I had the clothes folded just right, the changing table prepped, the red painted rocking chair, our favorite childhood books lined up, the army of burp cloths and swaddle blankets at the ready, but I what I didn’t understand is that there is no amount of prep work that can prepare you for the first month, year, decades. It’s a daily job, learning on the fly, adapting as they do, pretending you know what your doing, faking it till you make it! Do you ever really make it?
So my advice for new moms is this: give it two weeks. Breastfeeding was horrific for the first few weeks. I was envisioning this dreamy, dewy, overly saturated picture of us curled up as she happily suckled my breast while my long golden locks tickled her face. Actual picture? I was chanting “fuck, fuck, fuck’ as it felt like she was sucking my stomach through my nipple. No one tells you about the postpartum cramping as they feed off of you. Period cramps ain’t got nothing on this pain. But, two weeks later my cracked and bruised nipples were getting used to her - and now seven months later we might’ve had a few dewy breastfeeding moments.
It took my brilliant friend, also a midwife, to come over and tell me to RELAX. To let go of the ‘holds’ they tell you to do in the hospital or in the books I was consuming to get it right. No football holds, cradle holds or any other bullshit can take the place of trusting each other. I had to trust that she knew what to do and I really had to trust myself enough to let her do it.
Hemorrhoids? Give em two weeks. Night sweats? Give it two weeks. Cramping? Give your amazing uterus two weeks. Bowel movements? Give it two weeks + daily prunes. Terrified of their sleeping sounds? Give them two weeks to breathe air! Not caring if you’ve showered or worn anything other than a nightgown? Oh girl, curl up for at least two weeks – a month is best! Sleep deprivation? Hell, that never gets better, but who has kids to get more sleep?
Two weeks is a blip in a lifetime.