A Letter to New Mamas: When Having Your First Baby Isn't the Joyful Experience You Anticipated

Yesterday, I went to visit a friend's daughter who just gave birth to the most beautiful little girl. As I sat there holding that precious baby, all I could think about, was all things I wanted to tell this young mama.

You see, having a baby wasn't what I thought it would be. Even though my baby will be eleven years old this week, I can still remember all the emotions, and the feeling of responsibility, that comes with having a new born. Having a baby was one of the hardest things I have ever done, and it flipped my world completely upside down.

Looking back, I was experiencing a level of post partum depression, but was in denial of it. I actually did go to a doctor when my son was about eight months old, and I broke down in his office crying. He spent about five minutes with me, wrote me a script for an antidepressant, and sent me on my way. I walked out of the office, got the prescription filled, and never took it because I was afraid to be addicted to them. The hardest thing for for me was that we experienced infertility, so I wasn't supposed to be having these kinds of feeling, at least that's what I told myself. We tried for 2.5 years before conceiving, so I should have been the happiest mama out there, but I wasn't.

I made a promise to myself that I would be honest with expecting mothers after my experience, so I am writing this letter to any new mama out there that happens to come across this post. I love you, new mama, and you have such an important job. I hope this letter helps you to not feel alone if you are experiencing any of these emotions.

Dear New Mama,

Everything is going to change now, and I mean everything. I hope that the transition to motherhood is an easy one for you. I hope that things will be exactly like you imagined they would be.

But, in case things are not, here are some things you may experience......

Your marriage is going to be affected. Suddenly, you are forever connected to your husband by this little human being you created together.  It's not the two of you anymore, now there are three. Papa Bear is going to do things that make you want to rip your hair out sometimes. He's not going to understand what you are going through emotionally. Sometimes you will look at him and feel so much love toward him, your heart wants to burst, and other times, you will think "What in the crap did I get myself into?" The carefreeness you had as a couple before baby, is gone. It's not going to be easy to make time for each other. You're going to have to fight for your marriage. Babies and children require so much work, and often husbands can feel neglected. Try to make time for him, even if it's just a small part of your day.

Your body has changed, and you are going to feel uncomfortable in your skin. You may not feel as pretty as you used to. I encourage you to do your hair and makeup, and change out of the lounge pants, if possible. It will be good for your self-esteem. You may have gained a little too much weight, like me, and you will feel disgusted and discouraged with your body. You will lose the weight again, but don't worry about it yet. I give you permission to start thinking about your weight when the baby is sleeping through the night. It's okay if you have to buy new clothes to fit you. Please don't feel bad about that. It's a rare woman who can wear the clothes home from the hospital that she wore before becoming pregnant.

You are going to be more tired than you could have ever imagined you would be. You may have feelings of wanting to call the stork to take back the delivery. Sleep deprivation was a huge thing for me. I was so tired....so, so, tired. There is a reason that they use sleep deprivation as a form of torture.

You're not going to want to ask for help, but you need to. I am so type A that I refused to ask for help. I wanted this baby so bad, and now I was going to be the one to take care of him. I wished I would have called on more people to help me. I could have used help with housework, meals, and babysitting, so I could sleep.

Don't pressure yourself to breastfeed. I pressured myself and I think it contributed to me being resentful of my baby. There is too much pressure put on new moms to breastfeed. Yes, breastfeeding is awesome, if you can do it, but please don't feel guilty if you can't. There are lots of babies who are formula fed, and they are walking around healthy as can be today.

People are going to overwhelm you to the point that you hate their guts, even people you love. When have a new baby, suddenly, everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, wants to come and see you. They want to put their hands all over your baby, crowd your house, and make your blood pressure sore through the roof. You're going to have this crying baby and all these people are going to be looking at you like it's your job to make it stop, while you sit there thinking, "I have no idea how to make this baby quit crying," and now I am covered in sweat and staring the door fixing to bolt as soon as no one is looking.

You may feel resentful of this new interruption to your life. You may want to run away and never return. You may see all these mamas loving and nurturing their babies like it's the most natural thing in the world, while you sit there and think, "This is isn't what I expected, and I'd like out of this situation now, please."

Please stay off the mommy blogs. The mommy blogs can be helpful, but they can also make you feel like a total failure as a new mom. Surround yourself with real, in the flesh,  moms who will lift you up and help you on this journey. I found these moms when I joined a local MOPS group. In fact, one of these moms is still my best friend to this day.

It will get better, mama, I promise. Soon, your baby will sleep through the night, and you will start to feel like yourself again. You will find your groove, and start to bond with your child. You will be okay, I promise, and you are perfectly normal if you have all of these feelings. If your feelings start to be too overwhelming to you, please go see your doctor, and don't let them brush you off. You are paying for their services, and they need to listen to you.

Oh, how I wish moms would have been more honest with me. I felt so alone, lonelier than I have ever felt in my life. I thought something was wrong with me because no one told me I may feel this way. God bless the mothers who pop them out and it's the most natural thing in the world, but that wasn't me.

So, new mama, don't feel like you're alone in this. Take it day by day, or hour by hour, if you need to, and take that help when it's offered.

I hope this helps if you're a new mom. Comment below and let me, and all the other moms out there, know that we are not alone in this! Be there and support each other with love and honesty.


1 comment:

  1. My eldest is 19, my youngest will be 2 in May. I agree with you completely, especially about staying off those mommy boards. Especially with your first baby, the transition is *rough* and no one prepares new moms for that. Your body, your relationships, even your identity changes.