Dear fellow mama,
You don’t know me… but I know you. Well, sort of. Even if it’s just in the most remote way ever.
You see, I’ve been in your shoes before.
Although you and I and billions of other moms around the world are completely different people, and no new mom has the exact same experience as every other mom… still, I’d like to think that we share at least a few things in common.
Here are a few of them (and I do hope you can relate somehow!):
Your life will never be the same again.
The moment your baby comes out, you know your life has changed forever.
Suddenly, you are responsible for this tiny human being — for feeding it, cleaning it, making sure it is ok. This may be a scary thought at times, but believe me: you can do it! I thought I couldn’t — but now I have three of those little humans, with one due to be born very, very soon (or maybe, by the time you read this scheduled post, I’ll already be busy caring for him!)… just take it one step at a time, one day at a time.
I know you’ll never look at what seem like “ordinary,” every-day activities the same again.
I know you probably already know this by now, but a full night of sleep and a ten-minute shower (alone!) seem like luxuries to you, and you may sometimes feel guilty for wanting to be anywhere else in the world but with your fussy, seemingly-hungry-all-the-time newborn!
That was my life (and still is, come to think of it, with a toddler and no yaya/helper around… and maybe, by the time this post goes live — I’ll already have a newborn in my arms too!)… and I wouldn’t exchange it for anything else in the world now. Sure, it seemed like I was suffocating at times, but things got better — and they will get better for you, too.
So don’t worry — it’s perfectly normal. This, too, shall pass.
And that emotional roller coaster ride you’re on? It’s normal.
One minute, you’re tenderly gazing at your little one, overflowing with love and pride. The next minute, you are completely frazzled, wondering what’s causing him to wail and scream.
You often find yourself at your wits’ end, and wonder if you’re going crazy, with your emotions going up and down like children playing on a seesaw.
It’s the sleeplessness, and the hormones, my dear. Fret not… things will get better. Once your and your baby’s routines (and those of your other family members!) are more or less fixed, you will find it easier to deal with things.
I remember how it was for me when each of my kids was a newborn… With my first child, I cried a lot and almost always called my husband on the phone, asking him to come home to make the baby stop crying. Looking back, I realize that I may have had the baby blues back then. I just felt totally helpless and hopeless.
It was a bit different with our second child. And with our third. And I know it will be different with our fourth. But one common thing will stand out for sure — the newborn days are tough on a mom, but it will get better. Believe me.
And your body? I know, you’ll never look at your body the same way again.
Before I became pregnant, I never realized just how perfectly made my body is. It wasn’t until there was an actual human life growing inside me that I began to appreciate my body 100%… and even more after I had given birth.
I know, right now you might be dealing with thoughts of, “Will I ever get my body back?” and “I look so frumpy these days!”… because, let’s face it, there really are days when you can hardly find the time for a quick shower, or even just to comb your hair (been there, done that)!
But believe me… these days — though you may not feel it — are the best time to appreciate who you are, and who you are to your baby. Your body is perfect right now, just the way it is. There is a time and way for shedding that post-pregnancy weight, of course, but let not that be your focus for now.
Your focus now is caring for your little one — but don’t forget to take care of yourself too! (I have forgotten this too many times, so I am actually reminding myself now, too!)
While we’re at it, let me remind you (and myself too!): There is no such thing as a perfect mother.
You can’t be everything to your child, and no one is asking you to be so. You will make mistakes (don’t we all?) — so don’t beat yourself up when you do.
Motherhood is already a huge challenge in itself, so don’t set yourself up for disappointment or feelings that you’re “such a failure” by having super high expectations.
The truth is, motherhood can be scary at times — but you already know that, don’t you?
Again, fear not… the beautiful thing about becoming a mother is that you sort of instantly become part of this “global sisterhood” of moms who, more often than not, are there to support you, encourage you, give you advice, and help you out if it’s physically possible to do so.
So don’t be afraid to ask for help. It’s not a sign of “weakness.”
If you feel overwhelmed and exhausted, there’s nothing wrong with seeking help. (I did, and believe me, it made a huge difference in our family’s life!)
If you’re struggling with baby blues, or maybe even suspect you have postpartum depression, don’t hesitate to consult your doctor or someone else who can help you.
This is the time to let others care for you, your baby, and the rest of your family. “It takes a whole village to raise a child,” as they say in Africa, and I believe this applies to us here in the Philippines, too (or anywhere else for that matter).
So go ahead… call on your “village” if and when you need help. It won’t make you less of a mom, really. (Take it from someone who almost always calls on her “village” in times of need!)
To end, let me tell you this one very important thing that you need to know: You’re already an amazing mom.
I know you may not believe me. After nine years of this “motherhood gig” (ten this year, gosh!) and dealing with three newborns (and another one very, very soon), I often still don’t believe that either. But yes, you — and I, and all the other moms out there — are already amazing.
You can handle this… these days of seemingly endless sleepless nights, of breaking down and crying, of staying up all night checking to see if your baby’s still breathing, of venting and sobbing to your husband when he comes home from work, of panicking and blaming yourself at the slightest thing that “goes wrong” (newborn jaundice that required hospitalization and even ordinary diaper rashes had me doing that with my first baby)…
Yes, you can handle it. You’ll get through this.
Don’t be afraid to embrace your imperfections, doubts and fears. Your weaknesses and strengths are part of what makes you unique.
You can do this, dear sweet fellow mama. I’m rooting for you and praying for you all the way! (Please pray for me too? And whenever you’re in doubt or despair, try to remember these five important words.)
If you found this article encouraging in any way, or know a mom of a newborn who needs to read this, please feel free to share it. (And if you see me “ranting” about having a newborn on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, please remind *me* to read this again! 😉 )