Rookie mom voices: Johanna at 7 weeks

Our guest blogger today, Johanna, caught our eye when she wrote this kind post on her blog crushed corn. Her baby boy is one week older than Sawyer so I find her experience familiar and encouraging.

Car seat installed and ready for its first occupant? Check. Nursery set for a crying baby, poopy diapers, and armfuls of pee-soaked onesies? Roger that. A strong enough sense of self to withstand the needs of a newborn, a cluttered house, a needy dog, and a husband going to work and school full-time? I don’t remember that being on my pregnancy checklist.

So much of the preparation involved in welcoming a newborn into your home is focused on the stuff – it’s almost too easy to lose sight of yourself in the process.

After seven weeks my baby and I have stopped exchanging suspicious glances in exchange for googly eyes, and breastfeeding doesn’t reduce me to the whimpering mess it once did. But ask me what I want for dinner or watch as I stare blankly into my dresser drawers and you’ll notice that something is off – I’ve forgotten how to make decisions for myself. In less than two months my brain has been staunchly rewired; all circuits once devoted to making decisions for myself have now been plugged into a big, blazing marquee blinking “Baby! Baby! Baby!” around the clock.

With so many rerouted circuits I have become a new me, a new mom, and a stranger to myself. The first time I got behind the wheel after giving birth sans baby it felt like I had never driven before. I even wondered at the prudence of being on the road for the two miles it took to get to McDonald’s. Many of the things that once defined my existence ”“ going to work, hitting the gym, having a few consequence-free drinks ”“ were no longer part of it. I began to realize that the sooner I accepted that fact, the sooner I could get to know my new self without so heavily mourning the loss of my previous life.

I started a bucket list for myself based on the Day Zero Project [editor’s note: I never did finish my list in 1001 days, oops!]. Here are some highlights:
  • By month one: Get a new haircut (I have failed and continue to fail the completion of that task)
  • By month three: Have a back-to-work wardrobe I feel good in
  • By month five: Get a babysitter and go out with my husband for some guilt-free drinks
  • By month seven: Buy something completely indulgent for myself and not feel bad about it (finances are going to be a little tight with daycare, so I’m giving this goal some time)
  • By month ten: Be able to call myself a mother without thinking twice about it
  • Within a year: Run a marathon (or at least a half-marathon. If Amber Miller can do it while pregnant, I can do it after giving birth!)

I’m excited about who the new me is and who she can become. Having a baby is a perfect reason for reinvention, and I fully intend to take advantage of this maternal clean slate. I may have been a pushover, timid, and introverted in my past life, but I will happily become more aggressive and extroverted in this for the sake of my baby. New mamas we will persevere, and I’m willing to bet that we will be stronger, wiser, and more mommier than before that beautiful baby came along. At least that’s what I’m hoping for myself.

Johanna lives in Madison, WI with her husband, brand new baby boy, and his big brother – a yellow lab named Blue. She is a full-time office monkey by day and an aspiring writer by night. You can follow her trials and tribulations as a new mom here, or view more of her work here.

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