Every circumstance, person, and child is unique, so rest assured I am NOT putting this out there saying 'this is what you must do.' I've just been reflecting lately on how I got through my first baby in that precious life-changing newborn stage as a first time Mommy.
Firstly though, I must state that I did not have a traumatic birth/delivery with my little one. There was pain involved and I definitely cried and screamed at times, but on the inside I was literally beaming with excitement and joy to finally get to meet my baby! Also, I never suffered from any postpartum depression, in fact I kind of had the opposite; I had a postpartum slap happy high that honestly lasted months and months, gradually fading out unnoticeably over time. Another thing - I didn't really require any physical recovery from childbirth.
Anyways, now that you all hate me - here are 9 things that helped me survive the newborn stage as a first-time Mommy:
1. I never read any books, went to any classes, nor listened to the majority of other moms regarding anything birth and baby related. Reason being is that the major theme that would come out from these sources was that it was going to be HARD WORK AND LOTS OF IT! It was all just a super wet blanket I knew I had to steer clear of. Not to say that the whole birth thing and dealing with a newborn is all rainbows and butterflies... but it kind of is. You're having a baby/ have a baby! How freaking awesome is that! You get to be a Mommy! No one will ever need or want you more than this little creature, and you will never love anyone (other than your other kids to follow of course!) the way you get to love this sweet babe. They are yours and you are theirs. It's not spoken or written enough the abundance of overwhelming love that consumes you.
2. I didn't let anyone (other than my dear husband and I) clean my home - laundry, dishes, floors, etc. This one's probably just specific to me. I get so stressed when others clean my house, and stress was the last thing I needed/wanted having a newborn to tend to. I could deal with living in the mess because I knew it was temporary and it was not on my list of priorities for this certain duration. What I really wanted/needed the most from others was just the doting on my little one; holding her and telling me how beautiful and wonderful she was. Thankfully, my life is full of the most wonderful family and friends, so this was greatly accomplished. Also, I got 2 or 3 meals given to us and it was just so nice to be nourished without all the effort we'd have to put into it before hand.
3. I only read/watched/played on a screen when there was literally nothing else I could do. Which means only when she was eating (which ya was a lot). It gave me permission to waste that time on entertainment, but also the freedom of not getting addicted to it. It was shut off the minute she was done and then I could finally spend that time snuggling, staring, talking, making faces, and listening to her sweet self.
4. I didn't take that many photos or videos of her. Rest assured I did take plenty, but there were days even weeks (gasp!) when I never pulled out that camera. I just wanted to be a part of all those moments and enjoy them without the camera-grabbing stress. There will be plenty of photos for her to have and look through when she's older, but a million of her at the newborn stage to me was just a needless task.
5. I prioritized. Food and sleep was all I needed. Of course her needs came before mine, and there were plenty, but when I got those moments when she was with my husband or sleeping I always chose my 2 basic needs always. I'd quickly down on some cupboard munch or leftovers and jump into bed!
6. I had many write-off days. Phone's were on silent, doors were locked and I shut myself in: No showers, no getting dressed, no cleaning, no cooking, no hair done, no make-up, no leaving the house, and no people. Days like that may sound awful to others, but I really truly just loved them. I gave my newborn all she would need and we would grab those zzz's as much as we could. No worrying about anything or anyone else, just us :)
7. I married a real good man. This action was made long ago, but it has paid off times a million; Most especially when you have a baby with him! He picked up where I lacked, he loved that little girl and her momma like crazy, and did anything and everything he could for us. He helped even more than I ever expected or anticipated. I highly recommend it to everyone when going through the newborn stages as a Mommy!
8. I knew that this time was fleeting. Any of the hard, any of the messy, any overwhelming stings of exhaustion were swallowed up entirely by just knowing that this wouldn't last long. She would grow up; she would no longer need me 24/7, she would no longer fit into my one arm, she would no longer make those baby sounds, she would no longer wake me up at all hours of the night, she would no longer have those itty bitty hands, those tiny feet, those perfectly little lips... one day she would no longer be this little baby of mine. Knowing this brought me wanting and soaking in every moment, and not only enjoying but deeply loving every aspect of it all, of her, and of me.
Lastly, but the most important:
9. I was grateful. I don't think anyone can fully comprehend what an amazing gift a child is, but I definitely had a knowledge of how very fortunate I was. Waking up from dreaming to a crying little one was just the pinch I needed to know this dream was real! I really do get to keep her! I have a baby! This gratitude left me with many overwhelming happy tears and made it a pure joy to be able to take care of this precious gift from heaven.
It's such a beautiful mess of a time that I am so blessed to be able to have had!
Heaven's slice is loving your newborn.