After visiting my sister-in-law Amanda in the hospital just moments after she gave birth to my gorgeous new nephew, Carson, I mentioned to Adam that I was jealous of her. He of course thought I was referring to the fact that she no longer has to deal with the aches and pains of pregnancy that I complain about 24/7 â€“ in a way, yes sure, Iâ€™m wishing I could move this whole process along, but I was really thinking of this particular time in Amandaâ€™s life that has me wading through the waters of jealous remembrance.
She is now on Day 3 of motherhood, and I canâ€™t help but tear up when I think of how overwhelmed with emotion I was when I was a 3-day-old mommy. Sure, my â€œnew-mommynessâ€ was a bit tainted with the pain of losing my father-in-law less than a week beforeâ€¦ but nothing can get in the way of the pure magic only a newborn can provide. (I would even say that Ellie SAVED me from my grief â€“ a powerful feat from such a little human.)
Amanda is in this time-suspended period where all she has to do is stare at her new baby, breathe in the delicious scent of her new baby, and dream up all the things she hopes to accomplish for her new baby. When I had Ellie, it didnâ€™t even matter who or how many people were in the room (we had a LOT of visitors) – I was completely submerged in her essence. Her smell, her tiny noises, her little squirmy movementsâ€¦ the way she blinked, breathed, yawned and especially the way she would just stare into my eyes.
Iâ€™m jealous because while I will definitely get to experience the new-baby fun in just a few weeksâ€¦ I wonâ€™t ever get to be a â€œnew momâ€ again. New moms have no expectations, no pre-conceived notions â€“ theyâ€™re a clean slate, no matter what advice theyâ€™ve been given. Every single little tiny experience is created from a fresh, innocent place.
Soâ€¦ because I canâ€™t help it (what mother can?), I offer this advice to my beautiful sister â€“ and any other beautiful new mommies:
- Smell your new baby, as much as possible. I always wondered when that â€œnewâ€ smell would dissipateâ€¦ it takes a while, but enjoy every second of it.
- Get lost in your babyâ€™s eyes. They may change color over time, but youâ€™ll be enamored with that part of your child forever. A childâ€™s eyes carry so much emotion and wonder, youâ€™ll feel like they make time stand still.
- Relax when your baby cries (but donâ€™t feel guilty if you cry a little too). Itâ€™s true that they feel your tensionâ€¦ and they also feel your calmness.
- Learn to never stand still. I still do a little side-to-side sway sometimes, even when Iâ€™m not holding my daughterâ€¦ it becomes an ingrained action.
- Laugh. At everything. Laugh at the funny faces your baby makes, and laugh at how ridiculous you look (and feel) while using a breast pump. Laugh when you spill coffee all over yourself, and laugh when your baby has four â€œblowoutsâ€ in one day. Do NOT forget to laugh.
- Listen to (and ask for) advice â€“ from your mom, your dad, your friends, your sister (hint hint), and everyone else who may have something to offer. Do not feel obligated to use any of it. Motherhood is individual to each of usâ€¦ my experience is different from your momâ€™s, and yours will be too. YOU get to make the calls now, and no one can decide anything for your baby but you.
- Try not to get jealous when other people hold your baby â€“ but donâ€™t feel guilty asking for him back. Itâ€™s normal to feel naked without your baby attached to you, and during those first few weeks at home itâ€™s really, really hard to willingly place him/her in someone elseâ€™s arms (until you really, really need a shower â€“ then itâ€™s a little easier).
- Accept meals (whether homemade or fast-food) from anyone and everyone who offers. You just concentrate on getting to know your new baby â€“ your family and friends will make sure you get fed. :)
- Donâ€™t forget about Dad. Heâ€™s experiencing all of this for the very first time tooâ€¦ and heâ€™s loving it just as much as you are. Share in that togetherâ€¦ and be thankful – every single stressful amazing second – for your new family. Â
Iâ€™ll reign in the rest of my motherly knowledge until Iâ€™m asked. Or hell, maybe Iâ€™ll spill it all out every time I visit, who knows? Just know that no matter what anyone tells you, your only job right now is to revel in theÂ beautyÂ of your baby and your new family.
I love you, Amanda. Now share your baby with me. I’ll be over in a few hours.