This is it! Your big day! The baby’s here and everything is supposed to be all sunshine and flowers, right? Except sometimes? It’s not. Sometimes it takes a day or two or three to start feeling connected with your newborn and between the exhaustion, hormones, and pressure to be perfect – you break down. Please – take your time. This is a rest-of-your-life relationship, so go easy on yourself. Nurture your child, and nurture your own feelings as well. Know that perfection is overrated. And that Mom of the Year thing? Totally not real. Here’s what is real – with time and patience and great care, come great mother-child bonds. The kind you’ll take through life with your child.
Here are a few ideas to get you through the tough days:
Notice every little thing about your baby. From their tiny toes and fingers, their heartbeat next to yours, their facial expressions, and their warmth - get to know them head to toe physically while you start to create that bond with them emotionally.
Create a no-judgment zone. This is not just for everyone else in your life who are eager to share their ‘tips’ and ‘advice’ – but you as well. Let’s face it – who’s harder on us than us? Go easy on yourself and realize that some days doing the best that you can is the best!
Give up that Wonder Woman thing. You know the role that some moms try to pull off where they try to be perfectly pulled together, hair done, makeup on, world-ready even though they’ve had one hour’s sleep and have spit-up on their pajamas? Come on now. You brought a life into the world – I’d say that’s super-power enough for right now, wouldn’t you?
Get help where you need it. Lots of things about newborns can be intimidating! Swaddling, nursing, bathing, figuring out what this cry means versus that cry – we often feel we should just know, as if by magic, everything we need to know when we deliver. The real truth? No one ever, ever does. So get help where you need it. The nurses and caregivers, the coaches, and even parents and grandparents who have gone before us can often be just the support systems we need to learn the ‘tools of the trade’ starting day one.
Do all things with love. This is one of my favorite quotes – and perfect for new parents to remember. As you grow in your bond with your baby – realize that your intent is everything. If whatever you do, every moment that you spend, every action you take – your intent and spirit behind each act is fueled by and filled with love – it will turn out. Just fill their tiny selves up with all the love you have to give – and create a reservoir for yourself as well.
Step by step and day by day, you and your child will learn about each other at a pace that would truly boggle your mind if you stopped to think about it. Do yourself and your baby a favor…take it slow. Drink in every minute of this time. It happens in a fraction of a second, so put the rest of the world on a slow burner for a bit and just ease into what will become one of the most amazing journeys of your life!
Amy McCready's new book is "The 'Me, Me, Me' Epidemic: A Step-by-Step Guide to Raising Capable, Grateful Kids in an Over-Entitled World." Learn more at AmyMcCready.com.