Dear New Mum (me a few years ago),
This new mum thing has come as a shock to the system. I’m sorry nobody told you how hard it would be. You expected to feel “overwhelming love and pride” for the new bundle. All of your friends told you about the pure joy and bliss of those new born days. You just feel sleep deprived and emotionally unstable. I’m sorry there seemed to be a blackout of any “this new born stuff is tough” posts on Social Media and you were bombarded with “feeling blessed” posts when people had a baby. You feel like an inadequate mother because you are too tired to feel blessed.
I’m sorry you’re not able to tell anyone how you’re feeling. You’re putting on a brave face and the mask isn’t slipping. You’re worn out after the C section and you just want to rest but your son will Not. Stop. Crying. It’s painful every time you bend over the cot to pick him up and I’m sorry you feel guilty about wanting the nurses to take him from you for just an hour or two. Your mum talks about her early days in the maternity hospital as a relaxing experience. Your experience is not like your mothers.
You thought your son had golden skin and now you feel awful because it turns out he is Jaundiced. I see you’re upset because you didn’t know the difference between a blanket and a sheet and you wrapped him in the wrong thing. I could see the look the nurse gave you too. I heard you ask to switch him to the bottle because he constantly wants fed. I also heard the midwife list all of the reasons why you shouldn’t do this. I know you could have listed them yourself because you’ve read enough books on the subject. None of those books explained how difficult it would be though.
You didn’t realise every cry from your new baby would be like a dagger through your heart. You never envisaged just how sleep deprivation could make every little thing seem worse. You feel hopeless because you’re having difficulty showering yourself or fetching breakfast. It’s a day after your C Section and I’m sorry that you think you are supposed to be doing those things. It’s ok to ask for help – you are not a failure.
I’m glad you’re getting home and I can see you’re both struggling to get the screaming baby in the car seat. I know you are panicking that you’ll have to walk the 20 miles, but you’ll all get home in the car. Eventually. Your husband will drive at 7 miles per hour, just to be on the safe side. You’ll laugh about all of this later.
You think you’re not cut out for this mothering stuff and I’m sorry you feel like this. After a while you’ll turn a corner. Yes, you’ll cry more than you ever have but you’ll also begin to feel the “overwhelming love and pride” that your friends were talking about. Life will change beyond your imagination, but it’ll be a good thing. You will realise that NOBODY is a perfect mother and we’re all just trying to do our best. Oh, and after those first few months in a sleep deprived trance, you will have a new appreciation of sleep. A shame really, because 7am is now a lie in.
you years later (a bit more awake)