to express/pump is a bummer. Debating how many errands I can realistically accomplish with him in his car seat can be inconvenient. Not being able to tackle projects in our new house because he needs my attention (especially with crawling!) can be frustrating. But I also know this is a season. It’s a season that I don’t want to wish away because he is just so perfect and these days go by quick! And considering we have no family in the area, our unique work situations, and the fact that we have one car - we do pretty well. And I’m grateful for how it all shakes out everyday,
Lots more can be said of these first six months. But it’s been a lot of joy. I’m grateful for Kevin and how wonderful he’s been through it all. And we praise God for this bundle of happiness that is André. Deo gratias!