This weekend, I visited a dear friend of mine. She is a brand-new mum of the sweetest little one month old. One month she has been coasting along on this life changing journey of motherhood after being thrust into this new world of sleepless nights, analysing baby poo and bleeding nipples.
I really shouldn’t say coasting, because if you’ve ever been a brand new mum, you would know firsthand how f*cking far from ‘coasting’ it is. It’s different for everyone, but we all know that if you’re ‘coasting’ then you have some kind of magic we all want a piece of.
After filling my friend’s fridge with food and nursing her baby for as long as I could before I had to hand her over for a feed, I just sat with my friend. I sat and listened. She looked equal parts exhausted and angelic while feeding her little babe.
As she offloaded all that has been her last month, I listened to her recount the horrors of the night time shift, about not knowing what was normal, seeking clarification for when to stress and when to take a breath.
I gave advice when I could, shared my experiences when they seemed welcome and offered strategies or ideas to try when she seemed stuck.
But as I sat in awe of her magic, her beauty, I couldn’t help but feel her exhaustion. I felt her concern and her overwhelm, right to my core. Because not so long ago I was her, stuck in the trenches. Those deep, dark newborn trenches.
If newborns could text… Post continues below video.
It all starts out rosy, all butterflies and rainbows, because newborns have a lot going for them – they’re cute AF, long awaited and absolute miracles. Boom!
But the advertisement for motherhood, while noting plenty of side effects – lack of sleep, feeding pain, financial burden – does NOT prepare you in the slightest for those first few months in the trenches.
Even with a ‘good’ newborn, you can’t avoid the trenches. You can’t avoid the missed showers, the cold coffees, the midnight wakes and the cluster feeding. The constant fog of dry shampoo, the inability to get out of the house and the hours upon hours upon hours laying by a cot.
You’re thrust into a new life which requires you to be a version of yourself you haven’t read the manual for yet. It’s bloody tough, even for mums of sleeping, content and easily fed unicorn babies.