Dear New Moms | Part 1

This is post is going to be a bit different than many of my posts.  I’m going to delve into the topic of Motherhood.

Just a disclaimer that I’m going to be honest and blunt.  If you don’t enjoy bluntness, go back a few posts, and check out the Blueberry Lemon Pie, or Ginger Ice Cream instead (you’ll love both – I promise).  


A few days ago, a friend of mine posted this article on Facebook.  I read it, because it had an honest feel about it.  Tears threaten to spill when I read articles on new motherhood.  Mostly because I can remember it like it’s still happening.  I thought I’d expound on this article, and [hopefully] spread some encouragement at the same time.  

Dear New Moms

If you are anything like me (and I think most of us are pretty similar, whether we like to admit it or not), then parenting had passed through your minds quite a few times before you actually found out you were pregnant.  For me, it started probably around 5.  I knew I wanted to have babies someday.  It continued to grow into a real desire in high school.  A year after I graduated, I married my high school sweetheart.  Months later, we found out we were having a baby.  We had been trying, but it still feels like a surprise when you find out that it has actually happened.  A baby has been conceived.  There’s a living person inside of you.  Wow.  It’s breathtakingly amazing, and completely horrifying at the same time.

From those first thoughts as a 5 year old, and on into pregnancy, I had opinions and ideals about babies, and parenting.  I had voiced some of them out loud.  Others I kept hidden.  Most of them were wrong.  

I went back and forth with, “How can I possibly bear, and then raise a child?”, to “I can do this!  I’ve been waiting for years to do this.  I had 4 younger brothers, I know what I’m doing.  I’ve got it in the bag.”  

We are all insanely naive.  Like it or not. 

None of us have any idea what we’re doing.  Whether we’ve had years of babysitting experience, nieces and nephews to take care of, or taught elementary school.  Nothing prepares you for having a baby.  

I’m not writing this to scare anyone away from having children.  I’ve had three so far.  If it wasn’t worth it, I would have stopped at 1, believe me.  I’m writing this to hopefully open your eyes to what is to come.  

I will glow when I’m pregnant.  I will feel great.  

These were ideas I had prior to getting pregnant.  (Obviously.  If you knew me when I was pregnant with any of my babies, you’ll know this was not true in any way.)  As soon as I got pregnant, I became nauseous.  I felt fat.  I worried that any little thing I did might hurt the precious cargo inside of me.  (Remember, this was baby #1.  Things changed a bit after that first one.  Oh, how that first one teaches you things about yourself!)

But, through the nausea, and the crazy emotional roller-coaster I was putting my poor, new hubby through, I thought that once the baby was here, I’d have it all together.  

I’d have it all together.  Right.  Like I’ve ever had anything all together. EVER.  Just because you’re becoming a mother does not mean you will suddenly be great at everything to do with motherhood.  Please trust me on that.  I thought I’d breastfeed for at least six months, and that it would be easy.  I thought that I’d be able to get enough sleep, so as to not feel like an actual real life zombie.  Those mom’s who couldn’t get enough sleep mustn’t be doing it right.  And nursing, it’s natural, right?  It must be so easy!  There were no thoughts of, “What if my baby doesn’t poop for 9 days?”  or “How will I find time to do anything at all?”.  I figured it would take a few days to get used to, and then we’d be good to go. 

I’d love my baby so much that it wouldn’t matter. 

I’d love him so much ALL THE TIME, that I could deal with things that might not go right. 

I had gotten all of the advice.  Other moms had filled me in with advice like, “Nap when the baby naps”, and “Enjoy every minute, it goes by so fast”.  They left out the hard parts.  It is so easy to do that.  You don’t want new moms to know about all of the hard work that being a new mom is.  The hard parts that they might have shared, I kind of shrugged off.  That doesn’t apply to me, I’m so special.  Right.  

I wasn’t. 

Baby came into the world a day early.  Starting there, I should have seen how naive I was about it all.  I had planned to work that day.  Even after my water broke, I figured it would take forever, so WHY NOT go in for a four hour shift?  (It’s a good thing I didn’t, the baby would have been born on the floor of the grocery store.)  My hubby, however, convinced me that we should go into the hospital.  Delivery was actually okay.  It sucked, but I wasn’t scarred for life.  Delivering the placenta though.  It’s the grossest, most horrible thing ever.  For some reason I hadn’t realized that I’d have to push again, after the baby was already here.  I’ve spoken to other moms who have said the same thing.  They weren’t really expecting that. 

Then we tried to nurse.  

“Your nipples aren’t shaped right.  Hasn’t anyone told you that before?” asks my nurse.  

No.  In fact, they had not.  What does that even mean?!

It means that nursing sucks.  Especially with a tongue-tied newborn.  

We tried every position, got his tongue-tie clipped, pumped until I was raw.  After a few days the breastfeeding expert decided that, yes, maybe we should try a shield (WHY DIDN’T YOU GIVE IT TO ME THE FIRST DAY?!).  For those who don’t know (because seriously, who knows these things until one absolutely has to?), a shield is a rubber cover for your nipple.  To make it ‘right’, if you’re not shaped correctly.  

I also wasn’t informed that my baby might want to feed every time, for an hour at a time.  And will need to be fed (at minimum!) every four hours.  That basically means you feel like you are always feeding your baby.  I felt like a cow, and smelled like sour milk.  

Enough about me.  Let’s talk about you. 

You will love that babe with all your heart when you see them.  Even though they might be covered with blood when they’re first placed on your chest.  Even though your first thought may be, “Ewww, gross!”.  You will love them. 

And it will be hard.  

There are a few mothers I’ve spoken to who are just naturals.  Everything is easy.  But they also question things.  They don’t know all the right answers either.  

It is hard.  

There are no two ways to look at it.  

You will feed your babe, lay them down, and try your best to do as many of the things that might be normal for you, before having to feed your babe again.  You won’t get half of it done.  Baby will wake up earlier than hoped.  You will feel discouraged.  It’s okay. 

It’s okay, because you have just brought a beautiful new life into the world.  You will not enjoy every minute of it.  People advise you to, and when you don’t you will feel like you must be doing something wrong.

It’s okay.  You aren’t.  Not everything about being a parent is enjoyable.  It’s just not. 

You will feel tired.  I found that I was the most tired after the babe was around 6-8 weeks old.  All of those crazy days and not-very-rest-filled-nights caught up to me around then.  I’d find myself nodding off whenever I sat down to nurse.  

You will hurt.  My body hurt so much more the first time. The shock of birth, I guess.  It took so many weeks to stop bleeding.  (Another thing you might not think of right before you’re having a baby – stock up on pads!)  Some people don’t bleed very long.  I wanted so badly to go back to running, and couldn’t.  Discouraged.  Again. 

Give yourself time to heal.  Give yourself time to get used to a completely different lifestyle.  You will never be a childless woman ever again.  You will always have this child to love, to worry about. 

Don’t expect a great many thing to get done for the first few months.  Yes, I said MONTHS.  Those extra things that you thought you might get done on maternity leave, they won’t happen right away.  You might get chance to do them eventually.  Truly.  

You might wish you could be back at work.  Contributing to society.  Contributing to the finances of the family.  Talking to grown adults.  Then you’ll feel bad about wishing that.  But it’s okay.  It’s normal.  This is a huge change!  (Not to mention your hormones are definitely making you crazy at this point.)

You are doing an amazing thing right where you are.  You have borne, and birthed a child.  You are helping the same child, nurturing him, already shaping him into who he’ll grow up to be.  You are contributing to society by giving them a new member.  (And a dang cute one at that!)

You are doing a great job.  

The best job, in fact.

New moms out there, I’d like to say it gets easier.  In some ways, it might seem like it for a season.  I think it stays the same.  Each stage with a child is hard.  Different hard, but all difficult.  

You will learn how to do a zillion things, all while carrying a baby.  Eventually you won’t have to do that anymore.  But then you’ll have to learn how to do anything with a toddler running around, getting into everything.  All of the stages present difficulty.  It is the greatest learning process ever. 

And you will learn more about yourself than you ever could, doing anything else.  Becoming a mother is humbling.  You may have heard this advice pre-baby and not quite understood it.  You do now.  You learn how much you care about how you look.  You learn how selfish you are.  You learn how little you really know about raising a baby, or heck, life for that matter.  You learn how little patience you have. 

All of these things you’ll learn.  They’ll make you feel discouraged.  Everybody else must be doing better than me.  They’re not as selfish, they don’t have as little patience, they don’t care about how they or their houses look (though they both always look fantastic!).  We all have these self-doubting thoughts.  They’re not true.  

You’ll get better.  You’ll learn to have a little bit more patience.  You’ll learn more about how to raise a baby.  You are enough for your babe.  You will continue being enough.  

And you are becoming a better person, a better Mom, in this whole process.  

Dear New Moms

 


I really hope you enjoyed this, and will share it with any new moms in your lives.  

Part two will follow in a week or two (or three?).  

Thanks for enduring – it was a long one.  🙂

 

*Briar as a newborn (only hours old)

*Myself and Briar on the first day.  (Notice I look happy.  This was baby number three.  As much as each babe is a new challenge, and still hard, I found each to also be a little bit easier, knowing what I’m about to come up against.)

Linked up on I Choose Joy, Creative Kids, The Deliberate Mom, and Honest Mum

Comments

  1. Leave a Reply

    Kirsten Toyne
    October 6, 2016

    We really do learn and grow from having and raising children. Great post. I love the last photo of you and Briar. Beautiful. #brilliantblogposts

  2. Leave a Reply

    Faye Wentzell
    August 22, 2017

    I don’t see anywhere in this post that anyone mentioned; You are an Awesome Mom and I watched you at an early age help look after your little brothers and Love cooking!! I LOVE reading your posts and your Encouragement for new Moms!! ️️️xoxoxo…

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