An Open Letter to a New Mom
Dear New Mom,
Hi. It’s me. A new-ish first time mom to a little boy. Being a new mom is really hard. Which they tell you … they tell you in books, on blogs, in the hospital class. But if you’re anything like me, you figure it’s nothing you can’t handle. And I promise you, you can handle it. But there’s going to be moments that feel really difficult: moments that make you cry harder than you’ve ever cried, moments that make you feel lost and question what you’ve done, moments that make you wonder if you can do this. And I want you to know something: YOU CAN DO THIS.
Babies are needy. They don’t know any better. You and your partner are literally that child’s life source. It’s so draining – I know it is. I understand how you feel when you want a small break or can’t remember the last time you ate a hot meal or showered. I know the late nights make you want to scream too. I know the million wake up calls are hard and broken sleep is difficult and draining. I know how dark those days feel. But, this stage will pass. Your baby will learn to sleep. You will learn to go back to sleep faster than you ever thought possible. You’ll learn to nap during the day when someone else is helping with the baby. You’ll learn that the laundry can wait, but a shower and a hot meal can’t. I just want you to know that even in the hardest moments, you can do this. You will come out on the other side with a happy and healthy baby – and feel stronger and smarter for it.
Motherhood is single-handedly the hardest journey I’ve ever been on. People don’t warn you about recovery post-delivery. They don’t warn you that it’ll hurt to sit for a week or that you’ll be scared to pee alone for awhile. They don’t mention that you won’t be able to stand up straight without help the hours after delivery. No one tells you how many times you’ll rock your baby to sleep with tears flowing down your cheeks because you’re so tired and how can this baby possibly be up again and you can’t cry too loud because then the cycle starts over. No one warns you that you’ll eat just as much as you did pregnant because breastfeeding makes you starve all day long.
But it’s SO worth it. The minute your baby falls asleep on your chest for the first time, the way they need you… their laugh and their smiles. The way their eyes light up when you sing and talk. When they reach for you the first time or crawl to you to sit in your lap. When they start turning the pages in books you’ve read since they were a newborn. When your son stands for the first time alone or takes a few steps. Those are the moments you’ll remember when all is said and done. All of the long nights, the pain, the emotions you think will never calm or stop… those will fade. Watching your child grow up is so much more powerful.
So to the mom reading this at 3AM rocking their baby to sleep again (girl, I still have to do this sometimes!), know that I’m with you. Know that I support you and understand where you are. Reach out, talk to me about your baby, ask questions or ask for help. No one will think less of you. People want to help – they just don’t know how. Know that you can’t do this alone – and you shouldn’t have to. Friends, family, spouses are there to help. Know that these emotions will pass – and if they’re not, talk to someone. Ask a professional for help and do not feel guilty for it.
Motherhood is hard. But you, mama, were made for this. Just remember this is all a phase and things will get better soon. And until then? I’m sending lots of hugs and encouragement. You’ve got this. Just believe in yourself and take a deep breath. Hug your sweet baby tight and remember it will get easier!!