I have been talking and texting with a friend and former coworker over the past few weeks. She just had her first baby, a sweet little girl.

Our conversations brought me back to when Bay was born. I was a basket case. Between 24 hours of on and off labor, 8 hours of actual labor and an emergency c-section left me wanting for nothing but a glass of wine and a nap. A really really long nap. And yet there was little lady who needed me so completely. My hormones were bonkers. I was sleep deprived (which has never been a good look for me) and overwhelmed by the change and lack of predictability. fortunately I am married to the greatest husband and father ever and he not only talked me off the ledge, he helped me through the wide variety of emotions I was feeling and took a night shift.

All this made me think of why I want to write a book. I think there are so many books, blogs, etc out there full of moms who are glowing from the moment the cord is cut. Moms who are instantly in love with their babies, whose kids sleep “through the night” at a week old and those that breast feed with the greatest of ease. But what about the real side of being a new mom? Why is no one talking about being totally freaked out about the whole thing? About loving this little person, but loving the idea of sleeping for 14 hours juuusstt a little bit more? Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my daughter, but I will be honest  saying that I had a break down when we came home from the hospital because I didn’t love her enough. I felt like I should have been feeling something that I wasn’t feeling.  And how I was afraid to tell people that I was only breast-feeding a little because I was afraid of the judgement and or tips” from the listener.

Six months after Baylor was born, on Christmas Eve, she slept for 12 hours straight. It is to this day, the best gift I’ve ever had. When I came out of the sleepless haze, I started talking to friends with kids and realized I wasn’t alone in my feelings. Again, I asked; “why isn’t anyone talking about this??”.

Maybe the answer is that even if warned, lectured, schooled, we can’t really know what it’s going to be like until we’re in it. But I still want to know why there aren’t at least warnings – at least beyond “yeah, you’re not going to sleep for awhile”. But maybe it’s the lie that we tell ourselves that makes us go through with it. Like why you even entertain the idea of having a second child – you lie to yourself. “The second will sleep amazing because they have to” or “We know what we’re doing now!!”.

Either way, I think society puts too much pressure on new moms (and on moms in general) to do it all and with clean and blown out hair too. I think it’s time we start standing up and saying “this part really sucks, literally and figuratively and it’s hard!” and cutting each other and ourselves some slack when we can’t do it all every day. I think if we can embrace the days where we don’t get a shower or brush our teeth before 3pm, it will make the days where we say “I did it!” feel so much better.

A few very funny and oh-so-true mom quotes:

If evolution really works, how come mothers only have two hands? ~ Milton Berle

Raising a kid is part joy and part guerilla warfare.~ Ed Asner

Any mother could perform the jobs of several air-traffic controllers with ease. – Lisa Alther

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11 thoughts on “

  1. laura says:

    I couldn’t agree anymore!! No one prepared me for the “baby blues” so once I was going through them I felt horrible and so guilty! I’d like to say that the second baby was easy and that I appreciated the newborn stage more, but it wasn’t and I didn’t, I was more scared than with first born! When Rylie was just two weeks, my husband informed me he was going out of town for work, this would be the first time I’m left alone with both kids….for whatever reason I was scared to death, thankfully the three of us survived! Rylie is four months now, I finally feel confident and comfortable with two kiddos! It amazes me everyday how much I can handle! As I read this post I am sitting holding a sleeping baby, still in my pjs, gross hair and dried sweat, allowing my three year old to destroy her bedroom and its 230pm…..and I don’t care! Please write the book!

  2. brandy says:

    this post scares me. because once you have a baby, you cant put it back in and then you have to figure out how to keep it alive. i cant even keep my basil plant alive. i know that sounds silly, but i think its a big (scary) deal!!

  3. Sally says:

    Agree 100%! Thanks for voicing this – I had a similar experience coming home and thinking “now what” and wishing and waiting for months to sleep more than 3 hours at a stretch. (Sleep training at 6 months literally changed my life.) Motherhood has been the grandest and hardest adventure of my life. It does get easier with baby #2 – because you are less worried, and because you are so busy worrying about the older child that the younger one is just lucky not to be left behind in the supermarket shopping basket. As for getting sleep with the second baby, if you can afford it, pay for a night nanny. It radically changed the way I experienced my baby’s first three months.
    Write the book! I would read it, and laugh and weep at the same time.

  4. Christiane says:

    Amen, sister! You know I’m with you on this. Being a new mom is equal parts more insanely wonderful and more overwhelminingly demoralizing than I ever would have believed. Your life is completely and irrevocably changed and, at least for the first few months (or years), no longer remotely your own. And then factor in the total lack of sleep and it’s a recipe for a meltdown. My problem prior to joining the sisterhood was reading too many celebrity magazines where women always refer to the complete, utter joy that comes with being mothers. I forgot to factor in their nannies, cleaning ladies, personal chefs, dog walkers, gardiners, personal trainers, stylists, and executive assistants, who probably added a lot to their joy quota. If all I’d had to do was cuddle my baby and coo at her, I’d be blissed out, too!

    • bethwand says:

      I think if it doesn’t scare you, something is wrong! That is one of the worst parts at first – they finally go to sleep and then you can’t sleep because you’re worried they will stop breathing. The bottom line is that it’s totally worth it, there should just be some additional warnings and lots more honesty and support !

      • Brandie says:

        LOVE your blog! We are less than 10 days out from meeting our baby boy (number 3). There is no way to prepare for the lack of sleep…and despite everyone’s advice to enjoy the sleep I’m getting now, it’s not great either (how can one get a good night of sleep with little feet kicking their ribs and having to repeatedly empty their bladder?). I don’t think it matters if it’s your first or your third…having a new baby is scary! I’m so with you!!
        🙂
        Brandie

  5. Tori Nelson says:

    Beth, I’ve been on vacation, but I’m glad I’m getting to read this now. I couldn’t agree MORE. I remember person after person remarking “Isn’t it the most precious experience?” right after my son was born. I didn’t feel like I could honestly respond with “Um. No. I hate this and I’m sucking on epic levels at this mom thing.” I think more women go through that first slap of reality, that first panic that parenting isn’t the soft and cuddly niceness they expected than you know!

    I wrote this post a while ago, and I think you could relate!
    http://torinelson.wordpress.com/2010/12/14/i-did-not-have-postpartum-depression-i-never-even-killed-anyone/

  6. Donna says:

    Thank you for validating how I feel. I think the Navy Seal quote is the best. I love you advice and appreciate our friendship.

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