After our son was born, my husband sent me on an overnight getaway to a hotel in the mountains. Because I was nursing, I took along six-week-old Rich. That was the plan. Daddy Richard knew I was exhausted from waking up so many times each night with the baby, running after our three-year-old daughter, helping with the teens at church, and keeping the proverbial home fires burning.
It was a nice gesture on my husband’s part, and since I hadn’t told him what I needed (daily help/support so I could get frequent little naps, a listening ear, validation that I was doing an okay job, and help with meals), it was his way of saying, “I care.”
Yet sadly, I became so concerned (okay, anxious!) that I please him, appear grateful, and do the getaway just right that my muscles tensed, my mind raced, and my ears over-sensitized listening for a baby-cry that wasn’t even there. I didn’t sleep a wink. Nada! Bummer.
I wish I would have shared my needs a little more openly. I might have been able to relax and get more sleep if I had. So Mommy, if you identify with any part of my experience, please take a “hind-sight” tip from me. If the way you’ve been attempting to “do” your new mommy-hood hasn’t been working that well, try a different tactic. Really ask for what you need. Make room for self-care. Adjust your unrealistic expectations. Be gentle with yourself–and your family. God is.
Remember that whenever anyone starts a new career, there is a steep learning curve. And by the way, if what you’ve been doing is working and you’re getting good rest and gaining strength, keep it up.
I adapted the above story from my book, Nourishment for New Moms. It contains simple and practical guidance (and lots of mommy-stories) for maintaining grace, poise, and a sense of humor with yourself and your baby. Chapters include:
And I’d love to hear from you about your NEW MOMS days.
Joan C. Webb
Writing, teaching, coaching to empower and set free.