Hey New Mama, Do Me a Favor

Hey New Mama, Do Me a FavorThe first few months as a new mama proved to be one of the hardest things I have experienced. People told me it would be difficult, but it’s not something you can fully understand until you are entrenched in it. I think it’s a combination of the crazy postpartum hormones, the lack of sleep, and the fact that life as you know it completely changes in an instant. It’s like a shock to the system on so many levels. You feel so alive, and yet, so alone. 

And as I prepare to take on this journey for the second time, I wanted to write a letter, for myself, for you, for all the new mamas out there who are awake in the middle of the night, rocking a new baby, and feeling alone. I wanted to take a second to snap you out of your funk and pummel through the layers of exhaustion-induced haze in your brain, to say…

Hey new mama, do me a favor.

Gaze down at that precious bundled ball of sweetness in your arms, kiss that tiny nose, those soft squishy cheeks, those perfect little lips, and remember…

You can do this. You will do this. This won’t last forever.

I know you feel guilty. You feel guilty for mourning the loss of your old life, instead of rejoicing in the new life in front of you. I know you feel like your emotions have gone haywire, and you feel guilty for crying more now than when you were pregnant. You feel terrible for unexpectedly lashing out at your husband. You feel like a bad mom for not enjoying every second with your new baby. You feel guilty.

But do me a favor. Stop beating yourself up. Start counting all the ways that tiny baby is a blessing, thank God for the little miracle in your arms, and remember, this won’t last forever.

I know you’re tired, so tired. I know that when you’re up at 2 am, for the third time in 3 hours, you feel certain that you can’t possibly continue living this way. You’re not sure if you’ll be able to drag yourself out of bed, or keep your eyes open for even one more minute. You wonder how many cups of coffee one human can safely consume in a day. You truly question whether you’ll ever be a normal, functioning human being, ever again. You are just so exhausted. I know that it’s putting a damper on your new role as a mama. I know that it’s casting a heavy fog over your attempts at joy.

But do me a favor. Keep those eyes open for just one more second. Take a mental snapshot of that perfect little face, savor that fresh baby smell, and remember, this won’t last forever.

I know you’re overwhelmed. You are overwhelmed by the realization that this isn’t temporary. You feel the heaviness of knowing that this human is your responsibility, forever. You feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders, and all of the unknown is terrifying. Every time someone asks how much the baby is eating, or the thermometer flashes a number higher than 100, or the baby screams for seemingly no reason at all for minutes and even hours on-end, you get scared. You feel helpless. You feel unequipped. You feel overwhelmed. And I know there are times you wish you could just walk away.

But do me favor. Stay. Stay in that rocking chair just one more minute. Memorize the way that tiny baby fits in your arms, run your fingers over those chubby little hands, and remember, this won’t last forever.

I know you feel forgotten. I know you feel like the old you suddenly fails to exist. You find yourself covered in spit-up, counting poops, obsessed with trying to create a schedule, and wearing the same pair of sweatpants day after day. You wonder what happened to the person you once knew. It’s like she disappeared overnight, and you wonder if you’ll ever find her again. You wonder if the person you used to be even still exists. I know you feel forgotten. I know you feel alone.

I know, I know. It’s hard. 

Hey new mama

I know it’s hard to see past the guilt, exhaustion, and heaviness when you are living smack dab in the middle of it. But, one day, you will. These hardships? They’ll be forgotten. Things will get easier. One day soon, you’ll wake up and feel at home again. You’ll feel at home in your new body and in your new life as a mama. You’ll realize the fog has lifted and you’ll taste the sweetness you once dreamed of. And all you’ll have left of the early days is the snapshots of that perfect squishy baby and the memories you were able to fight through the fog to hold onto.

So, do me a favor. Don’t let those moments go unnoticed. Don’t let the exhaustion cloud your vision. Give those cheeks an extra kiss, savor that sweet baby smell, and rock that baby just a little while longer. Gaze down at your bundled ball of sweetness, memorize those teeny tiny features, and thank God for the little breathing miracle in your arms. Hold tight to these precious, fleeting, sweet memories, and never let them go.

You can do this mama. You will do this. This won’t last forever. 

(See this article over on scarymommy.com here)

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  1. Yes to all of this. Everyone needs to read this! Now do ME a favor – when your new precious baby arrives, and your first is throwing fit after fit, and is suddenly impossible to take out in public, and every time youre trying to get a good latch the toddler suddenly has to poop or needs immediate attention, and you’re feeling guilty, so guilty that your relationship with your first child is changing, remember, this won’t last forever. Your first born will adjust. You will all adjust. You will fall into your new normal and yes the relationship will change but in all the best ways. And remember, you’re doing a great job.

  2. Gwen

    You are right in saying we don’t talk about how hard it is enough. It sure feels like forever – but I do realize how precious this Gift is. I wish my human requirement for sleep didn’t exist!

  3. Jolene

    I needed this right now. Thank you!! All the mama’s I know make motherhood look so easy, but the adjustment for me has been far from easy. Even now, my baby is almost 5 months old and every day I wonder when the fog will lift. Everyday I wonder if I’m doing the right thing. Everyday I cry because I want to give my baby his best, and yet I feel so limited. So today, I’ll soak up his squishy drooling self and enjoy the giggles between the teething tears. Thank you, I needed a new perspective today.

  4. Melanie

    Thank you, thank you…. Nothing else I’ve read had made me feel so “not alone”… I felt like it was written just for me (and about me)… Though my 10 month old is such an easy baby, and fills hours upon hours of my days with joy, I still find myself crying daily over how overwhelming motherhood is, “mourning the loss of my old life” as you put it, and then crying over feeling guilty about crying…. But I’m glad it’s been impossible to miss the thousands of treasured moments, and those are the ones I remember when I look back at this past year. So moms… Will there really come a day when I realize it didn’t last forever?

  5. So perfect. New moms really do need to give themselves a break and not feel like this is how life is always going to be. But that is so hard to remember and realize when you are in the trenches and hormones are crazy.

    Now that we are done having children, I have made it my mission that if a new mother wants, and we are more than acquaintances, I will go over to her home. Not to hold the baby but to interact with her other children or if she doesn’t have any other childre, to talk with her. I’ll clean her house, bring her dinner, and just listen to her. I do this because I never had anyone do this for me. Not even my own family. I was left in the fog and that is depressing.

    So thank you for reminding all the new mothers that things will get easier.

  6. Such a touching post! Thank you… so many memories came rushing back to me. Although my little one is only 2.5, it seems like ages ago. I miss that time especially because he was born with a rare syndrome, spent 6 weeks in the NICU and doctors questioning his survival – it was hard but I will never forget that time.

  7. Stephanie C.

    thank you for this. really. thank you so much for writing this. i’ve been hard on myself these past few weeks and have cried more than i’ve ever cried in my life. hell, i’m crying right now because this truly spoke to me – it’s almost 1am and baby is sleeping right next to me. you’re right… this won’t last forever and she won’t be this small forever.

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