When I first started my pregnancy, I thought it would all be super easy.
I figured I'd give birth without drugs, feed my baby with ease, and everything else you need to learn would come naturally. I would just know the right option, because that's what moms do, right? I was very sure of it. Can anyone else relate?
Fast forward to my first daughter's birth.
I had a C-section. Not what I planned.
We were left alone in the recovery room without any instructions due to an emergency. Not what I planned.
The lactation consultant in the hospital scared me to death. I left the hospital in pain, thinking my body had failed me. Full of milk but afraid to latch my baby on and not sure why they sent us home with this crying baby. NOT WHAT I PLANNED.
I felt like a complete failure as a mom. I laid my daughter in her crib, in her beautifully decorated nursery and then went to bed crying. After my husband finished unloading the car, he came in to check on me. I had noticed the baby had stopped crying and he came into the room with her. He looked like he knew what he was doing, but there I was, miserable and ruining everything. He said to me gently, "She is your daughter, and she wants her mama. Why don't you try feeding her?" (God bless gentle, kind husbands everywhere!) And that day, right there, she latched on and nursed.
Our nursing journey only lasted a few weeks, but that's a whole other blog post. The point is that all my carefully laid out plans went out the window in those first few hours/days/weeks.
My first days postpartum were horrible.
We got no sleep, we barely ate and my stomach hurt from surgery.
Dirty diapers, spit up and endless loads of laundry were now my new normal. We did not have a plan for help or people around us to do that. We were going it alone. It was overwhelming, it was exhausting, it was raw and real. Somehow we got through it.
My husband was right, you know? She is my daughter --and she (still) wants her mama. My arms, my milk, my comfort, my songs--these were enough for her in those days. Sometimes when I would cry and feel like I was losing it all, she would look up at me. Her little lips would start to make those early smiles. Her eyes would follow me as if to say, "YOU ARE ENOUGH! You are my mom and I already love you!" That newborn baby taught me what's important and what she needed. And that is someone to love her and hold her and feed her. She taught me how to trust myself and believe I could be a good mom even when I thought I was doing all of that wrong....whatever "that" was. That first child helped me tap into my intuition, my mother's heart. Those skills have led me through many years of parenting. DEAR MOM-- trust yourself, listen to that small voice inside. Respond to your baby's needs. They somehow let you know. It doesn't always happen right away. For some it can take months or even years to feel comfortable at this parenting gig. We never quite figure it all out especially with the first one. Even I am learning new ways to parent and I've been doing this for many years. But don't forget you were made for this! TAKE HEART and be confident that an easier day will come! BELIEVE that someday you will be the one helping a new mom. BE ENCOURAGED that many moms are walking this road with you right now. TRUST that baby. If you are struggling and need some encouragement, reach out. I would love to talk to you.