Emma Kate Warren was born on 9/12/2017. In the age of Wiki and all the information available at our fingertips I thought I was 100% ready for motherhood (all seasoned moms laughing a little here right now). I took prenatal classes, I learned prenatal yoga and rocked it! I had every plan to read a book (but who am I kidding, was too tired to do much else) But ya know, I had my baby showers, I had all the supplies needed….I got this. Ya know, I really did have this. However, I absolutely lacked one really important thing: Grace for myself.
If I could go back in time, say 9/11/2017, and have a quick 15 minute conversation with Destiny (probably after those 11 hours of no-med labor when I finally got some relief from the epidural) OR, if I could give you a little bit of advice new mamma. These are the five things I’d tell myself the day before I held my little Emma.
- Fed is best. So whether it’s formula or breast milk, give yourself grace. If you’re trying so hard but don’t have a large supply, or if the pain is so much that you just can’t go on. Maybe you have post-traumatic stress from a previous babe and stressful breastfeeding experience. You’re not a failure. Give yourself grace. Thank goodness for formula, baby is fed. That’s what matters. Give her what you can, or don’t if it’s too much for you. Baby feeds off of your mood as well, so don’t let it steal your joy.
- Babies cry, it’s not a reflection of you. So who cares if your in-laws are over to see the baby. OF COURSE they want to see the baby. Baby crying is not a reflection of your motherhood. Babies cry. You’re a great mom. Breathe some grace into your situation, and sometimes let someone else hold the baby. You need a break, take it.
- LET OTHERS HELP YOU. I feel like this is a point everyone told me, but I didn’t want to “put my mom out” when she was over. What was I thinking!? Let your family and friends clean your house, you take a nap. Is your mom OFFERING to watch the baby so you can nap. Don’t say no, please nap. You have earned the nap. Who cares what the house looks like if you don’t have anyone there offering help. Snuggle your babe tighter, and the house will be ok. Breathe grace in, breathe grace out.
- Co-sleep, no co-sleep? Do what feels right to you with no shame. It only makes sense that your little baby who slept so close to you for 10 months wants to sleep close to you still. No justification needed, you both need sleep and you’re not a bad mom. You’re just tired. So do it, or not-but do what is right for you and don’t look back. When those thoughts come creeping in, just gift yourself some grace. You’re doing a great job-let that be enough.
- “Comparison is the thief of Joy” -C. S. Lewis. Don’t let yourself go there. It’s unfair to you to compare your journey to another’s. We are all too different. Situations are so different. Give yourself grace. Compare your journey to no one else’s-and I promise you-you’ll live with more freedom.
I hope I get the chance to be a new mom to another baby some day. I know I’ll come back to this same post when the hormones are through the roof, all reason has gone out of the window and I begin to let myself believe lies that current Destiny would be shocked by. Words have life, and I truly believe what we say to ourselves (even when its just a thought) can become true when we tell ourselves enough.
The grace you would extend to another mama, give to yourself as well. You’re worth that and more.