I just got back from visiting one of my best friends who recently had a baby. It was a really uplifting experience bonding with my old college roomie on a new level– as mothers. She is someone I admire greatly for her strength, perseverance, compassion and intelligence. While I was there she confided that becoming a mom has been one of the hardest, most exhausting things she’s ever experienced. I was surprised. If she thinks motherhood is hard, then damn, it’s really frickin hard. I’m not blowing smoke over here!!
My visit was a much-needed reminder of how scary and lost I once felt when I first had Noob Baby. Although I didn’t have post-partum depression, I experienced awful feelings of fear, panic, anxiety, hopelessness and loneliness for the first few months after having NB, usually in the evening hours before bedtime. The waves of dread would wash over me as bedtime creeped closer. I’d cry. I’d be almost immobile. I’d feel helpless. Hopeless. I’d feel so lost and lonely in those late hours when it seemed like everyone else was asleep except for me and the unsoothable baby. It took so much to stay composed and rational when all I could see was a long, neverending night ahead of me. Day in. Day out.
Would she ever sleep? Would I ever sleep? Will I be able to go back to my own bed…. EVER? I slept on a borrowed blow up mattress for weeks next to NB’s swing because she wouldn’t stay asleep long enough for me to justify going back to my own bed.
Somehow I survived that. Not once, but twice.
Coming back from my visit, I realized how being with one of my closest friends, her loving husband and their beautiful new baby was an unexpectedly therapeutic experience for me. I hoped to go and offer my love and support for a few days (as best I could), but in the end, it was I who was uplifted and grateful for the trip down memory lane. I suppose I needed that reminder of how far I’ve come along as a mother in the last five years. The best part was having the chance to relive the newness and wonderment of caring for a newborn and witnessing the love and trepidation between two new parents.
You Are Not A Failure!
Being there also reminded me how many new parents often feel like failures, when they’re not! My friend was so hard on herself, yet, it was completely evident to me how loving, responsive and tender she was with her precious little girl. When your brain is running on empty, it’s hard to put things into perspective. I know how incapacitating the feelings of exhaustion + frustration can be. Remember… lean on your loved ones. Ask a friend to bring you some hot food so your brain and body can recharge. Forget the laundry. And when you’re lonely, seek other moms who know what you’re going through. That is how this blog came about after all. Five years ago, I wanted to connect with other moms who would understand my desperation and noobiness.
With the start of the new year, I thought it would be a great time to celebrate all the wonderful new moms out there who are probably feeling just as terrified and hopeless as I did five years ago. Just remember, you will soon be out of this shitty, confusing phase of half-asleep-always-awakeness and be dispensing your own snarky unsolicited advice in no time. You will get some sleep. Your baby will one day learn to sleep (without you). Or so I’ve heard
There is light at the end of the tunnel.
Until then, enjoy all the noob moments; because you’ll be out of this tunnel before you know it. Enjoy traversing around town in your stretchy pants because no one’s going to judge you for the first
6 4 10 months or so (unless you’re French, then 1 month tops). Snuggle your baby who smells like heaven. Know that you’re doing your best and that’s all that matters. Know that babies are crazy. Know that there is no magic formula and whatever works now probably isn’t going to in a few months… so fuck it. Know that you’re now part of the biggest sorority on earth and it’s Rush Month(s)… that’s why you feel like you have the worst f$!@%#* hangover of your life.
I appreciate all of you lovely readers who’ve somehow found my blog and care about what I have to say. Thank you for sharing your comments with me. And thank you for sending me your gracious mombie emails at 3 am when all you want to do is sleep.