I initially thought about naming this post ‘the postpartum season- not for wimps’ but decided against it considering it wasn’t very eloquent. I’ve been “on the job” for just over 11 weeks now and I find myself conflicted most days.
So.. I decided to jot down a few lessons I have learned over the past 11 weeks since becoming a new mum.. I’m sure there will be many more lessons to follow…
You don’t have to have it all together all the time
No one prepares you for the overwhelming sense of responsibility that hits you like a ton of bricks when you give birth. I remember sitting on a plastic chair in the shower after giving birth, and with tears pouring down my face I asked him “What if I’m a bad mum? What if I don’t know what to do..” I was so overwhelmed with a self-placed expectation to have it all together. When I was pregnant I very much had an idealistic view of what having a baby would be like. I’m not just talking about the birth- I’m talking about life with a baby. I read plenty of books about raising babies and sleep training. I watched youtube videos and read articles online- even with all this research there are days that I don’t have it all together and I struggle to muster up nurturing feelings towards Ava. I hope this doesn’t make me sound like a bad mum.. I would die for her, but when she is sitting in a car screaming for no apparent reason (yes, just yesterday, in stop start traffic) I struggle big time! Guess what? Ava survived yesterday.. and so did I! Life lesson- even on your worst days your baby will survive!
You may do everything right but she will still throw some of the bottle up!
The first time Ava threw up some of her bottle I cried like a baby. It was so heart breaking to watch.. since then she has probably spat up 30 or more times.. On average, if she has had 5 bottles a day, for 11 weeks that’s 385 bottles at least!!! I tried changing the way she lay, the teet, tilting the bottle, keeping her upright.. nothing seems to work.. Life lesson- I can do everything right and things will still get messy!
Worrying won’t get you anywhere
I have envisioned Ava at almost every stage of life and it terrifies me. Every time I see a teenage girl and her mum my mind races to conjure up images of what Ava will look like.. and whether her and I will be best friends like my mum and I. Will we be sitting for coffee or laughing at each others jokes.. where will we be in 12 years time? I see pictures of a father and her daughter at a wedding and I start getting teary thinking about Greg giving Ava to a man to love and cherish. The Bible says that “..all things work together for good”.. Life lesson- Rest in His peace that you are raising a good person! Invite the Lord into every parenting decision you may be facing. God has blessed us with a baby to raise so He will help us!
Don’t trust instagram
I’ve known this for a long time, but instagram is the highlight reel of most people’s lives. For every “perfect” photo there has to be 10 that are miss-matched, chaotic and imperfect! I know.. I’ve tried photographing a newborn! Don’t take everything you see at face value…Life lesson- comparison is the thief of joy..
Surround yourself with people who love you!
Having friends that will force you out of the house are friends that you should surround yourself with! Friends (and my mum) have been my saving grace these past few months! Whether it’s a coffee date, or a play date at someone’s home- community has kept me from becoming a recluse.. I cherish them! Surround yourself with people who won’t let you disappear!
This to shall pass..
Your baby will not be a baby forever. You may not be able to see it now but she will get bigger, and become more self-sufficient. If you choose to, you will go back to work and have that responsibility of helping run a business for a few hours a day instead of managing bottles and nappies. This has probably been the hardest thing for me. From working full-time and being heavily involved in our local Church to timing bottles and changing a bazillion nappies every week it’s been a very big shock to the system. I have to remind myself daily that Ava will not be 3 months old forever..haha.. it sounds very much like common sense, but it’s hard trust me!
and last but not least.. Just because you find parenting hard doesn’t mean you’re failing at it..
Raising Ava, at this young age, comes with its learning curves- curves that will change during different seasons of her life- they will get steeper and plateau and hopefully stay manageable- as a new mum, if you’re finding it hard to process all the changes, it doesn’t mean you’re ungrateful for the blessing of your baby and it doesn’t mean your failing at mothering. It’s okay to struggle to find the new you, it’s okay if your baby is not your whole world- You can be you and a mum they don’t have to become synonymous.
Wherever you are, if you are a new mum, I hope you’ve found comfort in my ramblings.
P.S Here’s a little photo dump of my growing bebé. I can’t help it..