The other day a friend sent me a text and asked, ” How do you do all the things that you are doing?” I responded immediately, then I erased the message and took some time to think about it. I realized that my friend just had her baby three months ago and like myself, I’m sure she is going through a lot of emotions. Not to mention peeing on herself, constant bleeding, hormones out of whack, no sleep….Well, you get the picture.
To say the least, I responded, “It took time for me to get back to myself. Caring for a new life and managing your own isn’t easy, but you are stronger each day.” She replied, “OMG, I’m gonna cry.” I realized that my friend is just like every other new mom. We are all just trying to figure it out day by day. And even as we try to figure it out, we are loving, caring and growing.
As my daughter approaches 2 years old in 30 days, I couldn’t help but reflect on the things that have changed me and how over 23 months I have grown as a person, wife and mom.
5 Things I know for sure…2 Years later
1. Relax. It’s ok that you don’t know what to do or how to do it.
I remember just hours after Zoie was born, my milk didn’t come in. I was a complete wreck. I thought the world was crumbling around me. What kind of mother was I that I couldn’t feed my newborn baby. I was just in labor for 48 hours and she was born at 37 weeks. I didn’t know it would take time for my milk to fully come in. All I knew was what I was told to do. “Feed the baby!” When I think back on those times, yes it was a bit devastating. My husband was trying to be as supportive as possible and he was without sleep as well, so we were both screwed. But the reality is that, It will all work out and your baby will be just healthy and fine. Why? because they have a Mom who will make sure that happens. Also, I’m sure you’re resourceful and if you don’t know, you will find someone who can. Just remember to relax.
2. Don’t forget about you!
Every mother knows what it feels like to go all day without showering or eating. I remember my husband walking through the door and I just handed him the baby. Why? I needed to shower. Sounds funny now, but back then I felt like I had to be super Mom. I decided to stop working and stay home full time. I realize now, this is not for everyone. For our family it worked, but it was a sacrifice. Being a new mother, I did what I would have done as a business executive. I went full throttle. You name it, I did it. Three days after delivering the baby I was outside taking a walk and my insides felt like they were falling out. The point to all this is that, all my time was spent on everything baby, husband and home and nothing on Monique. Don’t forget that if you are not healthy and well, everything really can fall apart. Take time to rejuvenate. Take time with friends. Take time by yourself. Trust me, you will thank yourself later.
3. Check in with your Spouse/Partner
This was a growth area for me personally. I just felt like he should understand because he was there, he heard the screaming, he saw the labor, hell he suffered through this 10 months with me. But the reality is that, while your partner may or may not have experienced this journey to motherhood with you, they still have feelings, emotions and a perspective on your little one. I’m a take it charge and take it by the bullhorn and run with it kind of gal. I’m use to not asking for help or asking others for help. But one thing I’ve learned about my husband is that “He’s not a mind reader.” However, because he knows me so well, he could generally tell when I was feeling bad or just going through something. Honestly, I should have been checking in with him as well. Ladies, yes you just had a baby, but it’s not all about you! So did your partner/spouse. Do yourself a favor and check in with them regularly about how they are holding up with this new life. You might find some solidarity and better closeness when you do.
4. Enjoy every little moment It will fly by
Sometimes I just stop and stare at my daughter. I love her laugh, her smile, her gentle and genuine love and concern for people. I remind myself of how precious life is and how precious her life is. See, I come from a family that didn’t do a good job with keeping track of family heritage and legacy. My family didn’t share all of those intricate details and history that defines us. So, I decided very early in my pregnancy that this was going to change. We started a written journal that we both write in and we keep a digital photo journal of her life. Our plan is to present this too her when she leaves for college at 18. More so than anything, I wanted to be open and honest with her about her family and history. I want her to know how mommy felt at any given time while she was growing up. I want her to know that she was loved and that her family cares deeply for her. I want her to know that she has a legacy and heritage that she will carry on for future generations. I encourage you each day to take a moment and just focus on this new life and the future you want for them. Maybe there is something special you can do for your little one.
5. Continue to be the great Mom that you are
No one is perfect and everyone will give you advice on how to raise and parent your kid. I’ve learned how to literally take the meat without consuming the fat. In other words, take everything in stride. One persons way of doing something may not be the best for you and your family. And its okay. You will work it out, and you will figure it out. Don’t allow the stress of trying to be the perfect mom, with the perfect kids. Instead by the best you. The best you will produce the best kids! The simple fact remains that regardless of how you might feel right now, You are a great mom and you are doing a great job! Whether you have chosen to go back to work, stay at home, start a new business or just focus on the kids… You are a great mom!