Saturday, August 3, 2013

Old, Unpublished Post: Six Months Old: 5 More Things about Motherhood

I wrote the majority of this post June 2, 2012.  I found it buried, unpublished, in my list of blog posts.  Thought I'd share, since it was very interesting.  I should probably do another one of these, since I've learned even more since then:

J is six months old today.  My goal for my first year of motherhood was for all of us to make it out alive.  We're halfway there (and the three of us are not only alive, but thriving)!  In celebration, I will share another few things I've learned about motherhood (you can read my original post here).  I blatantly stole this idea from another blogger (now defunct), no lie, but I really enjoyed doing it last time and reading hers, so I'm going to forgive myself my originality fail.

1.  Current medical guidelines are not the only healthy way to raise a baby.  The medical guidelines you were raised with and your parents religiously adhered to in order to give you the best start are totally different than your current "best practices."  The truths about healthy baby raising in another country are different than your current truths.  The things that work with your baby now may not work with your next baby.  I'm not advocating being totally irresponsible, but don't freak out if you find out that your friend started her baby on solid foods before six months or or co-sleeps or whatever.

2.  Some babies cry inconsolably while sleeping.  J almost never cries when he is awake, but when he's asleep or just about to fall asleep, he will wail as if in terrible pain.  And we sit there at night trying to figure out whether it is better to wake him up (which stops the crying, but then he's awake for the next 30 minutes) or try to rock him or nurse him back to sleep through the cries (which takes almost 30 minutes anyhow).  It's weird.  I'm 90% sure it's teething pain that he doesn't really notice when he is fully conscious, but that when he's sleeping (supposedly peacefully), he feels it.  Apparently this is "normal."

3.  Sometimes the troubles with nursing come later.  The common wisdom is that once you've made it 6-8 weeks as an exclusive nursing mom, it's smooth sailing from there.  ALL of my serious (very serious) problems with breastfeeding happened after that.  I pushed through a once-a-day nusing strike for 2 weeks or so.  I had bilateral mastitis (breast infection in BOTH breasts) which did not respond to oral antibiotics or the first two rounds of IV antibiotics and so I had to take a major IV antibiotic not approved for breastfeeding and couldn't nurse for 2 days, during which time my husband burned through half of my freezer stash feeding the baby.  After that, my supply tanked and I had to use herbal supplements to bring it back up.  Then I had ANOTHER round of mastitis, but this time I developed an allergic reaction to the IV.  It is a wonder I didn't wean.  But here we are. (20 months note:  I am still breastfeeding.  I should write about that because breastfeeding past one year into toddlerhood is crazy)

4.  Babies are made to love their mommies.  And vice versa.  Knowing how and why bonding occurs and how powerful it can be does not prepare you for the sheer awesomeness of the feeling.  I've not yet encountered anything more challenging than parenting--or anything more rewarding.

5.  It's worth it to have one parent stay home full time.  For us, the parent who is full-time is Appa (that's Dad in Korean).  He is better suited to the task, both in temperament and economics.  (The only times I wish it could be me instead are when I'm dealing with anything pumping related--pumping is great, but also a big pain in the butt.)  Now, we do not make a lot of money, so we have "given up" many luxuries that most Americans take for granted, including baby luxuries like cribs and most toys in favor of co-sleeping and walks outside.  But really, the bond that my son and husband have is powerful and awesome.  And worth every bit we've "given up."

2 comments:

  1. I'm glad you dug this out and published it. I think the first six months was the hardest. Around six months I really got a feeling of "I know what I'm doing, I know what's best" instead "the baby books and internets and parents say I should be doing XYZ!!"

    We are hoping to add to our family soon and are really considering having my husband stay home full time. Glad to see that is working for at least one other family. The big task will be convincing Abonim... What does your husband's family think of him being the full time parent? (if you don't mind getting into that)

    -Aimee (a random person you don't know, also married to a Korean in living in md :)

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  2. Aimee,

    I remember your comment from before--really, how many women are married to Koreans in MD that I DON'T already know? Haha.

    Yeah, those first six months are really nuts. We're actually starting the planning for #2, also (pre-conception discussions/medical appointments stuff).

    I plan to devote a whole post at some point to what it's like to be a mom-working/dad-parenting family and address some of the Korean cultural issues, too. In brief, I think we're in a simpler situation than most couples trying this because 1) we live in America where it's more accepted, and 2) Min Gi's father has passed and all his mom cares about is if the kid is healthy. I have noticed that Min Gi doesn't really play this aspect of our lives up when speaking with his Korean friends. Not that he's ashamed, it's just not something he talks about with them to my knowledge. I believe this is because it is just so not the norm in Korea.

    You should really look into the Facebook group Western Women Married to Korean Men if you're on Facebook. Lots of really helpful cultural insight stuff.

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