I know that you get so much advice thrown at you on a daily basis. I’m not trying to make it more stressful. I just want to encourage you and give your weary heart a little hope.
Being a Mom is not for the faint of heart. Going through labor and delivery and then having that little bundle in your arms is a VERY overwhelming experience….even without the rage of hormones.
I want to let you know what I learned from having a newborn. I’m a wise old Momma now (har har har…my baby is 6 months old!), and I’m actually VERY glad to have the newborn stage in my rearview mirror. *Gasp*! Did I really just say that? Yes, dear Mommy…I did. I did not enjoy the newborn stage, and I wondered (for the first few months) if I was really cut out for this whole motherhood thing. Nothing about it seemed to be what people made it out to be.
So maybe you are feeling the same way. Maybe you are not depressed, but you are overwhelmed. Maybe you thought you prepared yourself so well for this motherhood gig, and the reality of it is overwhelming you.
So I want to tell you, dear Mommy…
…..That your baby WILL sleep for longer than a few hours at a time. It might take a long time to get there, but they will.
….That your baby WILL actually respond to your love. I thought that Tera and I must have missed a connection somewhere along the lines, because she didn’t seem to care whether or not I was in the room, she didn’t give me any smiles, and she never said a single thank you for all the times I fed her! Well, eventually your baby will become aware of his/her surroundings…and then that bond will come. They will be attached to you, they will smile at you while eating, they will choose you as their favorite person in the world.
….that your baby is probably still breathing. For the first 4 months of Tera’s life, I checked on her multiple times a night to make sure that she was still breathing. Or I made Theo check on her for me. Each time, she was still breathing. I bet your baby is, too. Even as you look over at him/her and check JUUUST to make sure.
….that you will probably never have your former body back. This one is really hard to come to terms with. It’s something that you don’t fully realize until you experience it yourself. Oh, sure….your body changes. But then as you stand in front of the mirror with no makeup and a baby on your hip, you realize your former glory is gone. And even though this is a harsh truth, you are not alone.
….that it’s ok if you don’t love every moment. I’ve already mentioned that I’m so glad that we have graduated from the newborn stage. I did not enjoy it very much. I have a friend who admits that she hates breastfeeding (but she did it!). I have another friend who has hated almost every moment of pregnancy. I myself have to admit that I’m not the hugest fan of breastfeeding. I’m sure you loved pregnancy, while this other lady hated it. You loved breastfeeding, while someone else just COULDN’T. You love the newborn cuddles, while I prefer a more social baby. Please don’t feel like you have to love every moment just because someone else does. Just try to be present, and to do your best…and remember that each stage does go by quickly (except for your 10th month of pregnancy…that takes FOR-EVA!)
….that your baby will probably stop crying. Tera would SCREAM from 5pm to 10 pm EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. – from week one to month four. It was so hard for me. I would sit there and hold her and cry myself. Especially on the nights that Theo was gone at work…those were hard nights. But now? Tera hardly ever cries! If she does cry, there is usually some remedy that is easy to implement.
…..that your marriage will probably look a little different. Ok, maybe a lot different. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only young Mom to go through some major marriage changes as soon as baby arrives. And that is ok. Don’t be afraid to talk about them. Don’t be afraid to talk to your husband about them. It’s a lot of changes, and sometimes you will have the same conversation over and over again. That is ok. You are not the only one (right? Or am I/we actually the only ones?).
…that you will make some mistakes…but your baby will LIVE! I carried Tera in the wrap with her toes all bent out one time. When I unwrapped her, her toes were super red and she screamed because it hurt to uncurl them. I felt SO bad! What a horrible Mommy! But…she survived. And she still has all 10 toes. And I don’t think she remembers it at all. I’m sure there are things you will do that you will kick yourself for…but your baby will be fine. Just the fact that you care about those little things shows how much you love your baby and truly care for him/her.
…that it’s ok to tune out those people who say “Enjoy it now because _______”. At least for me, it just made me feel guilty because I wasn’t 100% enjoying it. Or give a polite smile to those who say, “Oh, I miss those days!”. We are all in different stages and places. One day you will have a different perspective, and you will understand what they meant. But for now, you don’t have to agree with them! That’s ok!
….that eventually, you will be able to lay your child down for a nap and get something done (like a shower!).
….that even if the task of being a mother doesn’t get ‘easier’, it will get ‘easier to handle’. You will have ups and downs, good days and bad…but before you know it, you will be back on your feet… You will be multitasking, and interacting with your babe, and not only breastfeeding easily…but getting ready to wean that baby! You will be looking back and wondering HOW you survived….but realizing that you did!!
You got this, Momma. You are doing hard and holy work.