You’re holding your newborn baby in your arms. The whole world stands still. Nothing else matters. You watch that tiny belly rise and fall with every breath that he/she takes and its the most reassuring thing you have right now because everything else seems like a giant blur. Your index finger is being gripped in your baby’s hand. It feels amazing. You take another big swift of your baby’s head, oh that newborn smell! There’s an indescribable joy knowing you are everything your baby needs. You can’t believe that 9 months have passed by and you’re finally looking at your beautiful baby!
Then your baby gets fussy because he/she is hungry. You say, “I got this,” so you eagerly snap those buttons open and gently move your baby’s face to your chest, and…nothing happens. Your baby keeps moving away from you, and now he/she is not only crying, but screaming. You look around the room and realize that your partner is sound asleep, snoring the night away on the cold couch covered with a white, thin hospital blanket with his feet dangling off the edge. Then it dawns on you…You don’t got this. You are alone. You are tired. You are in pain. You are thirsty, most likely you’re hungry. And now, you feel incompetent.
Does this story sound familiar to you?
All those months of preparation for this exact moment. The eagerness of welcoming a baby into this world. The cute outfits you have planned for your baby. The public outings you can’t wait to attend with your bundle of joy. The doctor visits, the playdates, the family coming over to see the baby…Ok, wait a minute here, I JUST had a baby…am I really ready to do all this?! How do I feel? In a blink of an eye, my life has changed. I have just been promoted to MOM. And I don’t feel ready. I read countless parenting articles, watched numerous vlogs on “how to care for your baby” but the realization hits me: how on earth am I supposed to take care of a baby and my spouse, cook, clean, and wait, what about…me?! Does anyone care about how I’m feeling?
Every birth story is different. I’m not here to share mine, that will be for another time. But if I can be completely honest with you, and tell you exactly how I felt when I first became a mom and that was that yes, I felt happy and blessed, but I also felt very lonely.
Yes, I had the best “team” supporting me along the way, but having a baby puts a toll in your life, in your emotions, in your overall wellbeing that many, MANY women are not ready for. There is no manual that can help us navigate these feelings, to help us understand what we are going through. But I remember sharing these feelings with a few other close mom-friends of mine that help put my feelings at ease. I remember crying to my husband and telling him that I don’t feel like I can do this, that I don’t feel pretty anymore, and that I’m really sad but didn’t know why.
Being a first-time mom was full of ups and downs. It wasn’t all bliss and calmness, there were many moments I felt super unsure of myself, I felt sad, I felt incapable, and I felt like I was loosing myself. Yes, everything about having a newborn in the house is true: Your life will never be the same. You can either take that phrase positively or negatively. So I’m here to tell you how I got through this specific phase and what I did to get through this.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11: 28-30.
This little baby of mine was a gift from God and there was my hope: God has entrusted ME for this specific task. Even though I felt alone, I wasn’t completely alone. I was being too hard on myself. Setting up false expectations of what a mom is supposed to do, feel, and look. I pretended that everything was fine and dandy when in reality I was broken inside. I am human, I have feelings and emotions like everyone else.
The reason why I was feeling burnt out, inadequate, insufficient, and alone was because I was doing everything on my own strength. I had to learn to give myself a little more grace and to know that I am enough, that I was made for this, that I am capable, and that I am a supermom! I was trying so hard to check off everything from a list, trying to make everything around me perfect, trying to make it seem like I had everything under control when really I was losing myself. But how I dealt with these feelings is what determined the outcome of my circumstances. So what did I do?
I had to let GO, and let God. I stopped trying to be someone I was not. I had to learn who I was, whose I was, and what my purpose in life was in this specific season. I surrounded myself with people who motivated me, who lifted me up, and who were constantly praying for me. I realized that God sent people to help me and that regardless of how overwhelmed I felt, that I can always find rest if only I knew where to go and who to turn to.
I stopped being prideful and I began to accept help, I was not afraid to admit when I was wrong, and I stopped assuming that I knew everything there was to know about being a mom. And if I can be completely honest with you,… all I really needed was someone to give me a hug. Suddenly my struggles didn’t seem so bad anymore and I no longer felt alone. I felt understood, loved, and cared for.
Let’s face it, being a parent is tough enough so why do we try to do everything on our own? That’s not only impossible, but that’s also a form of pride. We have to learn to build each other up, to lend a hand every now and then, to open our hearts to those who are hurting, and to be there for those who need a friend.
One last thought I want to leave you with is this; we can’t be existing in a performance-based life, but rather be living in a relational-based life. Who has God entrusted you to? Who has God assigned to you? Who have you felt God moving you to? No, I’m not only talking about new moms anymore but really, anyone. The reality is that more and more people are becoming more selfish, more isolated, and they are hurting. My hope is that as you read this post that it may encourage you to lift up someone you know. Maybe it is a close friend of yours who just became a mom, maybe it’s that new coworker who always eats alone, or maybe it’s that same guy you see working behind the cash register. Whoever that is, extend them some grace, let them know that they matter! And if you are that mom who has had these same feelings of hopelessness, I want to personally extend my hand to you. Please do not hesitate to contact me! Don’t be shy! Let’s talk, you will get through this!