Being a new mom is a brave new world and no matter how much advice and help you have, it still feels like you’re facing it alone. You alone bear the title of “Mom.” You are your baby’s source of life, his source of comfort. And it’s overwhelming.
You’ve anticipated the arrival of this little bundle of joy, but nothing prepares you for your new reality. Your needs and desires are sitting on a shelf for a while. You have one priority and one priority only, and that’s taking care of baby. We’re talking survival mode.
A good day consists of making sure you get to eat at least two meals, don’t pass out from exhaustion, and as far as you know, baby is well fed and has been changed a few times. Answering emails? Responding to phone calls? There’s no time. You barely have time for your spouse, much less anyone else. Your capacity for emotional connection is drained, likely every 2 hours or so, by the most precious life you’ve ever seen.
Ironically, this loneliness may be a time when you’re around more people than you have been in a while. But even though family is in town, they’re likely in survival mode too. You’re new 24/7 job means you have little time, if any, for laundry, cooking, cleaning, shopping or anything else that doesn’t directly contribute to baby’s survival. That’s where their energy goes. They offer practical support and may even attempt emotional support, but it’s just not connecting.
Friends stop by to drop off food and cuddle your little one. You smile and try your best to find your way out of the fog so you can carry on a decent conversation. It’s sad really. You’ve looked forward to a new face walking into your cave of a home all day long, but once they arrive, you realize how exhausting it is just having company. If baby’s asleep, you’re missing time to sleep, shower, or get something else accomplished. If baby’s awake, you’re likely struggling to figure out that nursing cover or hiding in another room altogether. You crave the company, but your mind and body aren’t prepared to handle it.
Even those that have been through this phase before, those that know it well, even they aren’t able to meet you there. Not now. They’ve seen the other side. They know there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. They’ve felt the warmth of it on their skin. You haven’t. For all you know, that light has been permanently squelched.
So we hold out hope that the light isn’t squelched. Although deep down we know our reality will never be the same, we will never be the same, we pray there’s a chance that one day soon we will rise from this strangely dark, yet delightful place to reenter and reconnect with the world around us. And hopefully, we’ll have had a chance to shower by then. ;-)
Praying with you.