To that exhausted, terrified, overwhelmed, and frustrated new mom, here’s a letter of encouragement:
As I write this, you are wondering if you’re in over your head with this motherhood thing. I get it! I’ve been there! You are wondering if you will ever have any semblance of your normal life back! Actually, first and foremost, you’re wondering if you’ll ever sleep again. You’re wondering how you can possibly be expected to keep up this frantic pace, physically and emotionally, for the foreseeable future. You’re wondering if there’s something wrong with you, because you’re not immediately happy and delighted about being a mother. All you feel is tired and confused. I want to tell you three things that I hope you will try and remember. Maybe they will help you start to swim, instead of just barely treading water.
First, I’m here to tell you that you and your child will sleep again. I promise you, all your friends and family, who are telling you that this won’t be forever and that you will get on a more normal sleep schedule, aren’t lying to you. It really will happen. They aren’t just patronizing you. Most of them are remembering their own sleep-deprived days and telling you that there really is a light at the end of the tunnel, because they witnessed their own. You will sleep again and so will your child. And you will be amazed at just how wonderful you will both feel after just a little normal sleep. It will get better! In the meantime, it’s okay to drink lots of coffee and cry when your child wakes up at 4 AM, again.
New Mom, keep reading this note of encouragement.
Second, you will find a rhythm and routine. All of this feeding, changing, dressing, extra cleaning and cooking, and laundry, eventually won’t feel so crazy and impossible to handle. You will find a new normal, where all the stuff that needs to be done every day won’t be so intense. That routine looks very different for every family, but you’ll find yours. And it’s very okay if it doesn’t look like the way your mom did things or how your best friend runs her home or how your favorite parenting expert says you should do this or that. All that matters is that you will find your normal. And sometimes, if at the end of a day, all that has happened is that your child was fed, dressed and fairly clean, that’s enough! It’s all right if you didn’t get to the dishes in the sink or read her all the books or color all the pictures with her. Not everything has to be done every day.