Secrets for the New Mom

I stood silent in line and watched, the grin on my face reaching each ear. The new mother gently swayed, rocking back and forth as her husband paid the cashier.

Black hair peeked out from the corner of her arm. Newborn skin wrinkled with still-translucent skin. Eyes closed, drinking nourishment. New life held within the safe arms of the mom, exhaustion dripping from her skin.

My Newborn Son

I found myself desperate to whisper in her ear. I craved the divulging of secrets I have discovered on this journey of Motherhood. Secrets mothers whisper to each other only after they’ve been through the moment. Secrets understood later than they should be.

Alas…the checkout line at Target is no place to whisper secrets to strangers. But had I been brave enough to press into her space with the hidden treasures of Motherhood, I may have said things like—

      • The fog you are in? It will lift. Be patient.
      • The husband you married? You will connect again. Just not yet.
      • That shower you missed yesterday? Take it now.
      • There will be a time you need to put your screaming child in her crib and walk away.
      • You are not alone when you wonder: What have I done?
      • Mommy Wars – Stay out of them.
      • The experts? They have perfect children that follow the rules. They don’t know everything.
      • There will be days you feel like you’ve run a marathon just leaving your house.
      • It’s okay to gag at the yuck that comes out of your bundle of joy.
      • Listen to your Mommy Instinct. It is almost ALWAYS right.
      • Let the precious old woman love on your baby. She needs to. No. She really does. You are the connection to her past.
      • Laugh when she cries because sometimes her scrunched-tight face really is funny.
      • Your baby may sleep all night for months. And then she won’t. True story.
      • It’s okay to not have a clue.
      • Let daddy do it his way or you will be doing it your way—alone. Forever.
      • You may lose EVERY bit of your baby weight and still never again fit into your favorite jeans.
      • You can’t spoil a newborn.
      • This journey, it’s difficult. It’s heart wrenching. It’s incredible.
      • Every emotion you have – it’s normal.
      • Every question you’ve asked yourself? Someone else has wondered the same thing.
      • Rock your baby every single time you want to—EVERY time. You won’t regret it.
      • Seek the advice of mothers you respect, but do what works for your child.
      • There are days you will want to crawl out of your own skin.
      • There are days you will want to soak up and savor every single moment.
      • They can be the same day.
      • You will understand love in ways you didn’t know were possible.
      • Let your house be a disaster.
      • When your sweet newborn sleeps, read a book, watch a movie, paint your toenails, sleep—whatever it is that makes you feel human—do THAT!
      • You, and only you, can mother your child. You were created for your precious baby.
      • When all else fails, chocolate works wonders—for you. Who did you think I meant?
      • That feeling of being overwhelmed? Totally normal.
      • You’re not crazy.
      • Though sometimes defeated, you are not a failure.
      • You are only human.
      • You will survive.
      • You’re an amazing mother.
      • You’re beautiful.
      • You are not alone.
      • You have been given a gift.
      • You have been charged with a treasure.
      • This is your sacred calling.

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29 Responses to Secrets for the New Mom

  1. Laila says:

    Thank you Heather. I needed that.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I needed that now too. Thank you.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Oh, that was so beautiful. I cry as I type this reply. Funny, I was working at school today and found myself wanting to cry as I looked around at all the children who you just know are not cherished and then you post this. You are amazing.

  4. Falen says:

    This was truly what I needed! This is the 2nd post of your’s sent to me from a friend and you are wonderful! Thank you! I’m now following you and look forward to reading more!

  5. trisha peckham says:

    Wow! Well put and oh so true!

  6. Anonymous says:

    I have 15week old twins with reflux and am feeling totally overwhelmed today. Thanks for making me feel better

  7. Anonymous says:

    I am so touched Barbara this just so perfect for Melissa at this time God Bess u for being so loving

  8. Lori Tucker says:

    Aris sent me to your blog . SO glad that she is following you, and that long after you probably thought that you have lost influence, you still continue to be a blessing to my baby. Most thankful for amazing women like you.

    • Lori! Your words touched me deeply. As a teacher, my heart’s greatest desire is to know I’ve influenced my students’ lives for the better. Your daughter is a beautiful young woman, largely because she has an amazing mother!

  9. Liz says:

    Just beuatiful

  10. cindy says:

    Love it! Great post.

  11. martipieper says:

    Love it. Love you. Just wish I could “Back to the Future” this and read it, say, 25 years ago when I was a first-time mommy!

  12. Anonymous says:

    This was wonderful to read. With a 5 year old, a 9 month old, and a classroom full of children there are some days I am just “mommied” out. Today was one of those days!

    • I have literally been in your shoes with a 5 year old, a 9 month old, and a classroom full of teenagers! The fog does clear most days, but you’re right, sometimes we just get Mommied Out…

  13. Anonymous says:

    With 2 children who are 13 and almost five I still feel like I need to hear this. Today was a rough day, thank you for your insight.

  14. -Angel says:

    When I was in the hospital, someone had given me a book called, “I Wish Someone Had Told Me”, and I had set it aside b/c none of it made any sense. I was 21, and when I got home I didn’t know what the heck I had gotten myself into…The baby cried…and cried….and cried…And I thought I was going to lose my mind….I felt awful, like I was a terrible mother. I had seen the book one of those sleepless nights, and all of it made sense. It was stories from mothers about their experiences, myths and realities, and all of the sudden I didnt feel quite as bad, and then over time, the baby didn’t cry quite as much, and the first time she smiled at me, I thought I was going to melt for sure!! All those days and nights of endless crying meant absolutely nothing, b/c she smiled!!! At me!!! She is 22 yrs old now, I have raised a total of 4 kids, each baby was completely different…I have come to realize that whatever I had gotten stressed out about when they were babies is just a small grain of sand in their lifespan, it’s really nothing to get worked up over…b/c they all grow up, and they become adults, and I know that my job was really not to raise children, but to make sure that my children grow up to be happy and healthy adults

  15. Dani says:

    HURRAY!! I’m sure that I’ve just spent the last hour trying to find this post. I had it open and “saved” in my browser, and then my computer restarted in the night. I absolutely LOVE this message. I want to be able to read and re-read it every day for the next month, as I wait for my little one to arrive and then in the days afterwards.

    Thank you for being such a wonderful support, in a world where support often sounds like “you have no idea what you’re in for…” 🙁

    Thank you for the uplifting message. I hope it’s okay that I link this message on my own blog.

    • And thank YOU Dani for your incredibly encouraging message for me! I’m so glad you were able to find it again, and so sorry you had to look so long. I am honored you would share the link. Thank you!!

  16. Anonymous says:

    Oh…. so beautiful. Made me cry. And my babies are almost ready to have their own babies.
    thank you.

  17. Emil says:

    I know you wrote this a long time ago but as I sit in my bathroom at 5:00am, hiding from my crying infant after another 3 hours of sleep, I am so glad I found this. I know now why sleep deprivation is a method of torture and sometimes I don’t know who I am anymore. This is what I needed to read. Thank you.

    -a new, exhausted but blessed mom

    • Oh Emily…My heart aches for you in the struggle. Lack of sleep is no joke! I can tell you it gets better. I’m not sure that it gets better because you get more sleep. I believe it gets better because you get stronger. You will find strength welling up from places you didn’t know existed. You will look back on this day in a year and smile at how far you’ve come.

  18. Joy says:

    I stumbled across your blog post tonight while up with my 2 week old newborn and I must say its a blessing to hear it will get better. Not that I knew it wouldn’t but sometimes it’s nice to be reminded by other moms who’ve been there and made it thru ;). Baby Blues at night are no joke so this was something that actually kept me from crying tonight and smile instead. Thank you. God bless you!

  19. Diana says:

    I found this post almost three years ago, when my first baby was a couple of weeks old, and it was just what I needed…
    Today, as I hid in my bedroom for ten minutes, totally overwhelmed by my newborn son plus my now toddler daughter, I needed to be reminded of this… so happy I found it again, thanks for the words of encouragement!