You’re home with your new baby. What can I tell you that will help you through this most joyful and exhausting time of life?
I can tell you that someday you will look back on your child’s infant years and be completely shocked by how quickly the time flew. But from where you are now you cannot see that. You’re not supposed to see it.
You’re tired, you’re in a fog and this is so much harder than you ever expected it to be. Still there is a certain sweetness that fills your pores, a sweetness that is at the same time sad and joyful. How can that be? How can something that brings so much light and joy into your life also bring so much suffering? Welcome to parenthood. Welcome to life!
That sweet sadness is your heart, it is what teaches you compassion, what fuels the fire in your belly and the light in your life. Do not try to make it go away for it is what it means to be human. Accept the gentle ache that lives in your belly and know that with it comes great love and understanding.
But that’s not what you want to hear; you want practical advice for how to get through these long days and sleepless nights. So, here are some things that will help.
DO NOT DO THIS ALONE – GET HELP – If you feel overwhelmed, if you need something, no matter how big or small ask for it. Do not be shy about this. Ask your partner, your friends or your family and be specific. If you need someone to do the laundry or clean your house, ask for that. If you need someone to babysit for an hour so you can sleep, ask for that. If you need friends and family to leave you alone…ask for that!
If what you need goes beyond what family and friends can offer, seek professional help; a postpartum doula, a massage therapist, acupuncturist, chiropractor or therapist. Your mental and physical well being matter – a lot!
BREATHE – Throughout the day take long conscious breaths. When it is the most frustrating, the most exhausting…close your eyes and connect with your breath, feel it going in and out. It sounds silly, but it’s not. Do not underestimate the importance of this very simple tool.
GIVE THANKS – As trying as these times can be, be thankful every single day for this amazing soul that you have brought into the world. Even when it’s hard, especially when it is hard, give thanks for the life that you have created.
SAVOR THE MOMENTS – When things are going well, when they are so sweet you can barely stand it, hold your baby close and feel her gentle breath on your skin, smell his cupcake sweetness, feel her unbelievably soft and supple skin. Close your eyes and wallow in the sensory pleasure of him.
REMEMBER – When baby is screaming and you’re ready to tear your hair out, remember what it felt like to SAVOR THE MOMENTS.
KNOW THAT EVERYTHING IS TRANSITORY – When it seems like you will never again have a good night’s sleep, remind yourself that everything is transitory, everything changes. Baby will eventually not only sleep through the night, but also feed herself, walk, poop in the toilet and not need you 100% of the time, much sooner than you can imagine.
There is one more thing I can tell you that I know with 100% certainty, you are not alone, you are not the only one. Every new Mom is going through the exact same thing. Knowing that, feel the strength of all the mothers out there in the world who know EXACTLY what you are going through. You are not alone.