Full disclosure: this may very well turn into a mommy blog. Sorry, not sorry.
It’s been 4 months. 4 loooooong months since my beautiful baby was born. My life changed forever on January 12th — for the better, of course. We all know change is hard, but “baby change” is even HARDER. You hear it from the moment you get pregnant, “Life is about to change,” but they don’t tell you in what way or just what that means. So when your precious little one arrives, you are left floundering around like a fish out of water, gasping for air and trying to keep this little thing alive in the meantime.
You see, I was an independent person who lived a relatively carefree life, doing pretty much whatever I wanted. I had a flexible job where I worked from home and made my own schedule, I had a great social life, I slept in on the weekends (and weekdays, tbh), I worked out, I loved the spontenainty of my life. If I wanted to go, I went. If I didnt want to go, I didn't. If I wanted to do something, I did. If I didn’t want to, I didn’t. You get the point.
Then Kora arrived.
She came in like a wrecking ball, smashing to pieces my carefully curated life, my comfortable independence and to be honest, my pretty predictable existance. And newsflash: there is nothing curated, comfortable, or predictable about a baby. Now, she has had alot of allergy issues, is what some would call a “spirited child,” in addition to a host of other challenging variables, but this post isn’t about her as much as it’s about me.
I’m writing this as life raft ring for those mamas who are in the thick of it. Actually, I am writing this to the naive, 41 week-pregnant-me. The unsuspecting new parent that is about to get smacked in the face with a wrecking ball. A wrecking ball that’s alive. And needy, super needy.
If I could go back and tell me some things, this is what they would be:
- Release your expectations. You have romantized the idea of having a baby and everything you “think” should take place during the first three months of her life are going to look way different than you are expecting them to. So, just release it.
- The 4th trimester is a real thing. The first three months are waaaaay harder than the whole pregnacy and labor combined. You will say multiple times that you’d take 10 months of slowly expanding into a hot air balloon and pushing an almost 9 pound ball out of your lady parts over having a newborn. You will look at your nonstop crying baby and actually say out loud, “I really don’t like you right now.” Don’t feel bad about it, it’s legit hard.
- GET OFF THE INTERNET. And the facebook groups. Don’t join any forums, blogs, or mommy internet cliques. They mean well, but you will be left more confused than when you started with your original question. It’s worse than webMD when you have a cold. Trust me.
- Breastfeeding is HARD. There is nothing natural or easy about having a tiny human siphoning life from your boobs. It hurts and it will give you alot of anxiety about whether or not the baby is getting enough food. You won’t feel the overwhelming bond and googling heart eyes that some moms claim. In fact, you will start dreading when she wakes up because that means it’s leech-time.
- Everyone is an expert in child rearing. You have never received so much unsolicitied advice about the right way to do anything else in your life. From feeding (breast vs. formula), to sleeping (cry it out vs. co sleeping) to vaccines (absolutely vs. why would you willingly give your child autism?). Seriously, brace yourself for all of the the child rearing phDs you never knew you knew.
- Trust someone. With all of the overwhelming opinions and information, have someone you trust that you can go to with questions or concerns. The pediatrician is likely your best source. This is her job, she’s actually a doctor and sees babies all day long. She has a much better chance at knowing what she’s talking about vs. the person who happened to have a kid sometime in the past.
- Stop with the Mommy Guilt. You will feel guilty for having to formula feed your baby. Stop that, now. It does you no good and actually it’s selfish. Fed is best. Sleeping is best. Alive is best. All of the other “best ways” are bs. Do what you need for YOUR baby and forget the guilt.
- Accept help. As a self proclaimed independent person, accepting help is hard. You think you’ll be back to running errands and driving all over town the week after having a baby. Wrong. You will be a mess. Accept more help earlier on and give your precious husband a break. He is the best husband a new mom could want, but there is no reason for him to bear all that burden alone. Humble yourself and accept help.
- It gets better. When you are crying next to her bassinet because she refuses to sleep, when your hair hasn’t been washed in weeks, when your breath smells so bad that you can actually smell it yourself, when you can barely keep your eyes open, when you feel crazy because your hormones are all over the place and your hot air balloon body starts to deflate and just kinda hang there, know this: it all gets better. Time is your best friend and 4 months down the road, you will look at your tiny creation and think, “Wow, she’s pretty cool and I’m so much more of a warrior than I ever gave myself credit for before becoming a mom.”
Mommin aint easy friends, but I’m here to tell you that there’s no greater crash course in personal development than taking care of a newborn. I’ve learned more about myself in these last few months than any self help book could have ever offered.
You step into a well crafted and roaring fire but you learn to walk on the scalding coals and somehow begin to enjoy it.
Maybe we moms all go a little crazy in the process, but man it’s so worth it.