This post has been tugging at my heart strings for some time and due to the fact that I've had a number of close friends welcoming new bundles of joy into their arms recently, I decided it was time to hit publish.
This is a post from me... all expressed thoughts, opinions, and beliefs are mine and no one else. And take it for what you will: this is all based on MY experiences and MY perspectives and undoubtedly some of you will absolutely not agree with me and I am OK with that but wanted to mention it just the same :)
First off, I want to tell the new mom that you're AMAZING... that the fact you're in this brand new stage of life, just trying to figure out this crazy thing called motherhood (alone or with a partner) is simply wonderful and give yourself some credit. Don't judge yourself too harshly and don't feel like you are failing at everything. Because you know what? The fact that you carried this baby for nine months, birthed him/her, and are now caring for them day and night, you should be applauded. Society likes to judge others for their shortcomings and what they may or may not be doing [whether that be breastfeeding/formula feeding, staying at home post baby/going back to work, etc] so just know that the decisions you make are what is best for YOUR family and really aren't anyone else's business... and you can blame it on your hormones if you feel the need to tell people to back off.
I sure wish I had done that with my two babies. I really wish I hadn't listened to what others thought... I wish I had followed my gut instincts and I certainly wish I had asked for more help when I felt alone and needed a good shoulder to cry on.
The next thing I want to tell you is to get out and do something for yourself. Granted, you may not be able to go on a 5 hour long shopping adventure, but get a manicure, go roam the aisles of Target, or ask a friend/family member to come over so you can go grab a coffee somewhere and sit in quiet for a bit. It didn't take much to make me happy, but when I was able to decompress and give myself a little bit of alone time, it made all the difference in the world and I was able to refocus my efforts on the babies and not get so upset and/or frustrated.
With my family nearby, I was able to get assistance pretty much whenever I needed it... and yes, that was VERY lucky and not something most people are privy to, I get that. I definitely let my family help out and for that I know they were able to bond with my girls from an early age AND I was able to grocery shop, get a nap here and there, and workout for some added endorphins, too.
I want to tell you that it will get easier. Life will calm down, you'll start getting into a schedule and daily routine, and you'll get your groove back [haha, funny reference]. Those first few weeks were always the hardest... you're surviving on little to no sleep, you're up with a newborn feeding them every 2-3 hours, your house is an absolute madhouse with baby crap everywhere, and it seems like everyone else's life is going on without you like nothing ever happened.
But remember, it's a season of life and this too shall pass. You will figure out what bottles work the best, you will understand what they want with a certain cry, and at some point the baby will start to sleep through the night and you will, too. Just try to make the best of it and don't wish for it to be over... just wish to make it through the day and pray the next one is better.
Finally, I want to tell you that soon [OH WAY TOO SOON], the season will be over and you'll desperately wish for it back again... I say this from experience as I am starting to miss those baby rolls, those "oohs" and "ahhs" and all the joy that life with a newborn and little one brought to each and every day. My girls are growing and we are entering a new stage of their life and I am ABSOLUTELY loving it... but sometimes I cry. I cry because I miss them being so little, I cry because I want to hear their first words again, and I cry because I don't want it to end. Lately, my girls want to be rocked at night after we brush our teeth, read stories, and sing songs and I happily oblige. It's just one reassurance that they are still "little" and need mommy to rock them to sleep.. and that's just fine with me.
Remember new mommy, you're AMAZING and I hope you celebrate all that you've done and all the fun that's to come.