My mom stayed with us two whole weeks after Titus was born. That's the kind of spoiled I am. She did everything that is impossible for one to do in a normal pace of life, let alone with a newborn. My baseboards have never been so clean. The inside of my microwave met and became friends with a wash cloth. I never knew there was a way to clean the dishwasher...or that you would ever want to in the first place.
I've heard it said many times that the postpartum struggle is much more about figuring yourself out than the new baby. My baby slept and ate and pooped like any other baby, but everything was just so hard! Every bit of it! The not sleeping, the emotions, the healing from a third degree tear, and feeling like I had to write these thank you notes and take a shower and sit on a sitz bath and ice all the things all at the same time.
The day I came home from the hospital, I could barely walk. I had to crawl up my own stairs because our bathroom was on the second floor. It felt so impossible. How did these stairs in the home I'd lived in for five years suddenly turn into Mt. Everest? So how was I going to care for this baby when I couldn't even climb the stairs?
Two weeks later when my Dad came back to pick up Mom, he encouraged me. He noticed how I climbed the stairs again! Hooray! But then he told me that postpartum depression was a real thing, and that they were only two hours away. He told me I could pack when the baby was sleeping and then wait until the next nap until I set off for their house. I did just that about three weeks later.
When my mom left that day, I cried. A lot.
I had babysat from the time I had just left babyhood myself. I had 7 nieces and nephews. It didn't matter. This baby was mine and I felt like I was the most exhausted person in the world and I somehow had to give to him. I had multiple degrees and somehow couldn't shake the fear that I put him in the carseat wrong and I had to drive this baby to the other side of town for a doctors apt. It was the BIGGEST deal.
I felt like I needed my MOM, but then all at once I realized. I was it! I. WAS. THE. MOM.
And somehow you do it, one step at a time, one diaper at a time, one feeding, one carride. You just know what to do. Like our moms knew what to do. You figure it out. You make educated guesses. You research if you are a researcher. You ask if you have good parent friends. You vow to make good parent friends. And you keep your mom on FaceTime standby.
And you realize. No one knows what the heck they are doing when they become a parent. Those who pretend they do are not people I want to be friends with. Everyone is just doing the best that they can.
If I could encourage you, newest of the new mamas, YOU ARE THE MOM! And you are doing a great job. You will find your groove. You will know your child better than anyone else, just like your mom knows you. Embrace the learning and not knowing. Yes! Go ahead and call your pediatrician for the 50th time! That's okay! Buy the organic foods and subscribe to the mom blogs and read the book that tells you what is happening week by week in their development. Every day won't be so hard because you will have met and worked through the massive explosive diaperor the ear infection or how to adjust the car seat straps so you can face whatever it is that is coming at you next.
You know what is absolutely crazy? My mom was once the one her mom left with a newborn. And one day I will be the mom who leaves after my grandbabies are born. God gives us "Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow. Great is thy faithfulness, Lord unto me!" God gives us exactly what we need for each day. One moment at a time, sweet mama. You are the MOM!