Dear New and Exhausted Mom,
Hi there. I’ve been a new mom, twice. And while my babies are amazing, being a new mom is definitely NOT what I thought it would be.
There are some things that I REALLY wish that I’d known going in.
The fact is, no one is completely prepared for the challenges of motherhood, and as much as I wanted to think that I’d just ‘be’ the perfect mom, I wasn’t, and I’m not. So I’m going to do for you what I wish someone had done for me:
HONESTLY share my experience. Motherhood is messy, y’all. It’s not all rainbows and butterflies. And the people who tell you they lose weight by just breastfeeding are lying through their teeth.
No one tells you that breastfeeding hurts. At least in the first few weeks. And when I say it “hurts”? I mean it feels like you’re massaging your nipples with pavement. On purpose. Get some lanolin and slather yourself.
It does get better, I promise. And breastfeeding is awesome for both you and baby.
Don’t get rid of that tube yet, because after baby gets his teeth, he may bite (Thanks, kids!), which also isn’t pleasant.
If you can’t breastfeed? That’s okay. Really. It’s far more important that you feed your baby than you worry about how that’s happening if you really can’t handle breastfeeding. No judgement here, mamas.
Did you know there’s a learning curve on diapers? Cloth, disposables…it doesn’t seem to matter. Smalls diapers leaked in the hospital, and they leaked when we got home. We cloth diapered Smalls until he potty trained, and I loved it. With The Baby, we’ve made a conscious choice to use ‘sposies. I did have an entire stash of Sbish fitteds…and I sold them.
It’s about what works for you and your family. We had a lot going on when baby #2 arrived. Diapers were just one more stressor that I didn’t need.
Also, I think that so-called ‘newborn’ sized diapers and clothes should be labeled ‘unnecessary money pit’.
I know that there are babies out there who wear their newborn clothes for months, but neither of my children ever fit them well. I honestly think that Smalls wore his newborn stuff for about two weeks (if that). Most of it just stayed in the closet.
And dressy clothes or shoes? FORGET IT. I spent too much time worrying about changing them, (and then myself if it was an exceptionally large blow out) to worry about dressing them up.
Smalls LIVED in onesies for almost 2 years. The Baby lives in a diaper and shirt or a onesie. Who ever thought that making babies wear button-up shirts, jeans, and sneakers all day was comfortable? I get that you want your kids to look cute, but really? With with amount of times you undress your baby to change a dirty diaper, just go with a tee or onesie. Trust me. Plus, they do this:
Everything Takes 3x As Long
I was so incredibly frustrated by the fact that going ANYWHERE takes three times as long. And then you add another kid…I’ll stop. I don’t want to give you nightmares.
Just as you are ready to leave, the baby is hungry, needs changing, you realize that you forgot your breastpads…it’s ALWAYS something.
Or today? I completely forgot the diaper bag and grabbed my purse instead (I ran out yesterday without the baby because Ish wanted to have some ‘just daddy’ time) and that poop that I’ve been waiting for? Yup. ALL. OVER. ME.
(Also, you KNOW you’re a mom when your first reaction to the aforementioned incident is “YES! HE POOPED!!” and the second thing that comes out of your mouth is “Crap.” as you desperately look for some spare wipes and settle on just using a kleenex to get the worst of it.)
And losing weight? At least for me, it’s been a real struggle. As long as I’m breastfeeding, my body hangs on to every.single.pound. It’s beyond frustrating, but this time around I’m exercising and adjusting my eating habits so that when the weight does start to come off, it will be old hat.
It’s Okay To Need Help
Another thing that no one told me? Recovery takes a LONG time. Granted, I had a c-section (times 2), but no one prepared me for the exhaustion (like NOTHING I’d ever experienced), aches, crushing hormones, hot flashes, mood swings, bleeding, or all of the other overwhelming things that come with post partum days.
Thankfully, I have amazing friends and family who jumped in with meals, laundry, and baby holding duties (a girl needs a shower).
When I had The Baby, I thought that my mood swings were just adjusting to two kids…but they didn’t go away, and in fact, they got worse. To the point where I knew I shouldn’t be screaming at my kids…but I couldn’t help myself. I felt totally out of control, and I was drowning.
So I called Ish, who came home so I could go to a Psychiatrist. Best.Decision.Ever. She gave me tools, and medication to help me deal. I am a MUCH better mommy because I said something.
So many moms suffer from PPD and they don’t say anything…or get help. Please, if you’re suffering, you are NOT alone. I promise.
I wish someone had told me how much time I would actually spend nursing, burping, changing…repeat. I honestly felt glued to my nursing chair for the first three months with both boys, but it was worth every minute.
Mommyhood is a hard club to be in, but I promise you, it’s the best club you’ll ever join. And you’re doing great.