Happy Thursday. This has been on my heart so I wanted to get it out.
Dear New Mom,
First of all, congratulations! Secondly, how are you? Welcome to what I would describe as the hardest month/six weeks of your life. I am 7 months and 3 weeks into this parenting thing and, admittedly, we both have a long way to go… but there’s a massive difference between where you’re at and where I’m at, so I wanted to give you some encouragement.
Let’s get this out of the way: there is nothing wrong with you.
If you want to do laundry and organize the pantry while baby sleeps, do it. If you want to hold your baby while she sleeps, do it. If you want to take a nap while he’s snoozing, do it. There isn’t a wrong way and you shouldn’t feel guilty. Listen to your body and your brain.
But also… tell your brain to can it. You’re going to feel guilt. Guilt over a dirty house. Guilt over “spoiling” your baby (<< impossible.) Guilt over wanting to hand baby off to a visitor while you do dishes/nap/shower(/cry).
Stop that. Guilt only sucks whatever energy and stamina you have left. There is no wrong way to survive the first month as long as you’re taking care of your brain and body.
But let’s talk about your body. Girlfriend… it’s straight up broken– whether you pushed baby out or underwent a cesarean. (And if you adopted you’re STILL not running at 100% because babies suck the life out of you no matter what.) I know it takes all your energy to stand or roll out of bed for the 100th time to feed a crying baby. I know you pee when you sneeze… or cough… or move. I know there are stretch marks and swelling and ouchies everywhere. I know your boobs hurt.
Not to mention your brain and your hormones and your insides…
The six week gap between birth and your first appointment is B U L L S H I T . If you need to see the doctor sooner, do it. (I went twice- once for PPD and once for an infection.) Give your body what it needs- antidepressants, sleep, Tylenol, etc. Even if you’re breastfeeding, the doctors can work with you and figure out how to help. Talk to them.
And now for the most important part: accept the help (& do so without feeling guilty!).
If you have a spouse, let them raise that baby, too. They’re not helping you or watching the kid, they’re raising their child. If you have family nearby that you trust and love, accept their help. Let them spend the night or drive you to your doctor appointment or pick up the groceries for you. If you have a trusted neighbor let them come over and rock the baby to sleep while you shower. Say YES when you need the help or want the break. I was bad about this & I regret it.
I know you’ve heard this before & I hope it’s not coming across as unsolicited advice.
Please know that sometimes these are not the golden days… Sometimes these are the make-it-or-break-it days. You’re tired and sore; it’s tough to truly enjoy anything in those moments. But the days will get better and better. Motherhood will start to feel more natural over time. Your baby will recognize you and smile at you. You will figure out how to squeeze in sleep and brushing your teeth and maybe even a shower.
It doesn’t get easier necessarily, but you get much much better at it. And you’ll realize that all things end- good or bad. The crying, the sleepless nights, the snuggles, the helplessness… it will all end eventually and you’ll come out on the other side.
For the new moms in my life, if you want to reach out I am available. You can vent, ask me to mask-up and hold your baby, or run to the grocery store with a long list.
You will get through this. Your baby will thrive. You are doing a fantastic job. ❤️