I would like to take a minute to hold all the new moms out there. Let’s just fall into each other’s arms and cry for a hot minute. Or five. Or maybe a whole hour.
It’s so hard, mama.
You either already have or very soon will cross the threshold into Mommyville. I wish someone had told me before I joined the ranks of the many, the broken and the barely-holding-it-together.
Don’t let this freak you out – truly, being a mother is the greatest thing I could have ever hoped to become, and it fills me with a joy that is unmatched.
I wish someone had wrapped me into a mama bear hug and told me these few things.
Consider this your bear hug.
- The love comes: For me, it was instantly. All I had to see were her tiny fingernails and it was all over. I was addicted to a 7 pound 13 ounce miracle. For some of my friends, it wasn’t so instantaneous. We have glamorized birth and welcoming newborns into our hearts and homes. It’s a hard transition. And if you struggle with it, well I’m super glad you take it seriously. The bonding comes. And it comes for each mother and babe differently. So push away all of the opinions and “You should try ____________,” and trust your intuition. YOU carried that babe for months. YOU are his or her mother. YOU are just what that infant needs. YOU ARE ENOUGH.
- The “happiest time of your life” can really suck: I always found it ironic that I needed to be on anti-depressants during what so many told me was the “happiest time of my life.” That label is a lot of pressure. I’m here to tell you that it’s one of the hardest times of your life. And guess what? That is OK! Acknowledge that it’s hard and keep moving forward in whatever capacity you can.
- Instagram is such a liar: If you see one of your mom friends looking like she has all of her crap together, she probably doesn’t. Some of my most liked pictures on my babe and me are when I hadn’t showered in several days or when I put on real clothes just to take the Instagram. Don’t buy into it.
- It’s OK to feel broken: This was a hard one for me. I felt emotionally shattered (and guilty because of it) after having a baby. So much so that I started seeing a therapist. And he taught me something so important. Emotions are normal. Even the negative ones. And it is really, really OK to have them. For so long, I apologized for my emotions, especially if they were inconvenient to someone else. Well, welcome to postpartum where everything is inconvenient. It took a lot of heart to hearts with my husband to understand that it was OK that I was sad so often and that it was OK that he was sad with me. In the end, it made us stronger and more in love.
- Moms are the worst: Nothing will make you feel worse about yourself than joining a Mom Community Facebook group. But only if you let it. I have joined (and left) more than one Mom group on Facebook because it was simply a breeding ground for mom-shaming. Well guess what. I work outside the home. I started feeding my daughter formula after she was 5 months old because my supply ran out. I don’t pick her up immediately every time she cries. I let her play by herself sometimes while I get the dishes done or clean my house. I know you’re probably ready to call CPS on me. But don’t bother, I’m sure someone from my mom group already has. Take the unsolicited criticism and advice with a grain of salt. I try to apply some great advice I once heard about marriage to Mommyville: People are just trying to do what they think is right. As long as I can say the same about myself, I keep trusting my own gut and doing my best to raise my sweet baby girl right.
With all of this being said, I would be a liar if I didn’t end with this final truth. Being a mother is the most beautiful experience I’ve ever had. My little girl is the light of my husband’s and my life. She is precious and perfect. Though my first six months postpartum were from a chapter out of a post apocalyptic novel, watching Bell grow and thrive was worth every tear, every moment of desperation, every quiet plea for help.
So hang in there mamas. You are amazing. Cry when you need to. Laugh when you want to and just keep doing your best. It is always enough.