My arms dangled, unusually light without the steady, comforting weight of the baby. Oh, that baby. That thoughtful pink face, those tiny fingers and toes, skin flaky from the cold, cruel air outside the womb. But contented little noises, puffs and sighs, with the occasional hiccup, told us that in her tiny world, all is well.
As I drove home, back to my own life, I thought back to the days and weeks following the birth of each of my children. The fear, joy, exhaustion, and teary-ness all came flooding back to me. I recognized those things in your eyes today, New Mama.
I wanted to smother you with hugs and tell you over and over that it will be okay. You are already doing great, with your pencil and notebook, recording each feeding and diaper event. You are already loving and worrying and raising this little girl, and you’re doing it so very well.
I promise it will be okay.
I saw the love you poured into her as you gently changed her diaper, gingerly lifting her legs like the china doll that she is. I noticed the tender manner in which you cradled her head and the way your breath caught as we cooed over her utter perfection.
I patted your arm and gave you permission to be human.
“It’s overwhelming. It feels like I’m chained to her. Kind of like prison,” you tearfully admitted.
Yes, it does, and you are, and it kind of is.
I understand. We all do.
But I promise, it will be okay.
True, you are not the same person that you were before this little darling joined you on the outside. You are now officially a Mother. You will never again not be a Mother. You will forever carry the weight of another’s life on your shoulders, and as scary as that sounds, I promise, you won’t want it any other way.
You see, after the initial hell of the scariness, the overwhelming-ness, the craziness, there will come a point when you’ll start rolling forward. Slowly at first, but you’ll pick up speed.
You won’t cry every single hour. And you might feel like washing your hair. Or not. You’ll find small pockets of time when you can remember who you were – the woman who liked to listen to music, read a book, or play a game on your phone for a few minutes. And it will hit you, “I am still that person with a name other than Mama. I’m still in here.” And the more you connect with her, the less crazy you’ll feel.
I promise it will be okay.
As a mother who has been around the block, I won’t tell you to “enjoy every minute with your precious angel." Because that is not even a real thing. I will tell you to try and be present, to not let yourself get carried away on the roller coaster of worry and doubt. Trust your instincts, and don’t be too hard on yourself.
Oh, and please ask for help when you need it. We are your tribe, and we are just a text or phone call away. We would love to hold your baby and pretend she’s ours for a few hours. We’d love to feed her and burp her and change diapers and not argue about homework or screen time or whether those shorts are too short. We’d love to remember what it feels like to have a fuzzy little peach head resting on our chest and our pinky finger in a tiny newborn death grip.
We are on the other side of this ocean. We’ve made it to the shore. We’re not done with our journey yet, but we’ve made it this far. And I promise, you’ll get there too one day. In the meantime, we are here to throw you a life raft and tow you in to shore.
All you have to do is hang on.
|A break for the new mom, cuddle time for me, it's a win-win.|