We all know the first six weeks of having a baby are hard. Those early weeks are kind of like riding on a tilt-a-whirl at an amusement park, where the people around you are simultaneously laughing and screaming, and you’re constantly oscillating between feelings like: This is so fun! Let’s keep the ride going forever! and Please make it stop RIGHT NOW!
But did you know that being a baby mom is hard after the first six weeks, too?! Well, of course you knew that, but I forgot. I’m approaching the 10-month mark with my second baby, and while I’m really enjoying this second time around, I somehow managed to block from my memory the special sort of craziness that accompanies the entire first year. In fact, with both of my babies now, the 4-6 month range has been way harder than the first few weeks (if such a thing were possible).
The entire first year is full of big and fast changes for your child – which means fast changes for mom, too. So in between the euphoria of sniffing freshly-bathed baby and loving those amazing giggles, being a baby mom also means things like …
…feeling as though you could open a small boutique from your closet, because you own clothes in every size – from maternity to postpartum to pre-pregnancy, and everything in between. (But you can’t get rid of them, because who knows what size you’ll need today!)
…escaping from the house for happy hour with friends and feeling like maybe you pulled off looking kinda trendy … until you remember you are wearing elastic-waisted pants and a nursing bra.
…looking at Instagram or Facebook and constantly wondering why another baby is sleeping / crawling / eating solid foods / not sick, etc. Then hiding your phone so you can’t Google “Should my baby be ______ by now?” for the 15th time.
… feeling as though you are FINALLY sleeping through the night or have beaten the 30-minute nap, only to have your baby pop five teeth within a week and sleep no longer than 15 minutes.
…asking your husband for strange things for your birthday, like an eyebrow wax. Because nothing says relaxing like laying on a table for 10 minutes while someone rips the hair off your face that has been accumulating for the past six months. It’s almost like a day at the spa.
…speaking of hair, being a baby mom also means finding your hair on the floor, in the sink, on the dining room table, in your baby’s diaper, in your coffee, etc. for MONTHS. Because postpartum hair loss is not a myth.
…weeping as you rock your baby to sleep because you want them to stay a baby forever, but an hour later when they wake up, thinking, “I hope you grow up someday and have kids of your own!”
You may change or add to the list based on your baby’s personality or the unique circumstances of their first year of life. But one thing’s for sure: we baby moms are on a wild ride. Our lives are both beautiful and chaotic. We could all use some extra grace, a few extra hands and an extra-long nap. We are all longing to feel “normal” again, whatever that means. We want to have our bodies back, our sleep back, our routine back and our hair back.
“Normal” will slowly return in some ways, of course – we won’t always be baby moms. That dreaded/awaited first birthday will come all too quickly, and suddenly they’ll be threenagers and teenagers. But in other ways, we know our lives will never look quite the same – because we have welcomed a new human into our lives, and getting to know and care for that human will always be a crazy and fun ride.
I sure hope I quit finding hair in my coffee, though…