Dearest new mama, you are in a strange, amazing, crazy, wonderful stage of life. It is hard to believe that this baby you spent so much time growing is now part of your family. It’s amazing to hold your little one close, and learn all about them as they learn about you. And unfortunately, in this time, while your brain and body process a lot of changes, you may be prone to believe some things that aren’t true.
When you can’t think straight after nights of choppy sleep, you may think, “this is impossible”
When your doctor unexpectedly diagnoses your seemingly-healthy baby with an ear infection, you might feel shame and guilt.
And when you hear all kinds of different advice, you will probably feel overwhelmed and like you just fall short.
Mama, let me be the one to tell you that these are all-out lies. Whenever these lies start to accumulate in your mind, stop yourself. You don’t need to second-guess everything and wonder if you’re all-out failing at this enormous task. Here are a few things you should know instead.
1. You are meant to be your baby’s mom. You are just the right one to fill your baby’s needs. God specially designed you for them and them for you, set up all the times and places so you could be together. They don’t need anything or anyone more than exactly who you are.
2. No one has it all together. Every time you see a mom on social media who has every hair in place, is rocking the latest look, and casually pushing her stylish and polite toddler in a stroller, remind yourself that it is only a picture. We’re all scrambling to keep our kids alive and well and decent-mannered, as we struggle with sleep and eating schedules and, oh yeah, taking care of ourselves (and our families and our jobs) too. No one is doing it perfectly, much less looking flawless while doing it.
3. You and your baby are both new to this. And guess what – there’s nothing wrong with being new! Your baby is experiencing the world for the first time – can you imagine? Especially after spending their entire lives thus far snuggled in a warm, close space, with no need to breathe or eat on their own, no distractions or stimuli, no diapers to change. It’s all new for them. And it’s all new for you. Whether this is your first baby or your fifth, this one is different, and this one will shake up your routine. It’s okay to be new, and it’s okay to make mistakes.
4. This too shall pass. It’s the worst feeling – you get used to things being a certain way, you even get a little reprieve from the sleeplessness and the chaos. Then along comes a growth spurt, and it’s all up in the air again. You wonder if you’re baby is the only one who will wake up in the middle of the night to eat for the rest of his life, and if this madness is just how it is always going to be, forever and ever, amen. Nope. The madness fades, the season of development passes, and you get used to the new normal.
5. Yes, you can. Parenting is a job that is different, and I’d say, probably harder than most things (or anything) you’ve ever done. Will you do it perfectly? Absolutely not. But can you do it? Definitely. You can survive the sleepless nights; you can take care of your little one’s needs; and you can push through the hard things. Amaze yourself with what you can do, mama.
6. You are not alone. Sometimes it just feels like you’re the only one who forgets to bring a diaper, or who has a fussy baby in the grocery store, or whose child isn’t (insert developmental milestone here) yet. But countless moms have come before you. There are moms out there with you, and moms still to come. You’re not alone. Tap into the amazing experience of the ones who have been there, and join in solidarity with the ones in the thick of it with you. Someday, you’ll be there for the ones who aren’t even moms yet.
I’m with you, mama. I’ve gone through each of the five stages of grief when dealing with my loss of sleep in the middle of the night. I’ve been the one who called poison control because I found my kid eating chalk in the kitchen. Both of my kids had issues with eating initially and both of them have had medical procedures. Countless times I’ve already failed, and my oldest isn’t even three. Take heart. Enjoy the sweet, wonderful moments. And know you can do it.
What advice do you know that is helpful for you, or for new moms out there?