Dear New Mom,
First of all, congratulations! You survived the pregnancy in all its glory and ickiness. You survived the birth; scarred perhaps, physically or emotionally, and stronger because of it. You now hold your precious baby in your arms. The euphoria still lingers, the heavenly scent of their newborn head somehow makes the whole ordeal seem worthwhile. Breathe it in. Because soon reality will hit.
I want you to know that there will be tears. Yours as well as your baby’s. It’s ok. You will be tired. So. Very. Tired. You will likely have moments of self-doubt. Are you really cut out for this? Moments of regret. Maybe this baby wasn’t such a good idea. Moments of resenting your baby for stealing your life, sucking your energy, distancing your childless friends, changing your body irrevocably, and robbing you of [insert your favorite things here] and sleep. Precious sleep.
Then again, I’m overly dramatic and maybe you won’t. Maybe, when you hold your baby for the first time you will henceforth wear a permanent “yay! I’m a Mom!” smile on your face until the day they leave home for college.
But I doubt it.
I want you to know you will make mistakes. Mystery crying will fluster you into giving colic remedy when you should’ve given teething gel, or infant Tylenol when really their pajamas were just making them too hot. You may think you have naps all figured out one week, only to find out how wrong you are the following. It’s ok. This is normal.
For a while you might not recognize yourself in the reflection of shop windows as you walk the streets with your baby. Who is that? You’ve traded in your cute little purses for diaper bags, trendy haircuts for headbands and ponytails, push ups for nursing bras, and late nights for early mornings. In time you will get to know the new you. Don’t worry, the old you is still in there, although it may feel like that you, that life, is over and gone and the scope of what you’ve lost compared to what you’ve gained may make you immensely sad and want to run away. It’s ok. This too is normal.
You will ponder how it is possible for such a tiny mouth to rule your life. Wonder how you will survive months of not sleeping longer than 3 hours in a row. Think of all the Moms in the world, how we’ve all been there. And somehow we make it through.
You will marvel at the fact that everyone starts out life so tiny and dependent, and you will finally fully realize what your Mother went through. You will call to thank her. And apologize.
You will come to do things that you never imagined you’d do. Sniffing butts, powdering scrotums, sucking snot (thank Goodness for noseFrida!), and one day when you’re really lucky, catching vomit with your cupped hands. Again, all normal.
You will be pushed to your limits only to find that you still have more to give. And just when you think you might crack, your heart will break open at their first real smile or giggle or the gentle way they reach their little hand to your face. And as you laugh and beam and cry all at the same time, you finally feel it. That “Mother” feeling. It might feel foreign and scary at first, or it might feel completely natural. Either way, it’s ok. This is normal. All the craziness, the mistakes, the happy highs and the desperate lows- ALL of the emotional roller coaster that is parenthood, is normal. Just hang on and enjoy the ride.
So to all you nervous and giddy new Moms out there, happy 1st Mother’s Day!