During that first month of being a first-time mom, everything is a blur. You’re exhausted and sore, hormonal and moody, plus you have this new little human to care for. My husband and I refer to the first month as “the dark days”.
I couldn’t tell him what I needed to hear during those tough times, I didn’t know what I needed to hear. I just felt really down and sleep deprived. But looking back with a fresh perspective, I can tell you what the new mother would appreciate hearing.
“You’re Doing Such a Great Job”
No matter how much you prepare for your baby’s arrival, you’re still in shock. You go from being a carefree individual to being needed every second of the day…and night. You question everything you do:
- Am I holding him right?
- Is he too warm?
- He just ate, but he’s still crying, should I feed him again?
- Am I burping him right?
- Why is he still crying? What am I doing wrong?
- Is the bath water too warm?
- Is he swaddled too tight?
- Is he latched on correctly?
- Did he get enough to eat?
- Why is he still crying?
In a nutshell, there is so much self doubt involved even though you’re doing everything you’re supposed to do. You have no idea whether you’re methods are right or not, you just do what makes your baby content.
In all that chaos, the best thing a new mother can be told as she’s nursing, or burping or rocking her little bundle to sleep is: Wow, I’m so impressed with how naturally this all comes to you. You’re doing such a great job.
Most husbands think this about their wife anyway. They’re blown away by how that switch just goes on in her that makes her become a mother over night. So when you are thinking that about her, tell her!
“He’s Asleep. I’ll Stay Here with Him. Go Lay Down”
If I’m being honest, my husband Andrew said this to me EVERY time Jacob was asleep. But I was so stubborn. I couldn’t leave my baby. I had it in my head that I was the only one who knew how to handle him. Obviously I was wrong, but lack of sleep blurred my judgment. If your hubby offers you the opportunity, take it!
“Tell Me More about What You’re Feeling”
During “the dark days” I was in a very dark place. I’m going to be 100% honest with you and say exactly how I felt: I wanted to run away and live in a hole. I had some serious baby blues and didn’t fully understand that it was my hormones causing me to feel that way.
When nurses at the hospital warned me about those raging hormones after childbirth, I was thinking more along the lines of PMS. I thought I’d be a little irritated and annoyed. Boy was I wrong! When I looked at Jacob, I didn’t have that instant love for him like all the moms told me about. It made me scared.
On day seven of being home with Jacob I called Telehealth and spoke to a nurse. She was so helpful. She put me at ease right away when she said: “Honey, it takes time to love someone, even your own baby. Plus the first ten days after birth is when your hormones really take a plunge, so how you’re feeling is completely normal. You’re not a bad mother.” After asking me a series of questions to rule out Postpartum Depression or Post Partum Anxiety, she was pretty certain that I was experiencing a tougher-than-normal case of the Baby Blues. She even called me back a week later to see how I was doing.
Thankfully, I have a very supportive husband. He knows me so well that he knew I was really down. He was gentle with me. And would ask me to tell him what I was feeling. He didn’t try to offer a solution, he didn’t try to fix me, he just wanted me to talk about my feelings. This is SO important for the new mom with baby blues. You’ll be tempted to swallow your feelings and try to deal with them alone because you’re embarrassed, but don’t. Talk about it. It made me feel so much lighter after sharing my feelings with my husband.
“Thank You So Much for All You’re Doing”
When you have a new job that you’re excelling at, your boss will most likely acknowledge all your hard efforts. Being a mom doesn’t always come with the occasional pat on the back. It’s a hard job that usually goes thankless.
Until mom gets the hang of things and develops a routine with baby, she’ll be putting her own needs on the back burner for a while. That includes a nice hot shower that lasts longer than four minutes.
She’d appreciate her husband thanking her for all she does. He doesn’t have to do it with a gift or flowers; a genuine “thank you for taking such good care of our child, honey” goes a very long way.
“I Love You”
There’s not much for me to say about this one. It’s something you should tell her every day with sincerity.