Confessions of a New Mom

Can you believe Coop was born (almost) a month ago!? 

Born September 12, 2013 at 7:41 p.m.
7 lbs and 21 inches.

I honestly can’t believe how quickly the days have gone by! Maybe it’s because my days and nights run together. The hours of the day don’t matter because I am working off the clock of my new baby. 
Being a mother is absolutely incredible.

Insanely hard, but incredible. 

I just look at my sweet baby boy’s face and my entire body fills with love and emotions I’ve never felt before! 

Look how little Coop looks!!

Cooper’s pain is my pain. 
His tears are my tears.
And his smiles are my smiles.
While it’s easy to post the happy and adorable pictures,  not everything about being a new mom is glamourous and happy. Even though I am generally a positive person and Justin thinks most of the time I am daydreaming about a land filled with puppies and smiling babies, I’ve had a few hard moments. 
I’ve been challenged in new ways.

And I’ve cried for new reasons (or no reason at all).

Usher used to sing about his confessions…and today, I’m going to blog about a few confessions of my own.
1) I live in yoga pants and tops that I can quickly pull down to pump or feed a hungry baby. 
2) I die on the inside when a Coop makes little noises and grunts – one of them reminds me of a raptor. And he smiles! I swear my baby boy smiles and I don’t care if some people think he is too young for smiles. I’ve witnessed them on many accounts! 
3) I melt when I see Justin dancing and trying to calm down Cooper. The video of  J and Cooper dancing to “In My Life” by The Beatles make me cry on the spot! 
4) Sometimes (okay all of the time)  I just sit on the couch and stare at Cooper while he sleeps. I’m in complete amazement that we made such a beautiful, loving, and wonderful baby. My mind is blown that this little tiny person grew inside of me for 9 months.
Cooper in his custom onesie – with a C and mini Coopers on it!
5) Then there are other times when I look at Coop and he is crying and screaming as loud as possible. He isn’t a big cryer- he mainly just cries to get my attention for a diaper change, food, or snuggles. This morning I think he was crying because he got too hot. 
And other times, I am convinced Cooper cries because he knows I want to run an errand and he doesn’t want to leave the house.

But even though I know crying is his method of communication, sometimes I just can’t take it.

I tell him I am doing the best I can. 

I am moving as fast as possible. 

I can’t steam the bottle in a second. 

I don’t have magical wipes to get poop off his bottom in one swipe. 

But I do my best to keep calm and remember to have patience. If I find myself getting super annoyed or stressed, I pick him up and kiss his forehead.

“We’re going to make it, Coop” I say. “You’re going to be just fine.”

Sometimes he believes.

Sometimes he doesn’t.

But we get through those tough moments one way or another. 

6) Lately I’ve realized that I sometimes go to bed without brushing my teeth. I know- that’s gross. But I promise my poor oral hygiene habits aren’t on purpose! I am usually a CRAZY person about brushing my teeth, but most nights I just pass out the moment I put him down and he stays asleep. I try to make up for it by brushing my teeth about 4 times throughout the day. But I am not sure how my breath doesn’t knock him out in the middle of the night when I try to tell him everything will be okay or sing him the song I made up.
“Go to sleep Mr. Cooper, 
Mommy loves you” 
That’s it.

Those two lines on repeat. 

And I rub his forehead with my thumb. 
Proof my song works.
My little frat baby is out cold!

7) I don’t think I had PPD, but I definitely had the baby blues. They say 80% of women experience some form of the baby blues. I remember one Sunday I just sat on the couch and cried and cried to Justin. I told him that I felt like a zombie. 
I’ve lost my identity, I said. 
All I do is attempt to nurse him, pump until there is nothing left inside my boobs, feed coops a bottle when he is starving from not getting enough breastmilk, and then do the dishes. 
Once the dishes are done, it’s about time to change a diaper and repeat the cycle again. The hardest part was just adjusting to that new cycle. I’m not number one anymore- Coop is number one. He needs me – 24 hours a day and seven days a week…I am second. But I’ve quickly learned that I haven’t LOST my identity, I’ve simply gained a new one.
 
8) I’ve finally found a good balance of making time for myself. Whether that’s a hot shower, a walk with Bandit, a trip to Starbucks, or simply putting on makeup (with no place to go)… I try to make SOME time for me.
All dressed up and no where to go.

I need to feel somewhat sane and happy in order to be a good mom. 
9) And that brings me to my next point of being a “good mom” – there is a thing called “mom guilt” and it will eat you alive if you don’t control it. 

I first experienced mom guilt when Cooper wasn’t eating enough and lost 11% of his birth weight. Then my supply never fully came in. 


What’s wrong with me?

Why can’t I provide for my baby? 

Isn’t breastfeeding supposed to be easy, natural, and amazing? 

It didn’t take me long to realize that being a good mom means providing for your child and putting food in their body – whether that’s breastmilk or formula. I am a good mom because I am always there and available and feed my little man whatever I can… any hour of the day. 

I’ve now come to terms with the fact that my supply is low. Cooper can’t nurse and get a full meal…so I call it “appetizer and dessert breastfeeding.” And I pump whenever I can do bottle feed him breastmilk. I didn’t let mom guilt win…and I didn’t let anyone make me feel bad for formula feeding my baby. Sometimes, you simply don’t have a choice if you can breastfeed or not and a growing / healthy baby is the most important of all. 


Cooper apparently trying to look like Chris Farley in Tommy Boy.


My next experience with mom guilt was leaving Cooper for the first time. We had a wedding last weekend, but my ped didn’t want Cooper around that many people since he is so little. And you guys know it would be hard for me to keep Cooper in his car seat the whole night. I’d be showing him off and dancing with him in my arms all night.

TWINS! For real.
We decided to take him to the wedding ceremony (which we ended up missing – but that is another story) and have my mom watch him for a few hours while we went to the reception. I knew Coop was in great hands and I trust my mom, but I hated to leave him. I felt like a part of me was missing…he has been by my side every single day and night. 

We take a lot of shameless selfies.
How else did you expect me to pass the time?


But once I saw my mom snuggle with him and watched him close his eyes to fall asleep, I knew the only thing I could do was trust in my mom and let go of control (UM, so hard). She has four kids of her own – she is a pro at this mom thing. And I was only 8 minutes away. 

“Okay babe! I made it to the stop sign!” I said after pulling away from the house. “Let’s see if I can keep going…” 

I looked over at him and he smiled. He placed his hand on my thigh. 

“We will all be just fine,” he said. 

And I turned the car away from the house, but I thought about Coop the entire evening. Thankfully everyone was asking about him so I was able to tell stories and share pictures, which made being apart from him easier. I will confess that it was nice to have a night out with Justin and enjoy some “us” time. I also loved getting dressed up- that felt rather nice.

I learned that being away from Coop will always he hard…I’ll always wonder what he is doing and how he is feeling, but I just have to trust and pray he will be okay when I’m not around. 

My only request while I was away from Coop was a picture or text update every half hour. And my mom definitely exceeded my requests. She even told me to go nap and take my time getting home – Coop was being an amazing baby and she loved snuggling with him!  


I had TWO dates to the wedding on Saturday.
Such a lucky lady!

10) Even though the late nights can be hard, I love those moments when he falls asleep in my arms. In those moments, I know that the only place he wants to be is on my chest – listening to my beating heart, feeling the warmth of my body, and feeling my arms wrapped around his small body.

Wild nights at the Sieb house.
Sometimes I mentally survive the late evenings by looking forward to the TV shows I can watch. I wasn’t usually a big TV person. In fact, we don’t even have cable – just the “farmer five” as we called them back in good ol’ Decatur. But I have the late-night schedule mastered! Jimmy Fallon is on around 12, The Office is on from 1-2, 30 Rock is on from 2-3, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is on from 3-3:30, TMZ is on at 3:30, and the news comes on at 4 am. It might sound silly, but the laughs from the TV shows help keep me awake! 

11) I can’t wait to “get my body back” and start exercising again. I’ve lost 32 lbs so far, but I am still 18 lbs away from my pre-baby weight (and I have more weight to lose after that!!!).  I am not stressing about my weight or number on a scale right now, but I am so excited to run again and experience that runners high after a long day! I know it took me 9 months to gain this weight, and I won’t lose it over night…

Overall, I learn something new about Cooper, Justin, myself, or being a mom in general every single day. And it’s true that being a mom “comes naturally” – even though I was convinced I would never know what to do when I was alone with him. 
But now, I know his cries. 
I am trying to put him (us) on a schedule (as much as a schedule one can have with a newborn). 
I read a lot of blogs, ask my mom friends a lot of questions, and Google something every single day. Yesterday I Googled to see if Coop’s poop color was normal. Yup, my browser history contains stool sample examples…

Being a new mom isn’t always glamorous, but it’s fabulous. 
Through all the ups and downs that this month has brought, I can safely say that I’ve learned so much about myself. My relationship with Justin is better than ever before. I love him more with each passing day.  I am so thankful for the love and bond we share through our child. 

Best dad.
EVER.

Every day, I experience and share a love that I wasn’t ever able to feel or know before…it’s a beautiful thing. 

But if you’ll excuse me for a while, I am going to put my feet up (way up) and relax until my little baby boy wakes up again. 

See – this picture is proof about confession #1 – yoga pants for life (or just maternity leave).



Much love, 
Ashley 

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