Dear new mom with her bagel and coffee,
My husband had the day off of work, so I packed up my computer and headed to Panera for two hours in order to write in peace. I saw you walk in to the cafe with your teeny tiny sleeping newborn. I saw you get your coffee and bagel and begin scrolling through your phone.
My immediate thoughts were romanticized. I remembered, with hazy rose-colored glasses, those days when my first son was born. Things were quiet, he slept all of the time, and our days were filled with endless snuggles and newborn smells. So much more peaceful than life with two boys is now.
A warm fuzzy feeling filled my heart as I looked at you. The same warm fuzzy feeling that I saw bubble out of others when I would go out in public with my newborn. I couldn’t help but look at your little girl snoozing away and smile. In fact, I almost pulled out my phone to text my sister-in-law and have her join me in my nostalgic trip down memory lane.
Then, I really remembered. The days, instead of being filled with the snuggles featured on diaper boxes, were instead filled with milk-stained nursing tank tops, a laundry hamper that was always overflowing, and more tears than I thought my eyes could ever produce.
I remember trying to figure out how I could leave the house when my baby seemed to eat every 35 minutes. I remember crying to my mom on the phone because the baby just wouldn’t stop crying.
I remember the fear and anxiety that slowly crept in each night as I laid my head on the pillow. I was anxious my baby would wake up as soon as I shut my eyes, and I had more fear that he wouldn’t wake up at all. I would lie awake listening to him breathe, wondering if his breathing sounded normal or not.
People would ooh and ahh over my son and tell me that they missed those days. I didn’t understand. How could you miss days you barely remember due to sleep deprivation? I started to feel like something was wrong with me. Why wasn’t I soaking all of this in and floating on a cloud of baby euphoria? How come I found myself dreading middle of the night nursing sessions instead of looking forward to peaceful moments with my baby?
I know now there wasn’t anything wrong with me. The first weeks, months, even years as a mama are HARD. That little baby of mine is two years old now. Though I still have years before a driver’s license and college applications, I find myself already missing those newborn days. He is becoming more boy than baby, and I yearn for time to pause for just a little bit.
So, new mom with your bagel and coffee, I see you. I see that you may have been up with your baby girl since 4 a.m. even though she is peacefully sleeping now. I see that this bagel and coffee may be the first time you’ve eaten breakfast this week. I see that it may have taken you two hours to get out of the house this morning and that it may be your biggest event this week.
I won’t walk over to you and reminisce about how wonderful the newborn days are; I know that when you are in the thick of it, they can seem anything but wonderful. I won’t walk over to you and ask about your beautiful sleeping newborn and risk waking her up.
Enjoy this moment of peace and quiet, and enjoy your coffee hot—the way it should be. Things will get easier, and even if you don’t think it right now, you will miss these days. (Except the sleep deprivation. You won’t ever miss that).