Dear Brand New Mom
Dear brand new mom,
Let me start by saying this. You are not:
Doing a bad job
Remember when you were scared about giving birth and you told yourself it’s okay, millions of women have done it before me? Well, millions of women have felt exactly the way you feel right now. No, I’m not inside your brain and I don’t know EXACTLY how you’re feeling, but I promise you we have all gone through the pain that you are going through right now. The pain of being a mom for the first time. I know, I know, you knew it was going to be hard, but you probably didn’t know it was going to be THIS hard.
But but, but what about all those perfect mommies on Facebook and Pinterest who say they LOVVVVVVED every single second with their newborn and even liked changing poopie diapers and waking up with their boobie-suckers at all waking hours because they cherished every precious moment? Well, guess what. They’re lying. I mean maybe they don’t know they’re lying because they don’t remember what it was really like, and I don’t blame them because it’s probably just their body’s way of blacking it out because the memories are too much to handle. Because having a newborn for the first time kinda sorta sucks.
Please hold for a moment while I wait for the lightening to strike me down. Or a herd of blood-sucking overachiever moms to pounce on me. Waiting, waiting, okay, the coast is clear. They must be planning a sneak attack.
Don’t get me wrong. Newborns are awesome. Their tiny little toes you want to eat, the smell of their heads (just don’t smell the other end), the way they wrap their itty bitty fingers around yours and squeeze, and when they yawn it’s like the most adorable thing ever. But that’s about it. I remember when I had Zoey for the first time and HOLY CRAP! I mean the first two weeks were kinda sorta okay because all she did was sleep and I was like yayyyyy we got a good one, but after that HOLEEEEEEEEE CRAPPPPPPPPPP. No one every told me it was gonna be like this. And why would they? When I was preggers, I was walking around on cloud nine anticipating an amazing bundle of joy, so who the hell would burst my gigantic bubble and warn me what it was really going to be like. They’d jokingly say shit like “sleep now” or “go on a babymoon while you still can,” when what they really should have said was “enjoy your life because it’s about to be over.” Not really, but kind of. For a little while at least.
I mean have you ever seen on TV when they torture a P.O.W.? What do they do? They won’t let him sleep and keep him awake by blaring loud music into his ears. That’s basically what it’s like to have a newborn, only instead of Mr. Meanie Interrogator, it’s a baby who won’t let you sleep because he’s screaming in your ear every three hours (if you’re lucky). And the only way to make him stop is to be super nice to pamper the shit out of him. Literally. But even when you succeed he’s still gonna wake you up again in a few hours to torture you again. And again. And again. Without an end in sight.
Oh, and add to that the fact that your hormones are ricocheting off every wall in your body like you’re a human pinball machine. And add to that the fact that you might be breastfeeding for the first time so your nipples feel like they’re being burned with acid and eaten by fire ants. And add to that the fact that you might not be breastfeeding and your boobs feel like they’re gigantic water balloons strapped on the faucet and there’s no way to turn off the water and they’re going to explode. And add to that the fact that your husband can’t seem to do anything right and even says stupid shit that makes you wanna smack him like “I wish I could feed the baby.” And add to that the fact that every mom you know (especially yours and his) thinks they should tell you what to do.
So I just wish someone could have told me that being a new parent kind of sucks at first. That way I would have known it wasn’t just me. That way I would have known I wasn’t a failure. That way I would have known that I wasn’t a bad mom. And that it was going to get easier. Well, not easier, but better. In some ways. Worse in others.
So that’s why I’m writing you this letter. To say congratulations on your new baby!!! I hope you cherish these days. And by cherish I mean get through them and know that you’re not crazy, alone or doing a bad job, no matter how much it feels like it.
Someone who’s been-there-done-that and now uses no fewer than three types of birth control even though she loves her kiddos very very much
If you like this and my mom didn’t pay you to, please check out my hilarious New York Times Bestseller I Heart My Little A-Holes. Guaranteed to make you laugh so hard, some of your orifices might leak a little. Especially if you’re a new mom.
Oh my ahahah! Thank you for sharing! I am 7 months pregnant and love me a good bit of honesty. Have you listened to Tim Minchin’s Lullaby? Google it if you havent. Absolutely hysterical.
Every word of this is TRUE and for those new mommies that are doing this all by yourself and don’t have a hubby (like I was at the time of being a new mommy), please know that there is a Light at the end of this hellish tunnel and there are other mommies just like you! So please don’t give up, even though you might really really want to, just know that you are the one that your baby is going to go to when something is wrong. You are the only one that knows exactly what your kiddo wants when they can’t exactly talk yet and when someone else can’t understand them, only you can help them and that is what it is ALL about! You are Super-Mom and nobody else can do what YOU can do!
As a mom who has a hubby and still found it incredibly hard. Please know, I salute you. I salute all single moms and single dads. It’s so hard. It’s important to be there for each other.
Thank you!! I’m 6 weeks away and doing this on my own! Yay for husbands that decide they can’t handle a baby! and decide to move in with their mothers.
You got this, Mama! I did the whole parenthood thing alone the first time around, and although it was difficult(in it’s own ways), I wouldn’t change anything. I learned how resilient I am, and I truly believe it’s less stressful to tackle parenthood alone, than to do it with someone who doesn’t want to be there. Surround yourself with people who are positive and supportive. Wishing you the best!
I have a 2 and 3 year old.. and I hated every minute of babyhood… toddler hood isn’t any better. waiting for them to move out!
Oh dear lord I remember those days, I hit the jackpot with my 2, they only ever woke up once a night and by 5 weeks they both slept through the night, so I was reeeaaaallllyyyy lucky there, but oh boy I remember after delivering my first (she had the cord wrapped around her neck she was blue and for a few minutes we were scared shitless) anyway after that we went to the ward, the hubster (who was lucky to be alive after telling me I was pushing wrong) had gone to meet my mum, I remember sitting there thinking what the hell do I do now? When we had our second daughter, she had to go into scbu (PICU) for 3 days and I had to have a c-section. They put her straight onto formula so I couldn’t even breastfeed her, but then I only managed to breastfeed our oldest for 8 weeks, then it started hurting so much I gave up and put her on formula, which luckily she took to really well. Both girls took their formula straight from the fridge too, but we managed, and we must have done something right as they are now 15&11. I’m so glad I read this post, I’ve been feeling really broody now my 2 are so much older, remembering how hard it was, no way am I going through that again!!!
You are sooooooo right!!!!!
I have three from ages 9-4…life is suddenly getting easier and harder at the same time. It’s kind of like when you are super excited that they can walk so you don’t have to carry around a heavy baby but then you say, “Holy crap…they’re walking.” and up come the baby gates, which makes getting around your own house harder! The parts that are hard as a new mom become much much easier but then you get new ones. My oldest will always be the test baby! At least I get to sleep. It makes things soooo much easier. Sleep is the number one thing you can do for yourself. It makes you have less cortisol and able to deal with stress better. Mommyhood is hard and rewarding. Good post!
I wish I had read this when I was pregnant. I was on bed rest for 3 months and all I watched while I was in the hospital is that God awful show “A Baby Story” where you don’t realize that the only way they achieve baby Nirvana is through really good editing. There is nothing on there about post partum depression, lack of sleep that makes you psychotic, and breastfeeding that does not go the way EVERYONE told you it should (complicated by the La Leche League nazis who insist that you feed your kid until he/she goes to high school! They don’t show the need for sits baths because your OB/GYN did a hatchet job of sewing you up after a fourth degree perineal tear. They don’t show you that abject fear that every pregnant woman has that they are responsible for getting this human life out into the world in one piece and healthy, even though it is beyond their control and is up to God, ultimately. What they do show is that feeling when that baby finally makes its entrance and is placed on your chest and you realize he/she is perfect in the way God intended them to be. I literally blinked and now my son is 14 years old and thriving. As difficult as those early months/years were at times, I would do it all again.
I told my husband when I was pregnant with my second (his first) that it is basically like Stockholm syndrome. You grow to love your torturing captor, against your will, and are willing to die for them, even though they are a horrible person.
This is quite possibly the most apt description of pregnancy I have ever read.
^^Love it Sarah. Had to screenshot that to show everyone I know.
This is so true, however, the torture lasts for 20 years and count down the days to either the escape or someone gives you a reprieve. Love them dearly but I don’t want grandchildren, still scarred from the first round.
Love this I found out I was pregnant 2 weeks after my mom died , it was a blessing n gift from heaven . It’s definitely a journey n I do know that I love my baby girl she is my world
Thank you for this. I was so terrified when I was pregnant with my first daughter and after she was born, I was convinced I wasn’t going to ever sleep through the night until I was 80. The big thing was my grandmother. She assured me that I would not screw up my kid and that I would be okay. It definitely helped. Three daughters later and I’ve gotten the hang of it. 🙂
Oh this is too true! You nailed it. I think it can help to have reasonable expectations of ourselves going into this motherhood gig. If everyone survived and was fed that day, that is a successful day. No one has to be happy, no one has to be clean. Nothing else has to be done besides those two things.
You should be ashamed for ranting on about the way you fill about newborns. Sometimes you have to sacrifice for the child you chose to have. Quit being so self centered and read some books about how children are at different ages.
All that we are trying to do is be supportive of each other. Being a mother is HARD WORK, and many people feel like if we have one bad thing to say about it, that we don’t love our children. We do love our children, but we also are realistic about recognizing that if these small people were not related to us, we probably wouldn’t like to spend much time with them.
And also, reading books cannot prepare anyone for parenthood. That’s like saying I should be able to fly a fully-loaded jet because I read the manual. None of us are perfect at it, but we are doing our best to get through it. The greatest gift for any mother is support from other mothers.