New Mother’s Welcome Pack

A few days after my daughter Margot was born, in October 2019, I was lying in bed looking at the phone (parenting doesn’t change everything). Through congratulatory messages from family and close friends, I saw a woman named Emily. Emily was a friend of a friend, someone I would see at holiday parties and home celebrations. She had her first child a few months earlier, but I didn’t expect her to be one of the first to arrive after Margot was born, and I didn’t realize, of all the messages I received, that it would be hers. I really needed one.

His email was not a congratulatory note, but a “welcome package,” the kind you receive when you start a new job. Congratulations on your new man! Some FYI … There were a few helpful reminders: a scam page to reference those weird days when you can’t guess new software, and you realize how stupid you were. apply to this job you are completely unskilled.

I used to come back many times, especially in those early days, when I half hoped I was going to street the baby as soon as I held my head. It was helpful to remember that there was someone out there with me who was doing this. To someone who might send my question and weird, weird and inability to Google, “Is this normal?” asking. and know that they would write again, “Omg, totally.”

In fact, a week after Margot’s life, I gathered some friends I had sent (and done) at any time: How can I keep myself awake enough to eat ?! WHEN WILL MY GOD STOP SWEATING? Some were friends before, while others I knew only because of old jobs or didn’t see them from college. I’m not just saying that those weeks overtook me; I had a lot of support from real life friends and family. But reading their calm, generous, and not at all astonishing answers, not only helped, normal.

Emily’s welcome pack meant so much to me that a few months later when another friend had a baby, I sent it to her. I’ve done it many other times since then, adding some of the most useful words from the wisdom I gained from other mothers in the newborn phase (along with my phone number). “There’s no need to answer,” I write. “I wanted to send these warnings if I ever needed them.”

1. Nights can be hard, but the day always comes. Although it may seem impossible at 3am, there will be sunshine and coffee.

2. Everything is a phase. The stages of the newborn pass quickly.

3. Fun and popular music helps. If in doubt, put on the melodies.

4. Nothing feels linear, but everything is progress. Really.

5. Sleep — yours and theirs — will be everywhere. Don’t look for patterns because they don’t exist yet. Some don’t feel sleepy at first and feel like they’ve won the lottery, but then everything suddenly changes. For others it is the opposite. Do what you need to do to rest, but try not to stop whether you have “good sleep” or “bad sleep”. Enjoy it if you have a good night, and if you don’t, when you know that you will probably do it one day.

6. Listen to your gut, but also trust the professionals and loved ones you have decided to trust. Your gut has a lot on the plate right now.

7. Birth recovery is faster and slower than you think, and it’s different for everyone. Eat, hydrate, take shit pills – that’s roughly in terms of universal advice. You just know that your hormones are on a real journey right now, and that you’re on your way to a walk. (If you do too much, see # 6.)

8. The first 100 days or so are about survival. Routines are great, but don’t worry about still establishing strong ones or creating “bad” habits. The one you need to prioritize, because all you need is a baby.

9. Everyone will give you a specific age or developmental milestone when life begins to feel normal again. Your age or milestone will probably be completely different. But it will happen. Actually, I didn’t buy it myself, but it’s true.

10. Here’s the key: Basically, every mom is your friend now. Neighbors, old roommates, just Instagram friends – they’re there for you. You will be amazed at how many steps they will take on the outside of your life and how they will offer support. We are an invisible network that you never knew existed. Use us. Send text. Never hesitate to say aloud that you are too scared to contact a complaint, question, photo, or fear. No context required. There is no need to apologize or apologize to each other. It may not solve the problem, but I guarantee it will help you.

There is so much more about the new parenting that I would like to convey in words to all who need to hear it: the intensity of love and fear and how it sometimes seems so great that it is almost impossible to live. That you are stronger, wiser, and more powerful than you have ever known. People have warned you that some hard sections are easier than you think, and it seems like a secret you need to keep. And there are some hard parts that no one mentioned and that you can’t find in any YouTube video, so you have to be yourself, and that feels like a secret.

Sometimes the whole experience feels like this: a weird, wonderful, and completely unique experience that you and your baby are living alone. So all you really need to remember is that the world is full of people who are secretly involved with you.

PS “10 things I always say to pregnant women”, And a mantra of motherhood.

(Photo by Jamie Grill Atlas / Stocksy.)

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