The words every new mum needs to hear

I remembered that mum and how she wouldn’t have thought lying in bed tired, rumpled, and still in work clothes with a baby girl tucked under one arm and all the dishes from dinner sitting dirty in the sink would have sounded even remotely appealing.

How she couldn’t imagine she’d adapt and that motherhood would start to feel as comfortable as her size 10 jeans used to.

I thought about her and I thought about you reading and how maybe no one has said out loud what you needed to hear either.

In your dark nights and desperate mornings, maybe you need someone to lean in and take you by the hands and say out loud all the crazy you think is yours and yours alone to carry. Because that’s too heavy a weight, little sister.

We know those 3 a.m. feedings and the miles of carpet walked with a wailing infant. We recognize every throw up, blow up, and days when you don’t think you can possibly show up.

We sing the same song. This wailing, celebrating, achingly beautiful warble of motherhood. It goes something like this, doesn’t it?

new mum needs

It’s like being born again into a life and a skin that doesn’t fit quite right and needs time to stretch out — this becoming someone’s mother.

You can be out of your mind with exhaustion and confusion and wonder if you’ll ever recognize yourself in the mirror again.

It can hurt to get dressed, it can hurt to discover what doesn’t fit, it can hurt to feel like you don’t fit in. No one can describe what newborn tired feels like. And the surprise can shock and paralyze.

Hours will be spent preparing to leave the house until it becomes less effort to just stay home. You can lose friends and parts of your mind that you need to do your work, run your business, manage your home, remember to pick up the toilet paper.

You are not crazy, you are simply shedding layers of your former life like so much old skin. It’s OK that it itches; it’s normal that it’s uncomfortable. It will grow on you.

Falling in love can take time — give it to yourself and your newborn in truckloads.

Leave the dishes, say yes to friends who bring meals, let go of getting all the laundry done and folded and put away all in the same day. Find at least one person that you can tell how you’re really doing when they ask.

Ditch “fine”. Reach for real.

It gets better. It does get better. Until one day you’re lying in bed with your baby girl and dreading the day she’ll be done with bottles and slurred syllables.

And on that day, remember to tell a new mum how it started. Remember how you feel right now. Remember because you’re going to need it. You’re going to need to admit out loud how it started and how it ends to a little sister who is struggling under the illusion that she has to have it al together.

She doesn’t.

You don’t.

You reading this at 3 a.m., or so late you have no idea when last you slept, and are already dreading tomorrow: It’s going to be OK. Slowly. Mostly in unexpected ways. And with more mess than you probably would like. But it is going to be OK.

Especially if you will let someone in to help carry the load.

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About the author

Lisa-Jo shares her every day chaos at LisaJoBaker.com. She welcomes you to connect with her on Facebook and Twitter. Her free eBook — The Cheerleader for Tired Moms — is available to anyone who subscribes to her blog. Click here and enter your email in the form on her side bar to receive it.