Sunday, May 20, 2012

My Letter to New Moms (and Linky)

First, it has to be said... THANK YOU Libby, Sara, Leslie, Erika, Lea, and AP for your wonderful posts this week.  You girls are amazing.  (If you missed any, I've added a link under "Popular Posts" on the sidebar.  Check it out.)

The last six days have been good. (Well, work has been miserable... but I'll spare you my whiney voice for now - the blog has been good.)  I have found myself laughing, crying, thinking, praying, and, mostly, nodding and saying (sometimes out loud) "YES.  EXACTLY. That is SO me.  That is SO true" through this series.  I really feel like there isn't much I can add to what has already been said.  We are united in this.  We understand each other (perhaps even a little more now); and, sometimes, just knowing that is the only thing we need as new moms...

Organizing and hosting this series has been really important to me... In so many ways, I've forgotten what those early weeks were like (thank the Lord); but, another part of me - one that only comes out in those sentimental mama moments like when I'm holding a sleepy baby fresh from a lavender bath, or after I've read back over the posts I wrote here when Sam was just a new guy - remembers every single detail... And, strangely, misses even the hard ones...

Today, I'm taking a slightly different spin on this (you are allowed to change the rules when you made them, right?)... I'm writing to myself as a new mom.  (Remember this post I wrote when Sam was three weeks old?  It was so hard to write.  I was really stressed out then, and worried - if I'm being honest - that maybe I wasn't cut out for motherhood.  Think of me then when you read this letter.)  It may mean nothing to any of you, but I have to write it... I have to pause this morning - as I watch my 'big' ten-month old boy crawl around the room giggling audibly at Addy, and remember a little...

Lord willing, I'll have another three-week old sometime in my life; and I need to hear these things.  Maybe you do too.
Dear Self at Three-Weeks PostPartum:

Do not feel guilty that you have already left Sam for a few hours to have some alone time. He won't even notice you are gone until he gets hungry in another two hours. Taking care of yourself is important too. So, just relax and enjoy it... And, while you're here, there are some things you need to hear before you get too far into all this motherhood stuff...
3.5 weeks
First of all, you never should have opened that stupid Babywise book.  Look, I'm sure it works for some people; but you are a control freak (face it, it's true) and that book gave you... issues.  If you find yourself being tempted to go to it again in a desperate haze of exhaustion and anxiety, for "just one more" fix - STOP. Seriously, take a deep breath, call a friend, go for a walk...  you don't need that.  This is SAM.  YOU are his mommy.  You are good enough.  He will be OK.  Besides, he'll stop crying all the time soon, he'll work himself into a perfectly-manageable but not too-strict schedule in about three months, he'll smile and laugh and be so happy, and - by the time he's ten months (I promise it is closer than it sounds) - he'll be sleeping all night and taking glorious three hour naps. (Oh, go ahead and put away all the other ones too - Healthy Sleep Habits, The Baby Whisperer, etc. etc.  You can read them in another few months when you actually know your child and feel at least a little more adequate as a mom.)

Speaking of feeling adequate, would you cut yourself some slack already?  Let me remind you - three weeks ago you had major surgery.  (If you forgot, just look down at your lower belly... remember now?)  And, for the almost ten months before that, you were single-handedly growing a baby inside of you.  You've already done A LOT right for this kid.  (I'm sure by the time he is thirty and has a baby of his own he will thank you.)  So you're emotional and you cry at least once a day (usually at 9:30PM on the dot)... YOU JUST HAD A BABY.  You are tired and take a nap two times a day... YOU JUST HAD A BABY.  You are still wearing maternity jeans... YOU JUST HAD A BABY. (And, let's just put it out there that you may as well get over that right now; because, you're going to be proudly rocking those suckers for the next six months until they literally tear and you are FORCED back into buttons and zippers.)  Your life is radically different right now than it was just three short weeks ago... It's OK to have trouble adjusting to that.  Change is always hard and - let's just put it out there - this is one HUGE change.

Despite what the movies and books and a lot of the blogs you've been subjecting yourself to reading may look like, you aren't supposed to have it all together right now.  We don't expect a brand new baby to just "pop out" knowing how to talk and walk and mow the lawn, do we?  Of course not... But yet, for some reason, you have convinced yourself that YOU should know how to do everything right away.  You're brand new at being a mom too.  Please try to love yourself just a little more and believe your husband/friends/etc. when they say you are doing great.  You really are doing great. 

While you're at it, don't worry about making meals or keeping your house clean for awhile.  (Shoot, you aren't fooling anyone with those shenanigans.  By the time you go back to work in nine weeks, your house will NEVER be clean and you will NEVER make dinner - don't create unrealistic expectations for anyone, k?) Your job right now is just to be a mom.  That's all you have time for anyway; and, I'm convinced that God made it that way on purpose.  Just feed that little "fat sucker," and change his diaper, and rock him and, let your mother-in-law clean your bathroom and your mom fold your laundry.  Oh, there will be plenty of that for you in the future... 

Ok, one more thing, you've got to hear this even though you won't believe it until later - This stage doesn't last forever...

In nine months, you will actually kind-of forget how hard these first few weeks are.  (Just like you are already beginning to forget how swollen and miserable you were when you were pregnant, and how much those blasted contractions hurt in the hospital.)  You will Pretty soon (although, probably not quite yet), you are going to feel like time is FLYING by.  You are going to look at your little baldy (yea, his hair's going to fall out never to be seen again) who is pulling up on everything and eating waffles and trying to talk, and not even recognize the little sleeping (or crying as the case may be) infant you are holding right now.  You will, somehow, miss these days.  You will even (gasp) think about doing it again sometime soon(ish) and vow to value it just a little more the next time around.

At one-week.
Now... Go drink another cup of coffee (it will be fine even though you are breastfeeding, trust me; just don't let any of those judgemental moms at the park see you doing it), watch The Bachelor on Hulu, and cuddle that little nine pound sack of goodness.  See you in ten months! 

Ok, YOUR turn... I've been looking forward to this all week (and I really hope it's not a total flop).  Link up below with your own letters to new moms so we can relate to and learn from each other.  Remember: You don't have to be a mom to write a letter, just have something to say to new moms - anything.  Here's a grab code for the cute button Erika made us if you'd like to put it on your post. Have at it!

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  1. love your letter! I'll be rereading this whenever baby #2 arrives someday :)

  2. I really, really loved this. I am yet to be a mom, but when I am, I will be glad that someone put it all out there and was honest about how the first few months will go. Like Ashley said, I will have to reread this whenever it's my turn to be a mom.

  3. I love it! You are an amazing Mom.


  4. I've loved reading through the letters! Lea got lots of "Amens!!" from me! & You know I love your thoughts on "Babywise" - *smile*

  5. I feel like you wrote this letter to me...everything hits so close to home. Thanks for that :)

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  7. *I made a spelling mistake above*

    AMEN. I'm SO glad you aren't a super fan of "BabyWise"... I remember when you first blogged that book title and I made a cautious warning in the comment section. Your love for Sam is so evident in your posts, but it's not nauseating like so many other mommy blogs. Did you know I found your blog via a Facebook post from the Etsy seller who made you your gender reveal invites? Not only did I shamelessly steal you bee themed party idea, but I've been a loyal follower ever since. I.LOVE.YOU. and maybe one day we'll be rich with ridiculously popular blogs and meet up at Alt. in Anthropologie dresses and letterpressed blog cards... BIG dreams. xo

    P.S. - sorry for hijacking your comment thread :S

  8. Thank you SO much for this. I just had my baby 3 weeks ago, and this is exactly what I'm going through. I'm crying right now.


Your comments are what makes this thing fun! I LOVE to hear from you and do my best to respond to everyone! THANK YOU!

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