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  • Writer's pictureBrittany Hartgrove Mahoney

"Take care of yourself"

THE most obnoxious piece of advice ever. This has been said to me many, many times since bringing Avalyn home and it used to drive me nuts (okay, it still does). Here's why:

First, it implied leaving Avalyn to do something for myself. Leave Avalyn. I didn't have my baby home for two months. I still feel like I have some catching up to do! There is something so demoralizing about not being able to do anything for your newborn. I watched nurses and doctors (whom were absolutely amazing and beautiful to my daughter) change, feed and make decisions while I waited for an opportunity to hold her. Don't get me wrong, I was an important body in that room for her. Not only did she need that mommy-baby connection in order to thrive, but I was also her advocate and I learned a great deal about caring for an infant. But for two months, I wasn't the one caring for my baby. I wasn't the one waking in the middle of the night to feed her and I had to ask nurses about her habits, favorite songs and mini-milestones.

So, did I want to leave her in the care of someone else?? Why, so I could go get my nails done or something?! Nope. I didn't want to miss even a second of her cooing, smiling face.

The second reason this drove me crazy was that it was ME in the hospital with her everyday, learning about her sleep, the proper way to feed an infant with reflux, how to hold her when she was fussy. Then when we were finally home I was the one at the doctor appointments getting all the information on her body, her CF, and doing all the research. I was at last the one to decide when and how she napped and what foods to feed her- AND if something needed to be done, it was going to be done my way. This wasn't because I'm a crazy new Mom (which was implied a few times prior to saying that I needed to get away and "take care of myself"...) this was because I couldn't bear the thought of something being done wrong, of a detail being missed or of a new schedule getting screwed up. I just didn't want to risk her being uncomfortable in anyway, and I didn't want advice on taking care of her. Honestly, I know more about her than anyone.

Lastly, I think my 'bull-headed' side came out every time this was said to me. I took it as an offense almost.... like I wasn't being a good Mommy if I stayed in my PJ's all day, or skipped a shower. Why did I feel this way? Well, this question was actually asked of me, "How are you going to take care of her- if you don't take care of yourself?"

Yeah. Um, very well actually.

Now I know that nobody was ever trying to offend me or hurt my feelings. While I would NEVER say this phrase to a new mother, I can't be mad at anyone who said it to me. It still drives me absolutely insane (please, people.... I am totally fine. Worry about yourselves) but I can at least keep my cool about it. Besides, I have gone out to do somethings for myself: I got a haircut (a good one this time) and I did a little cleanse diet, and I started doing little living room workouts while Avalyn napped.

So there. Now if you'll excuse me, I have a baby to hold.

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