This post is dedicated to my friend Callie, who is in labor as I write it. I’ve had the idea to write this post for a few weeks now. As I got the text this morning that she was headed into the hospital, my emotions kicked in, and I had the sudden urge to write it. I hope this post helps one of you right after giving birth or that you can pass it along to a friend who may be expecting or who may have just had a baby.
You did it mama. You’ve just been given the best gift you’ll ever receive. The waiting period is over, and in what feels like an instant your life has been changed forever. That tiny baby girl has completely taken over your heart, and you’ll do anything in your power to protect her.
You are incredible. You just birthed a human. Can you believe you did that? You’re even stronger than you thought you were. As soon as they handed her to you, everything felt right. Those long 9 months of waddling around, being kicked non stop during the night, and working those long hours on your feet have officially come to an end, and she’s here. Can you believe she’s really here? It almost seems like pregnancy went by in a blink of an eye all of a sudden.
The next 48 hours at the hospital will be a blur. You will do everything in your power to get that little baby to latch. Breastfeeding will either come really easy to you, or it will be a struggle. If it’s a struggle, remain calm, don’t stress yourself out, and realize that you’re doing the best for your baby no matter what you’re doing.
If you want visitors, have visitors. If you don’t want visitors, do not feel bad about it. This isn’t the time to worry about pleasing others; it’s the time to take care of you and your baby. If you have the option to get some sleep, take it. You’re going to want to take over and do everything for that little bundle, but let others help you. You’ll have the urge to be in control of everything, but you need sleep for your sanity; I promise.
One minute you’ll be smiling, and the next minute you’ll be crying. Your emotions are going to take over. You’re not crazy. This is normal.
You’re going to love your husband more than you ever thought you could. Seeing him with the baby will melt your heart like nothing ever has. You’ll fall in love with him all over again. He’s going to love that little girl so much, and you’re going to cry happy tears watching him hold her and change her tiny little diapers.
The moment you and your husband drive away from the hospital with that little bundle in her carseat will be the most surreal moment of all. She’s officially yours, and the hospital helpers are gone. The outside world seems different from the day you drove to the hospital for some reason. In fact, everything seems different. You’re not crazy. This is normal.
The first few weeks at home are going to be a blur as well. Emotions will run high, and sleep will be at an all-time low. You will literally burst into tears for no reason (this is because you’re freaking exhausted, and you’re drained). You’re not crazy. This is normal.
You’ll probably spend more time staring at your baby sleeping, than actually getting any sleep yourself. You may lash out at a family member. The dishes will stack up. Things won’t be in a perfect order. Life will feel a bit scrambled. If you find yourself crying into a pint of ice cream at 4 am, don’t sweat it. You’re not crazy. This is normal.
Soon those intense first few weeks will start to fade away, and you will get more than 3 hours of sleep at a time. You’ll put on makeup again, and take that long awaited hot shower. You’ll eventually leave the house, even if it is just to go to the pediatrician. Make sure to stop by Starbucks on the way home and grab your favorite drink; you deserve a treat. Or heck, pick up some sushi and a bottle of wine. It’s been far too long.
Be easy on yourself, and soak up those moments with your tiny baby girl. I promise you will sleep again, and that things will get easier. Life may not go back to normal right away, but there will be a “new normal”, and it will be even better than the old normal. I’m a phone call away if you need a friend to cry to on the phone, or if you need someone to come cuddle that sweet baby while you take a bath and shave your legs for the first time in weeks.
As you sit in the dark in the middle of the night rocking your new bundle, remember how lucky you are that you’ve been given the gift of motherhood. And when you’re pondering if you’re doing everything “right”, realize that your love is all she needs. This little girl is so lucky to have you. You’re going to be an amazing mom.