Okay! So I made it through the few What! The! Hell! Is! Going! On?!!! first weeks of New Motherhood. I am feeling like my head is more or less out of the blur and I now feel expertly qualified to declare the following:
Those first 2-3 (4… 5…) weeks after the little bean enters the scene… holy crap.
There is a lot going on every single plane of your existence. Physical. Emotional. Spiritual. It’s kind of like being Alice shot down the rabbit hole, except you’re also sore, sweaty and sitting beside a tiny human who screams for at least a portion of each day. It can be kind of disorienting, lemme tell ya.
I’m not writing this to be scary. I’m writing this because I want to say to the women who are there right now and are wondering if they are the only ones walking around in a confused daze: Don’t worry, Sister, you’re not alone. Sometimes it sucks and that’s okay, feeling that way doesn’t make you a bad mom. 99% of moms out there find/found the first 3 months of New Motherhood a swirling, hazy blur. When people say things like “Enjoy every second of this special time,” it can make you think, “Oh my GOD. Do other people enjoy every second of this? I AM A MONSTER.” But don’t worry, they say that because the brain is exceptionally kind and conveniently helps you forget things like very sore breasts, hormone rollercoasters and lonely nights that refuse to end.
I feel the need to qualify all this: I adore my little girl. When I fall asleep I picture her sweet cherub face and in the morning hours I look at her squishy cheeks and wee button of a nose and look forward to her waking up… but I am almost 8 weeks in. I have left the house several times, remember to eat most of the time and have held all kinds of adult conversations. Naomi recognizes me and smiles, I have had time to learn her rhythm (still learning!) and nursing is getting better and better every day. Loving your little one and feeling shell-shocked are not mutually exclusive states of being. Turns out they can coexist quite happily and their natural habitat is New Mommyhood.
I’m sure not everyone finds the first weeks of their babe’s life like waking up on a different planet, but everyone I’ve spoken with does. If you know someone who is a mom to a 2 week old you could share a message something like this:
You may not need this reassurance but just in case you do:
The chaos that is your life right now won’t last forever, I promise! A couple weeks from now you will look back on everything that is going on right now and think, Holy SHIT I learned a lot of stuff all at once. Look at me keeping it together!
Don’t forget you are a rockstar and you are doing a GREAT JOB. Your life has completely changed and you are doing a million things for the first time ever: You are recovering from labour and birth (a tremendous physical, emotional and spiritual feat), you are learning the sometimes gymnastic and telepathic elements of breastfeeding AND you are spending more time than you ever have at home alone (with your beautiful babe, sure… but she isn’t much of a conversationalist right yet). That is a lot of change for any person to process all at once, let alone a person whose hormonal composition has done a complete 180.
Everyone feels like this. Things DO smooth out. You WILL leave the house again (very soon). I promise.
You are the best mom your little peanut could ever have.
Keep on truckin’.
Or direct them to me, I would be happy to lend a sympathetic ear and offer some enthusiastic cheerleading.
A friend of mine posted the poem below on my Facebook page at the PERFECT time. I thought about it as I was dragging my disoriented self out of bed for a 4am feed and it helped immensely.
Being a mom is awesome. It can also be tough. Accept help from the people who love you. All the love and support I have received has been HUGE (THANK YOU!).
You can DO it, ladies!
On Children ~ Kahlil Gibran
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.
Age: 10 days old