Recently, my paths have crossed with some “New Moms.”
These moms are just now crossing the great “12-Month Threshold.” You know, that glorious benchmark where the fog FINALLY starts to lift and you realize: “I just MIGHT live through this.”
These mamas reminded me so much of myself after my first year of parenting. Glazed over, caffeine induced, overly worried. Proud to survive a year of sleep deprivation, physical exhaustion, and emotional roller coasters, yet looking back and wondering WHAT IN THE WORLD JUST HAPPENED? Looking forward and wondering if it’s always going to be this hard.
What’s funny about these mamas is that they are almost 15 years apart in age. They had babies at totally different times in their lives, yet the feel the exact same emotions about motherhood.
And at separate coffee dates, I found myself telling these new mamas the same things:
- This IS HARD. The fact that it’s hard doesn’t mean that you’re doing it wrong; raising babies is JUST. PLAIN. HARD. The lack of sleep will kill you. The mystery symptoms will make you crazy. The countless postpartum effects can be miserable. You have no freedom of time. You have a totally different life. Someone else’s needs will now always come before yours. You can’t plan anything; yet if you fail to plan, your day will be nuclear. Motherhood is all consuming, and that fact in itself is completely overwhelming. No one else (other than other moms) can understand what you are going through.
- You are doing a great job. You’ve kept a baby alive for an entire year. That baby’s first year is already in the books. That in itself is exciting. You’ve dished out endless kisses, hugs, comfort, and protected another human being. Without even realizing it, you have created a trust between you and your child that cannot be broken; they feel that you will take care of them. Who cares if you put some diapers on backwards in the middle of the night. NO ONE is perfect, and after all, that baby will never remember your mistakes.
- You are exactly where you are meant to be. God has made you this baby’s mama for this exact time. You were designed to be a mom; there are moments when you’ll be strong, and moments when you’ll be weak. The weak moments do not define you; they will REFINE you. Reach out when you feel like you’re going to break, because no doubt, every Mom has felt the same way.
It felt really strange to be in a position of encouragement, when four short years ago, I was one year deep into motherhood and feeling all the same things: self-doubt, insecurity, identity crisis, and the deepest form of exhaustion I had ever felt.
Don’t get me wrong…every stage of motherhood presents its own set of challenges, but the new mom struggle is one that is dear to my heart. I’m so thankful that people encouraged me when I was a new mom or I literally don’t think I would have survived.
What type of advice would YOU give a new mom?