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 okay, millions of women have done it before me? Well, millions of women have felt the same way you feel right now AFTER giving birth. No, I’m not inside your brain and I don’t know EXACTLY how you’re feeling, but I imagine you're thinking shit, this is a lot harder than I thought it would be. Well, guess what. It's 2000% normal to feel this way. This is the way millions of women have felt for thousands of years after having babies for the first time.
CAVEWOMAN: OMG, seriously kid? I just changed your beaver pelt like five minutes ago and you're pooping again?!
But, but, but what about all those perfect mommies you see on Facebook and Pinterest who say they LOVVVVVVED every single second with their newborns and even liked waking up with their boobie-suckers at all hours of the night because they cherished every precious moment? Well, guess what. Either A. They are insane, or B. They are 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 because 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 lightening to strike me down. Or a herd of blood-sucking overachiever moms to pounce on me. Waiting, waiting, okay, the coast is clear. They must be planning a sneak attack.
Don’t get me wrong. Newborns are awesome. Their tiny little toes that look like tic tacs, 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 HOLEEEEEEEEEEE CRAPPPPPPPPPP! I mean the first two weeks were 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 9 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,” when really what they should have been saying was “life as you know it is about to be over.” Not really, but kind of. For a little while at least.
I mean have you ever seen on TV or the movies when they torture a P.O.W.? What do they do? They won’t let him sleep and they keep him awake by blaring loud music into his ears. That’s basically what it’s like to have a newborn, only instead of a hot guy named Jack Bauer torturing you, it’s a baby who's screaming in your ear every three hours. And the only way to make him stop is to be super nice to the little jerkwad and to pamper the shit out of him. Literally. And even when you succeed he’s still gonna wake you up in a few hours to torture you again. And again. And again. And again. With no 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 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 you're like no you don't, you're just saying that because you have no F'ing clue how much this sucks. 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. 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. Without feeling too crazy, too alone or like you're 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
P.S. If this letter helped you feel a little less alone or if you know someone else who could use it, check out my book I Heart My Little A-Holes. It's full of hilarious stories about what it's REALLY like to be a parent. Here are some places you can get it: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, BooksAMillion, and IndieBound. Thank you!!!