Can we all stop faking the funk and just fess up that the first two months with a newborn are the fucking worst?
I love being a mother with every fiber of my being. I would throw myself in front of a truck for my two kids. And I am not belittling the miracle or blessing of having children. After a marriage, baby, divorce, and remarriage, I suffered a miscarriage that destroyed me, followed by a traumatic pregnancy with my second baby. So I am beyond grateful for my two healthy girls and everything it took to have them.
But I don’t understand why everyone is afraid to say how much it sucks out loud instead of to yourself as you try to rock a colicky baby to sleep at 2:30 a.m. when you really want to rock in a corner all by yourself. The admission does not mean you are not madly in love with your baby. It means you are human and can only take so much sometimes.
Everyone paints all of these rainbows and butterflies around bringing a baby home, but nobody talks about how awful it can be. Why? Why can’t we just be real about it? You know, like when someone asks, “OMG Susan! How’s motherhood treating you?”
Instead of saying, “It’s so great. I’ve never been happier or more fulfilled in my life,” you say, “You know what, Carol? It’s fucking miserable. Nobody in my house is sleeping. I can’t get my shit together. I forgot to eat all day yesterday. My clothes are covered in bodily fluids that are not mine, and there isn’t enough coffee on the planet right now.”
That first two months feels like you are sinking in quicksand while trying to catch watermelons covered in KY Jelly. Let me detail some of the fun:
– You’re so sleep deprived that you actually start to feel like a three-hour stretch of sleep is the best thing to happen to you since the epidural.
– Speaking of sleep, you want to punch everyone in the face who says, “Just sleep when the baby sleeps.”
– You have to log every time your kid eats because your mind is such a hot mess that it’s actually possible to forget the last time you fed a tiny human who depends on you for survival.
– You have no idea when you last showered.
– Everything your husband says and does is pissing you off.
– Actually, everything anyone says and does is pissing you off.
– You have this brand new amazing life in your hands and all he/she does is cry, sleep, eat, poop, cry, poop, cry, eat, cry, cry, cry.
– If you’re breastfeeding, you are getting up to feed and/or pump every two to three hours and are treated to the delightful experience of dry, cracked, bleeding nipples.
– You don’t own a single piece of clothing that is not spattered with bodily fluids.
– You’ve lost track of all time. Is it a weekday or weekend? I don’t know!
– Even when the baby isn’t crying, you still hear crying because you are slowly losing your mind.
– The laundry pile is out of control, and you can’t make a dent because you’re too busy rinsing out shit-filled onesies.
Treat this list as a sampling because there is so much more!
Here’s the skinny: The first two months with a newborn is a shitshow figuratively and literally. If you’re a new mom, hang in there, I promise that the majority of the stuff you are feeling and experiencing is so normal and there will be a light at the end of the tunnel. Starting with that first time the baby sleeps through the night. Seriously, you’ll feel like you just got back from a weeklong vacay in the Maldives (or in mom terms, a solo-trip to Target).
And if you know a new mom, here’s how you can help. When you visit, maybe bring a trenta, 30-shot espresso-laced coffee and throw a load of laundry in. Tell her to go take like an hourlong shower and even shave her legs while you hold the baby, who ironically will probably not make a peep because the real magic happens after 2 a.m.
But please, please let’s stop pretending that the first two months are not impossible AF. Let’s own it and recognize that we are all in this together, mamas.