Recently, I had the pleasure of photographing a beautiful baby boy. He’s just 15 days new. While I was chatting with his Mom, she mentioned that there’s just so much about having a new baby that no one talks about. I couldn’t agree more. There are so many things that just aren’t discussed, be it for fear of being judged or maybe just because it feels too raw. My babies are growing every day and they will be the first ones to tell you that they aren’t babies any more, but I still remember the early days.
We talk about the good. We talk about the wonder and the excitement. We talk about feeling so lucky. BUT what if you don’t always feel that way?
So today, I’m going to talk about some of the things we really need to be talking about… for the sake of new moms everywhere.
Sleep Deprivation. It’s well known that sleep is so important for your ability to function in an every day capacity and that sleep deprivation is often used as a very effective torture tool. Yet… we somehow expect new moms to remember all the things that they did before they had a baby and still function at an extremely high capacity… on little to no sleep. No one talks about how you’ll be reduced to writing down lists upon lists of things that you have to do, because you can’t remember anything for more than 30 seconds. No one talks about the depth of sleep deprivation you will suffer and how hard it makes the first few weeks or months.
No one talks about the moments where you just want your baby to stop crying. The moments where you feel like the worst mom in the world, because no matter what you do, they JUST. DON’T. STOP.
No one tells you that you’ll be pooped on, peed on, spit up on, more times than you can count.
No one talks about the moments of intense sadness and isolation. The ones where you want to curl up and die, because you feel that this will be better for your baby.
No one talks about how hard it seems to just get through one day.
No one talks about how you’ll sometimes stop and look around your house, take stock of your life and wonder if you made the right decision to have a baby.
No one talks about your body image. How you just don’t feel like yourself any more. That some days you feel like nothing more than a milk machine. How you can’t look at yourself without feeling sad for the changes.
No one talks about the constant advice you will be given. There’s advice from experts, from friends, from parents, from in-laws. It’s constant. It is often well meaning but it sometimes makes you feel like you haven’t a clue what you’re doing. It adds to the confusion of those early days, because you simply don’t know what to do with all of it, especially if it ends up not working for you!
No one tells you that this wonderful gift you’ve been given may not be always feel so wonderful.
There were moments for me, especially after I had Tehya that I just felt so overwhelmed and so lonely. I was surrounded by people and everyone was so wonderful and helpful, yet I just felt so lonely. It was all I could do to drag myself out of bed each day and function. I was reduced from someone who had always had an incredible memory, to someone who needed to write down EVERY. SINGLE. LITTLE. THING. I needed to do on a list. I was so tired, that I felt like I couldn’t make any decisions on my own. I’d always considered myself to be strong, confident and independent… but all of a sudden I felt like I couldn’t do anything right.
It does get better. It does get easier. Sometimes, if the blues are really bad, you need more help than just the love and support of your family.
There are moments of pure bliss when you’re raising a child. There are always moments of doubt. Moments of frustration. Moments where you question every single move you make. BUT there are absolutely moments of pure bliss. And one day, you’ll blink and realize that they are no longer babies. They are growing up, learning how to read, making decisions on their own. They are happy, independent little people.
In this moment, you’ll realize that everything you went through to get them to this point will have been worth it. The first time they tell you that they love you, it’ll make your heart melt. There will always be moments where you doubt yourself, but if you follow this one simple idea, it’ll make your life easier.
You CANNOT spoil your baby with love.
If you can remember this, it will help you through. When they are little, respond to their needs. Do what you need to do to get through the day. Love your baby. Let the advice that doesn’t serve you roll off your back. You are a good mom. You can do this. It will get easier. I promise.