Dear New Mommy in the trenches.
I love you. Oh how I love you and know where you’re at.
I know how you’re so overwhelmed you don’t know where to start and how you’re knee deep in unchartered waters, hardly recognizing the woman in the mirror.
But here’s the thing…
You’re not crazy and the array of emotions that seem never ending and uncontrollable are completely normal! Any normal person will feel insane with sleep deprivation and would hardly care about anything other than catching the next wink and making it through another day of feed, play, sleep, repeat. And don’t panic when you can’t connect with any of the things that used to make you happy. This too shall pass!
Yes, we all judged. We made assumptions and determined not to do this or that. But hear me when I lovingly say, we’ve all eaten crow and are humbled as we do everything we quietly scolded others for. We too dreamed of what kind of mom we’d be, but truth be told, you’ll likely throw every caution to the wind and be the mom you swore you’d never be.
Let go of expectations …of yourself and of your precious bundle; just ride the wave of everyday. Let come what may and let them guide the way. There’s no right way to hold them, to feed them or to soothe them. So don’t compare. You know your child best and your mommy instinct will kick in soon enough, if it hasn’t already! You’ll find it right there before you, the minute you tear up all the handbooks and burn your expectations. When you love the “don’ts” and revel in your weakness.
You can cross check every mommy blog and harbour every opinion. But in the end its just you and them that need to be united. So stop googling long enough to be still for a moment, take note of your child, and ask yourself “what do I think they need?” It’s like riding a bike. Sure you’ll get it wrong a few times, but after a while, you’ll start learning their cues and sounds, seeking a “Mommy well done!”
Go ahead. Pat yourself on the back when you’ve found somewhat of a routine or identified the resemblance of a pattern, but don’t hold yourself hostage to it or get frustrated when the next day it dissipated. Because just when you think you’ve “got it” they’ll change, grow or have a fussy day. This doesn’t make you a bad mom! This too, is normal and there will come a time, when the change starts to slow down. For the time being, just lap it up… all of it. Every morsel of newness and unknown. Because hidden in the overwhelm and tiredness is beauty and joy so all consuming..
Hold them. Cuddle them. Rock them to sleep. Sleep with them. Don’t train them. Do whatever makes your mommy heart soar! This too, won’t break them and in mere weeks they’ll change their likes, yet again and by that time they may be too big to just lay on you. Plus, next time [if there is a next time] you’ll have a little running around, to steal your focus and sacred still moments. So saviour it, memorize it; every way their frame hugs your curvature.
Savour the moments they’re awake. Play, laugh and study their every feature. This time is never wasted and soon they’ll be the minutes that pull you through. So sit, lay and lounge for hours. Know intimately lazy pajamma days that roll one into the other! Never again will you be able to do this, with zero expectations of you but to soak in your baby and harbour in your heart these new feelings of love, so overwhelming. And when those feelings of inadequacy creep in, tell them to stuff it where the sun dont shine.
Its true. Little things will replace big things and accomplishments will consist of showers and days of no shed tears. But celebrate every first, regardless of how trivial or silly your old self would have scoffed at!
Take help. All the help you can get. From meals, to housework, to dog walks, feedings and everything in between. And don’t forget to take time for yourself. Ask someone to watch wee one so you can take a bath or enjoy a few extra ZZZ.
Eat, enjoy and thank your mommy body. Wear those scars and squishy spots with honour for they gave you lifes best gift. And as you look out the window and long to be “back at it,” know that day is coming and you’ll feel more grateful to be active and outdoors then ever before!
You may feel disconnected in your marriage, even forget what you used to do and talk about for hours. You may long to return home just when you’ve been given the chance to date solo and wonder when those old feelings will return. But your marriage isn’t over and your flame isn’t broken. Time with soothe you back to a place where you’ll discover a new man, you’re even more in love with than before.
It may seem dark some days- as if you’ll never feel like yourself again, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. There will come a day not so far away, just when you can’t take another day, that things will change. Your heart will shift and suddenly hope will bring forth light. In the mean time, hold onto the love, the smiles and the precious moments in between.
And hold onto God, talk to him often and thought out the day, even if it’s mumbles or single pleaded prayers for help. Don’t feel guilty or scrutinize yourself if your faith looks different right now! No matter what they say or how they look at you, you are not back sliding! This new season will look different and you will crave things you may not have for years or cling to beasts you banished years ago, but it doesn’t make you a bad person. God is gentle with new mothers and he is SO PROUD of how you’re doing! Just think: the way you feel about your bundle of joy, he feels JUST THAT for you. I bet more!
So when you feel all alone and like you’re the only one experiencing this chaos, imagine me right beside you whispering these words.. grabbing your hand, looking you in the eye and telling you joy comes in the morning.
Love you my friend and praying for strength, rest, recovery and love all consuming!