Becoming a new mom is hard on any given day. But to the mama who has delivered a brand new baby during the time of coronavirus, I’m thinking about you a lot lately.
When you found out you were pregnant last year, “worldwide pandemic” was listed nowhere on your birth plan. You daydreamed about your baby’s arrival, introducing your baby to your family, having visitors. Those dreams have been disappointed. You are obviously so thankful for a healthy bundle that is bringing you and your partner so much joy, but this time is just not what you pictured.
While the rest of the world is focused on the coronavirus, you are consumed with learning how to be a new mom.
You are likely realizing that despite all the prep work you did to get ready for this baby, nothing could have fully prepared you. Having a new baby is exhausting, it is lonely, it is overwhelming. You are being introduced to sleep deprivation like you’ve never known. You are learning that the seemingly easy task of breastfeeding, which has been performed by women for centuries, is, in fact, anything but easy — it’s really hard! You are learning that there is no break from your baby right now, because this tiny human is totally dependent on you for exactly 100% of its survival needs.
You are told to enjoy these days because they will be over too fast, but that is nearly impossible to believe during your baby’s third nighttime feeding at 3 a.m. Part of you wishes these days to be over. You long for sleep. You need helpers. This is the longest month of your life.
Deep breath. We’re still here for you.
If you think your family and friends were excited to meet your new addition via Zoom, just wait until they can snuggle, smell, and experience your baby in person. Just wait until they can love on you in person. Just wait until your best friend can clean your kitchen while you have adult conversations. Just wait until your parents hold their grandbaby for an hour so you can shower and nap. Better days are coming.
One of the biggest surprise gifts motherhood gave me was the outreach of other moms. We take care of our own, because we know just how challenging this journey is.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to another mom who has been there. Don’t be embarrassed to tell the truth about your experiences. Don’t look at another mom’s pictures on social media and for a minute think that other moms aren’t struggling just like you. Be honest about any trauma, depression, or anxiety you may be facing in this major life transition. You are normal, and you are not alone.
To the family and friends of the mama who just had a baby — let her know you are there!
Leave meals on her front steps, along with a thermos of coffee, laundry detergent, hand sanitizer, hand soap, toilet paper, diapers, wipes… all the things every new mom needs and deserves easy access to. Write her encouraging notes, bring her flowers from your garden, tie balloons to her mailbox, start a game of Words With Friends she can play to help keep her awake during middle-of-the-night feedings. Surround her with love and support, even from a distance.