The Mama ‘Hood

Alex and I are heading to my hometown tomorrow so that we can go to a baby shower for my cousin Paige, who is expecting her first little bundle of joy in about a month.

Those of you who have been reading here for awhile may remember that I got a bit, um, emotional when I found out that Paige was expecting, and while I don’t envy her swollen feet and legs right now, I’d give up just about anything – save my husband and my own child – to re-live the anticipation of that last month of pregnancy.

(However, if I did in fact re-live it, I would prefer to get some sleep this time around.)

Yesterday I called Mama to tell her that Alex and I were going to be spending the weekend with her and Daddy, and she mentioned how happy she would be to see the little man. She went on to tell me that it was supposed to be cooler this weekend and I needed to make sure to pack some long-sleeved shirts for Alex. I’m really glad she told me that because my original plans were to let him run around barefooted in his Spider Man underwear all weekend while dousing him with cold water.

The advice that Mama gave me yesterday made me laugh a little bit, but it also served as a reminder that the independent part of me likes to think that I would have figured out how to take care of Alex just fine if left to my own devices. And I probably would have done an okay job. But the reality is that I needed other people’s tips and words of wisdom when Alex was a baby. I still do – even though we’re on the back side of potty training and toddlerdom. There’s comfort, plain and simple, in knowing that you’re not alone, that you’re not crazy, and that you’re not going to ruin your child’s life if you can’t breastfeed for the first eighteen months.

There’s comfort, plain and simple, in fellowship with other mamas.

For me, in those first few weeks of Alex’s life, my sister-in-law Janie and my friend NK were lifelines. Janie realized – long before I did – that my milk wasn’t coming in like it probably should and that my young’un, he was HAWNGRY. NK had a baby who was six months older than Alex, and I think I mimicked her entire schedule for feedings and naps. But more than anything, they made me feel welcome in the strange new land of motherhood – and encouraged me when I felt like I didn’t know what I was doing. In those days where you’re only sleeping in three hour increments (at best) and wandering around in a daze a good bit of the time, that encouragement is huge.

Paige has so many firsts in front of her, and part of me just wants to hold her face in my hands and say, “Soak it up. Soak up every little bit. It will fly by and before you know it that little baby will be shaking you awake in the middle of the night just to tell you that he or she wants to eat for breakfast.” (I know whereof I speak on this one, because Alex woke me up this morning around 4:30 to tell me that he would like a donut, please, when it’s sunshine outside. I was ever-so-pleased to be awakened with a request of such urgency and importance.)

So will you do me a favor? If you have a memory of those first few weeks of motherhood that’s particularly special to you, would you share it in the comments? If there’s a tip that saved your sanity, would you pass it along? Once you’re all done, I’m going to send Paige the link so that she can focus – just for a little bit – on the joy that’s waiting for her about a month down the road.

Just for the record, here’s one of my sweetest memories: on my second night in the hospital, D left to get us some supper, and I sat in a chair with Alex in my lap. I was totally and completely overwhelmed by the gift of his life, by the sweetness of his face, by the way he already knew how to wrap his little hand around my finger. And I told him, even though he couldn’t understand my words, how much we loved him, how much God loved him, and how he was, without a doubt, the greatest blessing his daddy and I had ever known. I thought that I could never love anyone as much as I loved Alex in that moment.

But I was wrong.

Because three and half years later, I love him even more.

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  1. My son was born on a Tuesday night and I fell in love with him on Thursday morning. The first hours after his birth, I was in some sort of shock, and I was drugged, and we had so many visitors…I just couldn’t take it all in. Then Thursday morning we were alone, the two of us, and I held him and fell in love. Hard. Forever.

    The first few months of his life I was SO tired I really couldn’t think properly. I really NEEDED people to tell me what to do because I couldn’t think of the simplest things. I even remember walking into walls and being afraid to carry him around for fear I would fall asleep while standing up! I had never been so tired in my life!

    I also tried to get some sort of instruction from books (I had absolutely zero experience with babies) – and I read the same things every day because I couldn’t remember what I had read the day before!

    So, to all the new mothers out there, I hope you sleep. And, you know what, you WILL sleep again. Promise.

  2. The first week I took my twins home from the hospital I was overwhelmed with breastfeeding them and all the work involved in their care. Whenever I would get the both to sleep for a nap I would find myself sitting near their cribs and watching them just breath….amazed at how blessed I was….though I should have been trying to catch a nap.
    Enjoy the most amazing thing that will ever happen to you Paige! And welcome to motherhood.

  3. One of my sweetest memories was just holding my daughter. Not doing anything but holding her. Things were left undone and that was okay. She was so mesmerizing and breathtaking, I couldn’t see to much of anything else.

    I remember how my son was having the hardest time nursing and I would get so frustrated to the point of crying at his pulling off and crying. If I could go back to those sweet days, I would just sit there and comfort him and enjoy him, cries and all, and take more time to just BE with him. I wouldn’t worry about what others thought about me either. Don’t rush it. It really will go by entirely too quickly.

    As a helpful tidbit, when that baby is born, others will offer to help, and you, most likely, will say “No thanks. We’re fine.” Lose that response. It is perfectly okay to take others up on their offer. They wouldn’t have asked in the first place if they didn’t want to help you.

    I recommend that you keep a list on the fridge of things that need to be done: dishes, vacuuming, laundry, scrubbing the fridge, taking the baby for a bit so that you can get a shower while someone cuddles your child. When someone asks if they can do anything to for you, you will have a ready answer. They will feel as if they were useful and helpful to you and you will love that someone cared enough to aid you in this scary, fun, mysterious time.

    May your time be full of your own sweet memories. I hope that you will relax and enjoy them all as the blessings that they truly are.

  4. Davis-first child, now just days away from 6. When I think back to Davis’ first year, I remember his innate curiousity, a thirst to “know” that dictated his every turn of the head as an infant and continues to drive his every move and thought even today. I love his curiousity (most of the time) and quest for knowledge. It makes me smile to know that as we are beginning to see the full spectrum of his compassionate and optimistic personality, this is a human being that I would love and want to know even if he wasn’t my own.

    Gray-second son, a little more than 2 1/2. It was clear from early on that this young one was no “first child.” “Rules, schmules,” was what his earliest grins portrayed to me, and my intuition was right. There’s a reason that my husband and I have always referred to Gray as “Good Time Charlie.” Smart as a whip, charming, and “turn on a dime” sweet-as-pie/scheming. There’s a phrase in the Elton John song “Tiny Dancer” that I’ve always sung to both of my boys, but it really sums up Gray (and I love him for it): “Pretty eyes, pirate smile.”

    Okay, I just realized that my initial “memories” turned into summations of my two sons; sorry.

  5. well..I guess she didn’t mention that they were supposed to come here on Saturday?? Did she forget about the baby shower? Mercy!!

  6. i dont want to get hate mail from the LLL..i agree breastfeeding is wonderful and the best and important and you should try and try hard if you want to but at the end of the day if it “aint happening”..LET IT can still bond with your child…if I could go back i would let go of that guilt and misery a lot sooner. the thing that finally got me was when someone told me in “encouragement” that it takes “commitment” to it doesnt take commitment to get UP and MAKE and HEAT bottles 3-4 times a night?!

    and a more shallow piece of advice. Stick to mainly soft (and precious of course)omesies and layette type clothes at first and even up until they are sitting up etc…I wish I had not spent money on a size 6 months blue seersucker suit (jacket and shorts!) from talbots..i mean that really looks better on someone who can actually stand and even walk. I just didt realize..same with overalls…some clothes are just baby clothes and some are toddler clothes..i cringe when i see tiny babies forced into stiff and scratch toddler type outfits. I was in Old Navy yesterday looking at the precious super soft baby baby things and longing for my 2 year old in those things but it is denim time now;)

  7. Oh, thank you so much for this post and the comments that will follow! I am expecting my first in April and while I am ELATED, it’s so scary! ME, a MOTHER?!?!

    Anyway, I look forward to reading what everyone writes!

  8. I love hearing you say that so I don’t feel so odd getting all wishy-washy and nostalgic when I hear about a friend being pregnant. I would love the excitement and expectation of a new baby but when I remember the pregnancy part it helps the feeling go away. I have nasty pregnancies. ‘Course who doesn’t?

  9. The one piece of advice my mom gave me when I was pregnant with my first are words to live by:

    Let the dishes pile up in the sink and the dust gather on the furniture, and hold your baby.

    Hold your baby. Don’t worry about spoiling him or any of that nonsense. Hold your baby. Love your baby. He’ll sleep through the night before he gets to college. Promise. And then you can spend all the time you want dusting and washing dishes.

  10. This made me so teary because it does go by so fast.

    Paige, the best piece of advice a friend gave me was that as hard as it is to believe in those first few months, there will come a day that you will actually be able to put the baby to bed at 7 and not hear from them again until 7 the next morning. Remember this because it will help you hold on to your sanity.

    Also, I breastfed for 4 months because it came easily. I agree with others who have said don’t kill yourself over it if it doesn’t work. If you do breastfeed, here’s a tip. My daughter always had one formula bottle each morning at 4 a.m. when her daddy got up to feed her so that I could get a longer stretch of sleep. At the time, that extra sleep was better than a plate of chocolate chip cookies.

    I remember a few nights that I rocked Caroline and bargained with God to please just let her sleep, but that passes. 3 1/2 years later, I just love her more each day and sometimes when she says “Mama”, I stop and think “oh, she means me!” and I feel blessed beyond words.

  11. I remember the first time Ethan smiled at me – 3 months old, as I was getting him out of his carseat to take him into daycare. I opened the car door, leaned down to unhook him, and he looked up at me with the widest, most beautiful smile. My heart, already full to bursting with love for this little critter, just melted. I was so excited that I managed to leave my car keys in the seat and lock ’em in the car as I took him into the nursery.

    I didn’t even care. He smiled. He loved me too. Maybe I wasn’t so inept at this motherhood thing after all. And that was all I cared about. Enjoy those first few months – despite the exhaustion, the fear that you’re doing it wrong, just love that baby. Because that’s *all* that matters!

  12. I agree also with the comments to just hold your baby. A lot. My third and last baby will be turning one year old next month. I’m so not ready for him to not be a baby anymore.

    Take LOTS of baby pictures, too. I wish we had taken more pictures of our first baby. We were just too tired and poor at the time.

    I used to be real big on scheduling, and I still think it’s important, but don’t be too hung up on it. My favorite memories of this last baby especially are of falling asleep with him on my chest and waking up with him still there. He’d always pull the neck of my shirt down so that his face was against my skin. He gave baby kisses, too, very early on. He’d lift his little wobbly head off my shoulder and open his little mouth, offering up kisses. It was wonderful and I always wish we’d gotten it on video.

    And remember, while the first three months can be tough (the second month is really hard) having a baby in the three month to nine month age range is heaven on earth! It so makes up for any tiredness or pain. Of course, then they start crawling and getting into stuff, but they’re just so darn cute, you don’t mind!

  13. I’m on my 5th and last child and if there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s this:

    God is an ever present help.

    There’a nothing I can possibly face in mothering that the Bible doesn’t have something to say on.

    Granted, He doesn’t specify whether He favors cloth or disposable, demand feeding or schedule; nor does He teach me how to swaddle.

    But His words are full of wisdom for my days – reminding me to set my mind and heart on things above. To make sure my love is being patient and kind. To seek first His kingdom. To cast my cares upon Him.

    And I’ve had my share of cares!

    I’ve nearly pulled my hair out in desparation for sleep, or out of a sense of inadequacy for dealing with endless whining.

    But then I’m again reminded to not be anxious for anything, but to present my requests before Him.

    He is an ever present help. My ever present help. There’s no better parenting book than His!

  14. OK – forgot to mention my precious memory.

    Brittany (my 1st)was just a few weeks old and I was rushing to answer the phone, carrying her.

    I tripped and she flew out of my arms, though the air….and landed in a basket of folded laundry.

  15. You will have plenty to do, and yes, yes, yes, do let others help. The list on the fridge idea is excellent. And whatever you do, DO NOT try to make major decisions until later….like a couple of months later. I remember standing in the furniture store (a week or so after giving birth) and looking around, when all of a sudden, I just burst into tears. HORMONES do a real number and you just need time to adjust. Holding and loving on baby gives you that time…and that time will fly by. My babies are now 24, 17, and 15 and I do miss the baby cuddles!!! I look forward to being a Grandma, so I can snuggle with babies again!!!

  16. My advice and encouragement for Paige would be first, let your mom and his mom help you the first couple of weeks if it’s offered. They really want to and you’ll find out the help is wonderful.

    My other advice would be don’t enforce such a strict schedule on yourself and the baby that it turns into freakout time when it can’t be stuck to. I never had schedules. When the baby slept, I slept. Day or night.

    You’re one month away from the most amazing experience of your life and I hope you cherish every single moment of it.

  17. Oh wow, it’s so sweet to read everyone’s comments. (And I love the laundry basket catch… talk about God protecting the little ones!)

    Mine is a mixed emotion memory. When Bean was about 4 months old, she woke up in the night and just wanted to scream… nothing would appease her. At the end of my rope, I screamed too. She got dead silent for a second and then her little face squinched up and she really let loose.

    I remember picking her up, her crying, me crying, and knowing that no matter how crazy I felt, this little being depended on me for everything she ever could need. And that she loved me no matter what.

    And most of all, that she forgave me for screaming too.

    Remember that it’s ok to feel frustrated. And no one is going to think you’re a terrible mom and person if you feel that way.

    And remember to pray.

  18. Well, I’m going to offer a bit of specialized advice that I sincerely hope Paige (or any other mother-to-be) doesn’t need much of. But in the event of a baby with “the colic” and in the event you are also breastfeeding, the breastfeeding manuals will tell you NEVER — on pain of death — EVER use your breasteses as a pacifier. My response to this cannot be written in good conscious. Let’s just say if you end up with a child whose normal state is either 1) sleeping; 2) nursing; or 3) crying, then if it helps to offer a breast sometimes between feedings … DO IT! Further, in the event you’re at your wits end, gently place the precious little bundle of wailing joy into his/her crib and walk into another room until you have a chance to mentally regroup. Not trying to scare anyone; I have lots of precious baby memories, too. And even during sleepless nights, I wouldn’t have traded either to the gypsies.

  19. Lea Margaret says:

    You wrote about having lifesavers in your life when you didn’t know nothing ’bout babies..YOU were mine! I am forever grateful to YOU, Boomama, for giving me some real life mama tips. Paige and her baby are very blessed to have you in their life.

  20. I agree about the schedules..they are there to HELP and make things easier not to make you crazy..

    Toni is so right about the colic fact, let’s all just join hands right now and pray Paige’s little one does not have colic because well, it is hard as many of you know..we still have some reflux issues at 2 and it is tough. So I just pray that God will touch baby P’s little sweet body and keep it from colic type issues if it is His will and desire. and if not, that He will give paige an extra portion of grace, wisdom and strength to deal with colic.
    Either way He gets the glory!

    can yall tell this issue is close to home for me!;)

  21. I’m not a mama; I’m a daddy, but I have a short story to illustrate my suggestion:
    When our second and last child was born, our son was 21 months old. My wife and new daughter came home from the hospital on a Sunday, and I had arranged to take the week off to help. I wound up mostly dealing with our toddler son – now they call it bonding, but then it was changing, feeding, bathing, generally caring for him. We went for walks, and I for once had the TIME to just focus completely on HIM. It helped him to feel more secure in his new status, and it really helped me get to know him better.
    They are 38 and 37 now, but that is still one of my life’s best weeks.

  22. My children are 26, 21, 20 and 15 and I still need tips from my Mother…it never ends!

  23. Besides the times I sang and talked to Jessica while she was still nestled under my heart, and then on my bladder, I think of one time that really stands out.

    I delivered her at 3:03 am, and everyone had gone home for a while after being up all night with me and Jessica. I was exhausted, but I was too wired to sleep and rest. Finally, I couldn’t stand it any longer and I called the nursery to have them bring my baby to me. After the nurse left, it was just me and my baby. I laid her in my lap and just looked at her. I–ME–I had brought forth this tiny little miracle of life, with God’s (and Lamar’s!) help! This little bit of life now depended on me for her every need, including nourishment, whether it be by nourishment from my breasts or by preparing bottles. I was responsible for her from birth to death, I was a MAMA! From now on, my life changed. Someone else’s needs would forever be placed before my own. And you know what? I was perfectly okay with that. More than that, I was willing and even eager for it. I was in love with Jessica. Forever and always. And it was good. My heart was in her tiny little hands from that moment on, and it still is today.

    Advice? Like several have said before me…let the housework go and love and spend time with your baby. Feel free to ignore some advice if it doesn’t work for you. Everybody will have advice. Sift through it and use what works, let the rest fall by the wayside. And don’t feel guilty for not putting a snowsuit on your baby in June because Great Aunt Matilda thinks the baby’s getting a chill, even though the baby’s sweating like a longshoreman. Great Aunt Matilda raised her kids her way, but you know your baby best. YOU’RE the Mama, not those wellmeaning givers of advice.

    Don’t be afraid to ask for advice, but if it sounds harmful or fishy, do what’s right for you and your baby.

    My daughter is expecting a baby in April, so this is all bringing back the memories for me. I hope you have an easy delivery and a beautiful, healthy baby.

    Enjoy. Savor. Cherish. Treasure. Revel. Glory in this baby, Paige.

  24. I hit publish too soon…because the truth is there is really no normal…you just do what works for you and that precious little one…and that will likely be different in many ways from what works with the next one.
    If you concentrate on just loving that baby, the rest will take care of itself.

  25. Wow, such sweet pieces of advice. I agree though that if breastfeeding doesn’t work…it is okay to let it go. And this from someone who nursed her three. :) I loved watching my teeny tiny ones in their little night gowns. They just seemed so comfy.Let your little one stay in something they can curl up it. That’s how they like it.

  26. First of all, you will be exhausted.

    Secondly, your newborn does not have to be cognitively stimulated every second of the day when they are awake.

    Third, I will never forget the first time my baby recognized me. Now of course she knew me from the very moment she was born. . .but she really saw me that day. She was a few weeks old–we were in WalMart. I had plunked her carseat into the buggy and began rolling it into the store. I looked at her, and she was looked right back at me like, “Hey! I know YOU. I am SO GLAD to see you!!!”

    She was in the NICU for a week after she was born. It was unexpected complications, so the first day I was confused and scared and exhausted. But day two I woke up ready to take off the head of ANYONE who messed with my baby or stuck her or poked her or prodded her without my express permission. Momma bear out for blood.

    She’s now 8–perfectly healthy–she is still glad to see me every time I walk into a room–and I am still ready to take on anyone who hurts her.

  27. First of all, congratulations! You are embarking on the best road ever :)

    The sweetest memory? Jonathan had this smell. When he slept, his head would sweat and gave him this wonderful scent. It lasted til he was about 5 or 6. But, I would hold him day and night and just smell that smell and nuzzle him. I can still smell it in my heart. He’s now 12.

  28. I can remember the first day I brought my oldest son home. We had unloaded the car and piled everything in the living room before being put away. I sat on the edge of the couch as my husband was hurrying to leave to pick up my 5 year-old step-daughter for the weekend. And out of nowhere….the tears just started flowing. He was like “What’s wrong? Are you hurting? What happened? Why are you crying???” All I could say was “I don’t know.”
    Everything just overwhelmed me I guess. I had experienced so many emotions over the past couple of days, by body didn’t know what was going on.
    So don’t worry too much if you have a brief moment of uncontrollable tears. Your hormones are playing havoc, for sure.
    But at the same time be aware of the signs of post-partum depression.

    Savor every moment you can, because they will surely fly by.
    Take the time to enjoy your children. That is truly what they will remember, the time you gave them.

  29. The best advice I’d give any new mom is to LISTEN TO YOUR INSTINCTS. I believe wholeheartedly that “mother’s intuition” is a very real, God-given gift. It’s hard to listen to yourself when you’re a first-time mom, because your tendency is to second-guess every thought that comes into your brain. But we mommas–even first-timers–have very valuable hunches that should never be dismissed.

  30. Breaking the rules, but how sweet is this? This past June my ten-year-old asked me, “What does it feel like to fall in love?” Those are the moments that make a mama cry.

  31. Phyllis R. says:

    This is one of the sweetest posts ever. The comments–each and every one–touched my heart completely! Mercy, don’t people just LOVE their children?!

    Paige, you’ve gotten tons of GREAT advice/stories already. I would add just a couple more things. First, read to this precious baby every day if you can–from the start. We read to our boys from the first week they came home! We read all through the years…first, little books, and then as they grew up, chapter books. They are now young men, 16 and almost 14-years-old, and they still talk about that and say it’s one of their best memories. It was great for their vocabularies, but even better for the time we spent just being together.

    Second, as your little one grows up, he/she will play various sports and wear team t-shirts; or your family will go on a special vacation and you will buy your child a t-shirt from that place. SAVE THESE. Then, when they go away to college (in the blink of an eye) surprise them with a quilt made from their favorite tees. They will be covered up in memories! AND while you’re saving, save some of THEIR clothes–things that YOU have special memories of them wearing as they grew up. Make a quilt out of these things for YOURSELF. That quilt will always remind you of every step you took in this amazing journey.

    Best wishes and God Bless you, your new baby, and your new life TOGETHER!

  32. I loved Daphne’s comment about Davis: “..This is a human being I would love and want to know even if he wasn’t my own”! Made me tear up, Daph!
    And, Soph, have a great, great time with Paige. I’m so happy for her.

  33. I posted on this in July. Will try to leave the link. The best advice I could give her is to sleep everytime the baby sleeps. And sleep near him/her if she can. It is so sweet to be there while they fall asleep and listen to them breathe.

  34. Here’s my best advice:

    1. Read The Baby Whisperer. It’s a quick read and it not only extremely practical, but it’ll remove all questions you’ll have about schedules, feeding, etc. My sister didn’t believe me when I told her how good it is, until her first baby was three weeks old, and now she recommends it to everyone!

    2. Take Ibuprofen around the clock the first week. You’ve never had something the size of a cantaloupe pass through your ‘nether regions before, and you’ll be a bit sore. When you’re both tired AND sore, you won’t be able to think straight, so eliminate the soreness if you can! (Because that tiredness part will take a while to eliminate!!) But FYI, the second child is WAY easier on that same region later on! Baby One has to pave the way, so to speak:)

    My sweetest memory remains the first second I laid eyes on each of my three children; it was love at first sight, and it has only deepened with time. Best wishes to you!!

  35. My 3 redheads are ages 11, 6 and 4 now, and the biggest lesson I’ve learned about motherhood is that children are masterful at forgiveness and unconditional love. No matter how many mistakes I make, or how many times I forget to keep a promise or how many times I lose my patience with them and raise my voice, they ALWAYS forgive me and, with a hug, say, “I love you, Mommy.”

  36. Man, my first and foremost word of advice is that if your baby is SUPER colicky, and your breastfeeding — cut ALL the dairy out of your diet. My dd cried all day, all night, constantly in pain. She wasn’t able to break down the proteins in my milk that came from the dairy products I consumed. I did this and within 2 days I had a new baby! I didn’t have any dairy foods for 6 months…
    Secondly, try swaddling.. it really works. That was the only way she would sleep, until she was almost 5 4 months old. It gave me longer nights of sleep to fight off the fatigue that comes with new motherhood!
    My dd is 6 yrs now. My only child. It’s flown by so fast. I was 35 when I had her. After 8 yrs of being told I would NEVER be a mommy. God had bigger plans. He gave me a precious child, and I’m determined to raise her right. Raise her in a Godly home. She’s such a blessing.
    Enjoy your little one. Blessings!

  37. One more thing. . .

    This is your first baby, and this will be the ONLY first baby you ever have. Once there are more, there will be more things to do and more people to take care of and more activities blurring the lines. So hold this baby, rock this baby, take naps with this baby, soak this baby up–because it will be the ONLY time you get to focus on just ONE baby.

  38. My “babies” are now 27, 28, and 29! But their early memories are as clear as if they were yesterday.

    The sweetest moment with my first-born son happened the first night he came home from the hospital. He had to remain in the NICU for a week. And while I stayed with him all day and drove to the hospital each night at 2 am to nurse him that first night together was precious. I rocked him, sang to him, and then in one of those life-changing moments just began praying out loud, thanking God for such a gift, committing myself to love and protect him, and offering him back to Lord. In those moments something was sealed in my heart that has surfaced again and again. I had named my son Nathanael, which means “gift of God”. And many times during his life, especially as he battled cancer, I relived those moments in that rocking chair, repeating with confidence those words I offered many years earlier.

    A few things to remember in the early months… :)

    1. This too shall pass! Sleepless nights, weary body, emotional ups and downs – it’s just part of the process of birthing and growing a baby… :) But they do grow up – faster than you can imagine.

    2. Emmanuel. In your moments of joy, in the shadows of the night…He is with you.

    3. Replace the SuperWoman complex with a SleepingWoman commitment. When the baby sleeps, you sleep!

    4. Accept lots of help but make sure and help friends and family know what things need tending to while you tend to the baby.

    5. Take 30 minutes, everyday, without fail, for yourself. Whether standing alone in the shower, reading a chapter in your favorite chair, laying on the bed with music on… don’t forget to feed your soul.

  39. I’ve been married for just over a year and I’m only 24…. but I have a secret to share…

    Y’all make me want to have a baby! Shhh!! Don’t let my husband hear that… I think he would get the sweats!

  40. Well, I’ll spare you a labor horror story, but suffice it to say the words “internal damage” were used with regard to my first. When we got her home, for the life of me I couldn’t figure out how to get her to latch on, and it was oh so painful. Plus, I cried and cried and cried, because all the literature the lactation people at the hospital gave me said that my baby would be disabled, have a low IQ, die of SIDS, and possibly burst into flames if I didn’t nurse her.

    Then one day I was sitting in the glider rocker (oh, and absolute MUST have) holding her and playing a CD. The hymn “Great is Thy Faithfulness” came on. Now I’d heard that song thousands of times before, not to mention, I went to Moody Bible Institute, where it is practically the fight song and we sang it at least once a week. But I’d never really HEARD it, until holding my precious baby girl who had taken forever to conceive, be born, taught to nurse. She is so incredible and I am so blessed–I just felt the tears rolling down as I heard the words, “All I have needed Thy hand hath provided, blessings all mine with ten thousand beside!”

    Just hang on through the tough stuff and enjoy the unbelievable blessing of your new baby!

  41. Our lovely, charming Amelia is 2 1/2 now, and we’re expecting our 2nd baby in April, so I’ve already been trying to remember all the newborn stuff. First of all, one of my sweetest memories–in retrospect–was how much this gorgeous baby girl loved me! She just wanted to be with me, cuddled in my arms all the time. That, of course, made it difficult to sleep, make dinner, sleep, fold laundry, sleep, or go to the bathroom. However, she’s such a cuddly girl now, and I absolutely love it. The time when babies are content to just cuddle is actually pretty short–make the most of it. My advice is actually twofold: make a rule that people need to call before coming over. If you’re struggling with breastfeeding, you don’t want your husband’s college buddy to walk in on on you and your great big exposed breasts. Eek! Second, sometimes it’s just not a good time for people to come over. Don’t be afraid to say so! You can be polite about it, but don’t be a pushover. Your time with your baby and your husband needs to come first now. Congratulations on one of the most miraculous, life-changing events you’ll ever experience!

  42. i’ll try to keep this short.

    my first piece of advice is to throw out all of those stupid new mom books. every baby is different and every mom hsa a different way of doing things. those books will make you over-anxious about not being super mom.

    secondl this may seem weird, but if they let your hold your baby while he’s still covered in all that gunk (right after he’s born) take that chance — even if it does kind of gross you out. let me explain.

    my son was born at 29 weeks gestation. they put him on my belly for abut half a second and then whisked him off to the NICU where he stayed for six weeks. i didn’t really touch him because i was terrified because of his prematurity.

    those few seconds that he was on my belly were all that i had at first. i didn’t get to hold him until he was nine days old. if i had it to do all over again, i would have picked him up and kissed him all over — even with that gunky stuff on him. :)

    third thing kind of goes with the second. take lots of pictures and cuddle cuddle cuddle.they change soooo fast during those first few weeks. and they are still so cuddly then. my son is now a year old and he doesn’t like to cuddle quite as much anymore.

    and lastly, one of my favorite memories was two days after my son was born so early and while i was still in the midst of coping with his prematurity, i went to church. (you don’t hurt as much when your baby is only 2 lbs.) we sang great is thy faithfulness and i lost it.

    god was absolutely faithful even though my son was born early and was in teh NICU. he provided everything we needed and then some. having a child is the most amazing blessing anyone could ever hope for.

  43. I attained supermom strength after giving birth to both my kids. I did not feel tired at all and visitors all said I glowed. I wouldn’t and couldn’t go to sleep but would sit and stare at the little angels sent from Heaven. I instinctively knew what they needed. These two kids just bonded instantly with me. I know to bring glory to God, I need just to pour out all my might, strength and love unto these two little people under my care; and, enjoying every seconds of new beginnings/creations made possible only by God. I was totally in awe of His creation and that He would deem me fit to take care of precious little angels. Glory be to God forever and ever.