"It's been awhile" seems to be the theme of most intros to these posts, but I'd like to change that and hopefully that will if you've been following along on my other social media outlets. I'm taking a few steps back and trying to do a little less laboring, and a lot more savoring, at least for the summer. Since Liem has been born, things have been a little crazy (also another reoccurring theme in life lately) and as much as I say over and over again that I do love my job and couples, the moments are fleeting so let's change the theme here.
Now that I've been a mom for all but twenty minutes ;) I thought I'd share a few thoughts and tips I've gathered so far on this journey of motherhood. As you read this, I want to you to know, there is no amount of advice or research that can compare to your own mother instinct. It's a strong sense, trust it most in times of fret!
Those first few days you and your family arrive home from the hospital are so precious. It's a time you are getting to know each other and settling in together. I had some good advice to cherish this time and to limit visitors/help so there is an intimate environment. Those quiet moments of a family of three are once in a lifetime, don't take it for granted. I know you're thinking, "I'm going to need the help!" but let me give a bit of insight. If your husband gets a bit of time off with you guys, you're all set. At first your baby only needs you, especially if you're breastfeeding so there is not much extra hands can do. Take visitors as you'd like and are ready for, but reserve the time as you need. You'll all appreciate the quiet.
Speaking of quiet time, infants are very easily and quickly over stimulated. I repeat, they are very easily over stimulated. Of course you've heard that you'll want your baby to get adjusted to your daily life and routine so they'll need to be around the everyday noises of your home, but making sure they're in a calming environment is equally as important. Follow your baby's cues and understand if the restaurant is too much, or if there are too many new faces in his. You have to remember, they just came out of a very protected and cozy place into this busy world, be sensitive to that!
Gosh, this could use a whole post within itself. Every mom has her own experience and it may be very different with each child, but I will say I've loved breastfeeding. It's a special bond between myself and Liem and I find it so amazing that my body is able to produce food to nourish him. I will admit it's probably the hardest thing I've ever done- yes, even harder than birth! Sounds crazy, but here are my reasons: You still have to upkeep a solid diet to keep good production and if they don't react well to anything, you have to rid that of your intake too. Saying bye to things like cheese and bread is not fun! Sometimes you can feel like a prisoner because those first few months when they eat every two hours doesn't let you go very far without baby, and it can be painful until you get whatever the issue is resolved. It also takes will power. It is your choice whether you choose to breastfeed, so it can be easy to want to quit. (I do want to make it clear that you are no less of a mother if you choose this route!) It's one of the hardest dances you'll learn together, but once you do, it's so special.
Take care of yourself
There is so much in postpartum that isn't always discussed and I can understand why- it's not the most attractive thing to talk about! Our bodies have gone through an incredible amount of stress and work, and then we must care for the new joy so self care can be overlooked. This is when the extra help can be really useful. Take the time to shower, sneak in a nap when you can, step out of the house alone even if it's just for 45 minutes. Your body is healing physically and emotionally. Whatever you need, allow for yourself to have it. Don't feel guilty, you deserve it!
If you were anything like me, you read a few books and googled your heart out about parenting trying to take a crash course on how to be a good mommy. There is so much research out there about how to do it right and what not to do, but once you're in the deep trenches of it all, it's a bit different. You just have to do what you have to do and survive. All that you read about what you're baby is supposed to be doing right now but not? Listen to your him and ride the waves, he'll let you know when he is ready.
And finally, this is the best advice I can give- allow yourself some grace. You're not always going to get it right. You're not always going to feel like a rockstar, but you are doing your best and that is exactly what your little one needs. There are going to be days you're just not sure this is exactly what you want, or if you are cut out for motherhood, but when you look at your sweet babe, there is your reassurance. Being a mother is hard work and self-sacrificing, but such a joy nobody can understand until you are one yourself.
People tell you all the time to treasure every day of these first moments because they fly by and I cannot agree more. It's almost as if every time you blink there is a new milestone. Seriously, enjoy every second!
Photography by The Moody Romantic