Dear long-ago me,
I see you hunched over the bassinet, tears of confusion running down your face as you sigh before picking up the tiny baby. “Why is he crying? Again,” you wonder.
You are exhausted and it’s exhaustion like you have never known. It’s bone-deep and crippling.
There are so many things I remember about being an overwhelmed, confused and tired new mum.
And now, looking back, I actually wish I could do it again.
But I can’t. Instead, I long to put an arm around you, my earlier self, kiss that beautiful bubba of ours and whisper a few things in your ear. Because while I can’t have my time again, there are some things I wish I knew.
You CAN do this
When you doubt your mum-ability, stamina or mental state, I want you to know you’re nailing it! You are actually doing this, even though your confidence needs to catch up with your track record. What track record, you ask? I’m talking about our little baby who is so content in your loving arms.
I want you to have more self-belief. I want you to look at him and know you are his world. There is no better mum to our baby than YOU. He cries because he’s communicating with you, not because you are failing or getting it wrong.
Your heart will guide you
The inner voice that’s telling you to pick him up and just rock him? That’s your mum-gut. I know you question it, but please don’t. Our baby and that wonderful intuition of yours is actually telling you what to do.
Please listen to it.
It’s all OK
It’s OK to hold our baby ALL DAY because that’s what you feel he needs. You are not ‘creating a rod for your own back’ or teaching him bad habits as others might advise you. He’s a baby. He’s not broken or in need of training. Just love him.
It’s OK if the routine doesn’t work, you think the baby book is full of sh!t, you give him a dummy or you ignore the midwife’s advice. You can’t actually fail at being the mum you are. It’s OK to do whatever works, even if that’s breastfeeding him to sleep every time. There is no rule book. You do you, Mama!
Also, it’s OK to say ‘no’ to people. No to visitors if you aren’t feeling up to it. No to anything that’s going to cause you anxiety. No to invitations from well-meaning people who don’t understand that our baby is actually a ball and chain right now.
Allow yourself to just be a mum right now. Just a mum. That’s more than enough.
You are recording this time
I know your heart is exploding hourly. That your bubba is dropping love bombs on you all the time.
I’m talking about how you feel when you see that first hint of a smile. The way he gazes at you when you feed him, making you realise HE is the meaning of life. How you want to breathe him in when his peach fuzz hair brushes your cheek. The feel of his little body in the sling as you gently sway him from side to side as you unstack the dishwasher.
I would tell you to record it all, write it down, take more photos and videos, but you are tired. You have enough to do.
But I want you to know that even though you may not get around to this, you will remember. You will hold these precious first memories in your heart.
So yes, please keep on cherishing this fleeting time because it will be over before you know it. And one day, you will look back and wish you had your time again.