One of my goals for this year was to write at least one blog each month. February came and went and, well, I’ve already failed regarding that particular goal. But I’d like to think that I get a “pass” on February, since I got kind of busy having a baby and all.
Anyway, here it is, at the end of March, and I find myself sitting here typing with an almost 5-week old asleep on my chest. The last weeks have been a whirlwind; sometimes the last month just seems like one long, sleep-deprived day. Showers have become quite precious to me. And who needs to fix their hair when you can just wear a hat pretty much every day? And who wants to watch March Madness when I can go to sleep at 8:30? (For only about 2.5 hours, of course).
When our new son, Benjamin Elliot, hit 1 month, I looked back and saw a few things that stuck out to me that seemed really important. Hopefully each day, month, and year of his life, I’ll learn a bit more. But here are three things that, I hope, might be helpful to any soon-to-be moms out there:
1. Rest. No really.
Everyone says it, but – good grief – it’s so hard to do. If you’re a list-maker and a doer, you will probably find it hard to slow down, even though you know you should. But seriously, no matter how you give birth – whether naturally, with an epidural, a c-section, out in the woods – your body needs to recover. Evidently giving birth is the equivalent of a 50 mile walk (I’d probably say “sprint” actually). So it’s definitely ok to put your feet up – I mean, you walked 50 miles straight for crying out loud. Don’t feel guilty for taking naps, and don’t feel like you have to get a hundred things done. Which leads me to #2:
2. Enjoy your baby.
This seems like a given, but it’s easy to get distracted by other things. Like laundry, where you’ll get your next meal, who’s visiting when, and what color poop you should be seeing today. I also found myself stressing out about whether Matt and I were doing everything right. Am I feeding him often enough? Am I feeding him the right way? Should he already be in his crib? Which soothing method should I be using for this? Why do I keep getting sprayed in the face during diaper changes?
It’s easy to get stressed out by these things, and I found myself worrying a lot those first few weeks – and doing a ridiculous amount of Googling to find out things like whether or not Ben’s poop was the right shade of green for the day.
Do yourself a favor: find friends and family who can help with meals, laundry, and cleaning, and take time to just sit and enjoy baby. Stare at him, play with him, take pictures of him – just enjoy him. Don’t spend more time looking at Google search results than you do at your offspring. Google and laundry and food will always be there – but your baby is only a newborn for a short time. I can’t believe how much our little guy has already changed – and he’s only been here 1 month!
3. Write things down.
Grab a notepad or journal or something and jot down the little moments that you want to remember. First smile. First projectile. First blowout. You don’t have to write a book, maybe just a sentence or a few key words. This past month is already kind of hazy to me, what with all the sleepless nights – so I know I’ll need those little notes to remember sweet moments. My sister and her husband actually wrote down funny things they said after becoming parents that they never would have said before. (For example: “Be right back, I’m going to go take a picture of this poop.”) This is a great way to store memories, and may also be a funny encouragement to read through on the rough days.
I hope each month to share things I learn about being a new mom. Of course, everyone’s experience is different, so I hope it’s not perceived as unsolicited advice – good grief, I’m only one month into this, so what do I know. But hopefully it’ll be an encouragement to someone.
I’d love to hear from other moms – what did you learn in those first days? What helped you adjust the most, or what do you wish that you’d known or done differently? Feel free to comment and share – maybe together we can all help each other learn about this weird thing called mommy-hood.
Here’s to keeping new humans alive, one day at a time.