Thursday, August 6, 2015
Dear New Mom
Dear new mom,
I see you on Facebook and Instagram with your sweet pictures of your brand new baby. Maybe your captions are happy and smiley, maybe they hint at a hint of "blueness". Either way, welcome to the club. You're part of a group of women who know without asking or knowing. We know it's hard, we know you're trying so hard, and we know how you really are feeling. Especially those of us who are right in the throes of newborn-hood with you. I'm constantly surprised at the number of women that ask all the seemingly well-meant questions (how are you feeling, is she sleeping, what do you need, etc.) because they should know the answers. They should know you won't answer honestly 90% of the time. But I see you.
You might be one week into it, or four, or ten, and still feel like a shell of your former self. You might feel like a stranger to your own body, and wondering when your squishy belly and the extra fat in your cheeks will go away. It will go away. One day you will wake up and look in the mirror and smile because even though you don't look the way you used to, and you might have awhile to go until you have the body you want, you feel like you again. A softer, squishier, lived-in version of you that is just as beautiful as all of your most beautiful versions. High school you, college you, wedding dress you, honeymoon bathing suit you, and pre-mom you have nothing on the new version of yourself that is covered in drool, poop, spit-up, sweat, and tears. (Pick from that list which belongs to you and which is from baby.) And I know you know why the new you is best. You've seen the encouraging posts on social media about tiger stripes and growing a human inside of you. You're beautiful because you did the greatest, most beautiful thing a woman can do. You carried a baby and gave birth to it. You might have a scar to show for it, and that's beautiful too (even though it might not look quite so great right now).
One day your baby will sleep all night. Your baby will want to be held by someone other than you. Your baby will stop pooping in diapers. Your baby will be able to do things on their own.
As a mom of a three year old and a two month old, I'm here to say that things do change for the better. Every stage is a good stage because it's a chance to see your baby doing new things and getting smarter, stronger, and bigger. Yesterday my baby asked me to stand outside of the bathroom stall while he did his business. So while you might be wishing today that your baby would stop with the explosive poop thing, before you know it they will be closing the bathroom door in your face.
There are so many honest things I wish I could have heard before I had my first baby. Things in-person relationships didn't tell me, but things I learned later on from some amazing online communities of mothers. And now I want to be that for someone else too.
So dear new mom, I'm telling you that I hear you, I see you, and I know the things you are really feeling and needing. And I know it's hard to ask for and tell people those things. But it gets better, and you are doing an amazing job no matter how your day is going. Your baby loves you, and you should love you too.
Another "new" mom.