When my daughter Ruth gave birth to little Tori, I was thinking about things I wanted to tell Ruth, so I wrote her a letter with 8 tips for a new mom.
Below is the letter with some thoughts for her, from my heart.
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(Victoria is an answer to our prayers, as Ruth struggled with infertility for over two years. If you missed my post about it, you can find it here: Our “Christmas Miracle” Granddaughter’s Birth.)
I can’t begin to tell you how happy I am for you & Rob! I’m so glad that God chose to answer your heart’s desire and prayer, and blessed you with little Victoria. I love her to pieces already, and I know that you are amazed with the depth of love you already feel for her as her mom. You are already such an awesome mom, and Tori is very blessed to have you & Rob as her parents!
There’s nothing quite like becoming a mother for the first time, and it’s really something you can never be fully prepared for. The hours spent holding, cuddling and watching Tori change and grow are one of the many joys you will experience. You will also go through your share of challenges. Motherhood is rewarding, but it’s also hard.
Even though I’ve had 8 babies of my own, I can’t tell you everything you need to know for what’s ahead. I wish I could give you a blue print with plans to make everything easy, and to give you a guarantee that it will always be smiles and fun. Unfortunately though, each child is different, and no matter how you parent or what you do, there will be some rough times. I promise you though that the joys far exceed the pain of the hard times! And the hard times make you grow. (It’s amazing how kids bring out our character flaws!)
I know this isn’t much, and you have probably already figured some of these things out, but I thought I’d share a few random thoughts that I hope will help you as you continue on this wonderful journey called motherhood!
*Expect feelings of confusion, frustration, or even worry. And remember, it’s all right to cry when you get overwhelmed! Most new moms feel like crying — you suddenly realize you are responsible for this precious little human being, and on top of that your hormones are out of whack! After a few weeks things will settle into more of a routine. You’ll begin to understand what Tori’s different cries mean, and see patterns. Your hormones will also settle down, which will help!
*Don’t let it get to you when you feel like you don’t know what you are doing. Most moms have no idea what they are doing! When in doubt, fake it! 🙂 Seriously, you will figure it out as you go along, and each day will get better.
*Everyone will have opinions and advice for you. They mean well, and want to help. But keep in mind that there really isn’t a clear “right or wrong” when it comes to how often you breast feed or if you should bottle feed, co-sleeping or crib sleeping, working or stay at home mom, or the “let them cry it out” vs. give them comfort methods. Trust your instincts and do what is best for you and Tori, and what Rob and you agree is best for YOUR family. When folks give their advice on how you should change or do things their way, listen to the advice, but don’t feel obligated to do it, unless you think it will work for your family. Decide that you won’t be judgmental of other mom’s parenting choices, and that you won’t let the opinions of judgy moms affect the choices you make.
*Listen to your intuition! God gives it to moms to help them know what their babies need. Go with it, and don’t let what you have read in a baby book, or heard from moms who have successfully raised several kids, trump that intuition. You know Tori best, and need to do what works for the two of you, which may be different than what worked for others.
*Before Tori was born, you got tired of hearing people teasingly say “Enjoy your sleep while you can!” Now you know WHY they said it! 🙂 Now you are hearing the words: “Sleep when baby sleeps”. You need to actually do that!! I remember struggling with that and wanting to try to clean and catch up on things. Somewhere along the course of having 8 kids, I realized that things are never caught up when there’s a new baby. So rest when you can. Nothing is more important than caring for Tori, and to do that you want to be well rested so you can enjoy her. Everything else really will wait.
*Realize that nothing will be the same again — and that’s NOT a bad thing! Once you accept that, you will be able to let go of those things that don’t matter as much as they used to. Caring for the baby is more important than worrying about if the house is spotless, or if you are caught up on the daily laundry. If your house is sanitary and the baby is being well-cared for, nothing else matters during the first few weeks of being a new mom.
*Babies cry no matter how good of a job you are doing. Sometimes, they cry really hard and you think they’ll never stop. Like I already mentioned, it’s okay for you to join them, crying from exhaustion, frustration, hormones or any of the many emotions that become a part of you when you become a mother. There’s comfort in reminding yourself that the crying will stop — it always does. (hers AND yours!) Also, comfort yourself by remembering that many of the tears you shed will be happy tears!
* Don’t be afraid to ask for help, and accept it when it’s offered! I know Rob is perfectly willing to help with household duties and baby-related tasks if you just ask. You don’t have to do everything just because you’re the mom. You need a reprieve from baby duty, even if it’s just to take a long, relaxing shower, take a needed nap, or have time alone with another mom or with Rob.You know I am here whenever you need help! Please feel free to text or call at anytime when you need anything — especially after Rob goes back to work.
I am praying that you will be able to savor and enjoy these early days of getting to know Tori, and asking God to give you strength and wisdom not only for these days, but for the years to come. God gave her to you in answer to your prayers, and I know He has special plans for her!
My heart is overflowing with joy for you and Rob, and with love for little Tori. I’m so excited that I get to be a part of her life, and will not only be able to watch her grow and learn, but also invest in her life. Children truly are a blessing and gift from God!
Love ya lots!