Becoming a Mom, Constantly

Katie seated on picnic blanket, baby Kyla standing holding onto her, both smiling

I don’t know how many times I started this post, actually or in my mind. Kyla is over NINE TEN ELEVEN MONTHS OLD already, and we haven’t talked about anything other than that she was born. “There is too much. Let me sum up.”

The fourth trimester is real

I spent a solid two weeks on the couch wearing only a robe, a tiny human’s mouth physically attached to my body. There was also a period where she cried for 90 minutes straight, always between 11 pm and 2 am. Also, she woke up every 20-60 minutes at night. Since she was in our room, that meant that zero people in our house got any sleep, so I kicked Robby to the guest room so someone, anyone, would sleep a few hours.

The baby is not the hard part

In some ways her complete helplessness made it easy. She needed to eat; I fed her. She needed sleep; I did my best to help her sleep. The hard part was that everything was different.

I needed to go to bed earlier because my quality of sleep was so bad (much, much easier said than done). We couldn’t stay out too late or in loud places because she couldn’t sleep and then she couldn’t stop crying. I couldn’t do anything without pausing at least once because she needed me. I made coffee every morning; I drank it fresh exactly zero times. When she did fall asleep, I mostly sat on the couch, thinking about all the stuff I needed to do but too tired to get up and do any of it.

The fifth trimester is also real

I was no in way ready to go back to work. I had planned to go back when Kyla was 10 weeks (that’s how much paid leave I had; my workplace does not provide paid parental leave). Then I complicated things by having ovarian cyst surgery (I’m fine). I thought it would give me another week at home, but since I’d, you know, had surgery, I ended up laying on the couch again. Robby was working crazy hours and I was unbelievably tired and I couldn’t even think beyond the baby’s next nap. I’m not kidding when I say I don’t know how I got us to daycare and work that first morning.

It was a really rough transition. I’m extremely lucky that my boss and coworkers gave me the space I needed to sink back into the job. It took probably the same amount of time I’d been out for me to feel like I knew what I was doing again–and by then, I was applying for new jobs. That’s another story, though.

It does get easier

Really. After a few months, she started sleeping in longer chunks. At 4 months, we moved her to her own room and Robby moved back into ours. She can now stay up late a couple of hours without screaming uncontrollably. Also I’m wearing real clothes again, and I’ve had up to half a cup of coffee while it’s still hot. We’ve even taken successful day trips.

Growing: all of us

And now — now she’s over 9 10 11 months old and I don’t know what’s happened. I’ve always loved tiny, squishy, helpless babies. But you know what I’m finding is even better?

She’s so alive! Early on, we could see her gaining awareness week by week – turning her head to watch us, kicking when we picked her up. Now, she yells at me when she doesn’t want to be buckled into her car seat! She eats oranges like it’s her job! She drinks the water from her toothbrush!

See that smile up there? She’s more clearly herself every single day. I love watching her unfold more than I could have ever imagined.

The Burroughs

Katie and Robby Burroughs, writers, photographers, and curators of Bear and Bug Eats.

Recommended Articles


  1. Amy (Savory Moments)

    She’s adorable! Becoming a mom is such a whirlwind and life transition! My twins are going to be 3 at the end of July and I still am not sure sometimes how we all got through that first year! Toddlers are so fun but come with their own set of challenges!

  2. Love this! Definitely relate! Her aliveness and happiness is clear from the photo!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.