Tuesday, March 11, 2014

letter to myself

My friend Julie had a sweet baby girl last week.
Her first.
I visited with her a few weeks before she delivered
to give her some baby clothes that I'd seen
and couldn't resist buying. :)
I'm a sucker for baby clothes.
Especially little bubble suits.
After three boys I get giddy at the sight of baby girl clothes.
If that's wrong, I don't want to be right.
After she left I got to thinking.
About how maybe I had scared her to death.
With all my personal stories...
like how I was surprised that I had to have an epidural
by myself, or rather, hugging a complete stranger...
a very kind nurse,
as the grumpy anesthesiologist was rushing to
find the perfect place to do said epidural.
I remember being so scared,
just wanting my husband to be there,
telling them,
asking them,
then begging the surgical team
to wait until he got in the room
before proceeding.
Nobody told us that he couldn't be in there for that part.
Until it happened.
I just remember hugging that lady,
hunched over my swollen belly,
full of two babies who needed to be born immediately,
while I sobbed because
their birth day wasn't going the way
I'd always seen it in my dreams.
This nurse held me best she could while I cried
announcing to the whole room
which I guess was code for
"we have a crying preggo a sister out."
I told my friend Julie
all my horror stories of things
I wished somebody
would have told me before having kids.
Not right.
I know.
Since then I started thinking about
what I know now
that I wish I'd known then.
I kind of wrote myself a letter in my head.
To the new mom I was ten years ago.
Dear Me,
This is you ten years from now.
Here's some things I think you should know.
1. Try not to be scared on your delivery day.
Yes, you will not know what's going on.
Or really what to expect.
Just know that everyone working in labor and delivery
has been there, done that
a bazillion trillion times before
{we hope}
and that they will guide you and help you.
Above all, remember too,
that they're really not in charge any way.
God is in charge.
And trust me.
He is watching over you and your baby(s).
Just try to let go and let God.
Try to relax and take in the details.
But know that you'll probably forget everything
except for the first time you see your baby(s).
Then that's all you'll care about.
Your new reason for being.
2. Know that you're not superwoman.
And that's ok.
Don't be afraid to ask for help.
Everybody is waiting to help you.
They just don't want to barge in
so you kind of need to put your needs out there.
Whether it is to help clean your house
or run to the grocery for you.
Everybody is on call and waiting for your request.
Know that you're not a failure if you ask for help.
You're only job as a new mom is seriously this...
to take care of yourself
so that you recover as safely and quickly as possible
so that you can care for your baby.
If you're breastfeeding well that is a big time job.
This is where taking care of yourself is prime
so that your body is getting what it needs to do its job
of making milk...
this means rest when you can
and feed your body the best nutrition you can.
Let everything else go.
Let your house get dirty.
The laundry room fill with mountains of clothes
needing to be washed and folded.
Let someone else figure it out for you for now.
It will get done.
Just don't feel like you're the one who needs to do it.
I remember so clearly
being so overwhelmed
by having twin babies.
My husband had used up all his days at work
with the emergency C-section
and our twins time in the NICU.
I remember though that every day at lunch
he would come home to check on us.
In the beginning he would come in
and usually find me sitting in the rocking chair
just crying.
I knew I wanted help.
I just couldn't bring myself to ask for any.
Because I felt like
I finally had what we'd dreamed about
and fought so hard for.
My dream was real.
Now what?
I thought I couldn't do it all like I should.
Or at least that's how it felt.
Like I should be able to but couldn't.
Because I was so sleep deprived.
That will do funny things to you.
I know you know that.
Like for instance
I remember hearing the mailman one day.
And I seriously considered asking him in
to watch the babies
so that I could take a nap.
So just remember its ok to ask for help.
But better that person be someone you actually know and trust.
3. Start as you mean to go.
I don't think you can spoil a baby.
I really don't.
But around a few months old,
once they've gained some weight,
and they're healthy with no issues,
you might want to start thinking about long term -
I say this when it comes to things like pacifiers
and sleeping arrangements.
I wish someone had told us that hospital pacifiers
are not good long term.
Let me explain.
When they were in the hospital
our boys used the big green rubbery pacifiers.
I forget the brand name.
One of the twins stopped using one on his own.
The other loved his paci.
Wouldn't give it up.
Loved it so much
and depended on it to go to sleep.
For years.
Three to be exact.
His nickname no lie was "Ten Binks"
because once he got addicted
I became an enabler and ordered ten new ones every so often.
You know in case one would fall out of his crib or whatever.
Not right.
Don't do as I did.
Because one day when he was around three
his dentist asked if he used a pacifier.
And if so what kind.
And we told her.
And then she got us told.
His palate was misshapen because of the hard paci we'd used.
Again, first time parents.
Who knew.
We went home that day
and got a box
to mail all the pacifiers back to heaven
for new babies that needed them.
He was three and he understood.
It was long past overdue time.
It was not pretty.
But we made it through that transition.
I wish too that we'd made the conversion earlier from
having the crib in our room to the nursery sooner.
Just saying.
They're not stupid.
If you wait like we did
until they're around one.
They'll spot the change in location.
They'll be like
"Hey mom, I liked it better in your room,
what gives with this room of my own?
Away from you?
Again, another ugly transition.
One we waited too long for I think.
Who knew?
Start as you mean to go.
That's all I'm saying.
4. This is big. 
Accept your children for who they are.
Not who you want them to be.
Don't try to make them into "mini-me(s)."
For they are their own unique person.
Love them for that.
Accept them for that.
It took me a while to figure that out.
I could make this list go on forever
but I think this next one sums up everything else.
5.  Enjoy every moment.
Even the ones that bring you to your knees.
Like middle of the night
all night rock-a-thons.
because trust me when I tell you this.
and truer words have never been spoken...
One day.
you are going to wish these very days
hadn't gone by so fast.
and you're going to want them back.
I never would have believed it.
If it weren't happening to me every single day.
On the hard days,
the ones where you wish
these very days away...
where maybe they're sick,
or nobody in the house is sleeping.
And you're so tired,
so exhausted,
just so ready for a break of any kind.
Tell yourself this...
The days are long but the years are short.
Say this on repeat in your mind.
These days of mind-blowing,
overpowering exhaustion will pass.
Too quickly.
And you will want those days back.
Even if only for a millisecond.

One day you will sleep again.
Maybe not as long as you did once
but you will sleep and recover.
Know too that at a certain point
you wont be able to snuggle their little heads
in the crook of your arm or neck.
And they'll start treating you as if you're the enemy
not their hero they once thought you were.
And you'll just have to love them through it.
And hope and pray
{and know}
that it will all work out in the end.
And it will.
I have faith that it will anyway.
Just do your best.
Forgive yourself at the end of every day.
Pray before the start of new one.
Ten years into it
I know I will never be a perfect parent.
Or person for that matter.
You're human and that's ok.
Every day try to learn from the mistakes you made yesterday.
Try to be better than the day before.
Forget your problems.
Remember your blessings.
For you my dear are blessed beyond measure.

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