Dear new mom,
I have some advice. Let me start by saying you are not:
Bad at this.
Going to die.
You may have had a traumatic delivery, a stay in the NICU, breastfeeding is a disaster, your hormones are so crazy you can’t quit crying and your tear was so bad you can’t walk. This isn’t exactly how you pictured it.
Or your baby may be full term, no health issues, beautiful, and surrounded by a welcoming committee the size of a college sorority. You may be so prepared that your hospital bag was packed 3 months early and you have your personal photographer lined up for the hospital. That’s a pretty damn good start.
OR you have twins… I mean, for the love… you’re superwoman.
However you brought this miracle into the world… congratulations. You did it! You’re a mom now.
It’s no secret some babies are harder than others. You might read this and think “she is one bitter bitch” because this literally might be the best time in your life. The 8 pound snuggle bug next to you might make you so happy you could cry. Or that 8 pound baby may make you too exhausted to cry or you cry from exhaustion. Or both. Or anything, really. Because… #hormones.
Whichever way it is going for you… today, new mom, please take my advice when I say: DO NOT COMPARE YOURSELF TO HER.
You know what I’m talking about. You probably already did this today. You see the
friend person you’ve never met on social media who had a baby the same week as you and you think HOW THE HELL?
HOW THE HELL DOES SHE LOOK SO RESTED / HAPPY / WELL ADJUSTED…?
But please, I beg of you, no matter what DO NOT COMPARE YOURSELF TO HER because…
You don’t know.
You don’t know that despite her posting about her sweet baby who is already an A+ sleeper that she is suffering from post partum anxiety and hasn’t slept for days because she’s so worried something bad is going to happen if she shuts her eyes.
You don’t know that despite her posting about all the amazing support from loved ones dropping off frozen meals and cute outfits that she is a hormonal mess and wants everyone to get the F out of her house and quit holding her baby so she can be with her baby in peace.
You don’t know that despite her posting the adorable picture of her baby sleeping soundly in her arms that she had spent the last 2 hours sobbing, trying desperately to get her screaming baby to sleep asking herself “WHY DID I DO THIS?”
You don’t know that despite her posting about how her baby is already off the charts in height and weight and these milestones are already being met that she is in agonizing pain from breastfeeding every second her baby latches and she doesn’t know if it will ever get better.
You don’t know that despite her posting about her new little family out to dinner… effortlessly that it took 2.5 hours to leave the house, 1 arguement with the husband, 3 spit up disasters, 1 extra bath due to an explosion, and several stressful tears.
I know a little about this because as much as I try to keep it real, I’m guilty of the same thing. On both ends. Here’s some examples.
You don’t know that despite me looking peaceful and cherishing the first time I held my baby that I actually didn’t want to be rolled down to see my baby at all. When the nurse asked if I wanted to see my baby I wanted to say no because my husband wasn’t there yet. And that I was holding back tears as my lip quivered while someone took this photo because I was so overwhelemed. #LookBeyondThePhoto
You don’t know that despite me looking like I was on an high from my first post partum run with my 6 week old that I actually spent the entire run panicking because he started crying hysterically halfway through and I was 10 minutes from home. Most stressful run ever. #LookBeyondThePhoto
You don’t know that despite appearing like we have our shit together after traveling 8 hours with a 3 month old to Nashville for a wedding where we’d have a stranger watch our baby in the hotel that we actually didn’t sleep more than 30 minute increments the night before because our sweet baby had come down with Hand, Foot, Mouth Disease and was throwing up with a fever the entire time. We drove the 8 hours back the next time and all of us cried at one point from the baby screaming in pain in the backseat. #LookBeyondThePhoto
You don’t know that despite a desperate attempt to get out of the house week 2 of momhood and go run an errand that when we got to the store I started crying because I was exhausted and overwhelemed. That my mom was staying the week with me because my husband was on 30 hour shifts at the hospital. And that this picture reminds me of how hard I tried to normalize my life when I really just wanted to crawl in a hole and cry. #LookBeyondThePhoto
You don’t know that despite this family looking polished and together at 3 weeks post partum for Brad’s residency graduation that we actually were 20 minutes late, we panicked as we drove there because the baby was crying and we were clueless about what to do, and that I missed him walking across the stage because I was breastfeeding in the bathroom. #LookBeyondThePhoto
You don’t know.
Be thankful for the
hours weeks minutes that go great. Do not focus on how Suzy Sunshine’s baby started smiling before yours. Or she’s getting more sleep than you. Or whatever it is. Because you don’t know. We all have shitty days. Good days. Okay days. And we all survive to be better than ever. Happier than before. And frankly, we all take a turn with a rough patch. I promise you that.
So be thankful for the days that make you stronger. And the days that allow you come back up for air.
Mark my words: There will be a day when your husband says something to you and it doesn’t make you want to punch him in the face. Because that’s the exhaustion talking. I swear.
And I know you’re going to hate what I’m about to say but the truth is…
IT GETS EASIER.
It does. Coming from someone who had a hard baby where I felt like everyone passed us by on milestones and in particular, decent sleep… I promise. It gets easier. For now, be easy on yourself. Take deep breaths. This will pass. Fake it until you make it. And just like every other mom out there… you’ll get amnesia and forget how hard those hard days are.
You got this, new mom.