adorable newborn baby child - when newborn phase not what you expected

First of all, congratulations on your new baby!  This is such an exciting time of life for you!  But if it is anything similar to my experience, it can also be filled with a lot of the unexpected. Have you ever heard the term “baby blues”?  Yep, that’s what we are talking about here.

Before we have a baby of our own, this is how we may image life to be.

What You May Have Pictured Life with a Newborn to Be

You peruse through and adore all the newborn pictures on Instagram.  These sweet pictures of perfection, serenity, and innocence.

You prepare for this baby in every way possible. 

Decorate the nursery? Check.

Stash enough diapers and adorable outfits to last a year? Check.

Pack the diaper bag and hospital bag? Check.

Read every possible article on how to survive labor and delivery? Check.

You so carefully labor over what your baby will wear for the first pictures and the going-home outfit.

You make sure to have those newborn photos taken because you never want to forget this special moment or this special person.  Your photographer may have even captured some shots that look like the other pictures on Instagram. Perfection, serenity, and sweet innocence.

Somehow we expect life with a newborn to be something like these pictures.  Then real life happens….

Sometimes life with a newborn can be more than we signed up for…

What Life with a Newborn Is Really Like

In all your preparation for your baby, you may not have thought much about your own physical recovery.  Yet, this is an ever-present force while you are adjusting to life with a newborn, and it just cannot be ignored.

The pain—oh, the pain!  Vaginal burning, itching, and stinging. The stitches on the most sensitive part of your body.  The smell of death, causing you to wonder if this is all normal or if you have an infection.  Wearing pads for weeks on end to catch the flow, then breaking out with a diaper rash from the irritation.  Hemorrhoids that feel like you have a cluster of grapes stuck in your crack.  Good luck finding a comfortable way to sit.

Your bottom isn’t the only thing that hurts.  Your boobs are a mess.  First, the struggle to bring your milk in.  Then, engorgement and leaky boobs once the milk does come in.  Still, you worry about whether you are making enough milk for your baby.  Then there are the sore nipples and wondering if your baby is latching properly.

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Other random and unforeseen pains and annoyances are happening now too.  Continued pelvic and hip pain.  Night sweats.  Hair loss.  Every muscle in your body aching from the intense pushing.

The continued contractions.  I thought I was done with contractions!  Didn’t I already give birth to my baby?!

The uncontrollable flow of tears.  Over big things.  Over little things.  Scratch that—everything is a big deal right now.  Why do I cry every time I hear that lullaby?! …and… Why did I choose this for my nursery color?! …and… Why am I crying again?!!

The struggle with body image and the realization that your body may never be the same again.

Sleep deprivation—even worse than the pregnancy insomnia because now you have a little one who needs you to be semi-functional every hour of both day and night.

The incessant crying and demands of this little stranger, this leech who does not yet have the capacity to give love but only to receive it.

The projectile spit up.  The smell of vomit on your baby and in your hair.

Wiping up pee and poop from the diaper, from the changing station, from your face.

Having such little energy that you just get that diaper on your baby and don’t bother with that cute outfit you had once pictured your newborn wearing.

Not knowing how to calm this baby and feeling like you missed out on having all the “natural motherly instincts.”

Wondering why you ever wanted to have a baby in the first place. 

Questioning your sanity in every waking moment.

Feeling like you are going crazy.

Living in this constant state of overwhelm.

Wondering if your baby would be better off without you and asking yourself if you should just give him up for adoption.

Thinking that you don’t have what it takes to be a good mom.

You think, Maybe everyone else is just naturally a good mom, and I just wasn’t meant to be a mom.

Constantly worrying if you are doing things right—because this just doesn’t feel right.  And it certainly doesn’t look like any of those pictures on Instagram!

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When does life with a newborn get easier?

As a mom of two, I am just going to tell you that it is okay.

Really it is, so I’ll say that again.  Slowly.

It. Is. Okay.

I know that you are feeling so overwhelmed.  It will be okay, I promise!

You are feeling inadequate.  It is okay, I promise!

It won’t be like this for forever, I promise! Life with get easier with your baby.

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You are definitely in an overwhelming time of life right now.  Let’s not make light of that.  Your body just went through (and is still going through) the hardest physical activity it has ever endured.  You need time for recovery.

Besides all the physical hardships your body is enduring, your hormones are out-of-balance as they are seeking a new norm as well.  Hormones might be microscopic, but they are certainly not a small matter!  The uncontrollable flow of tears? Hormones.  The feeling that you’re going crazy? Hormones.  All your feelings of self-doubt? Hormones. Those hormones are no joke.  And unfortunately you don’t have any control over them and just have to wait it out until your hormones are done doing their thing.

But I’ll say it again—It is okay!  This is all within the range of normal.

Those other moms who posted the perfect Instagram photos of their babies?  You’d better believe it that they went through this too!  You just never know what really goes on behind a screen.

All your feelings of inadequacy as a mom?  You are a good mom!

That feeling that you are lacking in all the natural motherly instincts? It is okay.  It will all come to you—and you have more in you than you give yourself credit for.

Feeling overwhelmed?  You are doing awesome! Really!  Please just let everything else go, and focus on you and the baby right now.  Because that is all that really matters in this postpartum phase.  It is okay!  Life really will get back to a semi-normal state after a while.  But until then, it is imperative that you let the rest of it go!

And that nonsense about wondering if your baby would be better off without you?  Sweet mama, you are the most precious gift that God could have given to your baby!  Don’t ever doubt that for a minute!

{Disclaimer: It’s important to note here, however, that if you ever feel like you want to harm yourself or your baby, please seek immediate professional help!  That is not normal, and you should seek treatment immediately.}

And do you know what?  One of these days, you will see your baby smile, and you will be reminded that all this struggle is totally worth it.

One day, you will be able to sleep again.  You will be able to look back at those newborn photos and wonder just how someone so little could grow so fast.  And you will be able to smile to yourself, knowing that you are so strong and overcame so much.

And it may all happen sooner than you think.

It will all be okay!