The clichéd overwhelmed new mother moment has happened. I changed her diaper three times in a span of 30 minutes and got peed on and vomited on in the process and had to change both of our outfits since the pee and vomit was not self-contained. Eloise and I were prisoners upstairs because the living-room windows (which I’m too short to close) were open and I was scared the neighbors would hear my crying baby and think I was a terrible mother. And these few hours were all spent with me sobbing uncontrollably, trying to choke out words of comfort to my child and failing to even do that. The Frenchman came home to find Eloise and me sitting in a corner of the nursery, my tears falling on her face as I tried in vain to calm her down. This is what hormones do to you. The Frenchman took control, reminded me that she was probably having another growth spurt, and when I fed her he told me how happy she looked in my arms.
The first few days I felt like I was made to be a mother. It all came so naturally. The breastfeeding, putting her to sleep, changing her, keeping her warm. And then I started reading the books. And the books said she should only sleep 2 or 3 hours at a time. And the books said to wake her if she sleeps more than 4 hours. And they said to never wake a sleeping baby. They say that head movements, sucking fingers, open mouth, yawning etc. etc. are all signs of hunger. They say to be sure not to over feed your baby. And I started to doubt myself. And to mistrust my instincts.
So I’m not opening the books. Not until Eloise and I get to know each other a little bit better. Not until we can fall into a routine that some book will no doubt tell me is all wrong and then and only then we can spend months trying to undo it all.