Dear Brand New Mom

by Karen Alpert
Originally Published: 

Dear Brand New Mom,

Let me start by saying this. You are not:



Doing a bad job.

Remember when you were scared about giving birth and you told yourself it’s OK, millions of women have done it before me? Well, millions of women have felt exactly the way you feel right now. No, I’m not inside your brain and I don’t know EXACTLY how you’re feeling, but I promise you we have all gone through the pain that you are going through right now. The pain of being a mom for the first time. I know, I know, you knew it was going to be hard, but you probably didn’t know it was going to be THIS hard.

But, but, but what about all those perfect mommies on Facebook and Pinterest who say they LOVVVVVVED every single second with their newborn and even liked changing poopie diapers and waking up with their boobie-suckers at all hours because they cherished every precious moment? Well, guess what. They’re lying. I mean, maybe they don’t know they’re lying because they don’t remember what it was really like, and I don’t blame them; it’s probably just their body’s way of blacking it out because the memories are too much to handle. Because having a newborn for the first time kinda sorta sucks.

Please hold for a moment while I wait for the lightning to strike me down. Or a herd of blood-sucking overachiever moms to pounce on me. Waiting…waiting…OK, the coast is clear. They must be planning a sneak attack.

Don’t get me wrong. Newborns are awesome. Their tiny little toes you want to eat, the smell of their heads (just don’t smell the other end), the way they wrap their itty bitty fingers around yours and squeeze, and when they yawn it’s like the most adorable thing ever. But that’s about it. I remember when I had Zoey for the first time and HOLY CRAP! I mean the first two weeks were kinda sorta okay because all she did was sleep and I was like yayyyyy we got a good one, but after that HOLEEEEEEEEE CRAPPPPPPPPPP. No one ever told me it was gonna be like this. And why would they? When I was preggers, I was walking around on cloud nine anticipating an amazing bundle of joy, so who the hell would burst my gigantic bubble and warn me what it was really going to be like. They’d jokingly say shit like “sleep now” or “go on a babymoon while you still can,” when what they really should have said was “enjoy your life because it’s about to be over.” Not really, but kind of. For a little while at least.

I mean, have you ever seen a P.O.W. getting tortured on TV? What do they do? They won’t let him sleep and keep him awake by blaring loud music into his ears. That’s basically what it’s like to have a newborn, only instead of Mr. Meanie Interrogator, it’s a baby who won’t let you sleep because he’s screaming in your ear every three hours (if you’re lucky). And the only way to make him stop is to be super nice and pamper the shit out of him. Literally. But even when you succeed, he’s still gonna wake you up again in a few hours to torture you again. And again. And again. Without an end in sight.

Oh, and add to that the fact that your hormones are ricocheting off every wall in your body like you’re a human pinball machine. And add to that the fact that you might be breastfeeding for the first time so your nipples feel like they’re being burned with acid and eaten by fire ants. And add to that the fact that you might not be breastfeeding and your boobs feel like they’re gigantic water balloons strapped on the faucet and there’s no way to turn off the water and they’re going to explode. And add to that the fact that your husband can’t seem to do anything right and even says stupid shit that makes you wanna smack him like “I wish I could feed the baby.” And add to that the fact that every mom you know (especially yours and his) thinks they should tell you what to do.

So I just wish someone could have told me that being a new parent kind of sucks at first. That way I would have known it wasn’t just me. That way I would have known I wasn’t a failure. That way I would have known that I wasn’t a bad mom. And that it was going to get easier. Well, not easier, but better. In some ways. Worse in others.

So that’s why I’m writing you this letter. To say congratulations on your new baby!!! I hope you cherish these days. And by cherish I mean get through them and know that you’re not crazy, alone or doing a bad job, no matter how much it feels like it.


Someone who’s been-there-done-that and now uses no fewer than three types of birth control even though she loves her kiddos very very much.

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