The first heavy snowfall of 2019 started on a Friday evening and accumulated throughout the night and well into Saturday morning.
Knowing many folks would be staying cozy at home, my husband, kids and I decided to host an impromptu pancake breakfast for our neighbors. To our delight, the majority accepted our invitation. By 10 a.m., my husband and I flipped our final pancake, refilled all the coffee and teacups, and walked away from our messy kitchen to sit down with our guests.
Our street had a mini baby boom that summer and fall. There were at least five babies under the age of six months and four of them were their parents’ FIRST born. I hadn’t realized it until many of them showed up at our house that snowy morning, but this was the first time they’d seen each other since becoming parents.
I watched the moms bouncing their little ones on their hips. They stood in my dining room, exchanging stories about sleepless nights, teething troubles, and advice their pediatricians had given them. Dads were holding daughters whose faces sported tiny, feminine versions of their own smiles.
I saw joy and camaraderie.
But every so often I also spotted what looked like flickers of uncertainty, especially in the moms’ eyes. A small glance toward the floor as they talked about the approach they have taken with nighttime sleep. Or breastfeeding. Or childcare. Any and all of the above.
It brought me right back.
Eleven years ago, I delighted in my firstborn babe, and fretted about her cries, and her feedings. While many detailed memories of those days are fuzzy, that feeling is not forgotten. When I saw these new moms’ eyes, I saw myself. There are lots of things I wish I could say to the new-mom version of myself. I wish I could direct her eyes away from the doubts and help her see what I can see now.
I can’t do that, but maybe I can for the new moms in my life. And for ANY new moms who might be reading this. Will you humor me for a minute or two while I share my heart?
Encouragement for New Moms
First of all, my goodness, you are beautiful. You’re beautiful!
You are tired and you might not shower as often as you wish but your beauty and strength are blossoming.
When I see you playing with your baby and making her laugh, you are beautiful!
When I hear your babe screaming as you desperately try to console him, you are beautiful.
And when you get out for a night with your girlfriends, a date with your partner or a coffee by yourself, I think you are beautiful.
Now I have a quick word about the future. Some things really will get easier. People told me this fairly often when I was in the spitting-up, diapering, sleep-deprived trenches of infant and toddler parenting. I never believed them, but this one actually is true. Your baby’s independence will grow. You’ll eventually sleep again and your kiddo might just zip up his own winter coat one day. The tables will probably turn and you’ll embarrass them in public more than they will embarrass you!
I have been a mother for over a decade, but please don’t assume that I actually have a clue what I’m doing. I may have EXPERIENCED a bit more than you have by this point, and I will always welcome your questions or requests for advice. But I truly don’t know more than you.
Being a mom isn’t about being a child-rearing expert. It’s about being an expert on your own child, and you are!
If there’s anything I’ll claim to know that you might not, it is this (whether or not you’re a new mom): You are a wonderful mom and you are doing a great job.