March 17, 2013

Becoming a MOM

Ever since I was a little girl, I knew I wanted to grow up and be a mom.  When I grew up, I knew I wanted to be a mom in a few years.  After a few years, I struggled with infertility and thought I'd never get the chance to be a mom.  By the grace of God, I've been given a chance to be a mom for nearly 4 months now and's hard.

For the most-part, when you ask a new mom how it's going, you'll get a positive response. I think people expect to hear how "amazing" and "blessed" you're feeling. Well, that wasn't quite the case for me...

I guess after going through infertility, I thought I'd be immune to the difficulties that come with being a first-time mom. I longed for these babies for years (certainly I'd be grateful in every circumstance, right?) Without realizing it, I had put a lot of pressure on myself to "beat" the baby blues and/or post-partum depression. Shortly after the twins arrived, I learned it wasn't something I could control. Hormones--1, Caroline--0.

The adrenaline, stamina and bliss that followed our babies' birth didn't last long. Right at the 2 week mark, I crashed. And I crashed hard. My happiness was replaced with fear, severe anxiety and pure exhaustion. I was going to be the first person to die from lack of sleep.

Every evening, as the sun went down, my anxiety would peak and I felt paralyzed. I knew that when most people would be going to sleep, I wouldn't be. In fact, I'd be getting up and feeding TWO babies at 11pm, 2am, 5am and then be starting a new day at 8am. My life had suddenly become the movie 'Groundhog Day'. Every day was like the last. I lost track of time. I swear, December never happened.

I had always planned to be a stay-at-home mom. Scott and I made certain financial decisions over the past 8 years in order to make that possible. After Bennett and Clara arrived, I finally understood why some moms choose to go back to work and say that they're a better mom because they work. As a kindergarten teacher, I knew what I was doing. I had confidence in my ability to create a warm, caring environment for my 5 year-olds to learn and grow. As first-time mom of twins, I was clueless and terrified.

I instantly had a new-found respect for all moms. The newborn stage is crazy hard...and I was experiencing it times TWO. I'm not sure what I expected.  I joked that Scott and I were done. No more babies for the Burchetts.

After about 4 days of misery, I decided to speak up. I started calling friends, shared my erratic feelings and asked if they were normal. And you know what? Every friend I spoke with reassured me that I wasn't a crazy person and that with time, everything would get better.

I called my doctor. We talked for a while and decided that it would be a good idea for me to try some meds to help balance me out. The next day, I started Zoloft and after about 4-5 days, I noticed a difference. When my babies were crying, I was able to function instead of freezing up and panicking. I was still struggling (overall) but started to feel more confident in my ability to be the kind of momma I wanted to be.

It's been 13 weeks since I had my run in with post-partum craziness. Each week, things seem to get a little better. Our parents are incredibly supportive and have helped out a ton. The twins are sleeping for longer stretches at night and are becoming more independent. I've worked on being more flexible and have given up trying to keep them on the exact same schedule. Clara's reflux is improving (I'll post more about that later). Their little smiles and coos melt my heart and turn me into mush.  They're so fun...I can't get enough!

Becoming a mom has been tough...really tough. I have so much to learn. But (I can now say) it's also been amazing. God chose ME to be Bennett and Clara's momma and I couldn't be more grateful.  I can't wait to see what He has in store for our little family of four!!

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