Monday, July 8, 2013

Surviving the first two weeks

Well I survived the first month of motherhood! I’m all about some small victories these days (I pat myself on the back daily for taking a shower and am genuinely proud) so I am celebrating this one.

My mom asked me the other day what advice I would give new moms now that I’ve just gone through the first couple weeks - specifically the first two which are the hardest & steepest learning curve. I thought it was a great question to think about and I wanted to compile all the advice I’ve been given that has helped so much, and some little things I learned for myself. I know it will be helpful for me to remember these for future babies :)

photo by Robyn Van Dyke Photography

1. Spend time in the Word daily. It is the MOST refreshing thing and you need it even more than sleep.

2. Take it day by day. Besides number 1, this is the best, most important piece of advice for me and something I am constantly repeating to myself It’s easy to take the emotions and exhaustion of what you are feeling in a moment and project forwards for the next week, 2 weeks, months, years and think it will never end, or think about how hard it will be for the next ___ amount of time. But the picture you create in your head is not accurate, real, helpful, or honoring to God. Two phrases that I cling to:
Worry imagines a future where God is absent. 
Past grace is a promise of future grace.
3. Take a shower every day. May seem incredibly simple and stupid but oh my goodness. I feel like a new person every time I take a shower. I think it especially helps when you are sleep deprived. It gives you a fresh perspective (like: no, it is not okay for me to think I am “clean” when I have pee and spit up all over my clothes and skin). It makes you feel more awake. And it makes you feel more human :) Plus little Kate loves the sound of the running shower so it’s free entertainment for her!

4. Don’t rush recovery. This one might be more based on your personality type. For me, I am always ready to be back to normal instantly. Every recovery consists of me overdoing it at some point, learning from that experience, and changing my expectations. This one was no exception. I was so ready to be mobile and out and about and my mom is/was constantly having to remind me that I just had major surgery and a human just came out of me. It will take time to get back to “normal”.

5. When you’re getting frustrated with the recovery and new pain, make a list of all the things that feel BETTER now that you have delivered. This was another one of the things my mom suggested to me. And I still make this list in my head daily because it really is exciting to think of all the things I don’t have to deal with anymore– acid reflux, nausea, bloated/swelling, less itchiness from the PUPPS, etc. AND on top of that, I get sweet baby cuddles!

6. It’s hard but every day it gets easier. I got this one from my sister, Rebecca, who just delivered her third child 3 months ago. I really enjoy waking up every morning and knowing that I survived the previous day AND night (which is even more scary). And every day I’m learning how to be a better mom to my baby. And every day she’s getting older and bigger and stronger. And every day, there is new grace.

7. Everything will look and feel better after some sleep… no matter how little :) At the end of the day when I’m feeling overwhelmed, I just have to shut my mind off and remember that I am exhausted and nothing will look positive until I get some sleep. Obviously, sleep is a rare commodity during the first couple weeks but even just 15 or 30 minutes will make you feel a little better.

8. It’s okay to be exhausted. I got embarrassed at first when I would try to remember what I did all day and I couldn’t really think of one concrete thing… besides, you know, surviving. And that’s okay. You are taking care of another tiny totally dependent human being. And have I mentioned that you are getting very little sleep?! :)

9. Work on reconnecting with your husband. For new moms especially, it’s a huge transition in your marriage. We felt distant from each other at first – we were both going through a huge change but in completely different ways. So I make it a goal to spend time every day reconnecting with Rob. I ask him questions that I am sometimes scared to know the answer to (“What’s been the hardest thing for you?” “What has been the biggest surprise?”). It is only through constant communication, honesty, and time spent together that we have begun to feel connected and in sync again.

10. Get comfy recovery clothes.

11. Set yourself a realistic, exciting goal that you can work towards. My mom offered to watch Kate so we could go on a date at the two week mark. I had certain things I wanted to check off before then (try breast pumping, better mobility for me, etc.) and just having a “deadline” helped me push through and work towards those things. Plus, getting out of the house with your husband is an awesome “deadline” to be working towards.

Excited/sleep deprived for our first date :)

12. I am 100% more clumsy when functioning on little sleep. No explanation needed just a huge thing for me to remember :)

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