an open letter to new moms.

I have a lot of new moms in my life. 

I find myself having a lot of the same conversations with them all.  I remember those first days as a new mom.  SO scary and overwhelming and exhausting.  And I remember thinking that no one ever gave me a real picture of what those first days and weeks would look like. 

Doug and I were the first among many of our friends to have a baby and the ones that had kids generally gave me the "just look at the tiny face and the world will be ok" kind of speech.  Nice to say, difficult to apply to an exhausted, overwhelmed mom.   

But nothing real or tangible that would help me rationalize or not to feel alone with the slew of new emotions and thoughts and feelings that go into being a mom for the very first time. Why does no one ever want to talk about the hard stuff that we all face?

So here is an open, honest letter to all new moms out there addressing some of the things that no one ever tells you.  From a mom who had a pretty run of the mill birth and normal little babies. 

Dear new mom,

The first thing you should know is that you are normal.  Everything you are feeling is normal.  Millions of women have been in your shoes and for some reason just don't ever talk about it. 

It is OK to feel happy, elated, sad, weepy, angry, frustrated, exhausted, energetic and all that in a span of 10 minutes. 

It is OK to question your choice to have a baby in the first place.  Every mom has those moments.  The whole "what have I gotten myself into"? feeling is normal.  It's a HUGE change.  YOU CAN DO THIS. 

It is OK to have moments where you don't like that baby.  It's true, hard to write and read but so very true.  You are learning to take care of, and anticipate all the needs, wants and desires of a whole other person.  On top of your own.  It's only natural that you have moments of annoyance or anger towards the person who is demanding so much of you.  That does not mean you love them less, it just means you are a human learning to do a HUGE task.  It is OK to put that baby in the crib, crying or not and walk away until that anger passes.  It will get better.  It is OK TO TALK ABOUT THIS TO SOMEONE!!!!!

A crying baby will be fine. No baby is allergic to crying. 

Please say OUTLOUD the ways that your husband can help you.  Do not assume that he will magically read your mind.  I bet he really WANTS to help you but he feels as lost as you.  A simple kind suggestion to what you need or want done can go a long way to making everyone a little bit happier.  Talk about how hard it is to be a parent!

You will feel like a crazy person.  You have insane amounts of hormones literally raging through your body.  You will literally, simultaneously say something that sounds like a deranged woman is talking WHILE hearing your inner voice yell "WHAT ARE YOU SAYING YOU CRAZY WOMAN?".  Take a deep breath, say "I'm sorry" and move on.  Don't beat yourself up over it.  It will get better. 

You will leak milk at the least appropriate times.  You will probably expose yourself to a stranger at least once.  Don't worry, you WILL get the hang of it.  When it's all said and done you may end up with less cleavage than you started with.  Sorry, it can be true. 

If you are going to breastfeed please try for at least a month.  I hear SO many people say "I tried for two weeks and quit" gets SO MUCH EASIER after two weeks.  It really, really does.  Your body needs at least that long to adjust to this strange new thing that you are doing.  

Your hair will fall out.  Not all of it but a lot of it.  All the hair that you didn't shed while pregnant.  Pony tails help.

Your bladder will never be the same.  Go when you need to, don't wait. 

Mylicon is a lifesaver.  There are a million uses for plain cloth diapers that don't involve using them as diapers.  When trying to decide what you NEED for a baby think about life on the prairie and how little they needed and had then.  A bed, some clothes, some bottles/boobs and diapers are all a baby needs.  Don't give into pressure to buy it all.  

Attending to things other than baby does not equal neglect (like taking a shower or eating or washing a dish).  It is also OK to skip all those for a nap.  Take a nap when you can.  Sleep changes everything.  EVERYTHING.  If you nurse in bed, do it knowing that you will probably fall asleep...adjust baby accordingly.

Your baby will probably fall off the bed.  At least once.  You may also drive without having them buckled in the bucket carseat (unintentionally), baby talk to your husband and your once amazing memory will start its exit routine. 

You will regularly have in depth conversations about poop.  When, where, how much, texture, color...all of it.  And it won't feel weird until you do it in front of non-kid having people.   

You will be pooped on, puked on, spit-up on and drooled on.  Oxiclean will take care of most of it.

Don't ever thank God that the baby is finally asleep. 
Somehow that is code for "please make him cry right now!". 

Middle of the night bargaining never works. 

Never say anything that starts with "My kid will never...". 

Most of all, I want you to know that you can do this.  God chose YOU to be the mother of HIS sweet precious baby.  You were handpicked by the creator of the universe to have your own little disciple to minister to.  Admit when you have made a mistake, ask for forgiveness from God and that baby and keep trucking on.  You are stronger than you know and before you know it these days will be in the distant past. 

Find someone to talk to, email me if you have to. 


Love, Been there and done that. 

What do you think moms?  Did I leave anything out that you wish you knew when you were first a mom?


Jessi said...

I think you did pretty good. Loved it!

RebeccaBrophy said...

I just started reading your blog a few weeks ago but I am really enjoying th crafts and recipes. I'm a mother of two young boys and this post is great, great advice. :)

Katie said...

You said everything (and more) that I'd love to have known before having my daughter. For me, because we spent so much time and effort simply trying to conceive, I felt extra horrible anytime I was frustrated when she was a newborn/infant. I felt like I, more than anyone, should be nothing but thankful all the time and the guilt was enormous. But what you've said is totally true. It's a hard, hard job - whether you spent years trying to get it or not. So I'd just add that mothers who struggled with infertility shouldn't try to hold themselves to a higher standard. Being a new parent is hard for everyone!

Jo-Anna@APrettyLife said...

I think this post is wonderful. I related to all of it, including my baby falling off the bed, lol! It's such an amazing time, but so hard! I remember wondering if I would ever feel normal again. Yes. You will feel normal again!
Great post!

Jacomijn said...

So very true !!!

May I add to this on the subject of the bladder not being what it used to be: is also very true, but you can improve your bladder thingy by doing excersises for your belly. Just the simple ones. You'll notice that, when you do these, automatically the muscles in the region of your bladder are working too and that improves the whole thing a bit. At least that's the advice I got and it worked for me !! :o)!!!

Good of you to post this !!

Kristen @ Hope Abound said...

Right ON!

gabbyfek said...

oh c!!!!
you are amazing.
this is perfect.

Dawnmarie's Life said...

Thank you. We're starting the adoption process and I'm so glad I read this now. Also, Katie - THANK YOU BIG TIME!!! I know I'm going to feel exactly like you said. I'm already scared to even move forward. Thanks for making it seem more normal again.

April@MySacredSojourn said...

Yes!! Great post! Such important info for new Mommies. I had PPD because of hormones, but also because I was so overwhelmed. I was constantly taking my little gal to the doctor because I was afraid I was doing permanent damage to her, regardless of what I was doing! He was fantastic and reassuring, but having a friend sit me down and explain stuff like this would have been so much better...and cheaper! ;)

gina said...

Well said Crystal! When I had my first child I cried alot! I also thought "what have I gotten myself into!!!" I had to put him down in his crib while he cried... I then went outside and cried myself. Being a mom is hard!!! No one ever told me that....

I will say when #2 came along it was sooo much easier!!!!

Emilie said...

So true! I'd add: Just because another mother is doing a certain thing, doesn't mean it's right for you or your baby. Follow your gut, and do what is right for YOUR family.

Unknown said...

Perfect! All I would add is "If you want to breastfeed, be committed to it, it will be HARD but when you "Get it" it will be worth it...BUT, if you choose not to, that is okay too!" It is your business and nobody has a vote!

jrandchels said...

This is so perfect! I am sitting here laughing and tearing up... my first baby is 3 months old now and i totally agree with all of this! Thanks for your honest note!

Delightfully Sleep Deprived said...

LOVE your blog! And this post was spot on. Thanks for making me feel sane :)

carey said...

LOVE this post! Especially the parts about only buying necessities--which there are WAY less of that one might think, and baby falling off the bed. It's true. It happens. Thank goodness my bed was fairly low to the ground!

Melissa said...

Falling off the bed - check.

I used to think the "prairie mom" thought all of the time! Funny.

Amy said...

What an amazing letter!!! I have my second and still need to be reminded of some of these things. Thanks for putting it bluntly. I always want to be the one that tells this stuff to pregnant people, but I've decided they aren't ready to hear it until they have a 2-week old! :)

Keri Fabin said...

I'm not a mommy yet, but your words seem like wise ones. Thanks for sharing. :)

Jennifer said...

What a wonderfully fabulous post - I wish I had read that letter when I was a new Mom. I AGREE WITH EVERY WORD!!! I DID nurse in bed, which resulted in all 3 of my babies falling out at least once - but I didn't mean for them to! Yep, I still feel terribly guilty even admitting that "out loud"... I hope someone with a new baby reads it and realizes we are all (or have been) in that same boat! Thank you!

Kelley said...

I just found your blog and that was perfect! I actually laughed out loud while reading it and thinking back to those days. I don't know if I missed it, but the only thing I would add is to right down all the will not remember them!

April said...

I am bookmarking this one for when I have my baby in March!

Billie said...

Loved every bit of it!

Denise said...

Great post! I'm going to share this with my oldest daughter who is expecting her first baby in the spring. :-)

Lisa said...

Nobody told me this. Every new mother needs this letter. Good job.

Anonymous said...

OMG...nailed it on the head! I'm a mama of two so I totally "get" this. Such a great idea to share with newbies!

Chelsea said...

Haha I am laughing out loud at how true this all is! We are expecting #4 in the spring and I have to say- I'm not pining away a single day of pregnancy. I know what awaits me! :) But it does get better with time and you learn not to let the little stuff matter. Expectations get lowered, and your house get messier. But adding a precious child to your home is the BEST thing ever!

Andrea Dekker said...

I just had a baby 2 weeks ago and was feeling ALL these things. I was actually just thinking tonight "did I really want a baby?"
I'm just SOOOO overwhelmed with everything and your post was just what I needed tonight!

Catherine Peart said...

This is totally true. I would add 'don't worry if you don't get the chance to shower until 2, 3 or 4pm (or after hubby gets home)'. Babies are a LOT of work in the early weeks.

Michelle Longo said...

My kid almost fell off the bed when he was only a few months old. He was starting to roll and in a somewhat automated move to tried to catch him, I rammed my thigh right into his little body and basically squished him into the side of the bed. I never told anyone about either of those things.

I also drove away without him buckled once. And he said, "Uh, Mommy, you forgot something." Because he was 4. 4! How did I forget to buckle him after I'd been doing it for 4 years?? Because I'm human.

Great post!!!

Unknown said...

I would just like to say this is brilliant. And after having our 3 month old there are days I forget to strap her in her carseat and there are days where I forget to strap our 3 year old in as well. It happens. It is unintentional. We all have our moments. It is not an easy task to be a parent but God gave us our children for a reason, to love them and cherish them and make memories with them, good and some bad. Being a parent is one of the most challenging, greatest experiences of our life.

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