The One Thing I Needed To Hear As A New Mom

My Advice To New Moms: ‘It Gets Better’

need-to-hear-new-mom-1
Courtesy of Kaley Branch

Life is hard. Mom life is harder. Sure, you love your child more than life itself. Your sweet baby is the axis on which your world spins. But mama, it’s okay. It’s okay to want that axis to slow down a bit. It’s okay to crave time away. It’s okay to be alone … or try to remember what alone even felt like. It’s okay to allow yourself the feelings of sadness, anger, yearning. You are responsible for an entire human being. A life 100 % outside your own.

Maybe you look back at old Facebook memories from years gone by and you wonder where that woman went. Where’s that spark? That bubbly personality? That freedom to come and go as you pleased, sleep as late as you want, save money for concert tickets or maybe for just a few drinks with the girls? And Lord knows I see these memories and wonder “Okay, but where did that body go?!” It’s true what they say–you don’t know what you have until it’s gone.

But mama, it gets better.

Truth bomb: I have suffered greatly with depression since having my seven-month-old. I’m suffering from it as we speak. His unexpected medical diagnosis at one month of age sent me in to somewhat of a tailspin. I’ve always been a sensitive, emotional person but this? This tested me and it tests me still. I’ve doubted my strength. I’ve questioned my ability to care for a life that is deemed “medically fragile.” I’ve sat and held my baby and been overcome with feelings of fear and anxiety. I wake up every day and worry hits me right square in the face. First thing. To this day. Stress has overtaken happiness at times. The calm, stable, predictable life I once knew is gone.

But mama, it gets better.

I’ve had feelings of envy when I’ve seen others traveling, living carefree lives with clean clothes free of spit-up, bags that aren’t filled with diapers, bottles and butt cream. I’ve even (and I’m not proud of this!) allowed myself to feel jealous of mothers whose children aren’t struggling with a disease like mine is, moms that don’t have to give their babies medication three times a day, kids that are running free without any real worry of stomach bugs and broken bones.

But mama, it gets better.

It’s hard to see it sometimes. I’ll admit it. I’ve sat on the couch after having put a fussy, crying, exhausted baby down for a nap and I’ve cried. I’ve leaned against the wall of the shower, water rolling down my back while tears streamed down my face. I’ve laid in bed and wondered how I was going to possibly muster up the strength to get out from under my blanket, find the courage to face a new day.

And then, it started getting better.

I hear my baby’s laugh. Or I see him discover something new. I watch in awe as he hits a new milestone, surpasses a growth goal, or makes a new sound. He is innocence. He is love. He is happiness. He is mine.

God gave me a new purpose when he gave me my son. I have to believe that. He knows I am capable. He knows I am able. He sees me in a light that I have yet to see myself but I’m trying. He knows exactly what He’s doing and he knows exactly what I will do. He knows that I can. Mama, you can, too.

Courtesy of Kaley Branch

It’s a hard pill to swallow to let go of the person you once were and become the person you’re meant to be now. But, man. This kid. This kid is unabashed joy. He is unscathed by life, he is untouched. He has no scars, no worries. But he does have me.

He has his mama to hold on to, to protect him. He has me to look up to, to reach out for. It won’t always be like this. One day, he won’t nestle his head into the crook of my arm, fall asleep soundly on my chest. He won’t cry out for me, scan the room until his eyes meet mine and a smile spreads across his tiny face.

He won’t always need me. But I will always need him. He teaches me selflessness. He allows me to see the world through a child’s eyes, full of wonder and contentment. He reminds me to breathe. To savor the little things. To give thanks. To hold on tight to the people I love. To laugh loudly, to feel happiness with total abandon. To be silly, let loose, dance around the kitchen late at night and feel truly alive. It won’t always be easy, it will never be perfect. It’s okay to miss the “old you.”

But mama, this is so much better.