Are new parents honest when they talk about those first few weeks at home with their baby?
Ask any Mommy or Daddy that you know what the first few postpartum weeks with their baby were like. If you are lucky they will be honest with you. Chances are greater that they won’t. I have a pretty good theory as to why this is.
Let me break it down for you. Those first few weeks can really suck. And for most of us they probably did at times. Why?
• Sleepless nights
• Crazy fears about your inability to care for this little creature
• Feeling absolutely incapable of completing the simplest tasks – like going to the bathroom
• Raging hormone monsoons
• Physical pain
• Lack of schedule/structure
• Blah, blah, blah, blah
Chances are pretty good that we have suppressed those memories. Buried them in our brains underneath all of the amazing, wonderful, helpful thoughts we are choosing to remember in their place. Can we blame them? I’m on the fence with this one.
Parenthood is the first time we experience feelings of intense inadequacy and true, gut wrenching fear as an adult. By the time most of us have babies we have accomplished a few of our life long goals – if not more, saved a little money, maybe bought a house, no longer need to live off of ramen and boxed mac and cheese. We have developed a sense of self, and feel confident acting within the confines of our day to day responsibilities and routine. Having a baby can turn all of that upside down. CAN. Doesn’t have to. But still might. Trust me though, it is so worth it.
The years leading up to the birth of our first babies are so foundational for us as adults.
During this time we develop our core values and learn to act according to them. People and experiences come into our lives to teach us more and more about ourselves. Every relationship, every experience is perfectly placed so that we can develop deeper and more dynamic parts of our self. Doing so makes growing older so much more enjoyable for us. Looking back I am thrilled and humbled remembering those times in my own life. I am grateful for the good and the bad…they helped me better define who I am and continue to strive to become. The same is (or will be) true for you…I am sure of it.
Why is recognizing our values important to enjoying the postpartum weeks?
You have a choice. (I love that word!) You have a CHOICE about what you can choose to focus on during those crazy/thrilling/exhausting/gorgeous newborn days. If someone is telling you about all the reasons that those first weeks were horrible…then they are choosing not to see the beauty in them as well.
• Sleepless nights = luscious cuddles with a newborn, not having to share him/her with anyone else
• Your fear is a constant reminder to be humble and thankful for the human that you created, have the privilege to love and mold, and will love you unconditionally (this part is so AMAZING).
• Pacing the floor with a baby that won’t sleep = exercise you hadn’t planned on
• Innovating (sometimes marketable) methods for accomplishing your to do list
• Raging hormones give you an excuse to have a good cry…we all feel better after a good cry
• Physical pain is a reminder to us to take it easy on ourselves. That sensation is telling you to be gentle with your body…you just rocked the creation of a human being. That is pretty damn remarkable. Treat your body like the temple that it is!
• Lack of a schedule and structure means there is no reason you have to do anything (get dressed, sweep, wash the dishes) other than love and care for that gorgeous, sweet-smelling baby.
What memories do you want to remember?
Definitely the ones listed above.
Seven loving tips for enjoying (and remembering) those first few weeks
Recognize that in all situations there is good and bad/light and dark. We choose which side to embrace. And you can only see one side at a time. Choosing to see the light doesn’t always mean that you won’t be frustrated, exhausted, overwhelmed, etc. It means that you will have the motivation to move through those rough patches to find the peace and joy on the other side.
Here is my advice:
- ALWAYS be kind to yourself and your partner.
- Be understanding. This is new territory for you both. No amount of prenatal classes could prepare you for whatever tricks that baby has in store for you.
- Know that babies are RULE BREAKERS from the day they are born. Nothing will ever change that…and someday you will be grateful for it!
- Give yourself and your partner emotional space, accept whatever it is that they are experiencing during those times. Support each other. This is new for both of you.
- Be loving.
- Take deep breaths. The minutes feel like days, but the years feel like minutes when you are looking back.
- Get lots of fresh air. Nothing helps a gloomy mood (yours or the baby’s) than fresh air and sunshine.
CLE Mommy, RN is one more resource to help you enjoy those precious postpartum weeks, in addition to pediatricians, lactation consultants, doulas, nurses, night care specialists, support groups, virtual support groups. My services are delivered in a way that augments the benefits provided by any other expert you will be using as new parents. CLE Mommy, RN is a resource that EMPOWERS new mommies and daddies whether through my individualized, expert newborn education classes or my web content. I want every new parent to have the opportunity and knowledge to enjoy those first few tumultuous weeks at home with a newborn.
What are your tips for enjoying those first few weeks home with your baby? Share them in the comments below!
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Know someone who will soon be a new parent or grandparent? Encourage them to check out CLE Mommy, RN.
CLE Mommy, RN is devoted to EMPOWERING new parents with the exact knowledge they need to care for their new baby. Every new family is treated to private, individualized, expert newborn education classes in the comfort of their own home. Taking prenatal newborn care classes is like learning how to play an instrument before you even own it. Don’t make that mistake. Contact CLE Mommy, RN now to book your private session!