It's been a long time, but I've been taking care of a Newborn-no small feat. I'm a Mother, a New Mom for the first time and it's hard as I thought it would be and even harder than that.
Ms. Clarke Elise Gilliard made her entrance into this world in dramatic fashion as only a child of mine could on 1/4/12 at 3:23 am. 7lbs, 8ozs and 20 inches. She was born by emergency Cesarean, because her heart rate was dropping after every contraction and she wasn't progressing downward through the Birth canal. All that after four days of labor, and the fervent desire to do it all naturally. I even ended up getting the Epidural. I was so tired of the pain after all that time dealing with the contractions that I had to get the epidural. So she came, and they immediately took her to the NICU where she was for almost 3 days, I didn't even get to hold her or really see her until a day later.
Thank God, she's here! She's healthy. She's beautiful. She's perfect and wonderfully made. She's a gift sent to me by God, and I love her dearly. I can't imagine my life without her now-although I do remember my life before sometimes, and I wonder if I will ever have some semblance of it!
Thank God my Mother came to help me through the Birth, and I spent some time home with my Mom in MD afterwards-otherwise I would have been alone. Finally, I was alone with my Daughter, at 6 weeks old, and we are doing fine. All on our own. She's my little buddy, and we have finally bonded-it sometimes doesn't happen immediately-and that's normal. We had a few challenges in the beginning, with her Reflux and breastfeeding ( it is not all it's cracked up to be folks-it can be painful and in my case my milk supply was lower than her demand), but we are working through the issues. She's healthy and is growing (she's 10lbs)!
I'm blessed to have her. I LOVE my little munchkin, and I wouldn't change a thing, but I have been a ball of nerves and I admit that. I worry about Her and if I'm doing the right things all the time. I speak my mind about how I feel as a new Mom, and I'm real about how hard this is-I express the unpopular opinion. No folks, it's not all JOYFUL for me-it's been hard, and of course I'm stressed. I'm a Single Mom, unemployed, and I have minimal support. No, you won't see me dancing, singing with birds chirping and butterflies flying around my head because of the "Joy of Motherhood" -I'm just trying to get through each day, one day at a time. I'm stressed and I'm not afraid to admit it. I have been done trying to maintain the image of Superwoman, better yet, Super Black Woman, for some time. I can admit when I need help. I can admit that sometimes I don't have it all under control. I can admit that everything isn't Perfect. That is not Life. That "it's all good" all the time attitude is a facade.
I need to work-although I always imagined I would be home with my child/children for at least a year in my past dreams!) I have no financial support from the Father, and if I do take any help from him, as minute as it may be, this crazy Man acts like I owe him something, and for doing what any normal parent should without me having to ask-I mean, he makes a big deal if he buys a pack of Diapers!! Mind you, I put him out because of the threat of physical violence by Him, WHILE I WAS PREGNANT (he was already verbally abusing me), and him not showing an ounce of concern for the remaining 7 months of my pregnancy without so much as a peep from Him-this "Person" proceeds to tell me how he's gonna come see Her and eventually take her on the weekends. Really? I DON'T TRUST HIM AT ALL AND I DON'T TRUST HIM TO CARE FOR HER SAFELY-let alone to raise her right and instill the proper values in Her or to even be a positive Male role model. He gave me $500 recently to "help out" -and now he thinks he has equal rights as a parent-while still talking to me with no respect. I was gracious enough to let him see her 2X (each time he came empty-handed), but having him around does not bring peace. He only brings drama. As educated as he is, I've NEVER had someone so IGNORANT in my cipher before. Imagine you are in the King's court as a Lady of the Court surrounded by Kings, Noblemen, Lords & Knights-and then there is the Court Jester. That's who my Baby Daddy is, the Court Jester. Damn, can I choose em! Thank God, my Daughter seems to have received the Best from both of us-as much as I can tell from her at 2 months old.
God is Good though y'all. He's blessed me so I'm ok for a little while longer. Also, I know he will provide the right job/career situation. It's been hard to even look for work while taking care of a Newborn full time, and trust the Devil is always busy in nasty people thwarting my efforts, but I am faithful in God's works and I know we will be ok. In the meantime, I have to watch my finances. Taking a car is even a luxury.
I admit, I miss my old life some days. I miss being in the City and having my freedom to hit a happy hour or two. (I have not had a single drop of hard liquor in almost a year-I just recently started allowing myself a glass of wine every now and then -and even then I sometimes water it down with water or juice). I feel like my sole purpose is to be a human feeding machine some days. I'm sleep deprived with no one in the household to watch her so I can sleep for a couple of hours. I never WANTED to have a Baby and then have to rely on public transportation. I mean taking my Baby on the Subway and exposing her to all those nasty germs was enough to give me a heart attack for the first time, but even worse is the feeling of carrying her down the perilous steps in her stroller (because of course the trains in my neighborhood don't have elevators), and I'm a natural -born klutz! Oh Jesus, I felt like I was gonna faint taking her down there -but I did it and I made it safely there and back. I don't know how Mother's do that everyday. I seem to always have a bit of anxiety now-and it has to do with my overall situation. The weight and responsibility of caring for this little person all on my own is crushing sometimes-but I will get it done and She's gonna be just fine!
At this present moment, she's a little sick and actually in my arms sleep as I'm typing this. She caught my cold and her vaccinations have her feeling a little bit down. I can tell you I've had a few bouts of crying already-I can't bear to see my Child sick or in pain-and the feeling of helplessness is so intense that it can drive you crazy. Not all of us are Baby Whisperers-sometimes you just don't know what to do-I'm learning as I go, and I thank God for a few sage, experienced Mommy's in my circle. I never knew how Type A I was until I had her! The worst thing for a person like me is not knowing what to do or the fear of the unknown. She's getting better though and seeing her smile and coo again make me feel better!
So there you have it folks. My experience so far. I'm all about the truth. I'm not asking for your pity, or even your help. I'm just expressing what I'm genuinely feeling as a New Mom. I've always been annoyed with the pundits and an audience of people who only want you to know the good things. Just BE REAL, sometimes knowing what to expect can help you to better prepare, or make different decisions. I made the decision to become Clarke's Mom, because anything else would have been selfish for me to do. This is a journey, and it is sometimes filled with rocky roads. I talk about the rocky roads and the paved roads too. We all have to walk our own path. My journey is unique to me. You can't criticize me for that although some may. I'm ok and I have my little Girl to keep me on the path and to walk this journey with me. We will learn and discover as we go, together.