From the moment you pee on a stick, producing two blue lines, your life as you know it will never be the same. Snug and hidden there, inside you, is an actual little being yet, despite the positive test, it all feels surreal.
In the coming months your belly grows, along with the rest of you. You walk like a penguin and chocolate is your only vice.
You shop. You paint. You take your vitamins. You read baby-related books and obsessively view births on TLC. You do your best to prepare for your baby’s arrival by immersing yourself in all things baby.
You’re as ready as you can be, literally about to burst. Yet, it still feels surreal. And surreal it remains until the moment you hold your baby in your arms, at which time reality sets in.
Taking Your Baby Home
At this point, in your role as a new mom, you’ve likely been struck with a newfound appreciation for your own mother. You may also feel completely shell-shocked or perhaps you reckon yourself a warrior goddess. Either way, it’s time to take your new little bundle home.
You shuffle your battered warrior body to the car where you inspect your partner’s car seat installation skills. You give your stamp of approval or perhaps you make a few adjustments. You then buckle your little bundle in and embark upon the most cautious car journey of your life.
And finally, you are home.
Realizing the Changes
There, the days and nights begin to blend into one long blur of feeding, crying (not just the baby), cooing, cuddling, burping, visiting, picture taking—not to mention the ongoing struggle to adjust to segmented sleeping. Despite proactive planning, enthusiasm, love, togetherness, strength, and every other feeling noun or verb one can muster up, this new addition has turned your existence upside down. Not only that, your existence has then been twisted inside out, tossed around a bit, slowly and exhaustedly chugged around the corner, and then plopped back down again leaving you sitting there (perhaps even rocking side to side, there, whether the baby is in your arms or not).
Frazzled, dazzled, and far from vajazzled, you have survived the first week—the initiation week into the not-so-exclusive Motherhood Club. Barely or with flying colors (like that even exists)—it doesn’t matter, you are now a lifelong member.
Coming to Terms With the Mess
And there you sit, with your beautiful 1-week-old baby, in the middle of your new existence. Perhaps you mourn the loss of your former one, and maybe you’ve forgotten what life used to be like. You look around blankly at all of the newly acquired goods and the growing piles of dirty laundry, not knowing where to begin. You note the depth of your tiredness, wondering how it’s possible to feel tired even in your bones. You’ve not likely come to terms with what your nether regions have been through or the challenges they continue to face. Nor do you appreciate your husband’s over-willingness to retell the birthing experience in all of its glory.
Accepting That You Are a Warrior Goddess
If you were shell-shocked at the beginning of the week, you may now be warming up to the idea that you are, actually, a bit of a warrior goddess. If you aren’t yet convinced, you should be. You did it! Feel accomplished, no matter what the circumstances are. You have brought a new little person into the world and that little person is 1 week old.
Being OK With It All
Now, if you happen to come face to face with your reflection in the mirror, try not to panic. There will be time, in the future, to address the state of your body and to style that warrior mane. For now, just washing your hair is a luxury. Enjoy it. Unfortunately your baby’s needs do hinder your showering opportunities so be patient and consider it a simple pleasure when it does happen. Oftentimes, a shower can save the day (or at least your sanity), so do try to seize the moment when it arises.
Know that it is OK that coordinating your slippers with your sweatshirt has become the new fancy. Just go with the flow. Be in the now. Enjoy the warmth of your new little bundle. Try to let go of expectations, your own and other people’s, and when you get the chance to sleep, take it. Even warrior goddesses need naps.