Our sweet Luca John is now three weeks old! Time sometimes feels as though it is slipping away, moving so quickly that I am constantly reminding myself to soak it up. I spend hours just staring at the tiny, squishy miracle I am holding in my arms. Other days seem to drag on and honestly, I have often just held my breath and prayed for the hours to pass more quickly because I know tomorrow will be better. The life of a newborn mom…
Being parents is all brand new to us. Sure, having had a lot of experience with babies and children definitely helped to prepare me for some of the logistics of parenting such as diaper changing, swaddling, bath time, sleep schedules… but nothing in the world can prepare you for being a parent. We have a newborn. But, we are also newborn parents ourselves. Every moment with our sweet Luca is new. Every one of his firsts is our first too. It is the scariest, craziest, most beautiful, all-consuming love that I have ever experienced.
Some reflections and perspectives of a newborn mom.
1. Birth is insane.
Holy cow. Women are seriously awesome. I swear, we should all be high-fiving every mom we see walking down the street or in the supermarket. No matter her birth story, every mother is a hero.
Nothing can prepare you for the pain of labor, the emotional roller coaster of your baby’s birthday, your animalistic instincts, or the pure exhaustion of delivery. In the same regard, nothing can prepare you for the moment you realize how strong you are. Nothing in the world compares to the feeling of joyous relief when your baby is delivered and placed safely into your arms. Nothing, nothing, nothing can prepare you for the amount of love that fills your heart the moment you look into your child’s eyes for the first time.
2. Postpartum is no joke.
Speaking of being unprepared… I was definitely not prepared for the gruesome after-effects of labor and delivery. I was completely shocked when I witnessed the impact that the most beautiful day of my life had on my body. I will avoid an overdose of TMI in this post, but seriously? Oh. My. Wow.
3. Spit-up is the new black.
If I even decide to wear a shirt during the day, it is most likely covered in milk in one form or another. I call it a win if I make it through the day with my pants unscathed. But you know what? I may be covered in milk, or pee, or God only knows what else, but it is a beautiful reminder of the cozy moments I have had with Luca that day. The stains on my clothes are confirmation that he is eating well and is a happy, growing boy.
4. Goal-setting can keep you sane.
Goals during the first weeks of being a newborn mom are definitely different than other goals I have had for myself in the past. Regardless, they are important and honestly, keep me sane and feeling like a real human being. A couple of my most common daily goals:
a. Brush my teeth before noon. I never really understood why this could have ever been difficult to achieve, but I am sure most newborn moms would agree that teeth brushing suddenly turns into a daunting chore after countless sleepless nights.
b. Shower before 2 pm. Even just a quick rinse-off can change your entire day. Plus, the hormonal night sweats and again… the spit-up… require a daily shower.
c. Put on clothes. I have made it a goal for Luca to wear an “outfit” during the day and “PJs” at night. And the same goes for me. Sure, life would be easier if we both just stayed in our PJs all day and night, but the simple act of wearing clothes aids in creating routine (and maintaining sanity).
5. I crave time with my husband.
Not only have I never been more in love with my husband, but I crave time with him. We are incredibly blessed that he will be home with me during the first few months as newborn parents and I honestly couldn’t imagine an entire day without him. I cannot get enough of watching him interact with Luca. He’s the best daddy I could have ever handpicked for my child and he is completely enamored with our son. With that said, a couple hours of quiet time, just the two of us at the end of the day, is just as precious as the moments the three of us share. We have started to date again this week (even though we have a tiny third wheel along for the ride) and I cherish every one of these moments so deeply.
6. Buckle up. The roller coaster is still rollin’!
The hormonal roller coaster doesn’t come to a stop once pregnancy is over. In fact, it can actually start to ramp up. Once again, your hormones are shifting, some increasing, others leaving your body. Give yourself time to adjust to these changes. What I have found most helpful has been talking with other moms about their experiences, their feelings, their processing, strategies, etc. In addition, the most important part of handling the emotional roller coaster has been communicating with Timi about my feelings, expectations, anxieties, and needs. Knowing I have him in my corner, day in and day out, gives me the strength and confidence to take on motherhood everyday.
7. Zombie Mommy
A whole new level of tired. Everyone talks about the lack of sleep and crazy level of exhaustion that occurs when you have a newborn. For me, the most shocking aspect was the inability to rest at all due to heightened levels of anxiety during the night and the inability to fall into a deep state of sleep. At times I don’t know if it is day or night, if I am waking from a nap or a midnight feeding, and I have a strong desire to crawl into bed, put the pillow over my head, and ignore the world. But as soon as I hear that first cry, even if it is coming from across our flat, my heart is racing and I am ready to take on the world once again. I find nature so fascinating. It is surprising to me everyday what I am capable of, functioning on only a few hours of sleep. The adrenaline of the first few days has seemingly worn off, but natural instincts kick in to not only survive as an individual, but to also provide for and support my baby.
8. A parent’s love is incomparable.
Wow. There is nothing else like it in the world. From the moment I looked into Luca’s big eyes, my whole world changed. He became the center of my universe and I know from now on, that is where he will remain. My heart breaks into a million pieces when he cries out in pain. My mind is constantly racing, searching for a way to make everything right in his world and at the same time, yearning for a way to prevent anything wrong from ever crossing his path. I find it difficult to take my eyes off of him, yet when I do, even just for a moment, I fall in love again every time my gaze returns. He’s the best thing that has ever happened to us. Our world makes more sense with him in it. Our family is complete. Our hearts are full.