There’s nothing like bringing baby home.
Although that time is filled with excitement, love, and lots of little outfits, the changes that happen in those first few weeks can be truly overwhelming. When we brought our first child home, they were the most challenging weeks of my life. But, we survived and even thrived during that time. I couldn’t have predicted that my daughter would refuse to nurse, that I would have multiple infections, etc., but those challenges taught me so much. I wish I could go back and tell myself this…
Words that Change Forever After Bringing Baby Home…
Sleep was always something that I expected.
In fact, it was something that I took for granted.
But, when I brought my daughter home, I realized that sometimes you think sleep is going to happen when your baby’s eyes are red and they’re starting to yawn, but somehow sleep doesn’t come. My daughter was a wonderful sleeper compared to my son, but the adjustment to having a newborn was brutal. I ran on adrenaline for the first couple of days even when she was sleeping because I was so amped up – go hormones! But, then fatigue really set in.
I wish I could go back and tell myself how fleeting that time would be. Tell myself how much I would miss that little body that used to fit in my arms. And, I wish I could have told myself that I will get to sleep again. That the adjustment in those first few weeks are the hardest and that you CAN get used to running on such little sleep!
Plus, with your first child, you can actually nap with them. Take advantage of that precious gift (having a toddler and baby changes things!).
I thought growing pains were pretty awesome (although painful) when I was little. It meant that I was growing taller (which was very exciting — although, unfortunately, I’m still short!), but it also meant that I had leg cramps. As a new Mom, I went through a different type of growing pain. My whole world had to grow and stretch to accommodate this new little person. It was hard on me, it was hard on my relationship, and it was hard to grow into a family of three.
But, we did grow.
We may not be taller (ha), but we learned how to function as a family instead of a couple. I wish I could have told myself that those first few weeks with my baby were helping me to grow into motherhood. And, it’s okay if that growth takes time.
I thought I was a patient person before I had kids. I was a preschool teacher and it tried my patience daily. But, when I was done with work, I always went home. At home, I didn’t really have anything that “tried” my patience, like trying to feed a screaming baby when all I wanted to do was eat a sandwich (kidding…sort of!).
But, when my daughter came home, the word patience gained new meaning:
I needed patience for myself and for my learning curve as I became a mom.
I needed patience for my daughter who refused to nurse.
I needed patience for my husband who did not respond well to the sleep disturbances at night (love you, babe).
I needed patience to cope with the blisters I got and mastitis infections while pumping.
And, I had to do it all while adjusting to sleep deprivation and the growing pains of bringing baby home.
But, the most patience I needed was waiting to fall in love with my child. Sometimes, it takes a little time. It’s easy to look at pictures or to dream about what it’s like to bring a baby home, but it’s hardly ever what you expect. For me, I had to have patience for my daughter’s first smile. It wasn’t until six weeks, but when it happened, she started nursing after exclusively pumping for a month and a half and we bonded. I’m not saying you have to breastfeed or even wait for love to happen between you and your child, but it’s okay if it looks differently than you imagined. Because the type of love that you will have for your child is a lifetime’s worth of love and that doesn’t develop overnight. Yes, you love your baby, but falling in love takes time. It’s okay to be patient.
I think one of the reasons that having a new baby is so overwhelming and so rewarding all in the same breath is because the initial connection, the basis of your relationship, is love (even if it’s not a familiar, lifetime’s worth of love at first – see above).
When you have nothing left to give, no energy because you’re exhausted, no patience because you’re spent, you can still manage to show your baby love. I wish I would have told myself to calm down when I was overwhelmed and stressed in the beginning and just give love. Stroke those little feet, sing them a song, hold them with their heads tucked under my chin….
Because in the beginning, it really is that simple: just give love.
And, know that this love will never go away – this love is here to stay.