“Hello. Can you hear me?” I asked.
She couldn’t hear me. She was so focused on that beautiful baby. She was just staring at the baby’s tiny, soft toes. She began to gently stroke her little fingers. This was her first pregnancy, delivery and birth. This beautiful, amazing blessing was her first child—her daughter.
I could see the amazement in her eyes. She was thinking, “How could I have created this angelic human being?” I could also see that she was tired—more like exhausted. As I watched the nurse hand her the baby for feeding time, I could see the anxiousness on her face. I watched as she continued to struggle to get that sweet princess to latch. As a tear, caused by her daughter’s curdling hunger cries, rolled down her cheek, I encouraged her to push through this struggle. I put my hand on her hand and whispered in her ear . . .
“You are me. You are me almost six years ago. You now have three beautiful, strong, and healthy children. You can do this and you will do this. You will do this to the best of your ability, because that is how you approach everything. You may be a first-time mom, but you are still Supermom. I am going to give you advice, here and now, that I need for you to remember. It is this advice that will help push and guide you through those challenging times, in the upcoming weeks and months, that you feel overwhelmed, exhausted, gross, and even sad. So listen close, open your eyes and stop those tears, and hear what I have to say. The only thing that matters now is that you and your child are, and remain, happy and healthy.
What does not matter?
It does not matter what brand made the onesie your baby is wearing.
It does not matter if you use store-bought or cloth diapers.
It does not matter if your baby is breastfed or formula-fed.
It does not matter if your baby is a good sleeper or a bad sleeper.
It does not matter if your baby sleeps in a bassinet in your room or in her own room.
It does not matter if you give your baby a pacifier or you decide not to.
It does not matter if you use the best reviewed and often, most expensive, baby bottles.
It does not matter if people think you hold your baby too much or too little.
It does not matter if you have not showered in two days.
It does not matter if you are someone who asks for a break when they need one or if you just keep trucking along.
It does not matter what anyone else’s opinion is on how you raise your baby. This is up to you and your baby’s father.
It does not matter if you are late everywhere you go now.
It does not matter if your house is a mess.
It doesn’t matter if you live off of food delivery or pre-packaged, prepared meals.
Listen, honey. You need to give yourself a break. Be proud of what you just accomplished. You have worked so hard for nine months (or in many cases, even longer than that) and now your precious bundle has arrived. You need to love yourself, love your family, and love your new baby. Have patience with yourself, with the baby, and with other people. Remember to be kind to yourself and to those that are helping you these first few days/weeks/months. Learn from any mistakes you make—and you will make them, lots of them. Remember to take care of yourself, in addition to your child. Be proud of your ability to multi-task, but also of your ability to know when to rest. If you need help ask for it, but ultimately never give up.”
“You’ve got this.” I whispered to her. “You don’t know how right you have got this.” I repeated to her, as I walked out of the hospital.