I love new moms. I see them, and I know how brave they are. This whole new world of theirs, parenthood, is something they never could have imagined, no matter how many books they've read, no matter how much advice they've been given. I think of how much a new mom does, with little sleep, caring for a person in a way they have never done before -- with their heart living outside their body, and my eyes fill with tears because I see how determined new moms are, to do it right
Nothing stops a new mom from doing the best that she can.
I have always felt, and will always feel, that new mothers survive because they put their new role above everything that existed before. They TRY so hard, to do their best, to give this new presence in their life, the best. The bar is set high, and they compare ourselves to all the other moms -- and they see the perfection they want to attain, because they want that for their baby.
But it's not perfection. What looks like all the balls in the air is actually work. It's pushing hard and pushing on with such fury, that our bodies have to speak up for themselves, because we don't hear otherwise. We are blind and deaf to anything that doesn't involve care of our child. But our bodies know, and when pushed to the point of having no choice but to say no more, it's only then, that we stop. Because there's nothing else left to give. This point of going beyond when we should have stopped to breathe somewhere before then, is when we finally hear our weary minds ask -- is this the only way to be a good mom? Do until you can't?
A new mom forgets how much we learn from experience. No one hits the ground running when it comes to raising children. It's easier to go from two to three or three to four, then it is to go from zero to one. I remember judging and deeming myself the worst of mothers because I was exhausted to the point of tears with my first child. I was too tired to even smile, though I was overjoyed with being a new mother. I was sleeping three hours of broken sleep a night and had no idea what was happening to my life, and I felt the pressure to be happy because that's the message I received from the outside world. I would attend local moms' groups and see women there, showered, hair styled, dressed up, while I would fly into the meeting, 10 minutes late, my husband's sweatshirt over my nursing bra, and a red-faced screaming newborn in my arms.
I would sit in the middle of the group and spend the whole hour there trying to not cry. I looked like heck, my 3-week-old never stopped screaming, and the moms there not only were on time, but were going out for coffee afterward. I missed the fact that they had babies many months older than my newborn. I could barely survive the group's hour and contain my tears. I'd rush home and spend the rest of the morning crying, while trying to get my baby to sleep. I'd make myself take a two-hour walk in the afternoon, and then I'd sit by the window, holding my baby, just watching for my husband to come home.
What I want all new moms to know is that we see you. We see you trying, and loving your new little one. And as your newborn gets older, and their first smiles come along with their grateful coos, you'll return to being human again.
Your determination doesn't escape my eyes, new mom. I wish you joy and hope, and the belief in your abilities. Sooner than you can imagine, your baby will be five, six, 11, or 17, as my first baby is now. And when you remember these overwhelming days of new parenthood, please be proud.
Because new moms are amazing, and my heroes.