MY Letter to New Moms

Thursday, April 04, 2013

So I’ve only been a mom for two months—in the grand scheme of things, I don’t know much but I know I love you what it’s like to be a new mom.  And I’m new enough that I still remember life on the other side.  One thing’s for sure: life. is. different.  It’s so different that it can’t really be explained because it’s wonderful and difficult and tiring and fun in ways that you’ve never experienced.

BUT, that doesn’t mean that people don’t try to share their experience.

I might be alone in feeling this way, but I felt a ton of negativity thrown my way when I was pregnant!  Yes, there were plenty of people who were thrilled, constantly checking on me, and so enthusiastic in their excitement for me.

But I received an equal amount of groaning and eye rolling and negative accounts…

“My kid cried for three months straight and didn’t sleep through the night for two years!”

“You’ll never sleep again!”

“Are you sure you’re ready for this??” {As a mom waves her arm across her three screaming kids under five… For the record, NO—I’m not ready for that!  I’m not giving birth to five year old triplets, I’m giving birth to ONE tiny baby.}

“Enjoy those projects while you can, you can’t do that when you have kids!”

“Sure, they’re cute when they’re little, but wait until she’s 13!”

“Yeah, you think you’re ready for that baby to come out but you will eventually wish that baby were back inside you!”

The Facebook statuses of some of my mom friends alone were enough to make me want to cut out my ovaries. People were constantly telling me what I couldn’t, shouldn’t, or wouldn’t be able to do for the next twenty years. Running. DIY projects. Traveling. Sleeping. Socializing. Dates.  You name it, somebody let me know I wouldn’t be able to do it once “that baby” came.  I was super annoyed and pretty surprised at this lack of support from other parents.  I’m about to burst with happiness and with baby—why would fellow moms be so discouraging??

I think many meant for it to be a preemptive, “I’m with ya, sister.  We’ve all been there” but all I took from it was, “Get ready—your life’s gonna suck!”  Whether or not those things are true wasn’t the point— I was in a time of great excitement and anticipation mixed with plenty of my own fear.  If indeed all of those things are coming my way, why not just encourage me? Tell me what I can look forward to.  Instead, I wearily shared at my baby shower how anxious I was about what was coming my way and I’m pretty sure everyone thought I was hoping that baby would take up permanent residence inside me.

To the same extent, there are these letters floating around the interwebs.  Letters to new moms written by blogger moms intended to be a funny repartee on the challenges of spit-up and diapers and sleeplessness.  Some of them are legitimately funny {and true} while there are several that I find biting and sarcastic and so mean-spirited toward motherhood that I just have couldn’t find the funny in it.  Perhaps I’m too sensitive or maybe I don’t have a sense of humor, but they seemed to make parenthood out to be a jail sentence rather than the roller coaster ride it is.

{Except they’d follow up their four page rant with one last line, like “But you’ll really love your kid,” in some last ditch effort to undo all of the damage to the scarred preggos who made it to the end of the post}

So, if you’re expecting or maybe thinking of possibly trying…one day, or your third cousin’s daughter once had a baby, I just wanted to take a minute to tell you what you DO get to look forward to…

Letter to New Moms

Dear New Moms…

You have no idea what’s about to happen.  There is a love coming your way you’ve never experienced.

You will love the ever living daylights out of that little baby.  If you’re like me, it may not start right away.  But give it a week or two…and then day by day, it will grow exponentially.  You will love them so much, you’ll spend your days praying against any bad thing that could take her from you. You will love them so much you won’t even be able to talk about it because you might start crying and never stop.

You will stare into their little eyes for hours a day. You will hold them and hold them and hold them more and still feel guilty when you put them down to take a shower. You will love holding them that much.

They won't utter a single word to you for a year.  They will cry and eat and poop a lot—and you will still miss them when they're sleeping.

You will discuss how many ounces and how many diapers {“Poopy or just wet?”} and how many naps on a nightly basis with your spouse—and it will all be done with great and sincere interest.

They do cry- but most of the time {I know, you can reach your wit’s end}, you will ache for them more than you will lose patience. Because you love them and want to heal their pain and make them feel better and that's how you survive the crying.

When they stop crying!  That is the best feeling in the world!  Their face changes from red to pink to pale.  Their skin softens and their cheeks will still be a flushed pink.  It’s the sweetest moment in time when they look up at you with those finally calm, sleepy eyes.

Breastfeeding is strange for sure—it definitely takes some getting used to {I still tell Tyler, “There is MILK coming OUT. OF. MY. BODY.”}.  But it guarantees a half hour of quiet snuggle time throughout the day where you both just sit and stare at each other.  It’s something only you can provide.

After weeks of blank stares, they will smile at you! One little curl of their lip at a time.

They will wrap their whole hand around one joint of your finger. It’s not even their choice—take advantage of that reflex! It will make you feel their love when they can't express it…because they DO love you.

Nothing is sweeter than a baby sleeping on your chest.

You will sincerely, out loud, celebrate every time they burp.

Those Johnson & Johnson commercials will make you cry buckets…

You will stand in your kitchen and hear your husband in full-on baby talk having a conversation with your four week old.  You will catch him wearing a duck towel on his head dancing to Disney music while he gives her a bath.

You will fight over who gets to hold her in church. “But you held her last week!”

When you get in bed at night, you will curl under your spouse’s arm, both of you utterly exhausted but proud you survived another day and you did it together.  Parenthood challenges and changes your marriage for sure, but it also unites you in a way little else can.  Your love will be taken to a new place as you watch one another become parents…

She will coo and gurgle and smile and start to follow you around the room with her eyes. You will be greeted with smiles from her crib in the morning.  She will sit with you and scan books at a much earlier age than you expect.  You will go on walks together and dance around the house.

Parenthood is hard and tiring and messy, for sure.  It’s not a Hallmark commercial.  Your marriage changes, your role in society changes.  Your time is split.  You’ll change a lot of diapers and clothes and find dried spit up on every surface of your house.  You’ll be tired and hormonal.  All of those things are true.  There is no experience or emotion that every parent hasn’t been through—you are never alone in those hard times.  But they are nothing compared to the tiny joys that will fill your days in the weeks and months ahead…Everyone will tell you, “And it just gets better!” and you won’t believe them because you just can’t imagine anything better.  So don’t dread what’s coming—be really, really, really excited.



{P.S. Current moms, cut that crap out! Quit scaring the newbies! We'll experience it all in time, no more unsolicited horror stories.}

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