I think the scariest thing for a first time parent is bringing your baby home. You don’t realize at the time, that the nurses helped take care of you and baby, and now that responsibility lies solely with you (and maybe your husband a little if you’re lucky).
The advice I got the most (which I completely ignored) was, “sleep when the baby is sleeping.” I do not have the kind of personality that can just sleep when I have laundry piling up, or dishes in the sink that need to be washed. Granted, I did “rest” for the first 2 weeks, only because it was commanded by my doctor, but I still did things around the house. My husband, at most, took a couple of days off; my parents lived a couple of hours away but had my younger brother to care for. After a couple of weeks, everyone was back to their lives, and I was home all day with a newborn – it was quite overwhelming.
Honestly, the first six weeks home, you’re in a perpetual fog because you are sleep deprived. Even though the days were relatively easy in the beginning (because the baby slept most of the day), the nights were atrocious. My daughter had her “melt-down” period every night, about 7-9pm, coincidentally about the time my husband walked in the door. I’m sure he wanted to turn around and go back to work, as much as I wanted to pass her off the second he got home. It took many hours of trying to figure out what would be the magic solution to soothe her. We thought she had gas, so we pumped her legs and tried lying her face down on our arms while we patted her back – fail. Singing and swinging didn’t work either. She also was not interested in eating. Quite by accident, our “a-ha” moment came when my husband went into our dark bathroom to wash his hands and I followed him in. The sound of the water, seemed to calm her. Because we couldn’t be wasting gallons of water, I sought a sound machine with a running water sound. I found one, and it hooked onto the crib.
I also felt completely isolated. We lived in a condo complex and pretty much I just knew my 2 sets of neighbors, 2 older couples. We had only moved in there a few months prior to our baby’s arrival: I had been commuting to work so I hadn’t really had opportunity to meet anyone. The feelings of being alone only escalated after having the baby. When I was finally cleared to resume all activities (about 6 weeks with e c-section), I started taking walks. A month later or so, I met someone and we became fast friends. Her daughter was 2 months older, but I didn’t care – it was just nice knowing I wasn’t going through babydom alone.