Motherhood. The most full word in the English dictionary. How can you even describe it?
My baby is here… born February 10, 2019 8 pounds 2 ounces and 20.5 inches long. Born wide eyed and full of curiousity.
Each day has brought its own challenges and joys but I’ve been pondering these first “newborn days” and what I wish I would’ve known.
1- Having a baby in ANY way shape or form is beautiful. With all the drugs in the universe, or buck naked in the middle of a forest. Women are strong as hell, and birth is a transformative and intense experience that I can’t believe I had the privilege to go through. I wish I would’ve known how traumatic it would be. I feel like I had PTSD for a week afterwards. It was so incredibly painful that there aren’t words to describe it. But I did it. Women all over the world for centuries have done it and will continue to do it forever. I am now one of them, and I feel so lucky & proud to be.
2- Breastfeeding comes with pain, hardship, stress, and more tears than labor. NOT FOR EVERYONE. But for me- wow. We have endured hell and back. I read books before, joined groups, did research… but nothing could’ve ever prepared me for the journey. We went through tongue and lip ties, oversupply, strong letdowns choking my baby, engorgement, revision, weight loss because he wouldn’t latch, 4 lactation consultant appointments post hospital, 2 sacral therapy appointments, chiropractors, thrush, and incredible searing pain for weeks and weeks. I remember sitting in bed in the middle of the night sobbing with him in my arms trying so desperately to latch him and feeling like an utter failure as. A mother. Here’s what I wish I would’ve known- ITS OKAY! And NORMAL. That if I would’ve switched to formula, I was still a good mom. That EVERY choice a mother makes regarding feeding her child is a sacrifice. Formula means sacrificing money and time to make the bottles as well as the guilt and shame you feel from not breastfeeding. Pumping also is a sacrifice. And so is breastfeeding. There is no easy choice. It’s all hard. And whatever choice I made, was okay.
3- No one cares. What I mean by this is that there is no one handing out awards and cookies for how you parent. No one is impressed by your grandiose attempts at perfection. Everyone is focused on their own lives and families and children. And while you may receive a “oh wow that’s awesome” or “really? I would do it another way”, they are meaningless remarks that should play no part in how you raise your child. At the end of the day, you have to listen to your heart and instincts. Everyone will have an opinion, but no one is your child’s mother except you.
4- It gets better and worse and easier and harder. One hour you feel that you wish you had 49 kids because your child smiled at you or you are having a beautiful nursing moment. Then 10 seconds later he is screaming bloody murder and you have no idea why. You overcome one obstacle, and then another one surfaces. But with every struggle, there is a victory. And with every hour of sleep lost, you gain such a richness in your life. There really is no way to describe the beautiful dichotomy of parenthood. It’s such a sacrifice every minute, but when you look at your partner and scream because your baby laughed for the first time, or he latches without pain, or he turns at the sound of your voice- you know you would slay a million dragons for him.
5- You May feel depressed or anxious along with a thousand array of emotions. You won’t sleep, you won’t want anyone to touch your child, you may research every disease known to mankind, you may feel like a complete failure, you might wish you had your old life back. All of these feelings are normal & there is nothing wrong with you for feeling them. You will get through it. And whatever you need to do to feel okay, do it. Get help. Talk to someone, call someone, go for a walk, cry in your car, journal, go get your hair done, give yourself GRACE.
You are a mom. When your baby looks at you, he doesn’t see anything that you need to improve on. He doesn’t care what diapers you use or where you bought his clothes. He needs his mother just the way she is. You are enough for your child, period. You can do this. You may need a lot of help and you will certainly not do it all right, but you are enough. Be patient with yourself & listen to your instincts. You will look back & never regret the moments of sitting still and soaking it in. Throw away the schedules and the google searches, get rid of the fear and stress. Sit & hold your child- it’s the most important job you have. Everything else can wait.