[ editor’s note: This is part of our May for Mothers series, in response to the question “What advice would you give to a new mother?” ]
Ahhh, the beautifully messy adventure of motherhood.
What can I say to prepare any new mother for this crazy adventure that she is about to be thrown into? I wish I could say there is a leisurely day before the baby arrives that we will be graced with an out of body perspective about how those first few days with baby will be… but we can only dream. We are never prepared for those moments: those perfect moments when you are so in love with your baby that you will combust into an enormous puddle of joyful tears. The moments when you are nervously changing your baby for the very first time and you begin to shake because you are terrified to hurt their precious little legs. But that is my point; WE WILL NEVER BE PREPARED!
Nothing any woman says will prepare you for:
-Spit up pouring onto your face because you desperately wanted to hear baby laugh just one more time (and you didn’t stop to think about the milk they just drank)
-The strolls through the grocery store rushing to find that one thing you need for dinner while baby screams in their carrier… aaand then your breast milk decides to leak, leaving a massive stain for everyone to see.
-The bizarre situation when an albino peacock decides to attack your child.
-When their poop somehow crawls out of their diaper to the back of their neck! (I still have nightmares)
-When your child is crying in the middle of the night because they are teething and then bursts into laughter when you walk into their room. (Seriously, how do you respond to that?)
-The day a wind up toy eats your child’s hair right off of their head.
-The moment you walk into your son’s room and he took it upon himself to paint his room with his very own poop creation.
In case I’m losing you, I am certain that nothing will prepare you for when your child goes through a phase in which he thinks that anything that is brown must be made of chocolate–including people.
But there is an entirely different set of emotions that you can never be prepared for. The moments when your son will only want to be rocked by his mom, the moments when they say “momma” and you try your hardest not to melt right there on the floor. Those sweet moments that they go out and pick flowers (on their own) just for you. Those moments that you seriously question whether your heart can handle the amount of love you feel for your baby. It is the most beautiful unconditional love that strikes the moment you hear that sweet cry after you deliver their little life into the world. Absolutely nothing can prepare you for that.
So my only advice to you new moms is this-
Listen to each and every bit of wisdom! Every single woman who has a baby has a story to tell, and we should be open to each and every version of how to be a mother. But PLEASE never feel that you HAVE to follow their advice. Our advice to you is not a rulebook! Always remember that. There are no two people who live the exact same lives. Each and every baby will be entirely different. Each and every mother will be entirely different. So follow your intuition, and make your own rules for what best suits you and your perfect baby. Welcome to motherhood!
Photo by Alain Laboile