Thursday, January 20, 2011

Ode to the New Mom

I have a hard time at work sometimes.  Sometimes I feel like I'm that drill Sargent sending troops off to the war that was so very painful to me.  I wheel them to the curb with a little tear in my eye.  I know where they're going.  I've been there.  I've watched my friends go there.  It is a war.  I have literally choked away tears as I wish them good luck.

Lately I have a lot of friends who are having their first baby (seriously, how did I get into this place, I swore I'd never throw a shower again....).  I look at them and I have a hard time not SHAKING them and knowing what they're walking into.  But even if I did I'd look like a lunatic.  I just don't have words.  I don't have words to tell them what it will be like.


No words?

Who knew?

Sure, that adorable bundle of goo is yours.  You love it so much (or, maybe you don't, but you try to.. either way is fine).  Those nurses, they make things look so easy, surely it will be fine when you go home.  So many people have done this, right?  My uncle had a great saying that "Dumber people than you have done this."  That was my mantra for a good 2 weeks when Conner was born. 

You walk in the door.  Everything seems the same.  It's the same kitchen, your same bed.  Yet, everything is somehow different.  You've changed.  Not only are your hips a good centimeter larger (or more) but there's more...

Anyway, I just want everyone to know that first baby.  It's a doozy.  I mean, every baby that follows is a doozy too... but that first one.  The realization that THIS is your new life.  You are completely enslaved to someone who weighs less than the bag of flour you got at Target a few days ago.  Your every need comes second to theirs.  Your who-who (that's a technical term) hurts something painful, but you pull yourself out of bed only to have them suck on blistered tender parts of yourself.

I remember bursting into tears when Conner would be hungry.  I didn't want to be near him, and I felt SO guilty.  SO guilty.  I remember Drew trying to get me to "play" with him on his non-sleeping hours. Just so I could feel a little baby joy rather than wanting to claw my own eyes out while he tried to suck my soul out.

I remember crying like a maniac that I didn't have milk.  MY child would be RUINED.  He'd never read, his IQ would be in the toilet.   I had truly failed him.  Seriously?  I mean, I truly fail him in many worse ways daily now. :)  Had I only known that then.

Had I known how truly hard it is to ruin a newborn I think I might have put a little less pressure on myself. But all those books, all those DARN BOOKS.  Not to mention those moms who pretend that it is a piece of cake.  That they never, ever had thoughts like that.  They're lying.  Or, they're on serious anti depressants. :)

Anyway, I guess what I'm going to wind this up to say is that YOU are OK.  Whatever you are thinking is fine.  You don't have to feel guilty about wishing your life hadn't been sucked into the mouth of this little infant.  You don't have to feel guilty about mixing a bottle every now and then.  You don't have to feel guilty if the sound of them crying makes you just turn up the Enya for a few minutes longer.

Because this is your new life.  That isn't to say that you'll be sleepless forever, or that feeding and pooping will be your main concerns forever.  But it is your new life.  This baby IS your new life.

And every woman takes their own pace realizing that and getting into their new groove.  Because, you will find that groove (hopefully with the support of your assistive husband).  Someday you'll be that mom who tackles 3 kids with abandon and looks like she has it all together (emphasis on looks) but today isn't that day.  Today is the day to get through one hour at a time, and find joy in the tiny things, and to stroke those tiny baby thighs and to think happy thoughts about heaven where that baby just was.

Now is the time to realize that you can do it.  But you're not going to do it all today.

And most of all, now is the time to know you can call me any time.  I've been there.  I do this for a living.  And I want to help out.  There is no need for this to be a private war.  The more troops the better, right?  I wish I had reached out more.  I felt so awkward saying this wasn't working.  I had one friend who I spilled my soul to daily and she was so comforting.  I actually can't even remember her name now, but she was amazing.  A true gift from God at the time.

Knuckle bump to anyone who's ever been a first time mom.  We all know you'll make it. :)

P.S.  Maybe I just did this post to put some adorable infant P pictures up.  What a cute bundle of goo she was. :)


  1. Well said. And I'll comment once again, as I have to lots of people, that I truly believe that is the reason our Heavenly Father sent them here is such adorable packages. Because adorable packages are so much easier to cope with than big awkward ones. If they came to us any less cute there is no way in the world we would wipe, feed, dress and adore the way we do. It wasn't meant to be easy, but there's so much joy in it if we make ourselves find it. It's harder to find at 3 a.m. for sure. When you can't see how adorable they are because the lights are off. Good thing for husbands!

  2. Thanks for sharing this. I am still a new mom myself so every little moment is a learning experience for me. Sometimes it's so good to sit back, think, and forgive ourselves once in a while. We're only blessed with the role as Mothers, not Perfect.

  3. Thank you for writing this. I didn't realize when I got married the pressure that I would feel to have kids. I have my mom saying WAIT you will be glad you did!! But it is all the women in my RS and all the girls I know at school. My first few weeks in married RS I felt left out because I was one of the fews in there that wasn't pregnant or holding a newborn. I get really excited about having kids because they are adorable and the families look adorable and they act like everything is sunnier now that they have kids. I have always imagined it would be tough but I know I don't understand just how tough it will actually be. I really appreciate your honesty. I feel like this snapped me back into reality. Thank you! I NEEDED to hear this.

  4. Hi Hilary! This is Nicki, Paige's new Nursery teacher. I found your blog through Mary. This is an excellent post, it makes me super happy and hopeful. Thank you :)

  5. Anonymous8:30 AM

    I happened to find this post because it was at the bottom of a bread making post that was linked by homesteadsurvival.
    I just wanted to take am minute to say thank you for it.

    I'm not a new mom anymore, but i felt all those feelings when i was and i was very alone. People would always say how great it was and every mom i interacted with seemed to be a super mom or was just so happy to be a mom all the time.
    Just having some other moms point out that it can be hard and tiring and that you can not feel happy ... well, it means a lot.

    I really wish more moms would be honest about it for the sake of other new moms.

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  7. So true. I love the honesty here. Being a new mom is SO HARD. It does get easier though! :)

  8. Thanks Jennifer, I think this blog entry needs to go viral. There are SO many feelings in those first few weeks -- all of which are OK. I'll hace to check your site out!


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