Real talk. I’m a new mom. And as such, over the last six point five months of Lincoln’s life, I have been learning that a lot of the bullshit you hear when you’re expecting or caring for a new baby is just that– total bull.
I know I’m not the first woman to have a baby nor to ever feel this way, and while I may be uniquely resistant to unsolicited advice and argumentative responses as a somewhat aggressive Leo… I still feel the need to shed some light on what, in my personal experience, I feel other new and expectant moms should at least have an opportunity to know: That some of these “facts” may not apply to you, and that that is okay.
Also, a small nod to the upcoming Super Bowl Sunday as I enhance my bitching with football gifs.
The instant bond.
Picture this: You’re in labor for twenty hundred hours. You’re exhausted, coming off of whatever drugs you were given. Your hormones are boarding a roller coaster with no foreseeable end. The giant belly is gone and in its place, you’re handed this tiny, swaddled, adorable baby burrito that you’ve been trying to picture for eight+ months.
(Ok real talk. I’m getting slightly emotional typing this out because I’m obsessed with him. Now. I’m obsessed with him now. So much so that it’s incredibly difficult even imagining a time where I wasn’t. And the moment you see your baby for the first time after months and months of trying to imagine what they look like is nothing short of amazing and you will cry. But if you called up my mom and asked how I was feeling those first couple weeks? You wouldn’t be hearing much about new baby bliss. 😂)
Don’t get me wrong. You love your baby, and the desire take care of them feels instinctual (even if “instinctual” in the same way as having a gun to your head and your instinct is to not get shot). But for real, you do love them. He or she is so cute and innocent and gosh just so f*cking needy. Round-the-clock needy. Needier than you’d even guess possible. It’s hard. It’s demanding. It’s so different than anything you have experienced, assumed it would be or are used to. You love your baby. But you don’t know if you like them yet. I mean, you will. I promise. But like, it’s ok if you’re not smitten and jumping around in a cloud of euphoria like the movies and tv shows make it seem.
If you are, that’s great, and I’m so happy for you and your experience. But I’m still going to wonder if you’re not just super sleep-deprived. 👀
Either way, it’s a survival game, and you’re an emotional hot mess, but you will both make it out the other side. So the bond is a real thing, it just doesn’t have to be some magical transformation that happens immediately. And that is okay, and something that more expectant moms should be especially aware of.
You’re under enough pressure. Don’t put more on yourself.
You can’t spoil a baby
I’ve had a couple people tell me this one. I’ve learned that it’s just code for “I’m holding your baby.”
Can you love a baby too much? Of course not. Should you be letting your newborn self-soothe? No. I personally don’t even let Lincoln cry it out and he’s over six months now. But if he’s content at the moment and I prefer he be left that way so that he knows he isn’t only happy whilst held, I don’t want said preference to be met with an argument to the tune of “you can’t spoil a baby.”
Real talk? You absolutely f***ing can 😂. No, not fresh out of the womb. And maybe not all babies? I don’t know. I just have the one. But at least that one can be over-held, and it’s truly like poking a hangry bear when people throw general statements at me in regards to this specific baby who is learning to entertain himself a little bit and whose progress is completely reset every time he is over-held.
Rest assured, I am also on the chopping block for this, as there have been an uncomfy number of situations since the holidays started where we were out of the house for a large chunk of time, and yours truly either forgot or opted not to bring any of his toys to put him in. 🙃
It takes a village
I mean. It does. But only if you want it to.
I am a firm believer in asking for help if you need or want it. But I am equally cemented in the belief that, if you don’t want it, and you’re doing just fine without it and want to forge your own way, your journey through early babyhood does not have to include a village of eager beavers ready with open arms for the squishy newborns. It’s okay to say no. Especially in the early days when you’re exhausted and trying to find some sort of routine, and there is a 90% chance a boob will pop out or start leaking. And when you do say no, that no should be respected.
In those early days, when he was content, I wanted to hold him. If people were offering to come over and do all the cooking and cleaning and ironing? Be my guest. But that’s not typically what people mean when they are offering to come over during the early weeks. Shoutout to my mom and mom-in-law though for actually offering to do that grunt work. And an extra shoutout to my mom who still does my ironing to this day simply because I don’t want to. And I would’ve accepted this particular offer long before baby. Ironing sucks. 😬
Back to the point though? There’s nothing wrong with you if your overall feeling towards visitors in the first few weeks is simply “go away.”
You need a break.
You don’t have to “need a break” & I have found it pretty uncomfy to have multiple people telling me when I need a break, and that I should go out and leave my baby with them. A friend of mine is experiencing this with people as well and it’s the strangest concept to me.
Look bruh, for starters, I don’t need a break from him. I just need him to stop crying 24/8 if God forbid I put him down to go pee or eat something that isn’t a cookie. I want a break from the crying sound. Not the baby. And I get that break when he is napping. So we’re all good here.
Second, if I were to go out, I’d undoubtedly end up at Target or Home Goods spending all the monies on things I don’t need all while worrying about him anyway, so it won’t be very relaxing for me after all.
Further, why is it that people keep telling me I need a break? I haven’t gone a single day without getting dressed in actual people clothes, wearing makeup or doing at least something with my hair since I got home from the hospital, so I’m starting to get a little offended that people look at me and decide I need a break. 😂
On second thought, I do need a break. From people telling me that I need a break.
Was I always this touchy? I don’t know. 🤔
Breast is best
Feed your baby. That’s what’s best. Don’t desperately try to wring out your lady bits if you don’t want to or can’t all because someone decided to get cute when they realized the word “breast” rhymed with “best,” and shame new moms who don’t have a baby hanging off their boob every hour or so.
Lincoln had a tongue tie and a bad latch. I tried nursing, it was awful and giving me crazy emotional anxiety spells in the hospital whenever he was hungry which– spoiler alert — is all the f***ing time as a newborn. It made me feel selfish for actually getting nervous for him to wake up when the poor thing was just so desperately wanting to eat that he was literally dive-bombing my boob at one day old. Eventually a godsend of a nurse named Cara said “do you want to try formula?” and once we plugged that little bottle into his mouth, he was the most content I’d ever seen him. He was like a different baby.
For real. I think I was a touch delusional post-birth because there was actually a point where bonkers Sam was sitting in the hospital bed actually thinking, “they changed my baby, that can’t be him” and thought he looked different to me. (I mean, to be fair, he was different. He was full & content for the first time in his earth-side life. Bless his little heart.) Rest assured, I fell asleep for a bit and the fog lifted and I knew that he was, in fact, still the same child.
But anyway, I pumped and supplemented with formula for the first couple months, and I’m still pumping to this day, and he is growing like a weed and looks like a baby linebacker so.. Formula, breast milk, whatever. JUST FEED THEM and worry about what everyone else has to say later. They can pass judgment when they are on call 24/7 for the rest of their young lives. Until then, silencio, por favor.
It gets easier
Straight up? It does not. 😂 When he was a newborn, I heard once the newborn phase is over, it gets easier. When he was 4 months old, I heard 6 months. Now at 6 months I’m hearing 7-8 months.
I have realized that this is just a carrot being dangled in front of you until the end of time so that you don’t leave your baby on the front steps of the fire station or local church when you’re having a rough day.
I mean, it’s fine, because you definitely get used to the level of difficulty. But like, thus far? It hasn’t gotten “easier.” It hasn’t gotten harder, per se. But it’s not like Lincoln woke up one morning and decided he could take care of himself all day long.
So maybe it does feel more manageable. It certainly feels normal for me to get the amount of sleep I do, and when I think back to the days before Lincoln, I don’t even remember what that felt like, and I have no clue wtf I did all day long.
(Lol, yes I do. We moved three times & I watched TV. A lot of it. At least while pregnant and living with my in-laws until our current house was ready.)
But in all seriousness, try not to wait for certain milestones or count down until they are a certain age in the hopes that things will magically become easy. Because from what I’ve heard from my own parents, it’s never easy, and from my own experience, while each new development has had its own share of new difficulties, I already find myself tearing up at the idea of him getting bigger and older and less dependent.
Time is fleeting, y’all. Try your best to stay present, and enjoy your little bub while he or she is a little bub.
And don’t let external commentary from people who aren’t in your shoes make you feel guilty or like you’re not doing a good job. Because you grew, birthed and are keeping a human alive. You’re a f***ing warrior.
Thanks for coming to my TED talk.