I was inspired to write this blog post while I was watching TV with my husband. A commercial came on that showed a woman with her just born baby on her chest. My husband asked me how it felt at the moment your baby is just born and thinking about that made me think it might be a good idea to share some thoughts now that my children are grown and I can sit back and reflect.
If this is your first baby and you are on social media with friends and people you follow that have babies, it can really seem that having baby is a perfect experience and that you fall in love with your perfect baby the minute it is born. No worries, no fears, just unicorns and rainbows.
Actually, it is a bit more complicated than that.
Having a baby is an indescribable experience. So many emotions come flooding in and all at an extreme level. Love, worry, fear, compassion, protection, and so many more. When they laid my son on my chest, everything I had thought, dreamed of or worried about moved out of the abstract and became a reality. Yes, you know you're having a baby and that your life will change, blah, blah, blah, but it is not until that moment that the reality of it all sets in. That sounds so cliche doesn't it? So, to answer my husbands question, I felt joy and fear. Joy that he was finally here and fear that I would not know what to do or I would not do a good job. The nurse had to show me how to change a diaper, how to nurse, how to hold him and I wasn't even out of the hospital yet. What happens when I bring him home?
I think it is important that all expecting moms know that your baby will be an individual, with individual moods and schedules and personalities. When you bring your baby home, you will spend the first several weeks and months figuring out who they are and they will also be figuring out who you are.
When they are new born and all they do is eat, sleep and get changed, it can be a little lonelier than you might think. Some babies like to be held all the time(my daughter), some don't (my son). When you have changed them and fed them and done everything you can think of but they still won't stop fussing or crying it can be very frustrating. I naively and I guess selfishly thought that my baby would know me (after all we had spent nine months together) and when I picked him up he would just calm right down. Not. So. Much.
I say all of this because, in our perfect Instagram worthy world, it can seem like you are not measuring up. It seemed like that when I had children and there wasn't anything called social media. Photos of beautiful smiling babies and perfectly dressed moms can be depressing when all you want to do is be in sweats every day. Add that to the fact that people can be cruel without even knowing it and everyone has an opinion on how you could be doing a better job. Funny, now that I think of it, there is no job in the world where everyone you meet on the street thinks that they should weigh in on how you are performing.
I had a really good friend tell me that it is not important to be perfect and, with the exception of a few, all moms do the absolute best job that they can and that is really all that your baby needs. I think that is really, really good advice. Every baby cries, every baby is fussy, every baby smiles. Don't forget that the photos of the beautiful smiling babies are precious because they are not doing it all of the time. So, take a deep breath and when your baby comes, don't stress just do the best that you can.