The first few weeks of motherhood can be a particularly vulnerable time for a woman. Your body has just gone through an amazing (and traumatic) process. Your hormones are all over the place, and you are learning how to take care of a new baby. Chances are, you are sleep deprived, overly emotional, and stressed out. And while your new baby is a source of unspeakable joy and you may be in complete awe of the miracle of life, lets face it, having a newborn is tough!
Sure everyone warned you about three AM feedings, and diaper changes every hour. Yeah, they said you might have some “baby blues,” and that your body would be going through changes. But no one told you your baby might scream for hours on end for no apparent reason, that your nipples would crack and bleed from breastfeeding, or that you would feel like you are quite possibly loosing your mind!
And all that good advice everyone offers like sleep when the baby sleeps, let your friends and family help with chores, it all sounds wonderfully practical. But in the real world, as soon as the baby falls asleep the phone rings, the mother in law drops in unexpectedly, or there is just too much to do to sleep. And really, who asks random visitors to do their dishes or laundry? Please. You are happy if they will just hold the little red screaming, puking, stinky little person that now controls your life long enough for you to change your shirt… again… because it has spit up all over it… again…
Welcome to your new life.
If you find yourself looking at women with two, or three (or more) kids and wondering not only how they do it, but why (who in their right mind would ever choose to go through this again!!!) don’t worry. Things do get better… and the good news is that once your baby is about 18 months to two years old, you will magically begin to forget how awful those first few weeks can be.
Now don’t get me wrong, a newborn baby is a beautiful miracle for you and your family, and in no way am I trying to play down the wonder and magic of the first few weeks with baby. You will want to spend hours just staring at your new baby, fascinated by every little movement he or she makes. Having a new baby is a wonderful experience, and it is one of the most amazing things you will ever go through in your life.
But to be realistic, it isn’t all beauty and amazement. Some days you will wonder if you are cut out for it. Some days you will want to give up on everything. Some days you will feel like you must be the world’s worst mother, like maybe you were absent when they handed out parenting skills and patience.
As I mentioned before, there is a light at the end of the tunnel though. Once your hormones level out and your baby begins to sleep longer periods of time (really, some babies will wake up in the middle of the night til they are 18…in years that is… don’t be discouraged by this, you will adjust) you will begin to feel human again.
The good news is, we all go through it. We all struggle those first few weeks, no matter if it is your first baby or your tenth, the adjustment is hard.
And always, always remember: Hang in there, it does get easier.