A woman I know – a brand new mom – reached out on Facebook the other day to mention how much her world had been rocked by the arrival of her son. She mentioned this without a positive or negative spin. There was no whining or wonder, just a mom noting how much her life had changed and how much hard work parenting a newborn is.
Then came the responses. There were so many women telling her to enjoy her baby! Cherish these moments! Change is good! He is adorable! Welcome to your new normal! Your life has been changed for the better! It is a love you’ve never known! Welcome to MY world – now you get it! You’ll miss these days when they’re gone!
Blarghggghhlll, these posts gave me reflux.
How do we forget so quickly?
Why does “We’ve done it, so can you.” sound so dismissive rather than supportive?
The subtext of so many of these types of comments seems unkind and unsupportive:
Enjoy your baby! (Stop whining. We’ve all been there.)
Cherish these moments! (Stop whining. Why dwell on the bad stuff?)
Change is good! (Stop whining. What did you expect?)
How do we forget that the newborn “new normal” is occasionally terrifying, always exhausting, and can throw a person completely off kilter, no matter how much they love the little milky, loose-skinned, froggy-legged baby asleep on their chest?
Smiling. And exhausted. June, 2010.
I think my poet friend’s response was best “You are doing it! And you can do it! <3 <3 <3 “ No subtext. Just support and love from another new mom who isn’t so far past that newborn world-rocking that she forgets what it is like.
Because it is so hard – it is bigger, more all-encompassing than that even. And you just do it. You get through the days, you get through the nights. You have good moments, bad ones, lots of tired ones. You call in your village if you have one. Or you call your village if they are far away. Or you call your doctor. You accept help, pay for it, ask for it, or struggle through without it. You do it. You just do.
June 2010. Pickle, Baby Bear and Me.
I’m making a promise to myself that I’ll try my darnedest not to forget the feelings, the exhaustion, the crazy way the universe shifted completely when Pickle was born. And I promise my friends that I’ll never demand that they cherish their baby and enjoy every damn moment. I’ll just love them, remind them of their own strength, hold them up when they need me to and bring dinner when possible.