Newborns should come with an instruction manual. It should be mandatory that hospitals send them home with each new baby. Twins? Two instruction manuals. Triplets? You get the idea.
Being a first time mother the first couple of months were…let’s call it intense! I took the recommended birthing classes and a newborn safety class (which I highly recommend), but once you are handed your baby(ies) and expected to care for them all by yourself things get real..real quick!
For me, the hardest part was switching roles. Whether you work full or part-time, work from home, stay at home, etc., adding a tiny human to the mix is really overwhelming. I often felt like such a mess that I truly questioned whether or not I would ever have it “together” again. Let’s revisit our first time out of the house with my 6-day old:
I eagerly scheduled a session for newborn pictures (you know, simple, non-complicated newborn photos that couldn’t possibly be challenging…besides we had planned big family pictures just two months later AND babies sleep ALL the time, right?). Quickly I learned that using the words “simple,” and “newborn” in the same sentence is a rookie mom mistake. I was completely unaware that newborns require 20-30 minute feeding time before you are ready to leave the house. Every. Single. Time.
Completely naive as to what this process would entail, I began nursing the baby (while applying dry shampoo), and in the process, broke the bathroom cabinet knob. Shortly after, I heard a loud THUD and the sound of something spraying coming from the same room as my husband. He couldn’t locate his shoes (which apparently were misplaced during one of my many pregnancy cleaning frenzies) and in the process knocked over a bottle of aerosol (I think..I never actually went to check on the situation).
When we finally fixed (abandoned) the mess, we loaded up the car, headed down the road feeling accomplished that we are all dressed and in the car. Sure enough, shortly after we departed, we realized; we forgot THE FUR CHILD and had to turn around to grab him.
Although we eventually made it to the photography session, the baby cried 99.9% of the time and the dog didn’t want to be in any pictures with him–can you blame him? All of this led me to a deeper question–do they drug the babies on Pinterest?
No really…do they? One of my best friends had a baby two weeks after me who slept through his entire newborn session. She didn’t drug him (I asked).
I am not telling my first (less than desirable) newborn experience to scare you, but I want you to know it’s okay to laugh at yourself. It’s okay to not have all the answers, and you’ll eventually feel like you’ve got it together again.
And if you don’t feel like you have it together again, pull on your village. Your people. The ones who supported you and helped you through pregnancy. Your family. Your friends. Your neighbors. Your team of medical professionals– your OBGYN (or midwife), pediatrician, lactation specialist, etc.
A wise friend once reminded me that our babies are completely new to this world and they are figuring us out, too. Be patient with them. Love them. Nurture them. Give them grace. And then, do the same for yourself.
Motherhood is like any new job. When you’re working with a new team, you have to take time to learn about one another. It’s also important to remember that what works one day, may not work the next. Being a mom is NO different! You’ve got this!