“There’s no way to be a perfect mother and a million ways to be a good one.” —Jill Churchill
I share this personal piece of writing in hopes that it speaks to others who are
having a hard time having a new baby at home. In hopes that it reminds a new mom
out there that this time of sleep deprivation and hard feelings change and shift. Having a new baby is hard but it does get easier.
This is what I wrote when my son was a few months old. I was overwhelmed, confused, and angry. I reached out to friends with children asking them, “when does it get easier?”
This is what I wrote one exhausted night…
“Here I am again…rocking my baby to sleep. My back aches, my eyes can barely stay open and all
I want to do is sleep. Why did no one prepare me for this? Perhaps they told me
and I didn’t listen?
This is one of the hardest jobs I have ever done. Ever.
Sleep. I don’t quite remember what it feels like to have a full nights rest and
not jump out of bed to tend to my baby. Even when I sleep, I have dreams and I worry about him. Is he breathing, is he well fed, is his diaper wet?
I try not to fight it. I try to remind myself of what people have said-it’s so
fleeting-it changes so fast-it will be over soon. I am holding into that with all I have. ”
That was me. That was then. My son was a newborn, a young defenseless and needing baby. I was desperate, I was struggling, I was overwhelmed and felt alone. I felt the hugeness of keeping him alive. At that time, every meal depended on me.
I took notes, I tracked every feeding, every wet and soiled diaper, every sleep or nap cycle. I did everything I could to be a ‘good enough’ mother and I still felt overwhelmed.
Here I am now. My son is almost 2 years old. So much has changed. I have found myself again. I am different than I used to be, but I feel my ground under me more times than not these days.
What you will realize new mom, is that the days are long and the years are short. Time will go by and your little bundle will be running around the house. The color will come back to your face and you will be able to have a normal conversation and a full nights rest. You won’t burst out into tears so often and some sense of stability and normalcy will return.
You will get to understand what your little one needs better than anyone else. You will give yourself permission to get it wrong and remember that as your baby is learning, so are you. You will start to see a routine emerge.
The feelings of aloneness will fade as you meet other new moms struggling and celebrating in the same ways as you. You will laugh more. You will begin to feel like you can do this.
I won’t lie to you, mothering a toddler is hard. Yet being a first time mother to a newborn is life changing.
May you look back on these times of struggle and see how far you have come.