My sister became a first time mom on Friday morning. Suddenly I’ve found myself back in time four and a half years ago to that first night that I brought Brennan, my first born, home from the hospital…
Dear First Time Mom,
Welcome to the ‘hood, the motherhood that is! You aren’t crazy that you joined us in this life changing event; although I realize that you may feel like you were insane to decide to join the ranks of mothers who’ve gone before you. Here are the things that we’ve all experienced, those things that may have already happened to you or are yet to come and how yes, you are normal:
That first poop that you have to take….it can be terrifying, especially if you have stitches down there. Don’t worry, you probably won’t rip everything out and the more you relax the easier it’ll be. Trust me, I have it on good authority from an older relative of mine, that you don’t want to make yourself constipated.
It’s completely normal to feel scared when you’re leaving the hospital. I remember being so sad after I was discharged and sent home with Brennan. I felt like I couldn’t do it on my own, how would I know what he needed without help from the amazing nurses that cared for both of us. This really is a normal feeling and you DO know what you’re doing but it’s a first and that in and of itself is scary.
The first two nights at home can go one of two ways, especially for those of you who are breastfeeding: night number one can be great, night number two can be horrific OR vice versa, night number two is the challenging one while night number one is a breeze. Chances are good that your milk hasn’t come in so baby is starting to feel those hunger pains and is only getting colostrum when he nurses. Don’t worry, your milk will come in four or five days after you have your baby. In the meantime it’s all hands on deck, making sure that you, new mama, are able to get some sleep. And on that note…
You are going to be more sleep deprived than you ever imagined. This one’s for my sister who was surprised by how “selfish and guilty” she felt after her first night home because her darling little boy would not sleep so she couldn’t sleep. Why did she feel selfish? Because her goal became more about getting her son to sleep so that she could sleep. Those of you with children already are probably joining me in my head shaking thinking, “Girl friend, you are anything but selfish. A woman’s got to sleep too!!” I’ll say it for all of us: It’s okay to be selfish about your sleep which leads me to my next point…
Some armies use sleep deprivation as a form of torture. Yes, torture. When sleep deprived you will think and possibly act in a way that is not of sound mind and that, my friends, is why you need to understand that it’s okay to set baby down in a safe place, step away for a few seconds, count to four (like Daniel Tiger says), calm down and then resume to soothing baby. All in all, you need your sleep and it’s going to be challenging to get it. If you need to, ask for help from family, friends, your partner or spouse, anyone that you trust. You don’t have to be Super Woman.
Go easy on yourself and understand that you aren’t the first woman to wonder why on earth you decided to get pregnant in the first place. You are normal, whatever the true definition of normal is, and you will be okay. You can do this even though you’ll need help. We all needed help too.