I remember when we first had Emerson, everything in the world was a blur. I panicked about nearly everything, cried at the drop of a hat, and no matter what advice someone gave me, words of encouragement or speaking from experience, it seemed like things would never be manageable in my world again. Cut to 9 months later, and while I still feel like I have a bunch of different balls in the air, looking back, it really wasn't as difficult as I originally thought. Through the love and encouragement of my awesome husband, and the amazing mother figures in my life (my own, my MIL, my sister and SIL) and the support of other dear family members, I made it through. The list below are reminders to myself (and any other mom or want-to-be mom) of things I experienced. It will serve as a good refresher when number two comes along. And no, that's not an announcement. Baby No.2 is not planned for a ways away.
Dear New Mom:
-You will still look about 4 months pregnant during the first few weeks of recovery, but enjoy the fact that you get to wear maternity clothes for a little longer. Going back to the world of buttoned and zippered pants is a huge bummer. And nothing fits the same as it did before.
- Get use to showering in a 2 or 3 day rotation. Shower one day, "do" your hair the next, and a ponytail or braid the 3rd day. Or a hat.
- Make-up is a luxury that you will soon forget how to apply.
- A trip to Wal-Mart or Target alone will be the best "vacation" you will get in the first few months of your baby's life.
- It is ok to cry. Your world has turned upside down/inside out/etc. and will never be the same again. the adjustment is the hardest learning curve you will ever experience, and sometimes crying helps you embrace the turns on the new journey.
- Lean on those around you to support you. If you are fortunate to have family or friends nearby, lean on them when you need it, and embrace their support even when you don't. You can't make it alone, and be sure to cherish those that are brave enough to stick with you as you figure out your crazy.
- Those times at the beginning when you first hold that squishy, ridiculously bendy, brand new little person, don't worry that you'll break them. They were crammed in your belly for the past nine months and can bend in some crazy ways.
- You will not sleep regularly for months. maybe years. Learn to rock the dark circles under your eyes with pride.
- Your hearing will become supersonic, and you will be able to hear your baby sigh contentedly in the middle of the night. from another room. with both doors closed.
- Enjoy those small milestones, they are what will get you through one hard day to the next. their first smile. first laugh. first time they roll over. first steps.
- It can get exhausting and sweaty sleeping in the rocking chair, but relish in those moments when your baby sleeps on your chest. They can quickly grow out of it, and may not want to snuggle anymore.
- Cherish those middle of the night nursing sessions, because when your baby decides that they'd rather have a bottle than nurse, you will miss them.
-The sound of a newborn crying will cause inexplicable panic, because when a person that small makes a sound that loud.. it is terrifying.
-You will never in your life care more a bout another person's poop than when you're a mom. Yes, even a lack of poop will cause constant worry and multiple phone calls to the doctor.
- As disgusting as it may be, find ways to laugh at gross things. When you get covered with poop from an unexpected blowout- laugh. When you get a shoe full of spit up as you're walking out the door- laugh.
- You will be covered in more poop, puke, spit up and other bodily fluid than you ever thought possible. And wont think twice about it.
- If someone offers to help in anyway, take them up on it! Whether it is prepping a meal, doing a grocery run or cleaning your kitchen- take them up on it!
- It really will get better. I remember someone telling me that early on, and I asked them through tearful eyes "When? When will it get better?" To tell you the truth, I can't actually remember when it did get better. I just woke up one day and realized that it was.
- Remember to laugh. Sometimes it is the only way to keep from crying.
- Take pictures. LOTS of pictures. They really are only little for so long, and while the memories are ingrained in your mind, having photos of them in the newborn stage is such an awesome reminder of how far you have come.
- Go outside. The fresh air is great for both of you, and getting a walk around the block will do wonders for your spirit.
- Pray. God alone knows your deepest thoughts and fears as a parent, and can comfort you in your times of need like no-one else.
- Love and protect that baby with everything you are. Yes, it is incredibly difficult trying to navigate how to take care of another person, let alone yourself, but it is worth the struggle.
- Persevere. It is incredible difficult, and you may want to give up, but push through because those days that things finally click for you, it is an amazing thing. It isn't difficult forever. Its not a cake walk either, but pushing through those tough times make the awesome times so much more worth it.
Being a parent has been the most challenging thing I've ever done, but by far the most rewarding. I've cried countless tears, but smiled bigger smiles in these 9 short months than I ever thought I would. I know that struggles will continue to pop up, but in addition to those, milestones will happen as well. There are too many awesome things to think about in our future, and I couldn't be more excited for them :)