Dear Brand New Mom,
Being a mother is the most wonderful, magical, powerful things there is. There’s no doubt about it. People will tell you this, and you may not believe them. You may feel that it is painful, tiring, frustrating, overwhelming, and disappointing. You may feel part of the joy; you may feel all of it. You may feel happy or mad; or peaceful or angry. You may feel all that in the first weeks – or even within the same 5 minutes. The point is that emotions run WILD when your baby comes…right now your job is to just feel all of them, and to not try to control them. It’s OK to feel anything you feel.
I remember thinking, “wow, he just made a ‘coo’ sound for the first time, that’s amazing”. I remember he held a rattle and shook it for the first time, “wow, that’s awesome!” I remember snuggling with the little bundle that WE brought into this world and not being able to picture my life without it. I remember feeling like my second son was going to turn into a girl magically at some point after he was born (because in my head that’s what I thought he was going to be). I remember needing to put my crying son down and walk away because I was getting angry; he wouldn’t nurse right, he was up all night every night, and I needed a moment to myself – just ONE. I remember being so tired I just cried. I remember putting on a happy, proud face when strangers would look at my child; when really I just wanted to hand him over to them for a while and go somewhere else.
Other mothers will not judge you for any of it. They can’t. They’ve all been there. If they tell you they never felt sad or disappointed or angry they are lying – either to you or themselves. There’s just no way around it. You’ve been through an incredible journey to get your child here and now have a new whole person to take care of. YOU. JUST YOU. Yes, you have help. But ultimately, it’s you. And that can be overwhelming. (Even for the best of us.)
People tend not to talk about it – the “dark side” of being a mom. Because moms are supposed to be happy and proud and joyful all the time – just look at that amazing baby! Please know that by talking about negative feelings you may have at some point, you are not negating any of those wonderful things. Find someone who can relate to the REAL motherhood (and not the facebooky “I’m a great mom and so are you, let’s compare perfect moment photos”), and confide in them. (And, you’d never dream it could happen, but if you’re ever at a point where the long dark road is all you see, be sure someone knows.) Your PEPS group will be good for this. 🙂
So, ask for help. Tell people to stay away. Do what you need to do for YOU. Be honest with yourself and those around you to get what you need. (And don’t feel guilty if what you need is to not be around your baby for 10 minutes.). Enjoy the precious, sweet moments. Let go of any pre-conceived notions you had about what motherhood was going to be like, and get ready to just live it. You will be an AMAZING mother!
A Mom Who’s Been There
About the Author
Jen Winckler is a Newborn PEPS leader in Snohomish County. She is a stay at home mom (aka. Volunteeraholic) to two boys, ages 9 and 7, and is still trying to navigate the constant curve balls that parenting dishes out. She used to dread the minivan driving soccer mom title, but has come to love watching her boys play their hearts out (and did sell the minivan as soon as they could open their own doors without banging the car in the next stall).