On October 16th, 2018 we became a family of four. Seeing our oldest hold his little brother filled my heart to the brim. Blessed with a healthy baby boy, a smooth delivery, and 12 weeks paid maternity leave, we headed home to settle into our new “normal”.
In the days and weeks that followed, I found myself in a place I had hoped I wouldn’t be again. A place that HATED the newborn stage: around the clock feedings, sleep deprivation that made me feel insane, and the roller coaster of emotions that seemed to never end.
Now that we’re finally sleeping again, I’ve taken a step back to process what happened over the last six months. Another mom friend described this stage as “pure survival mode” and I couldn’t relate more.
I’m now in a place that’s filled with complete and utter JOY about being a mom of two boys. Watching them interact and giggle at each other is a daily reminder of how worth it it was. I couldn’t always see the light at the end of the tunnel…but here’s how I survived the newborn stage and came out on the other side:
I admitted I wasn’t “OK”
Y’all, I cried…a lot. Deep down I was hoping and praying things would be easier the second time around. I wasn’t nearly as nervous, but I was just as emotional as the first time. When friends asked how it was going, I started being more honest and admitted that the newborn stage is NOT my favorite. It’s a complete b*tch to be honest. You know what? I realized I WASN’T ALONE! The more I shared the truth, the more support I found. The more women I related to who were also desperate to get past this season while simultaneously not wanting it to go too fast.
I made movement a priority
I’m someone who feels at my very best when I’ve moved my body in some way. I stayed active all through both pregnancies, but getting back on the horse post-baby is so hard. Between the feedings, blowouts, and twenty minute naps, there were about 1,000 reasons to not prioritize myself. After eight weeks, I couldn’t stand it anymore. At that moment, I made a promise to myself to MOVE at least every other day. I’ll tell you, it made a HUGE difference and I haven’t let go of that promise yet.
I started saying “no” more often
Oh boy, this is hard one. I said “no” to things I really didn’t want to miss. I said “no” when I felt like I might be letting someone down. You know what? It was fine. It’s still a work in progress, but letting go of some of the “people pleaser” in me has opened up more time for us to savor these moments as a family–these moments that are all passing too quickly.
I planned a girls weekend
Ladies, moms, all of us: WE NEED MORE TIME WITH GIRLFRIENDS. I am so bad at this, extremely bad at this. I find excuses to not plan trips or go see my college friends because of the inner guilt I feel leaving the boys. However, taking time to escape and just be ME for a few days was everything. Four of us planned a weekend in Phoenix and I couldn’t be more thankful. It was time not only to relax and unwind, but to connect with some incredibly strong women who have been going through this same season of life! And that, my friends, is priceless.
I put this project on hold…and stopped feeling guilty about it
I had this FABULOUS idea to launch a blog less than a month before my due date. HAHAHAHAHA. Looking back I don’t regret getting it out there. I don’t regret it even if I didn’t (and still don’t) have it all figured out. I DO regret the pressure I put on myself to make progress on it the minute we got home from the hospital. Excuse me, WTF? Letting go of this notion that I need to always be accomplishing something was a weight off my shoulders. Giving myself the space to take one day at a time has made me calmer, more patient, and more present.
To all the moms (and dads) out there who are in the thick of it: it gets better. I know you’ve heard that already…but I swear to you it gets SO MUCH BETTER. I’d love to know, how are you surviving the newborn stage? What do you need? Please give yourself a HUGE break right now and don’t be afraid to let things go. You’ll get back to being you, I promise. xoxo